Obama’s Executive Actions Will Ease Visa Restrictions for Entrepreneurs, High-Skilled Workers, and Graduate Students

On November 20th, 2014, President Obama announced an executive order that will help ease visa restrictions for entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers, and graduate students.

The President’s actions are meant to “streamline legal immigration to boost [the] economy and promote naturalization.”

The actions proposed by the executive order have been called for by business leaders for many years so that foreign nationals will be able to enter and remain in the U.S. in order to engage in research, development, and innovation.

Below are four of the key changes outlined in the executive order.

To read the full executive order, visit the White House website.

Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses

“Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available. DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily. DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.”

Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs

“DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy. The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.”

Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin

“DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).”

Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities

“In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.”

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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.