From the Executive Director - April 2015

"In the Know" Updates

​​Immigra​​tion Is Always in Season

The long cold winter in Washington has finally ended, and spring is in the air. For the issues that concern you, however, the temperature is always hot: Employment-related immigration is always “in season.” Recently, it seems, our issues are popping up like daisies.

Last month, we released our 2015 immigration guide, a go-to resource for anyone who works in our field. “Moving Forward on Immigration: How the U.S. Employment-Based System Works – and How It Can Work Better”is just the latest resource CFGI has provided to you and other stakeholders who deal with – and want to improve – the U.S. employment-based immigration system.

A lot of the action is with the agencies. As you know, we are right in the middle of the annual H-1B sweepstakes, when thousands of employers desperate for highly skilled talent to fill key gaps in their workforce enter the U.S. government-run visa lottery. CFGI continues to make your case on Capitol Hill that this is no way to run a modern global economy – the time is well past to make fundamental changes to give you a reasonable certainty in future hiring of these sought-after employees.

We are also analyzing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) long-awaited L-1B guidancefor workers with specialized knowledge, which goes into effect in August. I am particularly pleased that the Administration followed several of our recommendations on how to do this right. But it is too early to declare victory: We will be making more recommendations in public comments to ensure this guidance provides the clarity employers and adjudicators need to reduce request for evidence (RFE) rates. And until we see how adjudicators apply the guidance, we won’t know if it really is an improvement – or just one more false start. Rest assured, CFGI will stay on the case.

Also thanks in part to CFGI advocacy, USCIS recently finalized its rule to provide work authorization eligibility for many H-4 spousesof H-1B visa holders. This rule, which will go into effect on May 26, provides relief for employers who have faced difficulties attracting and retaining talented foreign nationals whose spouses cannot work under current rules. We continue to push the agency to expand work authorization to other categories of H-4s and dependents in other visa classifications.

Thanks to fantastic input from many of you, we recently submitted public commentsto a multi-agency request for information on streamlining and modernizing the U.S. visa system. Your highest priorities included development of a Trusted Employer program, several ideas to reduce the number of unnecessary and overly burdensome RFEs and policies to provide relief for those mired in the green card backlog.

CFGI has been taking our case straight to Congress, as well. On March 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, titled “Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers.” At the hearing Senator Flake (R-AZ) submitted a statement for the recordon behalf of CFGI and SHRM that advocated business needs concerning the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.

We also influenced the latest version of the Legal Workforce Act, which the House Judiciary Committee passed in March. CFGI and SHRM convinced lawmakers to make important changes, specifically to modify the bill’s identity authentication pilot program provisions to ensure they are available to employers who want to participate in them, as opposed to the government hand-picking the participants. A full House vote is not yet scheduled.

CFGI has also been active on the global front. First, the European Union has started to evaluate and revamp its labor immigration policies, with a focus on the Blue Card, and has created an Expert Group on Economic Immigrationto provide input. CFGI was among a select number of organizations chosen to participate. In March, I was fortunate to attend the group’s first meeting in Brussels, where I discussed employers’ need for predictable, efficient and flexible immigration policies.

We are also participating in the B20’s Employment Taskforce, specifically contributing to discussions around immigration and other global labor issues. The B20 is the business counterpart to the G20 and a unique, high profile venue for shaping public policy.

Of course all of these issues – and many more – will be discussed in depth at this year’s CFGI Symposium, held from June 8-11 in Washington, DC. This is the one event all year where you can hear the latest on the issues that matter to your jobs, while meeting with professionals who face the same challenges you do – and who have valuable experience to share. It’s not too late to register and take advantage of our early-bird rates: They will increase after May 1st, so sign up today and save.

Other than that, it’s been a quiet start to spring.





ITK April 2015 - FINAL.pdf

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