Following last night’s Address to the Nation: “We Were Strangers Once, Too,” outlining plans to change immigration rules, President Obama will deliver his detailed plan for immigration accountability executive actions at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada around 2pm (est) today. Del Sol High School is significant because it is the site where President Obama first revealed his Four Part Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform on January 29, 2013.
In advance of today’s speech, Department of Homeland Security Director, Leon Rodriquez, issued a memo entitled Policies Supporting U.S. High-Skilled Businesses and Workers. The purpose of the memo is to set directives for USCIS regarding business-specific aspects of the President’s executive action on immigration and to propose collaborative opportunities with the Department of State achieve the President’s plan. These directives should have significant impact on foreign students, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, professionals, workers and candidates for employment-based permanent residence.
Pursuant to Director Rodriguez’s memo, USCIS has set out its Executive Actions on Immigration initiative plan. What follows are the specific initiatives USCIS will implement as it relates to business immigration:
- Work with the Department of State to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas;
- Work with the Department of State to modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make determinations of visa availability;
- Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays;
- Clarify the standard by which a national interest waiver may be granted to foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to benefit the U.S economy;
- Authorize parole, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who;
- Have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing; or
- Otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.
- Finalize a rule to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status;
- Work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and comment to expand and extend the use of optional practical training (OPT) for foreign students, consistent with existing law;
- Provide clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of “specialized knowledge” to bring greater clarity and integrity to the L-1B program, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies’ confidence in the program.