DHS delays implementation of International Entrepreneur Rule, may ultimately rescind it

Last month the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") announced by publication in the Federal Register that it would delay implementation of the "International Entrepreneur Rule," a new regulation, promulgated under President Obama's tenure in office, that provided immigration opportunities for a small number of international entrepreneurs who could show that they would provide a significant public benefit to the United States in the form of economic growth and the creation of U.S. jobs.  The International Entrepreneur Rule empowered the Secretary of DHS to grant discretionary parole authority to foreign national entrepreneurs who met certain criteria in order to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States.

This rule was set to take effect on July 17, 2017 but DHS published a final rule with delaying the effective date and requesting comments on July 11, 2017. By this action, DHS has now delayed implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule until March 14, 2018.  DHS has opened the matter for an extremely brief public comment period and could potentially rescind the program entirely. If you would like to make your opinion on this new rule heard, please ensure you submit a comment through the Federal Register's e-Rulemaking portal or by mail by August 10, 2017. 

DHS set to publish new, final rule on OPT STEM this month

Last month we brought you news about the January 23, 2016 order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that allowed the Department of Homeland Security's ("DHS") 2008 regulations on Optional Practical Training ("OPT") and the available 17-month STEM extension to remain in effect through May 10, 2016. 

On February 5, 2016, DHS sent its final STEM OPT rule to the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") for review before publication in the Federal Register. We expect the final rule to be published in the Federal Register this month in order for DHS to accommodate the May 10, 2016 vacatur date of the current rule (if the new rule is to be effective 60 days after publication). This new, final rule will include a number of important changes to the STEM OPT program. To review DHS's proposed (not final) regulations, click here.  To review our firm's re-cap of the ongoing litigation and view a copy of the most recent order, click here.

The attorneys of Iandoli, Desai & Cronin P.C. will continue to post updates on this important news at www.iandoli.com/newsandupdates. You can contact us at info@iandoli.com with your questions about STEM OPT, the proposed regulations, and any other immigration related questions.

DHS Proposes Expansive Rule Addressing Immigrant & Non-immigrant Employment-Based Categories

In the last Federal Register edition of 2015, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") proposed substantial revisions and additions to its rules governing employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant categories. Many of the proposed provisions incorporate and clarify statutory provisions enacted by Congress over a decade ago, while others seek to insulate employers and foreign nationals from recent systemic delays in adjudication at USCIS. 

The extensive proposal promises to "provide various benefits to participants in those programs, including: improved processes for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and non-immigrant workers, greater stability and job flexibility for such workers, and increased transparency and consistency in the application of agency policy related to affected classifications."  Several of the specific changes sought in the proposed regulations include:

  • Enabling certain high-skilled, non-immigrant workers with approved I-140 petitions to apply for separate employment authorization for a limited period if there are compelling circumstances for doing so.  In the proposed regulations DHS does not define "compelling circumstances" but does cite four examples, including significant disruption to the employer, serious illness and disabilities, employer retaliation, or other substantial harm to the applicant;
  • Implementing a one-time 60 day grace period for E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, L-1 and TN non-immigrants upon cessation of employment (whether the employment ends voluntarily or the foreign national has been laid off or terminated);
  • Automatically extending the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents ("EADs") for up to 180 days upon timely filing applications to renew the existing EADs; and,
  • Eliminating the 90 day processing timeframe for EADs and the requirement for the issuance of interim EADs.

Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C. will keep you informed of any updates and resulting final rules from these proposed regulations in 2016. To view the proposed revisions and submit public comments by February 29, 2016, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-32666.