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President Obama Signs Bill with Provision to Extend Four Immigration Programs

barack-obama-1166062_640-233x300In one of his last actions in the waning days of his presidency, President Obama signed H.R. 2028 (Pub. L. 114-254), a stopgap spending bill designed to ensure that the federal government will continue to run through April 28, 2017. But immigration rights activists will be pleased to know that H.R. 2028, signed on December 9, 2016, also comes with a Continuing Resolution that effectively grants an extension to these four immigration programs.

  1. The Conrad 30 J Waiver

    The Conrad 30 J Waiver Program allows foreign physicians trained in the United States to waive their two-year home residence requirement, which requires them to return home and work for two years. In exchange, the program requires foreign physicians to provide full-time medical care for three years to patients in areas with a shortage of health professionals, or in underserved populations in the U.S.

  2. The Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker Visa

    The Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker Visa allows non-ministers in religious occupations and vocations who will apply for jobs of a professional or non-professional nature in the United States to seek permanent resident status.

  3. The EB-5 Regional Center Visa Program

    The EB-5 Regional Center Program is open to foreign investors and allows them to apply for green cards in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in commercial enterprises in regions specially selected by USCIS for their potential to spur economic growth. Although there have been numerous attempts to amend the program, Congress failed to act sooner, resulting in the program simply being extended as is.

  4. The E-Verify Program

    The E-Verify Program is the federal government’s online employment eligibility verification system that allows foreign nationals to apply for positions across a network of participating companies in the United States. Extension of this program means that the service will not be disrupted for both applicants and companies looking for talent.

H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers Exemption Not Included in Continuing Resolution

The C.R., however, does not extend the exemption for H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers Program, which allows foreign workers to enter the United States and perform work on a seasonal or intermittent basis. Such visas are usually applied in the construction, tourism, hospitality, and agricultural industries among many others. The government maintains a cap of 66,000 H-2B visas yearly. The exemption had allowed visa holders to apply for extensions and not be subjected to the cap.

For more information on these visa programs, schedule a consultation with the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm today. Contact our offices at (512) 215.5225 to speak with an immigration law attorney.