In conjunction with the exercise of President Obama’s executive authority to improve the way our immigration system functions while waiting for a more comprehensive immigration reform bill from Congress, the President has directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to take action that would benefit millions of employment-based immigrants and entrepreneurs.
While the specific application details have not yet been released, or in some cases developed by the relevant agencies, the White House released additional information regarding the topics and issues to be addressed on behalf of employment-based immigrants and entrepreneurs. The hot topics for employment-based immigrants include:
- Employment authorization for H-4 spouses of H-1B holders who have reached a certain stage in the permanent residency process.
- Authorizing employment-based immigrants to file Applications to Adjust Status (“green card” application) before an immigrant visa number is immediately available for them under the annual immigrant visa quota.
- Modernizing the administration of the PERM labor certification program to consider feasibility of more rapid “premium processing,” more modern recruitment methods and media, and an effective means for resolving nonmaterial errors.
- Expansion/extension of STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization program for graduates of qualifying STEM degree programs.
- Clarifying guidance for the temporary transfer of L-1B specialized knowledge professionals.
- Providing guidance to enable broader use of the National Interest Waiver (NIW) program by entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators.
- Providing for parole opportunities for entrepreneurs and inventors to enter the United States to pursue development and job creation.
- Providing clarity of the “same or similar occupational classification” limitation on the portability of an ongoing permanent residency process to account for greater flexibility to accommodate promotions or other job changes.