Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup, where every month we will summarize and provide links to the latest stories impacting U.S. immigration.
Below is the November 2023 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
Biden administration, DHS release proposed rule altering H-1B visa program
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a proposed rule which could have significant impacts on the H-1B visa program, affecting both employers and prospective employees.
The proposed rule contains important elements impacting all prospective employers and tens of thousands of H-1B beneficiaries. The rule is intended to increase fairness in the H-1B cap process, expand and better define specific eligibility requirements, and increase flexibility in key areas for both employers and applicants.
The rule is now open for public comment, after which DHS will publish it in final form, presumably early in 2024.
Garfinkel Immigration Partner William R. Hummel discusses the National Interest Waiver, other visa options for STEM graduates in latest webinar
The Biden Administration has made efforts to clarify and update guidance on the adjudication of various immigration benefits.
One important area of updated guidance relates to those in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, including those applying for a National Interest Waiver Immigrant visa petition, which was the topic of Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm’s latest webinar.
The event was hosted by Partner William R. Hummel on Thursday, Nov. 2 from noon to 1 p.m. and was entitled “The National Interest Waiver (NIW) and other visa options for STEM graduates.”
The presentation reviewed the current regulations in effect for STEM graduates and how individuals can leverage the new guidance to explore various nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options, including the potential option to “self-petition” during the green card process.
Biden executive order on AI could help immigrant professionals
This story, written by Forbes Senior Contributor Stuart Anderson in early November, details the recent executive order related to artificial intelligence (AI) issued by President Biden and its potential impact on immigration.
Specifically, the executive order could benefit “immigrants and temporary visa holders with AI backgrounds,” according to Forbes.
“The executive order asks the State Department to consider adding J-1 research scholars and F-1 students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to the upcoming domestic visa renewal program,” the Forbes story read.
The story continued: “The State Department may also initiate rulemaking ‘to establish new criteria to designate countries and skills on the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Skills List as it relates to the 2-year foreign residence requirement for certain J-1 nonimmigrants, including those skills that are critical to the United States’ and to ‘consider publishing updates to the 2009 Revised Exchange Visitor Skills List.’”
Green card backlog costs economy trillions in gains, report says
The United States could add up to $3.9 trillion “in gains to gross domestic product over 10 years,” if it reduced “green card barriers for those new entrants and for workers already in the U.S. on temporary visas,” according to new projections from the Bipartisan Policy Center, via a report by Bloomberg Law.
“Most of that economic growth would be driven by the addition of new immigrants to a labor force struggling with ongoing worker shortages,” Bloomberg Law writes. “Lifting job restrictions on green card seekers already employed in the U.S. would also boost economic productivity, the report finds.”
The story added: “The five states with the largest immigrant populations — California, New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey — would likely see the largest benefit from reducing the backlogs. But proposals for state-based visa programs allowing state governments to seek foreign workers for industries with labor needs would allow for economic gains to be more evenly distributed.”
Providers hail immigration bill that seeks to reissue visas to healthcare pros
Provider groups have “applauded” the proposed bipartisan Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, according to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, a media outlet that has covered long-term care since 1980.
“The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act was reintroduced by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and has several other senators from both parties as original co-sponsors,” the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News story read. “The bipartisan bill would allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to ‘recapture’ green cards already authorized by Congress but not yet used. Up to 25,000 visas would be offered for nurses, and up to 15,000 would be offered to physicians. No new visas would be authorized under the measure.”
Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living Clif Porter praised the proposed bill in a press release in early November.
“As we face a growing elderly population yet a shortage of healthcare workers, creating more opportunities for international nurses to immigrate to the U.S. will help strengthen our long- term care workforce and protect access to care,” Porter said, via McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. “These are dedicated nurses who want to serve America’s seniors, and they and their families should be welcomed with open arms.”
Bipartisan bill would provide kids-only immigration courts for migrant children
A bipartisan group of legislators has introduced The Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act of 2023, which is designed to make the “the immigration court system friendlier and more navigable for unaccompanied migrant children,” according to NBC News.
“The bill aims to give special training to immigration judges and allow them to see a special children’s-only docket,” the NBC News story read. “It would also ensure that children are ‘treated appropriately for their developmental age’ and are connected to legal service organizations.”
The story added: “(Senator) Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said he is hopeful the bill will pass because it has already achieved the status of being both bipartisan and bicameral, a rare feat for legislation in the current political climate, especially on the issue of immigration. But, he said, regardless of whether the bill passes, the U.S. needs more immigration judges to address the backlog of pending cases.”