Yesterday evening President Obama announced Immigration Reform that impacts close to 5 Million People – Undocumented and High Skilled.
After the announcement there are more questions than answers.
I recorded this exclusive interview for Happy Schools Readers with Immigration Attorney Murali Bashyam.
Some of your top questions about EAD for H4, Green Card, I-140, H1B, OPT Extension, Impact for future and current F1, J1 Visa students are covered in this video interview.
If you have any questions about the new changes, post them in the comments. I’m working hard to get the right answers from Immigration Attorney or Official News Source.
I will be updating the blog throughout the day as we learn more details about the new changes.
Transcript of the Interview:
Speaker 1: Hello everyone. Yesterday president Obama announced major immigration reform executive actions and today he’s going to sign that I can see the order. We’ll talk about legal high skilled immigration reform changes that was announced by president Obama. People have been waiting in the US who came here legally for long years to get green cards and that is one of the issues with H1V and sponsors who are unable to work of H1B workers. He has announced lot of changes and we’re going to talk to attorney [inaudible 00:38]. Hello Murali, how are you?
Speaker 2: Good morning Raghu, How you doing?
Speaker 1: I’m doing good. So we’ve seen lots of good changes. We didn’t get a lot of changes we were trying to get but at least the changes that announced by president Obama is going to help a lot of high skilled immigration folks. Right?
Speaker 2: One thing I will say, Raghu is yes, there are some positive proposals introduced by the president last night but as a cautionary tale I’ll put all of these into the coming attractions category. They’re not changes yet, and it’s likely that all the proposals that we’re going to discuss in the next few minutes are not going into effect until probably late 2015 for most of them. But yes, the president can only do so much to incentive action, and some of these are very positive changes for high skilled workers.
Speaker 1: For my readers, high category are for people… I’ll go through each category of people and see the impact that it has on them based on this proposal. Firstly, how does this impact students who are planning to come to the US? Does it make any changes as to the F1 visa or the interviews that they want to face before they come to the US?
Speaker 2: It doesn’t make any changes to the regular F1 process or the F1 interview process at US consulates, the only changes in the F1 program has to do with stem candidacy. Most science, technology, engineering, mathematics graduates in the US, right now that stem category can get OPT training for 12 months and extended by 17 months and what they’re proposing to do is expand the types of degrees that fall under stem number 1 and number 2 expand the actual practical training period. Having said that, there is no specifics on how long they’re going to extend the stem or OPT or what types of other degrees will fall under that category, so that’s one of the wait and see situations as well.
Speaker 1: So that’s going to impact basically the F1 students who are going to come here in the future or people who are already here that might give an additional option or applied for H1V or a longer period for them to work in the US.
Speaker 2: The big impact is going to have obviously is longer period to work in the United States, they will expand it past the 29 months you currently can as a stem candidate. But with the H1V lottery system in place right now, these are the high demand low supply, if they expand the stem program with the optional practical training, if you don’t get selected one year or the next year, you’ll have more time to actually apply again, which I think is a really good thing if they don’t reform the H1V program.
Speaker 1: But the proposals that were announced yesterday, there wasn’t any changes specific to H1B lottery.
Speaker 2: There were no proposals specific to the H1V lottery, that’s correct.
Speaker 1: Okay, so now let’s move on to the major provision that is going to be implemented but we are waiting for more details and that is pre-registration for I140 so that they can get ERE. What is that in the proposal?
Speaker 2: Right now Raghu, as a lot of your viewers know, if you have an approved I140 you can’t file your I45 adjustment status until your priority date becomes current. And if you’re an Indian national or a Chinese national at EB2 category, or most folks in the EB3 category there’s a long wait for your ability to file I45 adjustment of status. What this proposal is going to do is basically say even if your priority date is not current, I don’t know what categories they will define this under, but if your priority date is not current, you can still can file an I45 adjustment status which I think is a great benefit because at least you can get a work authorization card, you can get a travel permit and they’ve made some proposals on that as well that we’ll cover in a few minutes. But the biggest advantage, I think, is that at least your spouse can get a work authorization card instead of having to wait, which could take many many years, so we’ll see what they do with this, again, this is one of the wait and see proposals as well.
Speaker 1: So this EAD is different from the other proposal where spouses of H1B workers can get EAD via I-485, so that’s two ways that the spouses can get EAD?
Speaker 2: That’s correct, under the proposal for the H4EAD, that was proposed some time ago and has been languishing around with rulemaking and everything else, what the president said he was going to do, was go ahead and push that forward, and they said last night that he expects it to be implemented in December or January, we’ll see again on that, but if that does go through that quickly, it’ll provide a great benefit to thousands of people in the United States that are in H4 status who are currently cannot work.
