Immigration Reforms and Updates from DHS and DOS


In a press release dated January 31, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a number of proposed administrative reforms designed to enable the United States to attract and retain highly skilled foreign nationals. These reforms, which will not be effective until regulatory or administrative action is taken to implement them, include the following:

• Eligibility for a 17-month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization would be expanded to include students who have a prior degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field and would not be limited to those who have just graduated with a degree in a STEM field. At present, only students whose most recent degree is in a designated STEM field may obtain a 17-month OPT extension. Under this proposed change, for example, a student that has just graduated with degree in business administration, but earlier obtained a degree in electrical engineering, would be eligible for a 17-month OPT extension. It is not clear if DHS plans to allow individuals whose earlier degrees in STEM fields were obtained overseas to qualify for this extension. DHS also indicated that it will review “emerging fields” of study for possible inclusion in the list of designated STEM fields.
• H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B employees would be allowed to work once the principal H-1B visa holder has begun the employment-based permanent resident process, provided that the H1-B spouse has completed a yet-to-be-determined minimum period of H-1B status in the United States. At present, H-4 dependents may only work once they have filed an adjustment of status application and received an Employment Authorization Document. The proposed change might allow H-4 dependents to accept employment while their H-1B spouses are undergoing the PERM labor certification application or immigrant petition process, provided the H-1B spouse has held H-1B status for the requisite period of time...

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morgan Lewis | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Morgan Lewis on:

JD Supra Readers' Choice 2016 Awards
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.