10 Business-Based Immigration Updates Expected In 2018

Author:Ms Melissa Winkler
Profession:Fakhoury Law Group

In April 2017, President Trump issued the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has carried out and is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to fulfill the President's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order, including conducting a "thorough review" of employment-based visa programs. Further, there are several bills being considered in the House and Senate pertaining to immigration. The following items are immigration changes being discussed for 2018:

Possible Cancellation of H-4 EADs There is both a pending court case and a proposed rule to eliminate the 2015 rule which granted H-4 Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to certain H-4 dependent spouses seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

'Save Jobs USA' filed a law suit which was initially dismissed in 2016. Subsequently, 'Save Jobs USA' filed an appeal claiming the rule has no protections for U.S. workers and increases the pool of workers looking for jobs and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) never had the authority to grant EADs to H-4 visa holders.

Further, DHS is reviewing the 2015 rule which extended employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses. This follows the issuance of Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American. The rule is proposing to remove H-4 employment authorization. A rule addressing this issue may be published in February 2018.

H-1B Cap Lottery and Employer Registration DHS is considering a rule that would require H-1B employers to pre-register for the H-1B cap lottery and only those employers that have won a cap number would be allowed to file an H-1B cap petition. DHS may also propose a rule to impose a priority system, which would give preference to the most highly educated and/or highly paid H-1B workers.   Rules addressing these issues may be published in February 2018. Changes to government regulations are subject to the rule making process, which usually takes several months to complete and involves a notice and comment period for the public. As such, it is anticipated that any proposed rules would not complete the rule making process before April 1, 2018, the start of the filing period for the 2018 H-1B cap season.  However, it is not clear, if some proposed changes could be implemented prior. Further, a preference system that requires pre-certification for the lottery would likely require legislative...

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