Im­mi­gra­tion Re­forms Coming in 2017

The HR Digest - - Content Features -

In 2016, the White House at­tempted to im­prove em­ploy­ment-based im­mi­gra­tion through the re­lease of “smart” Form I-9 and fi­nal­iz­ing reg­u­la­tions for 1.) Skilled im­mi­grants, and 2.) For­eign post-grad­u­ate stu­dent work­ers.

At the same time, we wit­nessed dis­rup­tion fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s con­ceded ex­tra­di­tion pro­grams and in­creased in­ter­est for Pres­i­dent Elect Don­ald Trump’s plans for busi­ness im­mi­gra­tion.

2017 H-1B Visa Cap Fil­ings Set New Record

Busi­nesses doc­u­mented roughly 236,000 pe­ti­tions for H-1B guest­worker visas for fi­nan­cial year 2017, a lower fig­ure than ex­pected, yet out­per­form­ing last year’s record by 3,000, as in­di­cated by U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS).

For the fourth year, USCIS re­ceived more pe­ti­tions than are al­lowed un­der the statu­tory cap of 65,000 visas, in ad­di­tion to 20,000 visa pe­ti­tions recorded un­der the ad­vanced de­gree ex­emp­tion.

Dead­lock on Obama’s Im­mi­gra­tion Plans

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23 4-4 de­ci­sion for a case con­test­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s pro­posed de­layed de­por­ta­tion pro­grams vi­ably blocked al­most 5 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants liv­ing in the United States from be­ing per­mit­ted work ap­proval.

The dead­lock de­ci­sion left set up a Novem­ber 2015 rul­ing from the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the Fifth Cir­cuit up­hold­ing a lower court’s di­rec­tive block­ing the pres­i­dent’s De­ferred Ac­tion for Par­ents of Amer­i­cans and Law­ful Per­ma­nent Res­i­dents pro­gram and ex­ten­sions to the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram.

Trump Im­mi­gra­tion Pol­icy Likely to Be En­force­ment-heavy

Pres­i­dent-elect Trump cam­paigned all through 2016 with an im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment first mes­sage, fo­cus­ing on bor­der and work­site en­force­ment and pro­tect­ing U.S. em­ploy­ees’ jobs.

Trump promised manda­tory E-ver­ify for em­ploy­ers, an up­date of guest­worker pro­grams re­vok­ing some of Pres­i­dent Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions.

Pre­par­ing for Work­place ICE Au­dits

With the ap­proach­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ready to fo­cus on im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, busi­nesses can stay away from heavy fines by build­ing up an ex­haus­tive I-9 com­pli­ance pro­gram, which would in­clude train­ing, self­au­dits, and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion-day ac­tion plan.

U.S. Move­ment and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE) has re­duced work­ing au­dits in the last cou­ple of years, yet a late in­crease in pun­ish­ments for im­mi­gra­tion re­lated work­place in­fringe­ment—in­clud­ing the work of un­doc­u­mented work­ers—and an­other ad­min­is­tra­tive di­rec­tion for the of­fice may lead to more in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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