Work underway on new immigration system for the US

In the wake of the Executive Action on immigration reform taken by US President Barack Obama last week, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released information on how they will proceed with implementing the changes.

While it is the pathway to citizenship for up to five million illegal immigrants that has been making headlines, the action also pledges to modernise and improve the immigrant and non-immigrant immigration programmes. This will impact on US businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.

Skilled Workers

A review of the US immigration system could be good news for all manner of skilled workers

According to the immigration department’s website, over the coming weeks USCIS will:

– Work with the Department of State to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas;

– Work with the Department of State to modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make determinations of visa availability;

– Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays;

– Clarify the standard by which a national interest waiver may be granted to foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to benefit the US economy;

– Authorise parole, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who have either been awarded substantial US investor financing or hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research;

– Finalise a rule to provide work authorisation to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status;

– Work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and comment to expand and extend the use of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for foreign students, consistent with existing law; and

– Provide clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of “specialised knowledge” to bring greater clarity and integrity to the L-1B programme, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies’ confidence in the programme.

Some reports in the US media are even suggesting that the US could soon implement a points testing system for skilled immigration, similar to the ones used in countries like Canada and Australia.

There is currently no definite timeline for when further action will be taken on these reforms, but you can be sure that by continuing to keep an eye on Emigrate2 you’ll be kept up to date with any amendments.

Article published 26th November 2014