WASHINGTON – A group of information technology companies filed a lawsuit Friday night challenging the Trump administration’s rules to raise the salaries employers of their foreign workers on H-1B visas, which aims to tighten eligibility for visas.
The Trump administration launched its long-awaited overhaul of the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers last week, a program highly valued by US high-tech companies and other employers.
A piece of that change issued by the Department of Labor began on Thursday, passing the customary public comment period. The department’s rule significantly increases the minimum wage companies are required to pay their H-1B employees.
The lawsuit by the ITServe Alliance, a commodity group representing information companies, was filed against the department in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
“Without giving prior notice and without the Plaintiffs or the general public taking the opportunity to comment, the Department of Labor has dramatically changed the way it calculates existing wage rates for program H -1B, “the lawsuit states.
The suit argued that the Trump administration cut the title by issuing policy on an emergency basis, instead of conducting a full review of its impact on current visa holders and the economy, and incorporating the potential changes based on public feedback.
The Labor Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separate lawsuits are expected in the coming weeks against another set of policies, issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Those rules narrow the eligibility to qualify for an H-1B visa and shorten its duration for some contract workers. That rule is set to take effect in December.
Under the new Labor wage requirements, which are based on wage surveys across professions and locations, companies are required to pay workers at the 45 percent entry level, compared to the current obligation to be paid they are somehow at 17 percent. Top-level employees, who are currently required to receive a salary at 67 percent, have to be paid by the 95th.
An entry-level electrical engineer in San Jose, Calif., For example, will be paid at least $ 127,042, compared to $ 88,712 before the new rules take effect, according to Labor Department data.
The new rule is likely to affect only a small subset of H-1B owners right now – those in the early stages of filing renewal applications. If it remains effective, though, it could have an outsize effect on smaller companies such as tech start-ups with limited cash to pay higher assigned wages.
Write to Michelle Hackman at [email protected]
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