The spouses of people who are in the final stages of the employment-based green card process can now obtain authorization to work in the U.S. Previously, spouses had to wait until the the green card was in hand before they could work, which could take years (sometimes over a decade) due to backlogs. In the Star Tribune, Mark Schneider, the Associate Director for Employment-Based Visas at the University of Minnesota, said that faculty had left the university (and the U.S.) because spouses could not work: “It puts a lot of pressure on families when one spouse comes here to do big stuff and the other has to sit on their hands.” The Obama administration hopes that the new rule will “help U.S. companies retain foreign talent and ward off competition from countries with looser immigration policies.”
For more information, click here: Work Authorization for Spouses of Green Card Applicants
In early January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to carry out raids to deport hundreds of families that have fled violence in Central America. Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), states that the Obama administration “has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained and rounded up. When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the U.S. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics.” According to the Washington Post, “[m]ore than 100,000 [Central American] families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border since last year, though this migration has largely been overshadowed by a related surge of unaccompanied minors” from Central America. Experts say that the violence that drove people from Central America last year has only intensified, "with the homicide rate in El Salvador reaching its highest level in a generation." - Justin Rhodes
For more information, click here: Planned deportation of Central American families
The omnibus spending bill that President Obama is expected to sign contains provisions that will affect many immigrants and non-immigrants. The provisions “impose stricter security requirements on Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers; require ‘e-Passports’ of all VWP travelers; reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center and E-Verify programs through September 30, 2016; and raise the filing fees for . . . H-1B and L-1 visa petitions” filed by “companies that have at least 50 employees with 50% of them holding H-1B or L-1 status.” - Justin Rhodes
For more information, click here: Congress Passes Legislation Affecting Visa Waiver Program
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated performance fact sheets containing the Quarter 4 FY 2015 selected statistics for the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B programs. The three fact sheets that may be of the most interest to our clients can be found below.
For More Information, Click Here.
At a naturalization ceremony in Washington, President Obama gave an impassioned defense of immigration, calling it “our origin story.” He warned against succumbing to fear and mistreating immigrants, as had been done to slaves and to immigrants from Ireland, Japan, China, and elsewhere. Obama added, “In the Mexican immigrant today, we see the Catholic immigrant of a century ago . . . . In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.”
Obama speaks at Naturalization Ceremony