The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) announced their Fall 2019 regulatory agendas. These agendas disclose each agency’s immigration policy priorities for the upcoming months. If finalized, these rules could have significant impact on many immigration programs and processes.

The following are the highlights of employment-based immigration policy priorities on the agendas. At this time, the details of proposed and final regulations are confidential and projected publication dates are subject to change.

H-1B and L-1

Planned for publication in September 2020 is a proposal to redefine the L-1B specialized knowledge visa category as well as L-1 employment and employer-employee relationships. The proposal is expected to impose new wage obligations on L-1 employers (similar to the H-1B program) as well as restrictions on offsite placement of L-1 employees.

Projected for December 2019 is a proposal to revise the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation employment and employer-employee relationships, including a restriction on the offsite placement of H-1B workers and matters regarding H-1B wages.

Lastly, projected for March 2020 is a proposal to rescind H-4 employment authorization.

F-1 and OPT

Planned for publication in February 2020 is a proposal to modify the period of authorized stay for certain F-1 and other nonimmigrants from duration of status (D/S) to a specified end date. Currently, foreign nationals with a D/S period of authorized stay are permitted to remain in the U.S. until the end of their authorized activity.

Additionally, projected for publication in August 2020 is a proposal to revise practical training rules for F and M foreign students. This proposal may place restrictions on 12-month optional practical training (OPT), STEM OPT extensions, and curricular practical training (CPT).

B-1/B-2

Planned for publication in March 2020 is a proposal for a more rigorous implementation of the B-1/B-2 business or tourist visitor visa classification. The proposal may restrict permissible business visitor activities and possibly eliminate the allowance for B-1 visitors to engage in work in the U.S. under limited circumstances, such as the B-1 in lieu of H-1B classification.

Three and Ten Year Bar

Another proposal seeks to codify DHS’s policies concerning the accrual of unlawful presence and the three and ten year bars to admissibility. The proposal may cause foreign nationals to accrue unlawful presence if they violate the terms of their nonimmigrant stay.

EB-5 Program

The first proposal scheduled for March 2020 is regarding a change in the way EB-5 Regional Centers are designated. The second proposal scheduled for September 2020 is regarding the advance notice of proposed rulemaking to seek public comment on monitoring and oversight of the EB-5 program.

Green Card

Slated for publication in April 2020 is a proposal to change the way adjustment of status applications are processed. This proposal seeks to discontinue the concurrent filing of adjustment of status applications with Form I-140, employment-based immigrant visa petitions and other preference petitions.

Increases to Fees

Scheduled for November 2019 is a proposed fee rule to increase consular filing fees (both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas).

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any further questions regarding this matter.