- Per the recent move of President Obama's administration, certain foreign nationals that were brought into the U.S. as young children and have been residing in this country without authorization, may benefit from the newly adopted "deferred action" policy. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is developing the deferred action application process, but, in the meantime, those who fall under the policy criteria should consider their options.
The deferred action policy provides for temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for a 2-year period to individuals that:
- came to the U.S. before turning 16;
- have continuously resided in this country for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012 and were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- are currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate (GED), or have been honorably discharged from U.S. military service;
- have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise constitute a threat to national security or public safety;
- are 30 years old or younger; and
- successfully complete a mandatory background check.
While the deferred action policy is a promising development, interested individuals should carefully consider its temporary nature and lack of permanent immigration status assurance. As the USCIS is working to develop the application process under the new policy, those interested in applying should weigh their options and discuss them with immigration legal counsel before undertaking further steps.
- With new H-1B visas unavailable until the new filing season starts on April 1, 2013, U.S. employers should start planning their future H-1B filings and consider work permit alternatives that may fit their and their employees' needs. Some employers may qualify as H-1B cap exempt, and some of the job candidates may not be subject to the H-1B cap due to having been previously counted under it. H-1B visa alternatives, such as TN, L-1, E-3, and H-1B1 should be reviewed as part of immigration planning for immigration sponsorship seeking job candidates.