U.S. Immigration System: What’s in Store for the Proposed Reform in 2015
The Knowledge Group has assembled a panel of key thought leaders to provide the audience with an in-depth discussion of the U.S. Immigration System and proposed immigration reforms.
In a two-hour live webcast, titled “The U.S. Immigration System: What’s in store for the “Proposed” Reform? Real World and Crystal Ball Issues, the speakers will discuss
- Current employment based immigration trends and issues
- Proposed employment based policy reforms
- Executive v. Legislative immigration reform
Alston & Bird LLP
- Trends & Issues
Data detection and sharing
Fraud and visas - Infosys
Executive vs Legislative Action – both the President’s pledge to do it after the elections and the legality of such a move. (Amnesty or deportation?)
- Employer Verification
Baker & McKenzie LLP
B&M Talking Points - legislative fixes to the employment based immigration system that would assist our clients such as:
Expand H-1B Cap
- Our clients struggle to find an alternative program to bring talent to the United States.
- The cap for the past few years has run out within days of April 1st.
- The April 1st date is incredibly limiting for a business because they are unable to hire talent when they specifically need it – can’t hire talent in July or August if they have not already applied for the cap, won a spot in the cap, and then the employee must wait to enter the United States until October.
- The cap is not market based on demands of business, it is not in line with our client’s business realities.
- There is not always another solution or visa category available for our clients to bring in a key worker and this can have negative ramifications on the business.
Remove Per Country Caps
- Currently for employment based visas there are per country caps at 7% and for family based the caps are set at 14%.
- This is difficult for many of our clients because once they obtain an H-1B visa, and then go through the PERM (permanent residence process), some of their employees must wait 5-7 years based on their nationality for a green card.
- As a result the employer has to continually re-new the candidate’s current visa category – sometimes annually until a green card is available.
- For nationals of India and China – the current wait for a green card in the employment based 2nd preference category can be anywhere from 5-7 years – but this timeline isn’t consistent and can regress at any time.
- While a national of Finland or the UK may be current once they have an approved I-140 petition and can immediately apply for a green card.
- This presents another hurdle to a business in terms of picking and choosing their talent.
Recapture of Unused EB Visas and Only Include Principals in Total of EB Visas
- Currently there are 140,000 EB green cards available out of 1 million green cards annually. Out of those 140,000 only around 59,000 go towards actual workers. The majority of the green cards are used for spouses and dependents. By making spouses and dependents exempt from the green card pool – this will open up many more green cards for actual workers and will help reduce some of the current green card wait times.
- This will impact our clients by helping them obtain green cards faster for their employees and families.
- Additionally, there are many unused green cards from categories that have not been historically oversubscribed. By going back and recapturing some of these green cards from categories in the past such as the EB-5 – it will help reduce the green card backlog for our clients.
H-4 Spousal Work Authorization
- Currently spouses of H-1B workers cannot work while in the U.S. unless they are sponsored by an employer and on their own H-1B visa. Many of these spouses are very well educated individuals.
- This policy is incredibly limiting and difficult for our clients because when they want to bring in talent the inability of their spouses to work may be a deciding factor for the employer to go elsewhere in the world.
Many other countries offer work authorization to spouses of highly skilled workers – the U.S. is becoming less attractive to qualified candidates due to our outdated policy.
Practice Areas: Directs National Employment Verification and Global Visa Practice Related to employees having proper work authorization, provides guidance on compliance policies, merger & acquisition, internal audits and government investigations. Works with corporate executives and officials at DHS, E-Verify, USCIS, ICE, Social Security Administration, Chamber of Commerce, etc. to assess/direct legal and industry standards. Manages corporate/individual global investment, employment and family visa matters. Manages immigration related labor law matters, and represents clients before a variety of administrative agencies.
Practice Areas: Directs National Employment Verification and Global Visa Practice Related to employees having proper work authorization, provides guidance on compliance …
Lisa Atkins is an Associate in Baker & McKenzie's Washington, DC office and a member of the Global Immigration & Mobility Practice Group. Prior to joining the Firm, she was director of immigration policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, where she engaged Congress and executive branch agencies to develop and implement employment-based immigration policy through legislation and regulations. She has also worked as a political analyst for the US Department of Homeland Security Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, where she reviewed and analyzed technical reports and documents submitted by DHS components and officials, and other agencies and interagency groups related to narcotics enforcement policy. Furthermore, Ms. Atkins counsels multinational corporations on the movement of personnel across the globe, with focus on the assignment of expatriates to Europe, the Middle East, Australia, India, and the Americas.
Lisa Atkins is an Associate in Baker & McKenzie's Washington, DC office and a member of the Global Immigration & …
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About Baker & McKenzie LLP
Baker & McKenzie's US immigration practice includes leaders in immigration policy working with a network of over 150 immigration professionals in 40 countries, including the firm’s newest offices in Seoul, Dubai, Yangon, and Brisbane. The US immigration team works collaboratively with its labor and employment, compensation and benefits and tax law counterparts to address immigration issues holistically. It assists clients with transactional visa support, manages global portfolios for Fortune 500 clients, advises on strategic immigration planning, and helps companies address immigration issues in restructurings and acquisitions. With an unparalleled platform in corporate compliance, Baker & McKenzie is one of the few immigration providers that can effectively assess high-impact risk issues surrounding the movement of employees across borders, such as certification of compliance with worksite, visa and residency mandates, management of third-party supplier visa compliance, data privacy and cyber security, export controls, and immigration benefits policies.