US Immigration Regulatory Agenda Set for Coming Months

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced details of its semi-annual regulatory agenda for US immigration policy.

The document sheds further light on the Biden Administration’s priorities for employment-based immigration over the coming months.

Changes are as follows:

H1B program

Existing H1B program requirements and oversight are to be ‘modernized’. In particular, reforms will include:

  • Updating regulations concerning the employer-employee relationship.
  • Revising guidelines for site visits.
  • Resolving ‘cap-gap’ issues
  • Adding flexibility for start dates in limited circumstances.
  • Clarifying the requirement that an amended or new petition must be filed in the event of material changes.
  • The F-1 route would also be given additional flexibility.
  • Formal proposals are expected by the end of 2021.

USCIS fee changes

A previous move to increase USCIS immigration fees and charges on August 3, 2020, was blocked by a US court. DHS is now seeking to replace the previous charge rule and “establish new USCIS fees to recover USCIS operating costs.”

DHS said it aims to issue a proposed rule in November 2021.

Premium processing changes

A final rule is set to be implemented by the agency which would expand premium processing to cover a wider range of categories, with increased premium processing fees.

DACA program rule changes

One of the Biden Administration’s first moves relating to immigration was to publish a memo in support of protecting the DACA program.

The agency is now planning to publish a proposed rule in August “to preserve and fortify” DACA, although the program continues to face challenges in court.

Next steps

All proposed changes to regulations will be subject to a period of public notice and consultation, when feedback can be submitted by the public. DHS must review and consider all feedback before drafting and releasing a final regulation. This process can take several months.

US immigration advice

We continue to monitor developments in US immigration policy and procedure. If you have any queries or concerns about system changes, and the impact on your US immigration options and status, speak to our US immigration specialists.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.