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Changes to US & Canadian Immigration in 2021

Our Managing Partner, Rosanna Berardi, recently wrote about changes to US and Canadian immigration in The Lawyer’s Daily:

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for employment-based immigration will primarily focus on reversing what President Donald Trump has done since 2017. This includes turning back all of Trump’s executive actions restricting travel, limiting green cards and guest worker programs, and attempting to eliminate the DACA program. 

In his first 100 days in office, Biden plans to repeal Trump’s executive orders banning travel from 13 majority Muslim countries to the U.S.; restore the Obama administration’s workplace enforcement guidelines, which cracked down on employers hiring undocumented foreign nationals without work authorization; reverse the public charge rule, which denies immigrant visas to applicants receiving one or more public benefits for a period of 12 months during a 36-month period; implement a temporary moratorium on deportations; and end workplace raids and protect sensitive locations from enforcement actions. 

But beyond the quick reversals, Biden’s employment-based immigration reforms include:

  • increasing the number of employment-based green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, asserting that the current cap of 140,000 annually hinders a market approach to respond to demand;
  • eliminating country caps on employment-based visas to reduce country-specific backlogs;
  • creating a new, decentralized immigration stream for foreign workers that is based on local employers’ needs as well as a new visa option for entrepreneurs;
  • exempting U.S. graduates of Ph.D. programs in STEM fields from employment-based visa caps and providing foreign Ph.D. students with a green card with their degree;
  • allowing employers in certain industries to certify the need for seasonal foreign workers based on labour market studies and make it easier for seasonal workers to switch jobs;
  • creating a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

While Biden’s goal of creating comprehensive immigration reform would require bipartisan congressional co-operation and legislation, many anticipate that his efforts will make the employment-based visa process smoother for both employers and foreign workers…

Click here to read the full article on The Lawyer’s Daily website.