U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started the new year with an announcement of the final rule intended to modify the annual H-1B petitions selection process under the government-imposed cap, amend current H-1B visa lottery procedures, and prioritize wages to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers and “better ensure the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment program.” The new H-1B petitions selection criteria is expected to incentivize employers to offer higher salaries, and/or petition for higher-skilled positions. In the government’s view, the current H-1B random selection process makes it difficult for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the program to compete for the highly qualified international workforce, and “has predominately resulted in the annual influx of foreign labor placed in low-wage positions at the expense of U.S. workers.” The new selection process will affect only H-1B registrations/petitions for cap-subject petitions. It is expected to be implemented for both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption, but not to change the order of selection between the two as established by the H-1B registration rule currently in effect. The new rule should become effective 60 days after its publication, but may also be challenged by the new presidential administration. Please stay tuned for further developments.