For updates, see my blog page on Obama's Immigration Action.
Takeaway points for legal immigration from President Obama’s executive action:
1. USCIS is “about to” publish the final rule on H-4 work authorization. That will make it possible for certain spouses of H-1 holders to get work authorization.
2. Improving employment-based green card backlogs by:
a. Making visa issuance more efficient so no immigrant visas are wasted;
b. Providing for better AC21 rules and other ways to keep immigrant visas intact after a change of jobs. USCIS will clarify what constitutes “same or similar” job so that AC21 will not stop workers from getting promotions or even changing to related jobs within their field. USCIS must clear the path to career progression for green card applicants.
3. Expandingfurther the OPT time for STEM students, but creating tighter control on which universities/schools/degrees are eligible and ensure local workers are protected (Implement some sort of a “mini PERM?”).
4. Creating opportunities for foreign “inventors, researchers and founders of start-up” companies to come to the USA through an existing program called “National Interest Waiver.” Unfortunately for India, this is an EB-2 category program requiring several years of wait. But the following parole program will help:
a. Creating a parole (which is usually a temporary, but very quick measure and could eventually lead to a green card) program so that on a case-by-case bases, “inventors, researchers and founders of start-up” companies can be brought quickly into the USA where:
i.They have raised financing in the USA; OR
ii.Otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through development of new technologies OR cutting edge research
5. Creating guidelines for exceptionally qualified or advanced degreed individuals to come to the USA through an existing program called “National Interest Waiver.” As noted, unfortunately for India, this is an EB-2 category program requiring several years of wait. But the parole option above could be helpful.
6. Providing clear guidance on L-1B program as to who can qualify.