Visa Modernization under 2014 Executive Immigration Action

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a variety of executive administrative measures that his administration will undertake in order to improve and enhance the current immigration system in the United States.  A number of the President’s initiatives are aimed at U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and foreign workers.

In an effort to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs, the President announced that U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will work with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas.

To this end, the President has directed the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, in consultation various federal and non-federal public stakeholders and agencies and private stakeholders to develop recommendations to streamline the legal immigration system, including the processing of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Many businesses, foreign born workers, families and advocates, including the attorneys at Kolko & Associates, P.C., are hopeful that in setting forth their recommendations the Agencies consider eliminating the current policy of counting derivative applicants separately against the annual visa quotas for the Employment-Based and Family-Based visa preference categories. Experts agree that including derivative applicants under the same visa number allocated to the principal visa applicant would significantly eliminate the lengthy backlogs in the Employment-Based and Family-Based visa preference categories.

Similarly, permitting visa applicants in the preference categories to “recapture” and utilize past unused visa numbers would also lead to increased efficiency in the visa allocation system.

The DHS and State Department recommendations are to be issued no later than March 20, 2015.