Mobility - July 2021 - 31

addressed, but hiring and training new staff takes
time, so companies should expect delays to continue.
The USCIS moved in late April to reinstate a
policy that allows USCIS to quickly adjudicate
renewal applications for H-1Bs, says Duehning, who
was hopeful the agency would also act to provide
automatic extensions for H-4 EAD and L-2 EAD
(Employment Authorization Document) cards that
permit spouses to continue working while their
renewal applications are being reviewed.
Significant changes in how H-1B work visas are
allocated-including whether requests will be prioritized
on the basis of salary versus the traditional
lottery system and how prevailing wage levels will
be determined for H-1B workers-are probably
years off, experts agree. But some improvements
may be closer at hand.
Global mobility professionals should be able to
get a good read by midsummer on how USCIS
under the Biden administration will handle the
visa adjudication process following several years of
unpredictability, said Alejandra Zapatero, managing
director attorney for Arlington, Virginia-based
Erickson Immigration Group (EIG), during an
interview in May.
Zapatero, who is based in San Francisco and
represents primarily technology companies, says
that she will also be looking to the monthly visa
bulletin issued by the Department of State in July
for indications of how soon workers can apply for
a green card granting permanent residency status.
Based on what she has been hearing, top-tier
visa holders seeking permanent residency and classified
as EB-1 from even India and China-which
have the highest volume of green card applicants
waiting to apply-are expected to be " current "
through the end of the year, meaning those at the
front of the line can apply immediately.
" The fact that EB-1 will remain current for even
those two most backlogged countries through the
end of the year would be big, so we should know
by July if that's the case, " Zapatero said in May.
Per-country caps now in place mean H-1B
workers from those countries face agonizing waits
of seven years or more just to apply for a green card,
but a provision in the proposed U.S. Citizenship
Act of 2021 would eliminate such caps.
While Zapatero and Duehning agree that
passage of a comprehensive immigration bill is
unlikely this summer-especially with infrastructure
legislation looming large-both think
the elimination of the caps could be among a
few key " carveouts " that move forward. Those
could also include measures to strengthen
the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA) policy.
Another potential win for the global mobility
industry mentioned by both Zapatero and Duehning
would be efforts by the Biden administration to
codify the H-4 EAD, which allows spouses of H-1B
visa holders to work. The policy was introduced via
executive order in the Obama administration.
While border security and related issues
of asylum, refugee status, and humanitarian
relief were the focus of immigration policy in
the early months of the Biden administration,
both Zapatero and Duehning are hopeful more
attention will be paid to establishing businessfriendly
policies.
In particular, they say, any rule prioritizing
H-1B work visa applicants based on salary level
and experience will need to consider the needs
of employers such as universities and health
care providers, which rely on a steady stream of
lower-wage workers, including students working
in the U.S. on temporary F-1 OPT (Optional
Practical Training) visas, which are good for
only 12 months.
The Biden administration is considering
proposals on how to restructure the wage-based
allocation process to address such concerns rather
than scrap it and return to a straight lottery-based
system. But a revised policy could be years away.
For now, says Duehning, just returning to a consistent,
expeditious approach to adjudicating visa
petitions by USCIS after years of unpredictability
would give global mobility executives and their
clients plenty to cheer about.
" Employers want to know that that H-1B [for
an employee] is going to get approved because it's
been approved for the last two cycles-nothing has
happened, the job was the same, " she says. " And
they want it approved in a time frame that this
employee is not going to fall out of status or have
to be taken off of payroll until they get this work
authorization. So, I think that's the goal. If we can
get back to that point by this summer, we'll feel a
little bit of weight off of our shoulders. "
31
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Mobility - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mobility - July 2021

Mobility - July 2021 - Cover1
Mobility - July 2021 - Cover2
Mobility - July 2021 - 1
Mobility - July 2021 - 2
Mobility - July 2021 - 3
Mobility - July 2021 - 4
Mobility - July 2021 - 5
Mobility - July 2021 - 6
Mobility - July 2021 - 7
Mobility - July 2021 - 8
Mobility - July 2021 - 9
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Mobility - July 2021 - 11
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Mobility - July 2021 - 48
Mobility - July 2021 - Cover3
Mobility - July 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility-february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_122020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_112020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_102020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_092020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_082020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_072020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_062020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_052020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_042020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_032020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_022020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_012020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_122019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_112019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_102019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_092019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_082019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_072019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_062019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_052019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_042019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_032019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_022019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/WERC/mobility_012019
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