From the Executive Director - November 2014

11/21/2014
"In the Know" Updates

​​November 2014

President Oba​​ma Acts on Immigration


The wait for executive action on immigration is finally over. President Obama has acted, and it is estimated that the changes his Administration will make will impact nearly five million people, including your highly skilled talent. The Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) met with White House staff yesterday and learned that the changes will be rolled out over the coming months through a series of memoranda, regulations and other guidance. The Administration intends to continue to consult with stakeholders throughout this process.

The centerpiece of the package of reforms focuses on relief from deportation for some undocumented migrants, along with enhanced border security measures. This deportation relief includes a new Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents and lifting the age limit for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Actions impacting CFGI members include the long awaited L-1 guidance and the H-4 spouse work authorization – which may come in the next month or two – as well as the ability to extend on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S. universities, pre-registration of adjustment of status (portable work authorization for those waiting for a green card number), processing modernization and PERM reform – which will require regulatory changes and are not expected until spring 2015 at the earliest.

Details surrounding these actions are very limited at this time. We will hold an Inside-the-Beltway call on December 8 at 2:00pm EST to review these plans and how you can help us guide the Administration as implementation moves forward. Registration details will be forthcoming. If you missed the President’s announcement or if you want to learn more about the executive action, I encourage you to visit the White House immigration action webpage.

CFGI Issues Statement Calling for President and C​ongress to Work Together


The Administration’s ability to fix our broken immigration system is limited and last night, CFGI and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) issued a joint statement, urging the President and Congress to work together to pass broader reform. The kind of permanent reforms U.S. employers need must be addressed by legislation, and we hope there are opportunities to do so next Congress. However, congressional leaders are already reacting to the President’s action, and it is not certain whether and when they can come together to act in the nation’s best interest.

What Will the Agencies Do? CFGI Is Connected to Kee​​p You Informed


We will also have to watch how the federal agencies handle the increased processing load. It was perfectly timed that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez spoke earlier this week to the CFGI Board of Directors. He was able to give us a heads up about the impending executive action, and although he could not provide details, he did reassure us that preparations were being made within the agency to minimize any disruption to business visa processing.

We will continue to stay connected with USCIS as the agency implements the new changes to make sure you know what’s going on, how it might affect you and what you need to do to make sure you are in compliance.

You Told Us What Needs to Be Fixed – and We A​​​re Making Sure Washington and Governments Around the World Know


Our meeting with Director Rodriguez allowed us to preview for him the results of the 2014 Employer Immigration Metrics Survey, which we released yesterday. We gave him the bottom line finding: You’re frustrated by the time, cost and resources the U.S. immigration system requires. It’s costing too much and taking too much time – and it is worse in the United States than elsewhere in the world.

Director Rodriguez understood that the agency processing times do not move at the speed of business. He specifically asked CFGI to send him examples and more information on the problems employers are facing. We will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to gather first-hand accounts to help us respond to his request.

I also had the opportunity when I was at a meeting in Geneva last week to preview the survey findings with officials of governments involved in setting migration policy in a dozen countries and at the United Nations. They were very interested that none of them are meeting your expectations for processing times. They were also surprised by how much employers in the United States spend. These reactions present an opportunity for us to engage more with officials worldwide and help improve immigration systems around the globe. I am so pleased that our survey is already having such international impact.

While in Geneva, I presented our views on the links between skills gaps and migration to the same officials. According to the latest SHRM research I presented, no matter where employers are in the world, they are dealing with the same central challenge: how to get the talent they need to grow their business. Governments have their own challenges in addressing the issue. They often deal with publics who are skeptical of the need for migration when unemployment levels remain high, and they struggle with how best to integrate newcomers into their societies. We had particularly interesting discussions about how new models of work, e.g., crowdsourcing, might lead to new models of migration.

As with the skills gap, addressing the realities of immigration and the need for reform today and in the future is not a sprint. It is a long relay race, requiring teamwork and endurance. So no matter what happens before the end of the current Congress, we are already working to make sure that the next Congress keeps your concerns in mind as it picks up the baton.

Sincerely,
Lynn

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