An US federal judge said the rules restricting H-1B visas were found invalid because they were issued under a Department of Homeland Security acting secretary who was unlawfully appointed to the role.
A US federal judge on Wednesday turned down Trump-era changes to H-1B visa rules that were to deter US companies from replacing American workers with cheaper foreign labour.
Nicholas Iovino, writing in Courthouse News Service, a nationwide news service for lawyers and the news media, said that the rules restricting H-1B visas were found invalid because they were issued under a Department of Homeland Security acting secretary who was unlawfully appointed to the role.
Businesses and universities complained that the Trump administration switch to the H-1B visa system from a lottery that selects applicants at random to one that prioritizes higher-wage jobs would make it harder to hire and recruit highly skilled foreign workers and students, reported Courthouse News Service.
The rules applied to tech industry workers as well as doctors, accountants, professors, scientists and architects.
Senior US District Judge Jeffery White temporarily blocked the rules in December last year after a coalition of business groups and academic institutions led by the US Chamber of Commerce sued to stop them, reported Courthouse News Service.
Judge White also last year halted a separate attempt by former President Donald Trump
to suspend certain types of non-immigration work visas, finding he lacked authority to make those sweeping changes in a presidential proclamation.
The Chamber of Commerce and its co-plaintiffs argued the rules violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that non-citizens should be issued H-1B visas "in the order in which petitions are filed for such visas", said Iovino.
A system that ranks and selects visa petitions based on wage levels conflicts with the text of that statute, the plaintiffs contended.