AILA: Proposed Reforms to Highly Skilled Visa Rules Will Help

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

AILA: Proposed Reforms to Highly Skilled Visa Rules Will Help

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement proposing three new rules aimed at attracting and retaining highly skilled workers from around the world.

If implemented as described, the first rule would grant employment authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B holders while the H-1B worker moved through the process to become a lawful permanent resident sponsored by their employer.

"The proposed rule summarized by the DHS is intended to encourage new investment and new businesses to come to the United States, and it will help the families of some H-1B holders who have been here for a significant period of time and find themselves stuck in the intolerable quota backlogs created by our broken immigration system," said AILA President Doug Stump. He continued, "It is broader than earlier summaries indicated and shows that DHS has listened to the needs of employers, employees and their families, and is moving in a way that will reap more economic benefits for our country. For the eligible H-1B holders on the road to permanent resident status whose spouses are willing and able to work, this will be welcome news indeed."

Mr. Stump explained, "But, this important step, with the potential to encourage new business and new investment, is in the end a loose bandage on our broken system rather than important step forward in immigration policy. Only the spouses of H-1B workers who have passed some of the hurdles to receive an employer-sponsored green card will be eligible. That means a relatively narrow group of people will be helped by this change, while many H-1B visa holders' spouses will remain stuck in neutral, unable to contribute to their families or our country's economy. It remains incumbent on Congress to act to fix our laws so that these small measures are not necessary."

The second rule would update regulations to make the rules for H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrant visa holders consistent with those for other employer-sponsored nonimmigrant statuses. The third rule would expand the kinds of contributions outstanding professors and researchers can rely on in the green card process.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14050651.