• More Than Amnesty - How Obama’s Executive Action Will Impact Your Business and Foreign Workers
  • December 19, 2014 | Author: John A. Connelly
  • Law Firm: Blank Rome LLP - Philadelphia Office
  • Action Item: Employers and investors should identify how their business and workforce may benefit from the wide range of business immigration changes that will follow President Obama's announcement.

    On November 20, 2014, President Obama unveiled a broad executive action overhauling our immigration system. While the rest of the world will continue debating aspects of the law related to border security and temporary relief from deportation, there are a host of provisions that will impact U.S. businesses and their foreign workforce, as well as foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

    Attracting and Keeping Foreign Talent: Obama's executive action calls for various changes and improvements that will help your business attract and retain foreign talent. These include:

    • allowing workers with approved employment-based I-140s, but subject to backlogged priority dates, to pre-file adjustment applications and immediately gain benefits related to such filings;
    • making it easier for employees with pending green card applications to "port" to another employer;
    • expansion of on-the-job training opportunities for STEM graduates;
    • clarifying the L-1B nonimmigrant visa standard, which permits the internal transfer of foreign workers with specialized knowledge to your U.S. office; and
    • updates to the Department of Labor's labor certification ("PERM") process.

    Impacts to Your Foreign Workers and Their Families: The executive action also includes notable changes that may impact the lives of your foreign workers and their families. The Department of Homeland Security will finalize new rules offering work authorization to the spouses of some H-1B holders and clarify the use of "advance parole" for international travel.

    New Opportunities for Investors and Entrepreneurs: The executive action proposes new opportunities for foreign investors and entrepreneurs intended to strengthen our economy and create new jobs for U.S. workers. These expanded immigration options include parole into the United States for investors that meet specific criteria, as well as extending eligibility for national interest waivers to investors and entrepreneurs.

    Other Notable Changes: In addition to the foregoing changes, the executive action also calls for changes to worksite enforcement. The Department of Labor will work with other agencies to develop and implement these new enforcement strategies.