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The Employment Landscape for Immigrants Under the Executive Action Plan

Although a lot of attention has been placed on how the Immigration Accountability Executive Action will sharply reduce deportations and improve the lives of millions of undocumented immigrant families living in the United States, there are some very important employment factors to consider as well. Even before the November 20th announcement by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had been preparing to work with Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) in this regard.

Shortly after President Obama addressed the nation on this executive action, DHS Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson sent a memorandum to USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez outlining new policies and regulations that directly intend to benefit the U.S. economy through the employment of skilled immigrants. The current situation pertaining to employment of skilled immigrants is not sustainable because it limits the mobility of these workers, who are crucial to the recovering U.S. economy. Here are some of the highlights that illustrate how executive action will affect employment visas:

–          More foreign students will be allowed to enroll in the Optional Practical Training program through an expansion of the participating degree fields. Those foreign students whose degree programs are in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will be able to stay in the U.S. longer if they are approved to participate in the newly expanded program.

–          Investors and entrepreneurs whose projects will create jobs and foster greater research and development in the U.S. will have greater opportunities for immigration. Click here to learn more about employer sponsored petitions in San Diego.

–          In the near future, holders of employment visas who are also seeking permanent residence in the U.S. will be able to change their jobs whenever their applications hit a bureaucratic snag.

–          There will be a push to review the current guidelines to allow spouses of skilled foreign workers to start working as soon as their loved ones are approved to get their green cards.

–          Greater support will be given to USCIS sections dedicated to processing visas and residency applications of foreign skilled workers. The idea is to modernize and streamline the process for employers who need to fill available positions. In other words, the Department of State will be directed to modify issuance of the visa bulletin so that available visas can be processed faster and with greater frequency.

The changes made under the Executive Action Plan could go a long way in helping immigrant workers and families throughout the United States. If you live in San Diego and are interested in learning more about current employment visas, reach out to the San Diego immigration attorneys at Kazmi and Sakata at 858-874-0711 and schedule a free consultation.

May 2024