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U.S. immigration changes threaten H-1B visa eligibility for some programmers

A memo issued this past weekend could prevent game developers from applying to work in the United States under an H-1B visa if the position they’d be filling isn’t deemed to be a specialized role.

A policy memorandum issued by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services this past weekend could make it more difficult for programmers to work in the United States under an H-1B visa. That specific visa allows American companies to hire foreign workers, but only as long as they fill a high-level, technical role.

While the new guidance is set to target the American tech industry at large, the updated language could prevent game developers from applying to work in the United States under an H-1B visa if the position they’d be filling isn’t deemed specialized enough.

Previous guidelines qualified the position of programmer as a specialty occupation, but the rework puts the burden of proof on the company seeking to sponsor a foreign employee, who then must provide evidence that the position is specialized and beyond entry-level. This latest memo supersedes a notice from December 2000 that didn't clearly differentiate a specialized position from an entry-level role. 

The memorandum was caught by Axios over the weekend and can be read in full on the U.S. Cititzen and Immigration Services website.

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