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USCIS Director Announces Initiatives Aimed at Employment-Based and High-Skilled Immigration

On 10/20/11, USCIS Director, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, issued a letter outlining USCIS’ efforts and commitment to enhancing its policies and procedures towards improving U.S. economic success, particularly with respect to employment-based and high-skilled immigration. He cites to the following examples of the efforts made thus far by USCIS:

Adjudication of Petitions filed by Businesses Requesting L Intracompany Transferees
• On October 12, 2011, USCIS conducted a specialized training session for adjudicators on the L-1B classification to reinforce the principles set forth in existing L-1B policy guidance. We will continue this training.
• USCIS is revising Request for Evidence (RFE) templates for nonimmigrant employment-based categories, including the L intracompany transferee classification. Our RFE practices continue to be an area of intense review and reform.
• On August 18, 2011, the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) launched a new initiative to seek stakeholder input through the submission of amicus curiae briefs. The first request sought amicus briefs relating to the denial of an I-140 petition (Kazarian vs. USCIS). The AAO plans to request amicus briefs on a case related to the L-1B visa classification next.
• USCIS will in the next week make available a new bundled filing option for businesses filing for multiple L intracompany transferees.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

• In May 2011, USCIS issued a proposal to streamline and enhance the EB-5 program, and we have since implemented the first of the proposed enhancements: direct access for EB-5 Regional Center applicants to reach adjudicators quickly. We have also retained business analysts to support our adjudicators and are in the process of selecting full-time economists to bolster our expertise. In addition, we have retained an outside consultant to reengineer our business process from beginning to end.

Industry-Specific Enhancements
• In August 2011, USCIS announced a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to spur economic growth and job creation. Among other things, we clarified our policies to reflect the availability of the H-1B visa and the EB-2 national interest waiver to foreign-born entrepreneurs, and we are providing the needed training complement.
• To build on these efforts, we announced last week a new Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative, which will help us harness the expertise of industry leaders to inform our policy development and our training, so that we better understand and more ably address the realities and needs of the business community we serve.