As we approach the end of this federal fiscal year on September 30, 2016, and as Congress returns from its summer recess, there are a number of immigration matters that hang in the balance as legislators turn their attention to funding government operations after the September 30th year end. Conventional wisdom is that Congress will pass a continuing resolution extending existing levels of funding for some specified period without addressing specific funding bills such as the Obama administration’s request for additional funding to admit an increased number of international refugees in fiscal year 2017.
Also in the balance is a number of existing immigration related programs set to expire on September 30th unless extended by Congressional action.
- The EB-5 immigrant investor program is set to expire. This program was created in 1990 to stimulate job growth and capital investment and is the only visa program for foreign national investors that leads to permanent residence. There are several bills currently in the House and Senate to reauthorize the program but its future remains uncertain as we approach the fiscal year end.
- Physicians in the United States on J-1 visas utilize the Conrad 30 Waiver program to obtain a waiver of the J-1 visa two-year home residence requirement. The waiver is provided for physicians who agree to work for at least three years treating medically underserved populations in the United States. The Conrad 30 Waiver program is set to expire on September 30th without Congressional action.
- E-Verify is also set to sunset at fiscal year end. E-Verify is the federal government’s internet-based system used to confirm employment eligibility, comparing information from an employee’s Form I-9 to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. Expectations are that the E-Verify program will be extended for at least another year as it was in 2015.
- On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed an extension to the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program through September 30, 2016. This law, allowing these workers to immigrate or adjust to permanent resident status is also set to expire without further Congressional action.
The Immigration Law Team at Stock and Leader will continue to monitor the status of the programs described above as we approach the end of the 2016 federal fiscal year. Updated information will be provided as developments occur.