On December 18, 2015, Congress placed new restrictions on usage of the US Visa Waiver Program (“Terrorist Travel Prevention and Visa Waiver Program Reform”).
New visa waiver restrictions include: Dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, and individuals who have traveled to one of those countries since March 1, 2011, can no longer use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Rather, they should obtain a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa at a US consulate abroad well in advance of travel to the US. On February 18, 2016, DHS added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to the list of “countries of concern.” This precludes individuals who have traveled to Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 1, 2011, from using the VWP. However, VWP travel restrictions do not apply to dual nationals of Libya, Somalia or Yemen at this time.
On January 13, 2015, a bipartisan group of Senators re-introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (S.153), also known as the I-Squared Act (I-2 Act). Among other things, the I-Squared Act would increase the annual H-1b cap, provide for work authorization for H-4 spouses, allow for increased portability among employers and establish a number of provisions to allow green cards to be issued much more quickly. more »
A group of US Senators introduced a Bipartisan Framework for Immigration Reform 2013 January 29, 2013, closely followed by the White House’s Blueprint for Immigration Reform 2013 (Full Text; Fact Sheet), introduced January 30, 2013. In addition, another group of US Senators have introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013–I2– (I2 summary; full text of I2 Bill), a complementary plan for immigration reform that includes fixes for various legal immigration issues, including an H-1B cap increase, and changes in temporary visa and green card opportunities for those with STEM backgrounds, among other things. more »
On June 11, 2012, President Obama signed bipartisan legislation making Israeli investors eligible for the E-2 Investor Visa. The law adds Israel to a list of 80 countries whose citizens are eligible for the E-2 Investor Visa. The E-2 investor visa allows the US to grant E-2 visas to investors from countries that have treaties with the US. more »
On May 22, 2012, a bipartisan group of US Senators introduced the Start-Up 2.0 Act (S.3217), a bill that seeks to create a new STEM green card category for US educated foreign students with an advanced degree in a STEM field, as well as a new entrepreneur visa category. The bill also seeks to eliminate per-country caps for employment-based visas, among other things. more »
On January 31, 2012, DHS announced a series of regulatory immigration reforms with a view toward attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants. more »
Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 3012) passed in the US House of Representatives November 29, 2011, by a vote of 389 to 15, with considerable bipartisan support. The Act would eliminate the US employment-based per-country cap on green cards entirely by fiscal year 2015, and it also raises the family-sponsored per-country green card cap from 7% to 15%. After it passed, the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act then moved to the US Senate, where it was immediately halted the following day, November 30, 2011, by Senator Grassley (R-IA), who placed a hold on it. more »
On August 13, 2010, President Obama signed a $600 million Border Security Bill (HR 6080) providing additional resources for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Court system to increase security and enforcement and imposing additional H-1B visa and L-1 visa fees on certain employers. more »
The Stimulus Act, signed by the President on February 17, 2009, places new restrictions on H-1B employment for US companies that receive TARP funds for a two year period.
Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) offered an amendment to the Stimulus Bill that passed by voice vote in the Senate, that would effectively ban filing of H-1B visa petitions for employees of financial institutions that receive TARP funds. more »