May 10, 2018 | The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released their Spring 2018 Regulatory agenda.
Key regulatory plans by the agency include changes to the H-1B, H-4, F-1 OPT, EB-5, and B-2 visa categories, including proposed filing fee changes.
A modified H-1B selection process. As the agency previously reiterated, the agency has plans to replace the current H-1B selection process with a electronic pre-registration program for new H-1Bs subject to the annual lottery. A proposed rule is expected to be released this July 2018.
Revisions to H-1B requirements. In line with the Buy American, Hire American executive order, DHS reminds us of plans to introduce a regulatory proposal to revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program. DHS also intends to propose a regulatory change of the definition of employer-employee relationship. Any proposed changes will likely be seen in 2019.
Removal of H-4 employment authorization. As previously indicated, DHS is seeking to remove the H-4 EAD program from immigration regulations. A proposed rulemaking is expected to be released for a public commentary period this summer in June.
Changes to the EB-5 investor visa requirements and EB-5 regional center programs. In January 2017, DHS proposed to amend regulations governing the EB-5 immigrant investor program. The investor program allows permanent residence for foreign nationals that invest in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. Proposed changes included: raising the minimum investment and changing the designation process for targeted employment areas. The commentary period for the changes is closed and DHS is undergoing a final rule making and a final rule should be published in August 2018.
Updates to B-2 business visitor visa criteria. The Spring Agenda by the agency introduces a proposal to amend DHS regulations for visitor visa applicants seeking to perform business activities in the United States. The proposal would change the permissible activities allowed for visitors partaking in business visits. A proposed rule will be shared by DHS in November.
Changes to F-1 OPT eligibilities. DHS intends reform of the practical training program for F-1 students.
Filing fee changes. DHS reports in their spring 2018 agenda that the agency is currently undergoing a fee review. Filing fee increases may be experienced as agency adjustments are made. Information on fee changes will be shared by DHS in October.
A summary of DHS’ spring agenda follows DHS’ fall agenda with little to slight modifications to upcoming immigration proposals. Updates regarding regulatory proposals will be shared as they arise.
By Kaitlyn Garcia, J.D. | Immigration Attorney