On January 20, 2017, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced their H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act. Currently, the Trump administration is circulating a draft executive order targeting employment-based immigration. As the draft order mostly contains vague directions regarding numerous visa programs, the proposed bill serves as an indicator of where the H-1B and L-1 visa programs could potentially be headed under the current administration.
During President Trump's first two weeks in office, he signed numerous executive orders, including several controversial immigration-related orders. More changes are potentially on the way, as the administration is now circulating drafts of several more immigration-related orders. One such draft order, entitled "Executive Order on Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs," includes a number of provisions that could potentially restrict employment-based immigration.
The USCIS announced today that on May 26, 2015, it will begin accepting applications for employment authorization documents (EAD) from certain H-4 spouses. This regulation amendment will apply to spouses of H-1B workers (1) whose I-140 immigrant petitions have been approved, or (2) who have had their H-1B status extended because their labor certifications (PERMs) or I-140 petitions have been pending for over 365 days, pursuant to American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act (AC21). The filing fee for the I-765 form will be $380. The agency expects as high as 179,600 applications in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years.