LATEST U.S. IMMIGRATION LAW NEWS AND UPDATES
REFORMING THE H-1B PROGRAM/ CHANGES TO THE H-1B PROGRAM
A new draft Executive Order plans to make several changes to U.S. Immigration rules such as the H-1B program used by US companies to fill their positions in the US. According to a recent article in Bloomberg News, the draft discusses overhauling work-visa programs such as H-1B. The H-1B visa is very popular among foreign nationals seeking work at companies in the U.S. Current caps for H-1B work visas at 85,000 a year, which is constantly overbooked. Bloomberg further states that the draft covers a number of visa programs beyond the H-1B program including L-1, E-2 and B1 visa programs. If enacted the Executive Order would greatly impact US companies recruiting foreign employees.
CHANGES TO EB-5 INVESTOR PROGRAM
A new bill was introduced to change current EB-5 program. The current EB-5 Regional Center program is set to expire on April 28, 2017. USCIS has proposed raising the EB-5 investment requirements to $1.3 million.
DHS ISSUES FINAL RULE TO HELP INT’L ENTREPRENEURS STAY IN US.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a final rule that enables entrepreneurs to seek temporary permission to be in the country, known as parole (not a visa) if they can prove their proposed business has a significant public benefit to the United States. DHS will have a discretion on a case-by-case to determine whether proposed business meets the “Public Benefit”. According to the rule summary, if the business will grow rapidly and create job opportunities in the US, entrepreneurs would qualify a temporary initial stay up to 30 months. The applicant must also prove they have received an investment capital of $250,000. The entrepreneur may be eligible to extend the parole period to another 30 months if the startup has created at least 5 qualifying jobs. This final rule will be effective as of July 17, 2017.
THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF TRUMP REPEALING NAFTA
If the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico withdrawn by the Trump administration, Canadian and Mexican nationals may lose their E-1 (treaty trader), E-2 (treaty investor) and TN visa options. This is because these visa classifications require the existence of a treaty between the U.S. and another country in order for nationals of that country to receive those visa classifications.
In case the TN visas are cancelled, we recommend TN visa holders to consider applying for H-1B as a backup plan.
NEW I-9 FORM WENT INTO EFFECT
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) updated the Form I-9 for employers to use in verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.
CHANGES TO 24 MONTHS STEM OPT AND H4 EAD
According to a recent leaked United States government order on visa programmers, 24 months OPT (Optional Practical Training Extension) for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and H4 EAD could be Revoked By President Trump.
The cancellation of OPT extension would throw out future plans of hundreds of thousands of tech people.
On the other hand, revoking the H4-EAD provision would be a huge setback to the qualified spouses of H1 Visa holders seeking employment opportunities in the US.