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Looking Ahead: Proposed Changes to Employment-based Visas

February 2017

Recent activity in Congress and from the Trump Administration have signaled potential changes to several work visa categories. Much of the attention on these proposed changes focuses on the H-1B visa, one of the most frequently used work visas. With this update, MVA outlines the proposed executive order as well as the pending legislation that could impact the H-1B program and employment-based immigration in general.

DRAFT EXECUTIVE ORDER ON EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION:

President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign an Executive Order ("Executive Order on Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs") soon that would direct various governmental agencies to undertake a full review of the current U.S. employment-based immigration rules.  MVA has prepared the following brief synopsis based on a draft of the order that is being circulated via the media. 

Based on the draft, it is anticipated the final order will put in motion changes to certain work and student visa categories, including:

  • Assessment of the H-1B process to ensure that the beneficiaries are the "best and the brightest";
  • Expansion of L-1 site visits (within 180 days of the signed order) to include all places where L-1 visa holders work, including third-party worksites;
  • Further expansion of the site-visit program to cover all visa categories (within 2 years of the signed order);
  • Clarification on what activities are permissible within the B-1/B-2 business visitor visa category;
  • Review and reform of practical training program offered to foreign students; and
  • Review of the E-Verify program and options to incentivize the increased use of E-Verify by U.S. employers.

Many of the proposed actions require a "notice and comment" period and therefore would not immediately suspend or terminate any individual's work authorization or visa status.

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