Each year, thousands of people apply for employment-based visas to the United States. These visas are issued to highly-skilled individuals whose talents and capabilities make them valuable assets to their companies.
However, these visas are subject to strict caps and limited timeframes. This can make maintaining long-term employment and career advancement difficult. For this reason, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed changes to the H-1B visa program.
DHS is considering changes such as extending grace periods and extension times for E-1, E-2, E-3, H1-B, and L-1 visa holders. Holders of these visas would be granted one-time extensions of 60-days if they lose their jobs for any reason.
In conjunction with these changes, DHS is considering rules that would make it easier for employees holding H-1B visas or other employment-based visas to switch jobs/employers without it having a negative impact on their immigrant visa petition. This will make it possible for employees to seek promotions and career advancement within their company or wherever they may find career opportunities.
“DHS is looking at implementing many changes over the coming year. Their goal is to make it easier for highly-skilled employees to remain in the country. These changes are necessary as demand for employment-based visa’s is at an all-time high,” remarked Chicago immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro.
In 2015, 21,613 employment-based visas were issued by US foreign service offices abroad. This is increase from the 15,000 visas issued just five years ago. Even so, the number of visas issued is still far lower than the number of applicants who desire them.
“The changes proposed by DHS are intended to enhance productivity within the US workforce. As the US economy evolves, the visa programs maintained by the government must also evolve. With these proposals, DHS is signaling that the agency recognizes this and they are prepared to take actions that match current needs,” commented Chicago immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro.