The outgoing Trump administration on Friday modified the selection process for H-1B visa, giving priority to salary and skills instead of the current lottery procedures.
The notification was published in the Federal Register. It would come into force in 60 days.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The next H-1B visa filing season is slated to start on April 1.
The notification, which comes with less than two weeks left in President Donald Trump's tenure, is the latest effort to bar the entry of immigrants to the US.
However, it is too early to say how the modification would impact Indian companies as there is a possibility of the incoming Biden administration reviewing the notification. There was no reaction from any companies or business bodies on the notification so far.
Restricting immigration has been a focus of the Trump administration since its first days when it issued the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, and it has continued into Trump's final year in office as the White House uses the coronavirus pandemic as cover.
Last week, Trump extended the freeze on H-1B visas along with other types of work visas and green cards until March 31.