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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Joins Amicus Briefs, Comment Letters Opposing New H-1B Visa Rules


    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    The AAMC joined 23 higher education associations in amicus briefs filed in support of two legal challenges to new H-1B visa interim final rules issued by the administration in early October.

    The new rules, issued separately by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will impose financial obligations on H-1B visa sponsors and make various required approvals less predictable and more costly. The briefs describe the rules’ effect as follows: “[C]ritical scientific research programs will be left with unfilled positions, academic medical centers will be left with provider shortages and longer patient wait times, and universities’ educational missions will be irreparably disrupted.”

    The plaintiffs in the two cases have filed motions for preliminary injunctions, with hearings scheduled in U.S. District Courts on Nov. 13 (District of Columbia) and Nov. 23 (Northern District of California).

    Additionally, the AAMC joined two comment letters sent to the administration by higher education groups on Nov. 9 in response to the interim final rules. One letter, led by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, outlines the impact of changes to the DOL prevailing wage determination for H-1B visas.

    It notes, “We join with other organizations in expressing deep concern about the Interim Final Rule (IFR) because it was implemented without opportunity for public comment, its methodology is fundamentally unsound, and the IFR does not provide colleges and universities adequate time to adjust to changes, which negatively impacts higher education’s ability to provide services for students across the country.”

    The other letter, led by the American Council on Education, opposes DHS changes to the definitions and eligibility requirements for H-1B visas. It notes, “The harm from this [interim final rule] will be felt by students, hospital patients, researchers, and faculty and it will hurt the critical work of U.S. colleges and universities.”