As a result of the Department of State’s eleventh hour revision of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin and the Department of Homeland Security’s refusal to accept adjustment of status applications, immigrants who have been waiting years for the right to file to become a lawful permanent resident were dealt a detrimental blow. Most significant was the ability for tens of thousands of high skilled foreign professionals with approved immigrant petitions to file an adjustment of status application. This would place them in the green card queue. More than just being approved to file the adjustment application, they would actually be waiting for the green card to be issued.
Simply by filing these adjustment of status, however, these immigrants would not only be granted the right to pursue self-employment through entrepreneurism, but more importantly, to change jobs within a company or to seek opportunities with new employers. For those who have begin the employment-based green card process, they become linked to the employer that filed the immigrant petition. They also become linked to the exact position for which the immigrant petition was based. The current system can be equated to indentured servitude because the immigrant must stay with that employer or face great uncertainty in immigration status.
The immigrant must stay in the same or similar position as the position for which the immigrant petition is based. If they choose to change jobs, they also choose to start the green card process over with the new employer. If the next employer does not agree to sponsor them for the immigrant petition, they face losing status in the U.S. and being forced to leave the country. The result is that the U.S. becomes even less competitive in the global economy and in the fight to obtain top talent.
Advocates for immigration, as well as major U.S. business, did not stand idly by as the DoS and DHS. On October 4, 2015, numerous employers and advocates sent a letter to Secretary of State, John Kerry, Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Counsel, Cecilia Munoz, demanding reinstatement of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin published on September 9, 2015. Click here to read the full text of the October 4, 2015 Letter. With any luck, the receivers of the letter will be swayed by the strong arguments put forth by these advocates, and they will reinstate the visa bulletin that will allow tens of thousands of highly-skilled professionals provide even greater contributions to the U.S. economy.