The H-1B visa program has proven so popular that the number of applications for the 2017 fiscal year exceeded the limit within the first week of filing for the fourth consecutive year. Employers in California and elsewhere around the country will now have to await the results of a lottery before they know if their petitions have been accepted. The process could take up to 10 business days, based upon the results from previous years.
Although communities close to California's southern border with may see significant levels of immigration from Mexico, much of the United States' immigration traffic is now coming from Asian countries. Statistics indicate that immigration from Mexico hit its peak in the mid-2000s. By 2014, California's numbers had decreased by approximately 66 percent from 2005 figures. Meanwhile, the state's number of immigrants from China tripled during the same time frame.
California companies engaged in agriculture may be interested in a release by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification regarding the sale or restructuring of a business with H-2A employees. After a successor has become the employer of H-2A workers, it may use the existing certification as long as all undertakings and liabilities are upheld. There is no specific process to adopt a certification, but it is clear that the successor may use any certification that already exists.
Some foreign-born individuals working in California could have an easier time applying for and extending their work visas. The Department of Homeland Security announced some changes to immigration regulations that could benefit citizens of Australia, Chile, Singapore and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. They were announced on Jan. 15 as a final rule published in the Federal Register.
Many employers in California are able to recruit qualified foreign workers to their companies using H-1B and L-1 employment-based visas. On Dec. 18, a new act was signed into law that has made H-1B and L-1 visas much more expensive for employers. The Consolidated Appropriations Act applies to companies that employ at least 50 workers in the United States, over half of which hold H-1B or L non-immigrant status.
People in California who are targeted for deportation are sometimes allowed to remain in the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials may choose to exercise prosecutorial discretion when the removal of an immigrant is not a high priority. Like deferred action, prosecutorial discretion will stop the deportation process.
On Dec. 15, Congress agreed to extended the EB-5 immigrant investor program until Sept. 30, 2016, without changes as part of an omnibus spending bill. The program has provided funding that has reinvigorated neighborhoods throughout the country. However, some California developers and investors may not be aware that this program has been under fire since it was introduced in 1990.
California employers like Southern California Edison and Walt Disney Company are coming under scrutiny for allegedly using the H-1B program to displace American technology workers. The H-1B program is a visa program that allows employers to hire qualified foreign workers for specialty occupations. Workers who qualify for H-1B visas usually hold at least a bachelor's degree, and many hold advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
Many wealthy foreign business people have relocated to California through the immigrant investor program, or EB-5. Although the EB-5 program was set up to create jobs in the U.S., critics argue that it allows the global elite to buy U.S. green cards. Now, lawmakers are thinking about making some changes to the EB-5 program that could make it more difficult to qualify for.
A group of 14 Indian and Chinese immigrants has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. State Department for rescinding on plans that would have allowed them to file for green cards in October. The government's sudden revision impacts thousands of foreign nationals living in California and nationwide.