In the employment-based immigration context, the Trump Administration’s vision of compressive immigration reform has become synonymous with “Buy American and Hire American,” a policy hallmarked by restricting access to the “legal” immigration system. So far, the Trump Administration has largely relied upon U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency charged with rendering decisions on employment-based immigration petitions, to make its vision a reality. The latest data reflects the Trump Administration as having been highly effective in carrying out its policies, with Request for Evidence (RFE) rates and denials being at all-time highs. Yet, USCIS’s unprecedented level of scrutiny has spurred an equally unprecedented amount of administrative and judicial litigation. In this regard, the current rules on the books that bind USCIS have proven to be a somewhat helpful check upon USCIS’s increasingly erroneous interpretations of law. With this in mind, the Trump Administration has now set its targets on changing the rules of the game themselves.
In its recently published Fall 2019 regulatory agenda, the Trump Administration is slated to solicit public commentary on numerous rules, several of which affecting the most highly utilized employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories.
These changes are summarized in a recent blog by Jordan Gonzalez, covering the following topics:
- Changes to the H Nonimmigrant Visa Program
- Limitation of Third-Party Worksite and Start-Up H-1B Petitions
- Elimination of H-4 Spouse Work Permits
- Changes to the L Nonimmigrant Program
- Changes to F Nonimmigrant Program
- Proposed Regulation Would Limit “Duration of Status” Admission of F, M, J, and I Nonimmigrants by Providing a Maximum Period of Stay
- Background Checks for Designated School Officials and Exchange Visitor Program Administrators
- Other Business Immigration Changes
In short, the Trump Administration has pivoted to rulemaking as the next method for rolling-out its overarching Buy American and Hire American policy. Most of these rules are currently in the notice stage, and thus, likely to take a more definite shape next year. What is clear is that most of these rules will serve to restrict the availability of some of the most highly depended-upon employment-based visa programs.
To read the full blog post, click here.
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