H-1B Selection Rules Change to Higher Prioritize Higher Wage Applicants

On January 8th, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a rule to change the process that H-1B applications will be selected. Previously, USCIS selected H-1B petitions based on a random lottery if the number of petitions exceed the yearly cap, which has occurred since 2004. The new rule, which will take into effect on March 9th, 2021, will prioritize the wage levels of the petitions.

USCIS will first be selecting regular cap cases followed by advanced degree cases. They will first select petitions with the highest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage level. They will then continue down the wage level, from IV to I, until the cap is met. This will allow the highest wage workers to be selected. This change will only affect new petitions filed under the annual H-1b cap.

The rule change was implemented due to a perception that the H-1B program was used by companies to hire foreign workers to reduce costs. However, this rule change will have a devastating effect upon entry level positions, as they may not get selected for an H-1B visa at all. Furthermore, many foreign students hoping to enter the job market whose OPT is running out may face immigration consequences if they cannot secure an H-1B visa.

Although the rule is set to take effect on March 9th, 2021, it is anticipated that this date will be pushed back due to legal challenges to its legality. Furthermore, this rule may not be implemented if the incoming Biden administration decide to rescind the final rule.

Here at Zhang and Associates, we aim to bring you the most relevant and up to date news in the immigration field. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any immigration related issue, our seasoned staff will be happy to help. For a free evaluation on your case or situation, please email us at info@hooyou.com.

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Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017


At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.


Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past over twenty years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (info@hooyou.com) for a free evaluation.

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(01/12/2020)