The President has directed the Secretaries of DHS & DOS to submit recommendations by March 20, 2015. In the meantime, the DHS Secretary Johnson has issued a Memorandum outlining the following new policies:
- Reduce wait times for employment-based visas and improve visa processing
- Visas have gone unused due to processing issues. USCIS will work with the Department of State to ensure that all visas authorized by Congress are issued, and any unused visas will be re-accounted for.
- USCIS will work with DOS to improve the process for determining when immigrant visas are available to applicants during the fiscal year.
- USCIS has also been directed to consider regulatory or policy changes that ensure that individuals with pending immigrant visa petitions will not lose their place in line if they change jobs.
- I-485 Filings – The announcement outlined broad plans for preregistration of adjustment of status applications for individuals whose priority dates are not current. It remains to be seen how this will work.
- Students: Retain foreign students after graduation
- OPT: Expand degree programs eligible for OP
- STEM OPT: Expand period of time; Expand eligible degrees
- Inventors, Researchers & Entrepreneurs: Provide a “parole” program for foreign investors, researchers, and founder of start-ups to conduct research and development and create jobs in the US
- L-1B: Consolidate guidance. L-1B adjudications have been inconsistent. President Obama has requested that DHS provide specific guidance in order to ensure more predictability to employers.
- Porting: Increase flexibility in job changes consistent with career growth for I-485 ports
- H-4: President Obama announced that employment authorization would be given to certain H-4 dependent spouse.