On November 2, 2020, DHS published in the Federal Register its proposed new rule for the 2021 CAP that would give priority to H-1B CAP candidates whose employer promises to pay the highest of the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage levels.
The OES categorizes wages from Levels I through IV for a particular position in a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). In the H-1B context, the employer then chooses the appropriate wage level based on the experience and complexity of the position and can file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) using the OES wage assigned.
According to the DHS’s proposed rule, only those H-1B CAP registrations offering the highest OES wage levels would be selected for filing in the 2021 CAP. This means that DHS would first accept Level IV wages, then Level III, etc.
Keeping with the 2020 CAP changes, the USCIS’s current intent is to continue its electronic pre-registration system, requiring first a registration period of CAP petitions, and a later period of filing. DHS’s proposed rule intends to add a wage level question to its pre-registration form so that only the highest wage levels are selected for filing.
The Master’s CAP, an allotment of 20,000 H-1Bs designated only for candidates possessing a master’s degree from an accredited U.S. university, is also in place for the 2021 CAP period.The proposed rule is currently accepting comments from the public until December 2, 2020, to which DHS will then respond and may alter some elements of the rule.
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