On Thursday, November 20, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order for immigration action.  The President’s plan includes a number of employment-based directives intended to benefit U.S. businesses and workers, including but not limited to:

  1. Employment authorization for H-4 dependents (we anticipate the final rule in December 2014 or early 2015).
  2. Allowing immigrants caught in the employment-based immigration quota backlogs to register their applications and thus begin the final step of the process.  The benefits of this will include the ability of the individual to change jobs if certain criteria are met and get work authorization for themselves and their dependents.
  3. Expansion of the time allowed for optional practical training (“OPT”) for STEM students and graduates from U.S. universities and colleges.
  4. Promised modernization of the PERM program including changing the recruitment requirements, allowing for premium processing, and including a “harmless error” provision.
  5. Bringing greater consistency to the L-1B visa program.
  6. Ensuring that job-creating entrepreneurs have means to enter and operate in the U.S.

Other than for H-4s, no time frame for regulatory action has been provided.  Thus, please visit our blog regularly for updates on the President Obama’s employment- based directives.