The Administration Acts to Ease the Path for Some Highly Skilled Immigrants
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2012 – The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced several new proposals to improve U.S. immigration processing for high skilled immigrant workers, each of which do not require Congressional action. These are part of an overall Administration effort to help U.S. companies and to create jobs as the U.S. strives to remain competitive in the worldwide marketplace. It was about one year ago that the Administration began its White House Startup America Initiative to attract and retain immigrants and business investments in the U.S.
One proposed reform would allow professors and researchers to provide other types of evidence to demonstrate that they are outstanding in their field. Such types of comparable evidence would harmonize the standards in line with other immigrant visa categories within the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. Next, an additional group of F-1 students would be allowed to extend their optional practical training (OPT) for 17 months instead of 12 months. This group is to include those STEM degree graduates whose degrees are on the DHS' list of eligible STEM degree programs, and do not have to be the most recent degree that the student earned. Spouses of F-1 students would also be able to enroll in additional part-time classes. Currently, F-2 spouses can only take recreational or part-time vocational courses.
The Administration also proposes to permit E-3 and H-1B1 visa holders to remain work authorized for 240 days upon timely filing of an extension petition, just as current current H-1B and L-1 visa classification holders receive, instead of first requiring an approved petition extending that person's stay.
The USCIS debuted its Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative in late February 2012. An Entrepreneurs in Residence Information Summit will take place in Silicon Valley and focus on attracting foreign entrepreneurs to the U.S. and make sure the pathways for immigration are clear and consistent. After the summit, the Entrepreneurs in Residence tactical team will work with the USCIS in Washington, D.C. for 90 days to encourage startup businesses and job creation.
“The Administration's ideas will help foreign nationals who are students or temporary, professional foreign workers in the United States and will expand the eligibility of evidence for certain professors and researchers seeking to immigrate here," said Dallas immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz. “While these are positive ideas, to many foreign nationals the real question is whether they are enough. Negotiating the path to get to the U.S. will become no less difficult with these changes,” said Rabinowitz. “Making the U.S. immigration experience for foreign nationals a positive one overall will be the hard part.”
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