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Lawsuit challenges Trump admin's new H-1B visa rules

Washington DC: Several individuals and organisations, including the US Chambers of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration's recent rules related to the H-1B visa, terming them "arbitrary" and "haphazard" regulations that will undermine high skilled immigration into America.

Early this month, the Trump administration announced new restrictions on H-1B non-immigrant visa programme which it said is aimed at protecting American workers, restoring integrity and to better guarantee that H-1B petitions are approved only for qualified beneficiaries and petitioners, a move which is likely to affect thousands of Indian IT professionals.

The interim final rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security will narrow the definition of speciality occupation" as Congress intended by closing the overbroad definition that allowed companies to game the system.

It will also require companies to make real" offers to real employees," by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American workers. And finally, the new rules would enhance the department's ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during and after an H1-B petition is approved.

The lawsuit filed by the US Chambers of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and several other organisations in the Northern District of Columbia on Monday alleges that "harmful and haphazard rules on H-1B visas" if left in place, would affect hundreds of thousands of American-based workers and disrupt manufacturers' ability to hire and retain critical high-skilled talent.

"The rules being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor undermine high-skilled immigration in the US and a company's ability to retain and recruit the very best talent," said US Chamber CEO Thomas J Donohue.

If these rules are allowed to stand, they will devastate companies across various industries, he said.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

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