On the heels of a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that says immigration laws should be eased to allow highly-skilled people into the country, the Department of Homeland Security announced this week that employment immigration programs will be reformed to allow longer stays for visa, H-1B and F-1 immigrants.
It is unknown exactly when this initiative will take effect, but the president – along with DHS – believes that opening up these employment immigration programs could stimulate job growth. Specifically, the reforms will include improvements to H-1B visas and the creation of a new “startup visa.”
Another alteration on the cards revolves around F-1 visa, which are for international students. Currently, F-1 students can only receive a 12-month period of optional practical training while working on an undergraduate or graduate degree. Under the new changes, F-1 students can get a 17-month extension on their OPT, and the program will allow F-1 students who have previously received a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics to apply for OPT.
For H-1B visas, an alteration to program will include the ability for the spouse of a visa holder to attain work authorization in the U.S., given that the visa holder is seeking permanent residency.
This is an expansive initiative by the government and this initiative could allow highly-skilled people who immigrate to the United States the opportunity to achieve their personal and professional goals while also bolstering the economy.
With this change in the works, there will be many questions about how the reformed rules affect visa statuses. Consult an experienced and determined immigration attorney to have these questions answered. With legal representation on your side, you can have the support, guidance and knowledge necessary to earn employment immigration visas.
Source: Government Security News, “DHS outlines plans to reform visa processes to keep highly-skilled immigrant workers,” Mark Rockwell, Feb. 1, 2012