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Update on President Obama’s Executive Action

President Obama’s Executive Action back in November has been on hold. However, 4 parts of it have continued to go forward.

1) They are providing work authorization for certain H-4 spouses. Certain spouses of H-1B workers who are on the pathway to LPR status are able to have work authorization. This regulation took effect May 26, 2015.

2) Clarifying options for intra-company transfers to the United States. USCIS will issue a final memorandum that will go into effect on August 31, 2015.

3) Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers. The Department of Labor has expanded and strengthened its support for victims of qualifying crimes (U status) and human trafficking (T status) who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. There has been an increase of qualifying crimes for both of these immigration statuses. They include crimes of extortion, forced labor, and fraud in foreign labor contracting.

4) Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. On July 15, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security issued a proposed rule to expand access to the provisional waiver program to all statutorily eligible classes of relatives for whom an immigrant visa is immediately available, including immediate relatives, family sponsored, employment-based, and special immigrants, allowing these individuals an opportunity to avoid family separation.

The Department of Homeland Security continues to work on a couple of other areas as well. These are 1) Expand opportunities for foreign investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs and 2) Strengthen and improve the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program for foreign students and graduates from U.S. universities.

Immigration continues to change frequently. I will try to continue to keep you informed of changes.