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How Do the Recent Employment-Based Visa Changes Affect Me?


Rules on immigration have been experiencing upheaval recently. The current U.S. president’s executive order banning about 218 million people from entering the country concerned millions of others across the United States. Countries around the world also found it cause for concern, as many immigrants flock to the country on visas that could be rendered useless by another such order. For now, a judge in Washington has issued a nationwide injunction against the executive order.

Even before this disturbance occurred, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided to change its regulations regarding various employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. The purpose of this change was to improve the process and increase the certainty for U.S. employers who want to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers. The changes would also ensure immigrant workers had greater stability and job flexibility. People applying for visas such as EB1, EB2, and EB3 and those applying in the following categories might benefit from these changes:

  • E1 Treaty Trader Visa
  • E2 Treaty Investor Visa
  • E3 Visa for Australians in specialty occupations
  • H1B visa
  • H1B1
  • L1A intra-company transfer visas
  • L1B intra-company transfer visas

Alteration to the rules began on January 17, 2017. If your visa program was one of the categories affected, you might find it easier to transfer between jobs or be promoted. It also provides more time for some workers to retain their priority date when filing for lawful permanent residence. The current upheaval in U.S. immigration notwithstanding, these changes should ease some of the pressure on workers in the United States who rely on these visas. For a complete overview of the changes, see the full DHS rule on the Federal Register website.

If you’re unsure whether your visa program has been affected, contact one of our San Jose immigration lawyers at (408) 560-4622 or fill out our online form for a consultation.

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