The Biden administration released its Spring 2023 Unified Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda. The agenda provides the public with notice of the Executive Branch’s plan to issue agency rules and regulations. The most recent Unified Agenda provides some insight into the Biden administration’s plans with regards to immigration policy. Notably, the Department of Labor has postponed its plan to propose increases in prevailing wages for the H-1B, PERM, and other wage-protected immigration programs.
Other particularly noteworthy upcoming immigration rules are noted below:
- Updated USCIS Fee Schedule (final rule expected 03/2024)
- USCIS published a proposed fee rule in January 2023 and the public comment period ended in March 2023. USCIS is expected to publish their final fee rule in March 2024 with implementation shortly thereafter.
- Optional Alternative to the Physical Examination Associated With Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) (final rule expected in 08/2023)
- ICE published a proposed rule in August 2022 and the public comment period ended in October 2022. ICE was supposed to publish their final rule in May 2023, but that has been pushed to August 2023.
- Modernizing H-1B Requirements and Oversight and Providing Flexibility in the F-1 Program (proposed rule expected in 12/2023)
- The rule will revise H-1B policy relating to “employer-employee relationship,” provide flexibility for start-up entrepreneurs, implement new requirements for H-1B dependent employers, provide flexibility on the employment start date (in limited circumstances), address “cap-gap” issues, improve the H-1B registration process to reduce the possibility of misuse and fraud, and other related changes.
- Improving the Regulations Governing the Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Residence and Related Immigration Benefits (proposed rule expected in 12/2023)
- The rule will permit the transfer of underlying basis of a pending adjustment of status application, amend the definition relating to ineligibilities under INA section 245(c), change the age calculation under the Child Status Protection Act, and authorize employment authorization for certain derivative beneficiaries waiting for immigrant visa availability when they present compelling circumstances.
- Citizenship and Naturalization and Other Related Flexibilities (proposed rule expected in 12/2023)
- The rule will clarify naturalization testing requirements, update eligibility requirements, and propose amendments to clarify definitions, among other provisions.
- State Department Proposed Rules re: Exchange Visitors
- State Department: Documentation of Immigrant Visas (final rule expected 12/2023)
- In March 2023, the State Department published a proposed rule no longer permitting the informal evaluation of a family members’ visa eligibility if the principal applicant precedes them.
- State Department: Personal Appearance Waiver for Immigrant Visa Applicants (final rule expected 10/2023)
- The rule will amend the requirement that immigrant visa applicants personally appear before a consular officer.
- Implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at U.S. Land Borders (final rule expected in December 2023)
- CBP published an interim final rule implementing the ESTA requirements for Visa Waiver Program participants in April 2022 and the rule went into effect in May 2022. A final rule is expected to be published in December 2023.