2017: Lessons Learned from a Year of Changes

As 2017 comes to a close, we reflect back on the immigration changes of the past 12 months. Three travel bans, the suspension of premium processing, repeal of DACA, and interviews for all employment-based green card applications, to name just a few. While immigration rules and policy are never static and are intended to change and evolve, this past year brought change at an unprecedented pace. With rumblings of new policy positions to come, things are unlikely to slow down in 2018.

To a great extent, these fluctuations are outside of our control. However, we can control the way in which we respond to and anticipate such change. What did we learn from the blitz of immigration changes in 2017?

Communication is key. Within this environment of constant change, the need for communication has never been greater. EIG strives to be first to break important policy developments. Constant change creates an environment of uncertainty, and with that, often a sense of anxiety. Recognizing that both foreign nationals as well as employers are looking for answers when a change occurs, EIG works to not only provide timely updates, but also clear analyses throughout our Dispatch articles, GloMo Alerts, direct emails, webinars and, of course, by phone.

Plan ahead to the extent possible. This general rule applies across the board. For foreign nationals, this means planning travel, visa stamping and petition filings well in advance. If you’re traveling and require visa stamping, schedule your visa interview for the beginning of your trip in case of delays due to administrative processing. For employers, plan new hire petition filings well in advance, allowing for sufficient time to gather the additional supporting documents and details that may now be required.

Err on the side of over-documentation (to your attorney). Let your attorney help you decide what information should be included in immigration filings. This year has taught us that more detail and information is being required for approval of petitions than what historically was required. For employers, this means providing detailed job descriptions and detailed job requirements. For employees, this means providing detailed CVs, college transcripts and copies of all degrees. Where the degree is not a perfect fit for the role, be prepared to provide experience letters that may be used to demonstrate qualification for the offered role.

Keep calm, and carry on. We look forward to working with you. Additional change is likely to come. This past year has taught us to remain steady while the ground shifts around us.