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Department of Homeland Security Releases its Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released it spring 2018 regulatory agenda, proposing significant changes to the B-1 and B-2 temporary visitor categories, the H-1B and EB-5 programs, F-1 practical training, and H-4 employment authorization.

B-1 and B-2 Classifications: DHS intends to propose a rule to clarify the criteria for these classifications which could limit permissible business activities. For a current list of permitted activities on a B-1 visa, please click here. The anticipated publication date is November 2018

Termination of the H-4 employment authorization program: A proposal to rescind regulations that permit certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization. This proposal was first introduced back in December 2017. The anticipated publication date is June 2018.

H-1B Cap Lottery Pre-Registration and Selection: A proposal that would require H-1B petitioners to pre-register for the H-1B cap lottery and to submit cap petitions only after they have won cap numbers. The anticipated publication date is July 2018.

Fee Increases: A proposed rule to increase Student and Exchange Visitor Program fees and USCIS filing fees. The last comprehensive fee increase was in December 2016. The anticipated publication date is September 2018.

EB-5 Immigration Investor Regional Center Program: A proposal to make regulatory changes to the Regional Center program. There have been many proposals to change the Regional Center Program since the program first expired a few years ago, every year since, the Program has been extended without change. The anticipated publication date is March 2019.

EB-5 Modernization Rule: A proposal which could raise minimum investment amounts to the program (currently at $500,000). The anticipated publication date is August 2018.

Changes to OPT for Foreign Students: A proposed comprehensive revision of practical training rules for F and M foreign students. Proposals to tighten the requirements for OPT STEM are already in effect. The anticipated publication date is October 2018.

These proposals do not have an immediate effect on current programs, however it is a clear indication of the Trump Administration’s continued plans to restrict foreign presence in the United States. In most cases, the DHS is expected to publish proposed regulations through regular administrative procedures. This normally includes a comment period to allow individuals and organizations to provide feedback, though this is not always guaranteed. Proposed rules would not take effect until the agency completed the regulatory approval process, which normally takes several months or more.

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