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Immigration in 2018: What to expect

If there’s one constant in the world of employment visas, it’s things are changing. With President Trump’s focus on immigration reform, 2018 will undoubtedly bring further changes.

To give some context, things began to change last April with Trump’s Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American. The executive order talks about the government’s intent to “rigorously enforce and administer” the laws regarding entrance of foreign workers into the U.S. The order announced the intent to reform the process so that “H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” The order was created to protect the economic interest of U.S. workers as well as prevent immigration abuse and fraud.

Extreme vetting

Now, as the Department of Homeland Security performs its extreme vetting, the process is likely to slow down. There is an expectation of longer and more complex forms for immigration, as well as in-person interviews for all U.S. located applicants of employment-based green cards.

Increased enforcement measures

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency promised a fourfold increase in work-site enforcement, with actions against both the undocumented workers and their employers. A recent audit at the Chicago bakery that provided buns for McDonald’s resulted in the firing of 800 workers, which is an example of the increased work-site enforcement.

Drop in H-1B petitions?

The increased scrutiny and requests for additional documentation from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may reduce the number of H-1B petitions. These new and not insignificant hurdles put in place by the USCIS may have employers rethinking their use of foreign workers.

For sure, 2018 will be an interesting year for immigration, as both companies and workers face increased challenges. With the possibility of unlawful denials of applications, unreasonable delays and other violations and setbacks, having the counsel of an immigration attorney can help you navigate those challenges.

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