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President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration—What this Means for Business Immigration

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration that will include: (1) creating a deferred action program for the parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children who meet the eligibility requirements; (2) implementing a “Priority Enforcement Program”; and (3) streamlining immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to boost the economy and create jobs in the U.S.

Actions related to business immigration changes include:

• Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status and their spouses;
• Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs;
• Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S. universities;
• Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers;
• Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status; and • Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin.

For more detailed information from the White House, please click here (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/20/fact-sheet-immigration-accountability-executive-action).

The President’s announcement was welcome news. However, as is often the case with new immigration measures, it may be some time before the actual implementation of the new programs. The USCIS has not yet announced any timeline for implementation of these changes. Detailed information about the timeline for implementation can be found on the USCIS’s Executive Actions website at: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction.