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New H-1B visa restrictions announced

If you are hoping to move to the United States on an H-1B visa and bring your spouse along with you, know that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced plans that may prevent this from occurring. The agency also plans to put an end to the International Entrepreneur Rule, among other upcoming changes that impact employment-based immigration.

The new changes come a year after the president issued a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order that encourages American employers to hire and develop talent locally while attempting to minimize fraud and abuse of the employment-based visa system. Just what do the new requirements and conditions mean for you, as someone looking to come work in the United States, or someone looking to do so with your husband or wife alongside you?

Changes for spouses

USCIS has plans to reverse a 2015 ruling that gives spouses of H-1B workers an opportunity to join their husbands or wives in the United States through obtaining work permits. While it is not yet clear exactly when this change will take effect, it can have a considerable impact on anyone looking to relocate to the United States with their partners.

Changes in H-1B visa eligibility criteria

Yet another change affecting the U.S. immigration system involves how companies petition the agency when they want to pursue an H-1B visa for a foreign professional. More specifically, the agency is making some changes to how it defines “employment,” “employer-employee relationship” and “specialty occupation,” which may make it increasingly difficult for foreign workers to obtain H-1B visas.

Changes to the International Entrepreneur Rule

USCIS also plans to rescind a regulation that gives foreign-born employees an opportunity to build their startups on U.S. soil for a given period. The rule took effect after legislators shot down plans for a possible startup visa that would help foreign entrepreneurs looking to launch businesses in the United States.

Whether these changes will help prevent misuse of the visa system is not yet known, but they may lead to additional hardship and red tape for anyone looking to move to the United States for work.