Council for Global Immigration quoted in article – “Draft Policy Aims to Ease Job Changes for Foreign Workers”

12/10/2015

​SHRM, 12/08/2015 –

"To help foreign workers approved for permanent residency in the United States more easily change jobs and advance their careers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a draft policy memo aimed at clarifying which occupations would be classified as 'same or similar'—a key component of the job portability process.

"The policy, intended to go into effect March 21, 2016, is designed to reduce uncertainty which, according to USCIS, 'may deter many foreign workers from changing employers, seeking new job opportunities or even accepting promotions for fear that such action might invalidate their currently approved immigrant visa petitions.'

"…The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) was intended to address this problem by allowing foreign workers already approved for permanent residency to change jobs while waiting for their green cards…

"…[A]ccording to USCIS and other experts, the job portability option is underutilized. 'The biggest concern is a lack of certainty,' said Justin Storch, manager of agency liaison at the Council for Global Immigration…'The scattered 'same or similar' guidance prior to this memo was never very thorough, and whether or not a job was portable was largely a guessing game.'

"…Adjudicators are…advised to consider career progression and differences in wages as part of the totality of the circumstances when determining whether a new position is a valid job portability option.

"…Storch and others believe that this policy change is the first part of an upcoming proposed rule providing job flexibility to foreign workers approved for green cards.

"'An upcoming regulation will address various aspects of the AC21 law, and it appears that one thing it might do is create a formal adjudication process for job changes with green cards,' Storch said. 'To date, it has been a more informal process that did not require much paperwork.' The new regulation combined with this new guidance could create more bureaucracy, he said. 'In the end, employers will need to weigh the benefits of the regulation with new obligations to comply with it.'"

To read the full article, please click here. ​