The New Senate Immigration Reform Bill

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In April 2013, the Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ released its proposal for overhauling our nation’s immigration system. Call the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (s.744), this bill proposes to eliminate the current immigration backlog, create new visa categories for high-skilled and skilled workers, overhaul our green card application system, and address the statuses of approximately 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.

Although only a bill at this point, this is the first serious effort by a bi-partisan group to address the immigration program in quite some time. In this informative webinar, attorneys Murali Bashyam and Ame Coats will educate the public on the bill and what they can expect if it, or something similar, is ultimately passed by Congress and signed by the President.

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The New Senate Immigration Reform Bill

  1. 1. What You Need to KnowAbout the New Senate Immigration BillMay 22, 2013Hosted by:Murali Bashyam and Ame CoatsBashyam Spiro & Coats LLPwww.bashyamspiro.comCONNECT WITH US:FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bashyamspiroTWITTER: www.twitter.com/bashyamspiro
  2. 2. Outline1. What is it?2. Current Status3. Remaining Steps4. Major ProvisionsToday’s Dialogue Map…
  3. 3. What is it?Comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by the“Gang of Eight”: 8 senators—4 Democrats and 4Republicans.Focuses on:• Securing borders• Creating path to citizenship for foreign nationals whoare present in the US without authorization• Prevent identity theft and unauthorized employmentthrough employment verification system• Improve the process for admitting foreign workers tothe US
  4. 4. Current StatusMost recently, the bill and 300 amendments to thebill have been under consideration by the SenateJudiciary Committee. The Committee approvedthe bill and 48 of those amendments last night.Next, the bill goes to the Senate floor for debateand eventual vote.
  5. 5. Next Steps• Bill goes to the Senate for debate and vote.• Once bill is passed by Senate, bill goes to the House ofRepresentatives. House can vote on Senate bill or it’s ownlegislation.•• If House votes on its own immigration legislation, then House andSenate must work together to reconcile bills. If not, both bills die.• Once both the House and the Senate approve the same bill, then thebill is sent to the President to sign.• After the President signs the bill into law, then the Department ofHomeland Security has to figure out how to enforce it--bordersecurity strategies first, then creating procedures, writing rules,creating new units of adjudicators, training, writing new forms and
  6. 6. Border SecurityWithin 180 days of enactment, Dept. of Homeland Security required tosubmit:1. “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy”• New surveillance systems including surveillance/detection used byDept. of Defense• Additional Border Agents• Unmanned aircraft and aerial systems2. “Southern Border Fencing Strategy”Bill also provides funding for Border Security provisions and other typesof assistance such as authorization to deploy National Guard to theSouthwest border for fence construction and surveillance.
  7. 7. Border Security cont.Border Security Implementation Tied to “Path to Citizenship”1. No one will be granted “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI)Status until DHS confirms that the Border Security and FencingStrategies have been developed.2. Most foreign nationals who obtain “Registered Provisional Status”will not be eligible to apply for a green card until:•Border Security and Fencing Strategies substantially deployed andoperational•Mandatory employment verification system implemented•Electronic exit system used at air/sea Ports of Entry
  8. 8. Employment Verification•E-verify mandatory for all employers—to be phased in over a 5 yearperiod•Photo matching systems—must present photo id that E-verify hasaccess to—work authorization card, green card, US passport, Driver’sLicense if provided by state database, etc.•Employees can “lock” their social security number in e-verify so that noone else can use their number.
