Since the President made his announcement concerning steps his administration is taking with regards to changes in the current immigration system, most of the emphasis has revolved around the political controversy it has spurred and what it means for the millions of family members who may be able to avoid deportation and work legally in this country at least for a three-year duration. Less discussed have been the impact on STEM workers and their family members.
STEM refers to fields where workers use science, technology, engineering or math to perform their jobs. The new policy allows employment for spouses of foreign-born workers in the U.S. who are here with H-1B visas and regulatory changes to make changing such jobs easier for immigrant workers. Advocates for expanding the number of positions firms can offer to foreign workers beyond the current cap of 65,000 were disappointed that such cap was not increased. It is possible that the administration determined that raising such a cap must be done via legislation with Congress. But when it is considered that over 150,000 applicants sought one of those 65,000 positions that were available, it appears there are many jobs available which companies cannot find non-foreign workers to fill.
In another move, the President expanded the program, Optional Practical Training, which allows foreign students and recent graduates who attended U.S. colleges to work in the country longer. The program already allows so-called STEM workers, those who specialize in science, technology, engineering and math, to stay in the country for an extended period of 29 months. Under Obama's plan, those students and recent graduates would be able to stay even longer. The President has also ordered his administration to expand the number of spots available under Optimal Practical Training.
Another change involves a revision in timing for when foreign entrepreneurs can come to the United States. Currently applicants must first prove that their start-up produces a “significant public benefit”. The President’s executive order instructs the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to review applications for such admissions in to the country on a case-by-case basis. The goal here is to allow entrepreneurs with backing from American investors to stay here as they develop their ideas and side-step the “significant public benefit” hurdle at the beginning of the process. As with many of the details of the President’s order, details of its implementation remain to be released.
The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of immigration to the United States, including the manner in which parallel legal proceedings may impact immigrants.. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice. In the course of Mr. Shulman's involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency if a new system is enacted.