The USCIS has released a proposed new rule that impacts multiple categories of immigrant and non-immigrant visas and is rumored to be the first in a series of upcoming measures from the administration. In the 314-page new rule, USCIS states that “USCIS estimates that it will take several years before USCIS backlogs decrease measurably.”
At the same time, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), within the Executive Office of the President, has listed as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) agenda new proposed rulemaking that will impact the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. Specifically, the DHS is said to be:
• Looking at ways to make obtaining H-1B visas more difficult by re-defining specialty occupation.” The stated goal of the DHS to enact these new rules so that, “H-1B visas are awarded only to individuals who will be working in a job which meets the statutory definition of specialty occupation.” The expected date of this new rule is December 2019.
• Considering removing the eligibility of certain H-4 visa holders from obtaining employment authorization. The expected date of this new rule is March 2020.
• Trying to further restrict L-1 visas by “revis(ing) the definition of specialized knowledge, clarify(ing) the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship, and ensur(ing) employers pay appropriate wages to L-1 visa holders.” The expected date of these new rules is in September 2020.
Additionally, the USCIS has proposed new fees for most visa categories. Proposed new visa fees of most interest to our clients are as follows:
The USCIS is also considering changing the rules to enable premium processing cases to be decided in 15 business days rather than the current rule of 15 calendar days thus delaying the adjudication of such petitions.
While many of the proposed new rules may not be enacted or changed from what is being proposed, the upcoming DHS agenda, as listed in the OMB website, demonstrates the intention of the administration to make obtaining immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the U.S. more difficult.
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.