(This article was written a few weeks ago but it is applicable today as it was a few weeks ago).
Three Ways President Obama Can Take Executive Action for Business Immigration
Immigration reform was declared dead last week. Yes, dead. After years of fighting to reform our archaic and broken immigration system, and a successful Senate bill that passed in June last year, the House put the final nail in the reform coffin.
A lamenting President Obama stated he will act alone to make any changes possible. Unfortunately, as much as he wants to change things drastically, he can realistically accomplish limited actions. Moreover, timing could not be worse to face a terrible humanitarian crisis at our borders. Thousands of children illegally entering the U.S. only exacerbates the immigration problem we already have.
With all eyes on the humanitarian crisis and the President, the hope is that he will find a solution for the 11 million undocumented people that want to come out of the shadows and contribute to our economy.
But what can the President do regarding business immigration specifically?
Constitutionally, the Presidents hands are tied, so his abilities are limited. Here are three examples of things he cannot do:
1. Increase the number of H-1B visas available.
2. Create new visa categories – whether for startups, graduates, or low-skilled guest workers.
3. Eliminate country quotas for visa categories which would then reduce the terrible visa backlog.
So, what can he do then?
Thankfully, he has already taken steps to allow H-4 visa holders (dependents of H-1B visa holders) to have employment authorization (EAD). However, he can do more. Here are three things he can do:
1. Expand the H-4 EAD policy to all H-4 visa holders (not just to those waiting in the so called line for a green card), just like E-2 and L-2 visas holders are allowed.
Use the existing USCIS Entrepreneur in Residence program to expand favorable policies to founders of companies. For H-1B visas specifically, he can:
2. Eliminate restrictive policies that require a startup founder to demonstrate an employer-employee relationship between himself and his company.
3. Allow company stock valuation and equity to be used to in lieu of cash wages in H-1B visas.
Time and time again, President Obama has stated he wants to help entrepreneurs come to the U.S., and stay to grow their companies and create jobs. Here is his chance to take some big steps that will help entrepreneurs get H-1B visas with a little less headache so they can do exactly that. Go Big, Mr. President,-wherever it is possible.
**Copyright 2014 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
|Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle Washington. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. While her practice includes family-based and employment-based immigration, she has a strong focus on immigrant entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit www.watsonimmigrationlaw.com to learn about Tahmina and her practice.|
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