Obama’s Executive Action for US Immigration Reform

Yesterday, 20th November 2014 President Obama announced a series of executive actions to implement major changes in US immigration law and a summary of all the details of the announcement can be found on the White House web site. This is a major change in US immigration law and the news reports have focused mainly on the affect it will have on those who are in the US without legal status but there are changes that can affect those who are currently living outside the US. It is important to note that these executive actions haven’t changed immigration law but instead the USCIS and other agencies and offices are responsible for implementing these initiatives as soon as possible.

Much of Obama’s executive action focus on those who may not have legal status in the US but there are also directives to “modernize” the US immigration system which will affect US businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers. As my practice focuses on investment and employment based immigration I’m providing a brief summary of some of the changes that will be implemented soon that will effect these areas of US immigration law:

1. Modernizing the Employment-Based Immigrant Visa System

2. Reforming “Optional Practical Training” for Foreign Students and Graduates from US Universities

3. Promoting Research and Development in the United States

4. Bringing Greater Consistency to the L-1B Intra-Company Transferee Visa Program

5. Increasing Worker Portability

More details about each of these areas will be discussed shortly.