Washington DC: The United States Administration of President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced the interim final rule that restricts H-1B visas to protect American workers.

The rules include tightening of current immigration visas rules used widely by the technology firms, claiming the ''new system would be better for American workers''.

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday the new regulations for so-called H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, which allow up to 85,000 immigrants annually.

Top administration officials framed the changes as a way to protect American jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, even though the Trump administration first committed to overhauling the program in 2017 as part of its efforts to reduce the number of foreign citizens employed in the United States.

“With millions of Americans looking for work, and as the economy continues its recovery, immediate action is needed to guard against the risk lower-cost foreign labour can pose to the well-being of U.S. workers,” Patrick Pizzella, the deputy secretary of labour, told reporters on Tuesday.

The new rule will do three things.

1. It will narrow the definition of specialty occupation.

2. Additional documentation required by companies to prove that they need the H-1B workers to prevent them from displacing American workers.

3. DHS’ power to enforce compliance would be enhanced through worksite inspection and monitor compliance before, during and after H-1B petitions are approved.

The rule is also likely to change minimum wage levels of H-1B workers.

The rules will directly affect foreign workers and employers, especially tech companies that have long supported the H-1B program and pushed hard for its expansion.

India and China account for the lion`s share of H-1B visas. As per US government data, India accounts for upwards of 70%, most years. In a call with reporters, Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said about one-third of the people who have applied for H-1B visas would be denied under the new rules.