Speaker 1: There was another option for entrepreneurs, it was briefly discussed but there’s not a lot of details about what options are there for entrepreneurs in this proposal who can easily circumnavigate the H1V process to work in the US.
Speaker 2: What they propose, again, this is very very vague, unlike some of the other things we’ve discussed so far, they said they’re going to expand the national interest wave to include entrepreneurs, investors, founders and research scholars. We’ll see. They also said they’re going to put into place parole and place for certain investors in the US and what parole and place is – if you enter the US without authorization. That just allows you to get a status to stay here so maybe investors who are here illegally, if they meet certain conditions they can actually get some kind of status under this proposal. We’ll see. Maybe they’ll expand the O1 program for extraordinary ability to include entrepreneurs of all levels but we have to wait and see to get more specifics from the administration to determine who it’s going to help, and how it’s going to help.
Speaker 1: These proposals lower the wait times for folks from EB21 AB3 from Indian or Chinese nationals to get a green card in a faster rate.
Speaker 2: The only proposal that could lower the wait times for all of the folks that you’ve just described is, they say they’re going to modernize the visa allocation system by potentially excluding derivatives for being counted towards the immigrant visa numbers and recapturing numbers from previous years. If they did that, which I think a lot of high skill immigrants are waiting for the particular proposal, they would basically wipe out the visa backlogs for all these categories fairly quickly which would impact positively a lot of professional workers in the US so hopefully they’ll implement that soon, again, sometime in 2015 hopefully, we’ll see. But that is a positive proposal for sure.
Speaker 1: It is not specifically mentioned in the fact sheets but it’s something that’s being considered by them, right?
Speaker 2: It actually was proposed by the president in the fact sheet, so it is a proposal, again, a vague proposal, but it’s something they’re considering.
Speaker 1: That’s a great news, still these are not clear but we still need to know the actual language of how it’s going to be implemented.
Speaker 2: That’s exactly right.
Speaker 1: The biggest one of all that we heard is the EAD for I140. So what that is, if you have an I140 approved, you can file I485 you are eligible to get EAD, you don’t have to wait until the priority date comes. Do we know the time frame that’s going to be implemented?
Speaker 2: Nobody knows the time frame for implementation for most of these things, my guess would be by the end of 2015 because nothing happens quickly when it comes to rule making with immigration. So I wouldn’t say it’s going to happen very quickly, but hopefully it will happen sometime next year. They did try to put a couple of other things as well, which is defining finally what same or similar means when it comes to AC21 portability. They also said they were going to modernize the [inaudible 09:51] and modernize the L1B specialized knowledge program as well, which is about company transfers which have come to increased scrutiny in the last 3-4 years.
Speaker 1: One thing that you touched upon, same or similar job category, what that means is people can change jobs, move to a different job role while the green card is in process.
Speaker 2: Your I45 has been pending for at least 180 days, at that point you’re eligible to change employers as long as the job you’re moving too, is the same or similar to what’s filed for you under your green card application. What the USCIS has never done, is to find what same or similar means, so a lot of immigration attorneys including ourselves, basically use what’s called the gut test, which is “does this new job feel same or similar to the old one?”. There are other ways of analyzing those types of things as well, president Obama said that the DHS is going to finally define what that means. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s kind of nice having it to look right, but we’ll see what they come up with.
Speaker 1: Overall, lots of good news and the one that’s going to be implemented earliest.
Speaker 2: It appears that this is the one that’s going to be implemented first.
Speaker 1: Is there something that the HIB visa workers and the spouse can file on their own, or is that something that the employer has to file?
Speaker 2: That will probably be something that the H4 spouse will file on their own, by filing I765 employment authorization document application just like anybody else is filing [inaudible 11:52]. Under the previous proposal not every H4 could file, for EAD basically the H1V visa holder must have had an approved I140 to their own green card application or they must be interposed 60 or H1V extensions so only in those two situations can be filed from EAD. Under what the president’s proposing, I think it’s still going to hold true, we’ll see. But it’s certainly something that’s not tied to any employer.
Speaker 1: When this comes we will probably do another interview on how to handle this process, we’ll help our readers to see how they can go or file this.
Speaker 2: When any of these proposals which are under the coming attractions category right now, when any of them actually are implemented or about to be implemented you’ll get a better sense of what the process is going to be, we’ll do another video to tell people how to apply for these benefits.
Speaker 1: Thanks a lot for the interview, and let’s hope these things come faster and that is benefits so many people.
Speaker 2: Yes, I agree with you, great news for a lot of people and hopefully these steps will also push congress to move towards a more comprehensive immigration reform bill in the future as well.
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