Grand Ambition and Positive Regulatory Actions
Immediately upon taking office, President Biden enacted a series of Administrative and Regulatory Actions to stop the anti-immigration policies of his predecessor. He also has also proposed a sweeping revision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, including a path to citizenship for all undocumented individuals currently in the United States.
The measures impacting most of the critical business immigration matters are:
• Not extending the ban on the issuance of H-1B, L-1, J-1 visas for principals and dependents. The ban on H-1B, L-1 and J-1 Visas expired on March 31, 2021;
• Ensuring that the H-1B visa program is not decapitated with regulatory measures that would have dramatically increases wage requirements and redefined the qualifications for “specialty occupation” positions and what constituted “employer-employee relationships.”
The U.S. Federal Courts, in the last year of the Trump Administration had struck down many of the restrictive measures that were put in place to make the application for H-1B visas more difficult. The Trump Administration had declared its intentions to make the application process almost impossible. However, the Biden Administration has stated that they will take a more generous view to immigration and will not enact ad hoc measures to harm corporate immigration. Consequently, positions such as Computer Programmers are now eligible for H-1B visas. The USCIS further declared that, because of court decisions, they will be open to reconsidering denials of visas which were based on the regulatory measures overturned by the courts. On Wage Levels, on which the Biden Administration is expected to take a tougher line on, the Department of Labor has enacted a delay of at least 18 months to November 14, 2022 before implementation of any new measures.
• Employment based Greencards: The Biden Administration aims to boost the issuance of Greencards by eliminating counting beneficiaries against the legislatively mandated 140,000 Employment based Greencards that are allowed per year. This, along with the elimination of per country limitations for Greencards would eliminated the backlog for countries, such as India.
• H-1B Visas: The Biden Administration has promised to examine why the denial
rates for H-1B visas went up in recent years. The Administration has also
postponed plans to allot H-1B visas based on Wages.
The Biden Administration’s main thrust has been on prioritizing Immigration benefits for those currently in the United States in an undocumented status and in protecting the rights of Family based immigration. It may be noted that as per the lasted numbers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, only 14% if immigrants to the United States are employment visa based and 69% are family based.
The redefining Immigration Reform proposal that the Biden Administration proposed by the Biden Administration has run into stiff resistance in Congress – which will have to pass any or some of these measures. The sentiment in Congress now revolves around efforts to break up the bill into smaller measures that may be more politically viable.
It may also be noted that the new Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, previously headed the USCIS and is well versed on all immigration matters and pragmatic in his approach. He is expected to take an active role in the direction of all new rules and regulations.
We will monitor these and other pertinent immigration issues and update our clients as more details becomes available. Please feel free to contact USILAW with any questions or issues that you may have. You may reach us via telephone at +1 (202) 618 4540 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.