For decades, major reform of U.S. immigration law has remained
elusive, and throughout the Trump administration, a number of
measures have been put into place making it even more challenging
to immigrate foreign talent. There are several issues impacting
business immigration on which we have our eyes in anticipation of
the new Biden-Harris administration. Specifically, we are closely
monitoring the possible abandonment, termination and/ or revocation
of the following measures impacting employment immigration:
- Various Presidential Proclamations restricting travel from predominantly Muslim countries, COVID-19 related restrictions on travel from Europe, UK, Ireland, Brazil and China and restrictions on travel for H-1B and L-1 workers;
- Public Charge regulation requiring disclosure on use of government services and restricting immigration benefits for lawful use of such programs;
- Prevailing wage regulation (recently implemented without public notice and comment period) resulting in an average increase of approximately 40% on wages required to be paid to H-1B workers and green card applicants;
- New regulations scheduled to go into effect before year-end related to the H-1B visa category, including changes in the statutory definition of “specialty occupations” (as related to degree requirement); employer-employee relationship standards and restrictions on placement of H-1B workers at third party worksites, as well as proposed changes to the H-1B lottery based on offered wage levels as opposed to a random selection process.
The Biden-Harris administration has also suggested its intention
to pursue and implement the following new measures:
- Reform of existing visa programs for temporary workers, including agricultural, seasonal and highly skilled workers by increasing the number of temporary visas available annually, creating greater flexibility in green card numerical limitations and awarding green cards to PhD graduates in STEM fields who are prepared to make “important contributions to the world economy”;
- Creation of a new visa category to stimulate local and regional economic development;
- Increased enforcement of existing immigration laws on worksite compliance;
- Solutions for DACA recipients and evaluation of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) programs; and
- Redirecting federal dollars from border wall to other border enforcement and security needs.
Originally Published by Ice Miller, November 2020
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