The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Labor have issued final rules regarding the H-1B selection process and wages; President-elect Joe Biden has announced his nominee for secretary of the Department of Labor.

H-1B rules. USCIS last week announced a final rule to modify the H-1B cap selection process and change the current lottery procedures. The rule is online and is set to go into effect in less than 60 days. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor on July 12 announced its final rule reforming the wage methodology it uses to set prevailing wage rates to prevent potential abuses of its Permanent Employment Certification, H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 visa foreign worker programs.

The USCIS’ rule would modify the H-1B cap selection process to incentivize employers to offer higher salaries and higher-skilled positions, according to USCIS. The Society for Human Resources Management reported the rule replaces the annual H-1B visa lottery that randomly selects foreign professionals with a process that prioritizes those offered the highest salaries for their occupation and geographic area.

It could favor hiring of senior professionals rather than younger workers, Forbes reported. There are also questions about the legality of the rule and what would happen to it under a Biden administration. The rule comes as the US government recently extended a ban on new green cards and work visas, including H-1Bs, to March 31.

The DOL’s final rule changes prevailing wage rates for H-1B and other visa categories following a phased-in approach developed after receiving public comments in response to the prevailing wage interim final rule it issued in October 2020, Bloomberg Law reported.

Labor secretary. President-elect Joe Biden announced that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will be his nominee for secretary of the Department of Labor. Walsh would be the first union member to serve in the role in nearly half a century, according to the transition website.

Walsh is also the current chairman of Climate Mayors, a group of 470 mayors nationwide. He has also served as head of both Laborers’ Union Local 223 and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council.

Politico reported that Biden was expected to choose a Labor Department head who enjoyed the support of unions.