This new ruling reverses the US more than decades and a half old guidelines, that were issued in the context of addressing the new millennium needs.


This is what you need to know


The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ruled that an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a "specialty occupation". The clarification on what constitutes a "specialty occupation" superseding and rescinding its previous guidelines of December 22, 2000 was issued by the USCIS through a new policy memorandum on March 31. The application proecess for H-1B work visas for the next fiscal beginning October 1, 2017, began yesterday.


The contentious H- 1B policy

Issued just one business day before the USCIS started accepting H-1B visa petitions is this  policy memorandum titled Rescission of the December 22, 2000 Guidance memo on H-1B computer related positions. Companies and immigration attorneys are shocked as their application was based on the 2000 guidelines on what constitutes a specialty occupation.


"The fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation," the USCIS Policy Memorandum ruled.


"Thus, a petitioner may not rely solely on the (current version of the) Handbook (that describes specialty occupation) to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation," the memorandum said.

According to the USCIS, the December 22, 2000 memorandum entitled Guidance memo on H-1B computer related positions is not an accurate articulation of current agency policy.


How will it affect you?

In this round of applications beginning 3 April, the government will now ask how as an  entry-level computer programmers are required to come into country. According to the US government one needs the jobs in they are applying for are complex and need advanced knowledge and experience. So your basic diploma in Computer programming will not work anymore. Data says that computer programmers make up for about 12% of all H-1B applications received in 2015.


So all these restrictions will force prime recruiters like Infosys, TCS, Wipro  to hire more in the US and not renew existing visas of employees.


Companies also use two other kinds of visas like the B-1 for temporary business visitors and the L-1 for managers, executives and specialised workers of international companies. This is also about to change. So all these restrictions will force prime recruiters like Infosys, TCS, Wipro  to hire more in the US and not renew existing visas of employees. Earlier visas would go companies who were recruiting talent from foreign shores at a price much lesser than what was being paid to an average American counterpart, but now there is no priority it is being done through lottery.