Milestones for 2023 and next steps in 2024


2023 has been an eventful year in the world of business immigration, marked by unprecedented changes that have significantly reshaped the landscape. From record-breaking H-1B registrations to pivotal policy changes, the past year has been full of challenges for immigration professionals, international employees, and their families. As we head toward 2024, we want to review the highlights of 2023 and look ahead to what immigrants and their families can expect in 2024.

2023: a year of challenges and changes

Record H-1B registrations: a call for system reform

In 2023, we witnessed a staggering 781,000 H-1B work visa registrations. With 96,000 people accounting for 408,000 of those entries, this year’s edition H-1B Lottery highlighted potential abuses of the system and highlighted the need to review the selection process. USCIS is currently considering changes to the lottery system, favoring a one-entry-per-person model to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants.

PERM Case Settlements: Balancing Compliance and Non-Discrimination

Following the 2021 Facebook green card dispute, $25 million settlement from Apple following allegations of employment discrimination under its PERM green card sponsorship program compliance issues to the forefront in 2023. These cases, while consistent with green card sponsorship regulations, have sparked discussions about how standard recruiting practices should align with PERMED process. The challenge is to maintain compliance with PERM recruitment standards while ensuring that these practices do not result in discrimination. This situation highlights the need to strike a balance between adhering to PERM guidelines and adhering to non-discriminatory recruiting policies.

Retrogression of the priority date: immigrants in limbo

The impact of COVID-19 has led to a decrease in the number of family visas postponed, which has resulted in a considerable impact on family visas. delay in priority dates. In 2021 and 2022, we saw a significant number of unused family visa numbers due to the pandemic which resulted in the closure of consular posts around the world and temporarily halted the processing of family files. These unused figures were carried forward for use in employment-based categories. This situation has created widespread uncertainty among many immigrants awaiting visas. To remedy this, USCIS implemented new measures in 2023, notably extending the validity of Work Authorization Documents (EAD) And Early conditional release (AP) up to five years. This extension provides significant relief to immigrants stuck in this extended waiting period, providing them with more stable and secure status in the meantime.

Increase in administrative processing

In 2023, we have seen a significant increase in administrative procedures, a trend that has crucial implications for immigration delays. Reasons for this increase include increased security screenings, increased review of applications, and a backlog exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend highlights the need for more efficient processing methods and transparent communication from immigration authorities.

Interested in our bi-weekly newsletter on business immigration?

Enter your email below.

2024: prepare for more changes and new initiatives

DOS Pilot Program for Visa Renewal in the United States

An important development to watch in 2024 is the Department of State (DOS) pilot program for H-1B visa renewals in the United States. This initiative, limited to 20,000 applications, is a welcome change for H-1B visa holders, particularly those who previously obtained their visas from U.S. consulates in India or Canada. The application window, which runs from January 29 to April 1, 2024, will see around 4,000 application places released each week until February 26. To be eligible, applicants must currently be in the United States with valid H-1B status and a valid H-1B I. -94. This program marks a significant change in the visa renewal process, providing a streamlined approach for certain H-1B holders and potentially reducing the need for international travel for visa stamping, a common challenge in the current system.

Modernizing the H-1B: towards a fairer system

2024 is poised to bring significant changes to the world H-1B Visa Program through the implementation of modernization rules and a move towards a fairer system. The most notable change is the change in H-1B Lottery Selection Process, which will now focus on unique beneficiaries rather than unique registrations. The aim is to level the playing field by reducing the chances of multiple entries by the same person, thereby increasing opportunities for a wide range of applicants. Additionally, the Cap-Gap Protection, which is crucial for many international students transitioning to a work visa, will be extended until April 1 of the fiscal year. This extension will allow employers to request a start date on or after October 1 for their employees, providing greater flexibility and security in continued employment.

DoL approach to processing times for persons with disabilities

The Department of Labor (DOL) is currently undergoing significant changes to its approach to prevailing wage determinations (PWDs), a critical component of the employment-based visa process. To accommodate new Standard Occupational Classifications (SOCs) and increased application volume, the DOL conducted extensive “pressure testing,” leading to a new standard processing time of six months for individuals with disabilities in 2024. This change reflects a desire to manage the influx more efficiently. and with precision. Additionally, the introduction of new streamlined two-page Disability Labor Certification forms, now integrated into USCIS systems, is indicative of a closer and more coordinated relationship between the DOL and the USCIS. This integration is expected to facilitate smoother processing and better alignment between agencies, ultimately benefiting employers and candidates by providing more predictable and reliable processing times.

Emerging EFA Laws and Their Impact on Immigration

The expansion of Equal Pay and Transparency (EPT) laws is expected to have a significant impact on the immigration landscape in 2024. Following in the footsteps of New York and California, states like Hawaii and Illinois are expected to enact EFA laws within the next year. This development is particularly relevant for employers involved in the green card process, which requires labor market testing through advertised job openings for current employees seeking employment. PERM certification. As this trend continues to spread across the United States, it is crucial for companies sponsoring employees for PERM-related green card processes to align their recruiting practices with these state-specific EPT laws.

If we look ahead to 2023 and 2024, it is clear that the world of business immigration to the United States is constantly evolving. We hope that the changes and challenges we have faced this year will pave the way for a more streamlined and equitable immigration process in the future. Keep an eye on these developments to stay ahead in the dynamic world of business immigration.

Leave a comment