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.
Employers in California may benefit from understanding more about some of the major issues human resource departments deal with when transferring employees from overseas. Anyone interested in hiring employees from another country needs to ensure that human resources is in compliance with immigration laws while identifying, recruiting and hiring the talent. The main factors worth consideration include the foreign worker's education, previous experience, occupation, criminal history and previous immigration history.
Technology companies in California may be able to use O-1 visas to recruit foreign-born employees with new ideas and inventions. Historically, foreign nationals living in the United States have instigated a lot of innovation in the tech industry. If an employer is aware of a foreign-born person with incredible skills, it might want to consider petitioning for an O-1 visa.
California employers who hire foreign workers and their employees may wonder how a recent United States Citizenship and Immigration Services decision might affect those workers. According to the USCIS, if employers transfer an employee on an H-1B visa to a new location, they must also file an amended H-1B petition.