- Congress Passes Spending Bill; Key Immigration Programs Reauthorized
- July 12, 2017
An appropriations bill passed today in Congress will fund the federal government through Fiscal Year 2017, averting a shutdown. The spending measure also extends four immigration programs through September 30, 2017, and provides limited cap relief for the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program in FY 2017. The bill will now go to the President for signature.
E-Verify, the Conrad 30 waiver program for foreign medical graduates working in underserved areas, and the special immigrant non-minister religious worker program were extended without changes through the end of this fiscal year.
The EB-5 Regional Center program for foreign investors was also reauthorized without legislative changes through the end of FY 2017, though a proposed regulation now under consideration would significantly increase investment minimums for the entire EB-5 program and would give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services more authority over the program.
The spending bill also authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the 66,000 H-2B cap for this fiscal year, after consulting with the Department of Labor and if DHS determines that there are not enough willing, qualified and available U.S. workers to meet the needs of American businesses for temporary non-agricultural work in FY 2017. However, the cap cannot be increased by more than the highest number of foreign nationals who participated in the H-2B returning worker cap exemption in a fiscal year in which that exemption was in place.