In late December 2017, news service McClatchy DC reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was considering new regulations that would limit the ability of H-1B workers who are in the green card process to obtain an extension of their H-1B status beyond the usual six-year limit. However, on January 8, 2018, McClatchy DC once again reported that after facing backlash from the business community, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) backtracked on the proposed policy. Jonathan Withington, Chief of Media Relations for USCIS, said that “any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.”
USCIS stated that it was not considering changing its interpretation of Section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit for those H-1B workers who have received approved I-140s. However, Mr. Withington added the following: “Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.”
The article pointed out that DHS is nevertheless considering policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order.