On Wednesday, January 20th, the world, and our country witnessed the 46th President, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., sworn in as our newest leader. By his side, was Vice President, Kamala D. Harris, who was also sworn in as the first female and first woman of color Vice President. History has truly been made! Now that they have officially taken office, there is plenty for them to do including: strategies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic; racial equality; extending the right to vote; taxes; climate change, and the biggest talking point, Immigration, to name a few. This message specifically addresses the topic of Immigration.
Team Biden-Harris has outlined drastic reforms to some of the policies implemented by former President Trump. This plan is to begin modifications as early as his first 100 days in office. It is important to keep in mind that these adjustments need time and will not happen immediately. Here are the changes we can expect to see:
- 2021 Foreign Business Owners and Immigration
- The COVID-19 pandemic placed restrictions on visa issuance and a ban was placed on H1-B Visas. The restraints placed on visas include having to pay foreign businesses and those that employ foreigners, but there could be changes to this under the Biden-Harris Administration.
- Visa Changes
- The H1-B visa program is one of the most popular visa programs, but it has an annual numerical cap and is currently up for discussion. Elimination of the H1-B lottery can make it difficult for businesses to bring in highly skilled foreign talent. E2 Visas are also popular for foreign entrepreneurs, but also require a tedious petitioning process and donating does not guarantee that you’ll receive a visa.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and Trump’s foreign policy has created major barriers in the visa process, but with the leadership of Biden-Harris, changes could positively affect foreign businesses.
- Fee Increases
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes most of its funding from Immigration fees and travel bans, but it is not good for business. Businesses that are interested in expediting their applications for skillful foreign workers are looking at fee increases from $1,440 to $2,500 for certain applications. Filing fees for immigrant-related business activities are currently being litigated but could increase as a response to the 2020 dip as well.
- A Pathway to Citizenship
- The Joe Biden’s immigration bill which was announced on Inauguration Day would put illegal immigrants into protected status and a five-year pathway to a green card. A pathway to citizenship – not just legal status – for illegal immigrants has been a top agenda item for immigration activists for decades and now. With Democratic control of the White House, and the Congress, that could be now be in sight.
- Immigration Comprehensive Changes
- Biden said that on his first day as president, he will produce comprehensive immigration legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship (as we mentioned earlier) living in the U.S. undocumented. It would also provide a pathway to citizenship for people commonly known as DREAMers, who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.
- Biden has pledged to make the DACA program permanent on his first day in office, a move that comes after years of Trump Administration attempts to revoke the program.
For more information regarding Immigration & Naturalization law, The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux is here to answer your immigration-related questions. You can depend on us to stay ahead of immigration developments and keep you informed.