United States: Four immigration programs up for Congressional reauthorization
Four immigration programs are set to expire Sept. 30, as Congress continues to work on a spending bill with the new fiscal year approaching.
The programs are:
- The Non-minister Special Immigrant Religious Workers Program. This visa category is for non-minister professional and nonprofessional religious workers. This category covers immigrant visa recipients, but does not affect nonimmigrant categories such as the R-1 visa category. Recipients of this visa must be admitted to the United States before Sept. 30 in order for their visa to be valid absent the program’s reauthorization.
- The Conrad 30 Waiver Program. This program addresses the shortage of doctors in certain geographic areas. It allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver to a requirement that they return to their foreign residence for two years after completing a J-1 exchange visa program in order to work in medically underserved communities in the U.S.
- The EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program. This program (visa categories R51 and I51) allows foreign entrepreneurs to apply for green cards if they make substantial investments in commercial enterprises through “regional centers” in the U.S. Employment creation programs for investors not making investments through a regional center would not be affected by the expiration of this program.
- The H-2B Returning Worker Program. In the 2016 fiscal year, “returning worker” provisions exempted H-2B applicants from the H-2B cap if their application counted toward the cap in any of the three fiscal years before their employment start date. The H-2B cap will be set at 66,000 for the 2017 fiscal year and the returning worker provisions are set to expire Sept. 30.
The expiration of the programs listed above would apply not only to principal applicants, but also to spouses and dependent children. If the programs do expire, pending applications would temporarily be put on hold pending possible reauthorization by Congress.
BAL Analysis: BAL continues to monitor developments in Congress and will report on any significant immigration-related developments in the budget bill or other legislation.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.
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