  9. 9. Registered ProvisionalImmigrant Status“RPI” StatusCriteria for Most Applicants:•Residence in US prior to 12/31/2011•Maintenance of Continuous Residence in US since 12/31/2011•Pay $500 Penalty, accessed taxes, and filing fees•Not eligible for certain criminal offensesBenefits•Employment Authorization•Can travel outside the US•Spouses and children in the US can qualify as derivativesOther Details•Application period for 1 year with possibility of extension•Initial Grant for 6 year period•Not eligible for federal means-tested public benefits
  10. 10. RPI Status to LPR StatusAfter 10 years Registered Provisional Immigrants can apply toadjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status through the newMerit based system. (If RPI through DREAM Act or AgricultureProgram—only wait 5 years)However: all of those currently waiting for green cards based onthe priority date system must have had an opportunity to applyfor their green cards.Requirements•Maintained continuous physical presence•Paid all taxes owed while an RPI•Worked in the US regularly•Pass Civics and English Test•Pay $1000 penalty
  11. 11. Major Changes to CurrentGreen Card System• Backlog for Family and Employment-based immigrantswill be eliminated over a 10 year period• Cuts the current family-based categories.• Siblings of US Citizens are eliminated.• Married adult children of USCs are allowed, but only ifunder 31.• Spouse/child of LPR will be treated like spouse/child ofUSC (not subject to annual numerical limitation)• Diversity Lottery Program eliminated.
  12. 12. Major Changes to CurrentEmployment-based Green Card ProcessEliminates annual numerical limits on thefollowing:•Employment-based Derivative Beneficiaries•Aliens with Extraordinary Ability•Outstanding Professors and Researchers•Multinational Executives and Researchers•Doctoral Degree Holders in Any Field•Certain Physicians
  13. 13. Annual limitation on the number of employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) remains, butallocation changes:•40% to Advanced Degree Professionals (Arts Sciences,Professions, Business) and Master’s Degree in STEMwith Offer of Employment(5 Year Rule)•40% to Skilled Workers and Professionals•10% to Special Immigrants•10% to Job Creators
  14. 14. Startup Visa ActGeared Towards Job CreatorsBut Not Clearly Defined in Senate BillCreates employment-based conditional immigrant visa(StartUp Visa) for a sponsored alien entrepreneur:(1)With required amounts of financial backing from aqualified investor, government entity, or venturecapitalist; and(2) whose commercial activities will generate requiredlevels of employment, revenue, or capital investment.
  15. 15. Merit-Based Green CardsStarts 5 years after enactment.Point System that Considers:1.Education2.Employment3.Length of Residence in the US and4.Other considerations•120,000 Immigrant Visa Numbers Per Year (up to 250,000based on unemployment and demand)•Similar to Canadian Landed Immigrant Visa System
  16. 16. H-1B VisasBy the numbers:•Raises Regular Cap from 65,000 to 110,000 (Good Right?)•Can go as High as 180,000 Based on Demand•Master’s Cap from 20,000 to 25,000
  17. 17. H-1B VisasCurrent Law—Lose Job, Lose StatusSenate Bill—60 day Job Transition PeriodH-4 Work Authorization—(If sending country hasreciprocal law for US Citizens)
  18. 18. H-1B VisasHigher Wages, Fees and Bans•50 or More E’ees and more than 30%/less than 50% are H-1/L-1--$5000 per additional worker•50 or More E’ees and more than 50% are H-1/L-1--$10,000 peradditional worker•2014–If more than 75% E’ees are H-1/L-1—No more sponsorship•2015—65% and 2016—50%: No More SponsorshipRecruitment Requirement—Must Advertise on DOL Websitefor 30 days before Sponsoring H-1B Worker (Impact?)
  19. 19. W Visa• For Lower-skilled Workers (Not Bachelor’s Degree Positions)• Employers Must Register to Participate• New Agency—Bureau of Immigration and Market Research(Devise Cap, Position Methodology)• Initial Period 3 Years; 3 Year Renewals; Spouse and Children(Work Authorization)• Cannot be Unemployed for over 60 days• 30 Day Recruitment Requirement• Cap—20,000 First Year Increasing Up to 75,000 in SubsequentYears
  20. 20. Questions for us?
  21. 21. Thank You For Attending.VISIT OUR MEDIA LIBRARYWatch this and other webinars anytimehttp://bashyamspiro.com/media/video-webinar-podcast.aspxFor more information, contact:919-833-0840murali@bashyamspiro.comame@bashyamsprio.comCONNECT WITH US:FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bashyamspiroTWITTER: www.twitter.com/bashyamspiro

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