Alerts and Updates

Proposed First Step Toward Immigration Reform Announced by President

May 20, 2019

The White House is planning to draft a bill for possible introduction to Congress, though neither the timing of such a measure nor its legislative path is clear.

On May 16, 2019, the president announced a plan to reform the U.S. immigration system, with a focus on increased border security as well as a plan to replace the employment-based green card system with a points system modeled on immigration programs in other countries, including Canada and Australia.

While specific details of the plan have not been disclosed, it is to be a merit-based system that would assess permanent residence applicants on the basis of criteria that include age, skills, education level, offer of employment, job creation potential and wage level.

Applicants would be required to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency, have English-language proficiency and pass a civics exam.

Family-based immigration would be severely limited and may be limited to spouses and children of U.S. citizens only. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program would be abolished, and humanitarian relief will be decreased dramatically.

This may provide relief for employment-based immigration as there will be more immigrant visa numbers available, which could affect the long backlogs for individuals from certain countries; but it may also make it more difficult for businesses to sponsor new college graduates as well as skilled labor.

This proposal does not address nonimmigrant work visas, so there is no impact on those categories (such as H or L visas).

The White House is planning to draft a bill for possible introduction to Congress, though neither the timing of such a measure nor its legislative path is clear.

USCIS Has Completed Data Entry for All Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

Additionally, USCIS announced on May 17, 2019, that they have completed selection of all FY 2020 H-1B cap cases. They will now commence returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions not selected and will issue an announcement once they have completed notifying all petitioners. Due to the volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions.

USCIS also stated that they may transfer some H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload and enhance efficiencies.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact any of the attorneys in the Immigration Law Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.