As we begin 2018, we expect ongoing efforts to transform and limit our legal immigration system without Congress’ approval.
Some of the policies and changes being looked at include:
- Eliminating the work authorizations for certain H-1B spouses;
- Overhauling the H-1B program, including a new definition of “specialty occupation” and reworking the definitions of “employment” and “employer-employee relationship”;
- A modified H-1B cap selection process based upon degrees and wages;
- Reform for the F-1 student program that may make it more difficult for foreign students to obtain visas and for employers to hire and retain students;
- Eliminating the STEM expansion allowing for an additional 24 months of OPT;
- Increasing the evidence required for the approval of L-1 and H-1B petitions;
- Longer and more complex immigration forms; and
- A fourfold increase in work-site enforcement actions, including actions against employers and undocumented workers.
We also expect to continue to see increases in processing times and backlogs, as well as a hawkish approach to finding reasons for denials of valid immigration applications.
At the same time, demographic forces, globalization, and environmental changes will continue to lead to increased migration pressures across borders. And employers will continue to seek and hire top talent to remain competitive.
We are ready to overcome the challenges ahead and assist our clients achieve their immigration goals.