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DHS Releases Regulatory Agenda for Next 12 Months; May Impact H, L, F and Other Visas

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DHS Releases Regulatory Agenda for Next 12 Months; May Impact H, L, F and Other Visas

December 9, 2019

The Trump Administration has just released the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, outlining new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations that will impact immigration laws, including H, L, F and other visas. Please note: the proposed regulations highlighted below are in various stages of the rulemaking process and are not yet in effect. By publishing the Agenda, the DHS is notifying the public of the regulatory action it anticipates taking over the next 12 months.  

H Visas 

  • H-1B: DHS will propose changes to the definition of “specialty occupation,” as well as revisions to the definitions of “employment” and “employer-employee relationship” that could make it more difficult for companies that place employees at customer locations. Publication of a proposed rule is anticipated in December 2019, per the released Agenda, but could be later.  
  • H-4: DHS will propose to rescind eligibility for employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders who are seeking employment-based LPR status. Publication of a proposed rule is anticipated in March 2020. We previously reported that last February, the DHS sent a proposal to the OMB for review, but the DHS has not published proposed regulations yet.  

 L-1 Visas 

  • DHS will propose revisions to the definitions of “specialized knowledge,” “employment” and “employer-employee relationship.” DHS may also add wage requirements for L-1 visas. Publication of a proposed rule is anticipated in September 2020.  

 F, I and J Visas 

  • DHS will eliminate “duration of stay” admissions for F (student), I (foreign press or media), and J (exchange visitor) visas, to be replaced with date-certain admissions. Publication of a proposed rule is anticipated February 2020. 
  • The DHS also indicates it will “amend existing regulations and revise the practical training options available.” Publication is expected in August 2020. 

 International Entrepreneur 

  • DHS plans to remove the international entrepreneur parole program effective December 2019.  We described previously that the Trump Administration had delayed the implementation of this program, which had been introduced by the Obama Administration, in 2017.  

 Fee Increases 

  • DHS proposes to increase certain USCIS fees, and to add new fees.  

 As we learn more about new rulemaking, Weaver Schlenger will provide updates on our website.

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