President Barack Obama announced his plan called Immigration Accountability Executive Action (IAEA) to fix the immigration system.
Here are the brief overview of these changes:
1. Deferred Action For Parents Of USC And LPR: Similar to DACA, allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years. They must submit biometric data, pass all the background checks, pay correct fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement.
2. EAD For H4 Visa Holders: This gives work permits (EAD) to spouses of H1B Visa holder who have an I-140 immigration petition.
3. Easier Job Portability For I-485 Filings: The rule is expected to make it easier for applicants with approved I-140 to get same benefits as EAD applicant. This could mean changing employers after I-140 is approved. Currently the applicant have to wait for 180 days after filing I-485 application before they can change employer. If they cannot file I-485 application (due to huge backlog), they cannot change employer without starting the process again. This makes it easy to move between employers after I-140 application is approved.
4. Expansion Of DACA: This ruling will expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Individuals who entered the country as children before turning 16 and have been present since January 1, 2010 can apply for DACA. Also DACA relief is extended from 2 years to 3 years.
5. NIW For Entrepreneurs: This plan will enhance opportunities for foreign inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up enterprises wishing to conduct research and development and create jobs in the United States.
6. Modernize Immigrant Visa System: The following changes are been planned:
(a) USCIS should continue and enhance its work with the Department of State to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas.
(b) USCIS would work with the Department of State to improve the system for determining when immigrant visas are available to applicants during the fiscal year. The Department of State has agreed to modify its visa bulletin system to more simply and reliably make such determinations.
(c) USCIS would carefully consider other regulatory or policy changes to better assist and provide stability to the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions. Specifically, USCIS should consider amending its regulations to ensure that approved, long-standing visa petitions remain valid in certain cases where they seek to change jobs or employers.
7. Expansion Of OPT/STEM Program: This plan will expand the degree programs eligible for OPT and extend the time period and use of OPT for foreign STEM students and graduates. In addition, they would require stronger ties to degree-granting institutions, which would better ensure that a student's practical training furthers the student's full course of study in the United States.
8. Provisional Waivers: This plan will expand the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
9. L1B Program: USCIS would issue a policy memorandum that provides clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of "specialized knowledge." This memorandum will bring greater coherence and integrity to the L-lB program, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies' confidence in the program.
10. Travel: This plan will ensure that the individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
11. Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
12. Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.
These initiatives have not yet been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or a request for any of these actions before they are available. You could become a victim of an immigration scam. Subscribe to this page to get updates when new information is posted.
USCIS and other agencies and offices are responsible for implementing these initiatives as soon as possible. Some initiatives will be implemented over the next several months and some will take longer. Over the coming months, USCIS will produce detailed explanations, instructions, regulations and forms as necessary. While USCIS is not accepting requests or applications at this time, if you believe you may be eligible for one of the initiatives listed above, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish factors such as your:
- Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
- Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.
18 US States filed lawsuit to stop President Obama's immigration executive action: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2015/01/18-us-states-filed-lawsuit-to-stop.html
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