One of the top 10 issues affecting US immigration in the next 100 days will depend on the outcome of lawsuits challenging an overhaul of the eligibility, wage levels, and employment rules for the H-1B visa category, which governs the hiring of highly-skilled workers by US employers across industries. Today a leading group of business associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Bay Area Council, and National Retail Federation, as well as number of educational institutions and associations, filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) challenging the Strengthening the H-1B Program rule and the Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States rule. The suit was filed in the Northern District of California. US Chamber CEO Tom Donohue issued the following statement with regard to the lawsuit:

“The rules being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor undermine high-skilled immigration in the U.S. and a company’s ability to retain and recruit the very best talent. If these rules are allowed to stand, they will devastate companies across various industries. The Chamber is proud to join our partners in fighting against these measures that will discourage investment, diminish economic growth, and impede job creation in the U.S.”

The suit comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit filed at the end of last week in New Jersey federal court on October 16, 2020, just eight days after the wage rule took effect, which alleges that the DOL, without notice, “dramatically altered” the way it calculates minimum salaries for the H-1B visas and certain employment-based green cards.

Additional lawsuits are expected to be filed in other locations, including the District of Columbia. Motions to stay the impact of both rules, including the DOL rule which took effect October 8, 2020, are expected immediately.

As reported in Mayer Brown’s blog post, Trump Administration Issues Two New Rules to Restrict H-1B Visas and Increase Expenses for Employers Sponsoring Highly-Skilled Workers for Visas and Green Cards, earlier this month, the two rules, both of which bypassed preliminary notice and comment, represent the most substantial shift in eligibility, wage levels, and third-party worksite supervision of H-1B workers in the past 30 years.

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