With the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic all around the globe, the immigration law of the United States has had to face several dilemmas and backlogs. Therefore, in 2022, the Biden administration has brought forth a number of policies developed over time. The developments are listed here as follows:
- More clarity and a broadened area in international STEM talent. In the Optional Practical Training Programme (OPT), DHS has announced that 22 new avenues of study and research have been introduced for better opportunities. It also includes a process for the public to express their opinion on whether to include or remove degrees from the newly listed avenues.
- J-1 exchange visitors can be enrolled in a pre-doctoral program for an extension of practical training up to 36 months in 2022 and 2023.
- Proficient entrepreneurs with notable achievements can qualify for O-1 visa classifications even for those relating to specific evidence in STEM fields with distinct definitions of ” field of endeavor,” accomplishments in related occupations, and use of evidence to keep up with the criteria.
- EB-2 NIW expansion – USCIS has announced that NIW (National Interest Waiver) has proposed new guidelines that require ” evidentiary consideration ” for adjudication requests of national interest waivers.
- In November 2021, the Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) requirement for the L2 and E2 spouses to work was abolished. From January 2022, the respective spouses shall have the allowance to obtain a ” spousal designation ” in their I-94 records from Customs and Border Protection for I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Purposes.
- Owing to the pandemic in 2020, Homeland Security announced the consideration of the requirement of physical presence being surrendered in the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. Under the administration, this policy has been extended till April 30, 2022, in the interest of the employees working in faraway settings due to COVID-19.
The employees will have to conduct a verification of identity and employment eligibility by being physically present within three days of returning to the work location.
- In 2021, there have been several settlements relating to discrimination against the employees under Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) recruitment and H2B visa sponsorship programs.
- Under the Build Back Better Reconciliation Bill, more business immigrant visas will be available by
- Acquiring unused visas from 1992 to 2021.
- Preserving the availability of Diversity visas from 2017 to 2021.
- Immigrants with approved employment-based visas and priority dates for an extended two years away can file applications for adjustment of status at an extra charge of $1,500 fee. With the increase in the filing fees through this bill, the auxiliary fees will be included in the general funds of the U.S. Treasury.
- Introduction of the Dignity Act is a pathway for permanent citizenship of undocumented immigrants in lieu of mandatory E-verify and border protection.
It can also be anticipated that the processing efficiency of the visas will improve to keep up with the backlogs from the pandemic phase, and more workers will be hired for more advancement of the system.