President Biden’s Immigration Reform Proposal Introduced in Congress

Published: 02/19/2021

Source: fragomen

Employment-based immigration reforms

OPT/CPT Blast Resume to 1000+ employers
  • Immigrant visa numbers: The bill includes provisions to reduce immigrant visa backlogs, recapture unused immigrant visa numbers from past years, and eliminate per-country employment-based (EB) immigrant visa (IV) caps. Reduction in backlogs would be achieved in part by exempting Ph.D. graduates working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields from the green card quota. The bill also increases to 170,000 (from 140,000) the annual limit for employment-based immigrant visas and exempts from quotas the beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions waiting more than 10 years in the green card process. However, the bill would permit temporary decreases in the EB IV quota during periods of high U.S unemployment, as discussed below.
  • H-1B (and other) nonimmigrant visa number distribution by wage: A provision authorizes DHS to prioritize the distribution of H-1B and potentially other nonimmigrant work visas, based on the wage offered by the employer.
  • H-4 employment authorization: The bill permits employment authorization for all H-4 spouses and children of H-1B workers. The current program is limited to the H-4 spouses of H-1B workers who have advanced in the employment-based green card process.
  • Nonimmigrant status while in the green card process:
    • The bill expands H-1B extension eligibility for I-140 immigrant visa petition beneficiaries and prevents the aging out of certain H-4 children who are in the green process with their H-1B parent.
    • A provision authorizes extensions of F-1, H-1B, L-1, and O-1 status in one-year increments if the foreign national has a labor certification or I-140 immigrant visa petition pending for over a year. Currently this benefit is only available to H-1B nonimmigrants.
  • Downward adjustment of employment-based green cards based on labor market conditions: DHS would have the authority to adjust downward the number of employment-based 2nd and 3rd preference green cards during times of high unemployment in certain areas or sectors.
  • Economic stimulus pilot: The bill would create a pilot program that would stimulate regional economic development and admit up to 10,000 additional immigrants per year whose employment is deemed essential to economic development in their communities.
  • Additional employer penalties for labor law violations: The bill adds an additional civil penalty for employer violations of federal, state or local labor laws with respect to unauthorized workers. It also requires the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor to make recommendations for improving the employment eligibility verification process and providing protections to foreign workers affected by labor violations.

Source: fragomen

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