Some alert members have contacted MSEC with concern about the imminent expiration of the authorizing legislation for the E-Verify program, which was to sunset at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2012.
Despite its general state of deadlock, both houses of Congress managed to pass the re-authorizing legislation, and it was signed into law by President Obama in the nick of time on Friday, September 28. Authorization for E-Verify remains limited to three years under the legislation, until September 30, 2015.
Three other immigration benefits programs were also re-authorized: the EB-5 regional center program, the special immigrant nonminister religious worker program, and the Conrad 30 State Interest J-1 visa waiver program.
The Conrad 30 program grants a J-1 waiver to foreign national physicians who agree to work for three years in a medically under-served area or serving a medically under-served population. This provision was of special interest to MSEC because, as staff immigration attorney Chris Bauer notes, “We represent several member hospitals or medical clinics utilizing this provision.”
Other immigration-related events triggered by the new federal fiscal year are the release of the 2012-13 allotment of H-1B and immigrant visas. This permits new H-1B workers with approved petitions to start work in their new status immediately. The release of immigrant visas permits those seeking permanent residency to resume forward progress as the annual allotments for each category were renewed. This has particular impact this year on those in the EB-2 preference category because of the retrogression and unavailability experienced in 2012.
If you have questions in these areas, please contact attorney Chris Bauer. MSEC’s Immigration Services Unit handles both workplace compliance questions and questions related to nonimmigrant and green card processes for members.