On July 10, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, by a vote of 365 to 65. The bill is intended to reduce lengthy immigrant visa (green card) wait times by eliminating per-country caps for employment-based green cards. In addition, senators have reportedly reached an agreement on a version of a companion bill (S. 386) in the U.S. Senate that presently includes an amendment imposing tighter restrictions on recruitment and creating new reporting requirements for H-1B visa sponsors.
Foreign nationals are now required to provide a five-year history of social media usernames, telephone numbers, and email addresses when applying for U.S. nonimmigrant or immigrant visas. The plan to require more information from visa applicants has been in the works since 2017, when President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Department of State to enhance the vetting of individuals seeking immigration benefits from the United States. The State Department already requires social media histories from visa applicants deemed to present a heightened security risk to the United States, but this new requirement will greatly expand the number of applicants subjected to enhanced vetting.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its spring 2019 regulatory agenda, highlighting the agency’s rulemaking priorities through 2019. While many of the agenda items appear to be carryovers from agendas past, they serve as continuing reminders of the Trump administration’s immigration-related goals.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the selection process for H-1B cap subject petitions filed for fiscal year (FY) 2020. On April 10, 2019, the agency ran computerized lotteries for both regular cap petitions and those subject to the U.S. advanced degree exemption after determining it had received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the congressionally mandated quota for each category.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) processing times continue to lag compared to previous years, according to data recently released by the agency.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency is postponing the implementation of the revised Form I-539 and the new Form I-539A.
On November 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the termination of the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Haiti.
On June 28, 2017, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced the implementation of enhanced security measures for all commercial flights arriving in the United States. These enhanced procedures are set to affect 280 airports in 105 countries.
On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO), “Buy American and Hire American,” which aims to “stimulate economic growth” and “ensure the integrity of the immigration system.” Although this action provides impetus to federal agencies to propose changes to the U.S. immigration system, the EO itself does not present an immediate impact to immigration programs.
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending admission to the United States of foreign nationals from the following countries for a period of at least 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
On August 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released advance notice of proposed rulemaking designed to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship within the United States.