A group of technology consulting firms has filed the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rule of raising minimum salary requirements for foreign professionals on H-1B work visas, an executive order that would disproportionately affect Indians in the tech industry.
Under the rule, entry-level computer programmers on H-1B visas in Newark, for instance, would need to be paid $116K annually, a significant increase from the previous entry-level rate of $79K for the same job with the visa category. A 46.8 percent hike in base salary to qualify for the high-skilled visa programme.
ITServe, a non-profit alliance of tech consulting firms filed the lawsuit in New Jersey federal court on Friday, claiming the government used faulty data when setting the new figures, Law360 reported.
“ITServe’s members are unable to absorb, without material disruption to their operations, the cost increase imposed on them,” the suit says.
The suit alleges that the US Department of Labor, without notice, “dramatically altered” the way it calculates minimum salaries for the H-1B visas and certain employment-based green cards.
The Department of Labor “relied on outdated, incorrect or limited empirical data, failed to consider readily available, relevant data and empirical studies, and engaged in reasoning that conflicts with basic economic theory,” states the lawsuit.
Foregoing the traditional practice, the Department of Homeland Security did not permit citizens to deliberate on the new rule before its implementation. The department said this was done to “ensure that employing H-1B workers will not worsen the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers.”
This suit is the first to challenge the Department of Labor's rule issued earlier this month, that revised the four wage tiers used to evaluate salaries in various foreign worker programs, including the H-1B visa and certain employment-based green cards.