In his November 2014 executive order, President Obama announced his intention to grant legal status to some five million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. This change to the current visa system would likely cause a royal battle. Republicans, who are now in charge of both the House and the Senate, have many comments about the president’s plan, the most stated being that his proposal is problematic and inefficient.

Proposed Improvements and Limits

The president’s proposed order directs the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)to make more green card cases available. So called because these cards were colored green from 1946 to 1964 and again since 2010, they involve employment-based, permanent residents and attest to a person’s legal residency in the United States. However, the actual number of green cards that are allowed to be issued is set by law. The amount cannot be changed by, for instance, the president’s proposal. His change would allow an adjustment of status (I-485) application before a visa number becomes available. That would mean a change in current regulations, which is not mentioned in the executive order.

New Reforms for Employment Based Visas

Whatever reforms take place in the 21st century, the USCIS will continue to ensure that all available immigration visas will be used each year. The State Department is responsible for the control and issue of all immigrant visa numbers and has proposed improvements in the visa bulletin system to make the process easier to follow as well as understand. The USCIS will also modify its regulations with a smoother operation in mind.

Additional Goals

Another goal of visa reform is to give foreign national beneficiaries more stability. One plan concerns greater flexibility, such as allowing a person’s visa petition to remain valid even if he or she changes jobs. Such a move would reduce an individual’s dependence on a single employer.

Start Preparing Now!

Whatever changes are made to visa reforms in the 21st century, the process will take time. Acquiring a U.S. visa will still be very competitive. Anyone who is looking for permanent resident status through employment is advised to work with an experienced immigration attorney. To learn more about how you can benefit or are ready to begin pursuing employment-based permanent residency, contact KPPB Law.

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