By Kaitlyn Garcia, J.D. | Immigration Attorney | Houston, Texas
Earlier this month, USCIS Director Cissna provided a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R – IA) updating USCIS’ efforts in ensuring “the integrity of the immigration system, specifically the nonimmigrant worker programs.” Cissna specifically states to the Senator that “USCIS is reviewing existing regulations, policies, and programs, and developing a combination of rulemaking, policy regulations, policies, and programs, to implement the ‘Buy American and Hire American’ Executive Order.”
Cissna specifically updated the Senator on a focus on adding restrictions and policy changes to the H-1B, H-2B, TN, and L-1B employment visas – effectively tightening the requirements to obtain the visas. Cissna notes in the letter a focus on the H-1B program. “We are focusing on significant attention on strengthening the integrity of the H-1B program,” states Cissna.
The letter mostly reiterates the federal administration’s regulatory agenda released last fall announcing efforts to:
(1) propose regulatory changes to remove H-4 spouses from the class of individuals eligible for H-4 EAD employment authorization;
(2) propose regulations to establish an electronic registration program for petitions subject to the H-1B cap; and
(3) revise the definition of specialty occupation under federal regulations.
The letter reminds us of the current administration's goals, USCIS’ policy focus, and that changes will continue to be on the horizon. At the moment, regulations have not changed the requirements for H-1B, H-2B, TN, and L-1B employment visas. Although increased scrutiny has and is being experienced in the agency's processing and granting of the visas. The H-4 EAD is still available and has not been terminated as of date and still remains a viable option for H-4 spouses.
Further updates regarding nonimmigrant visa policy and regulatory changes will be provided as they develop. USCIS acting Director Cissna’s letter to Senator Grassely is viewable here.