Reports about the possible elimination of AC-21 extensions (for H-1B workers awaiting green cards) are now being denied by the government. The USCIS is attempting to quell fears caused by rumors that the Administration would eliminate H extensions beyond the six-year limit for certain individuals unable to file the last step in permanent residency, adjustment of status, because of per-country limits. The chief of media relations for the USCIS said that while the agency was considering regulatory and policy changes, “the USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States,” as long as their green card cases are pending. He noted, however, that even if the USCIS stopped granting the three-year extensions, most H-1B holders with pending green card cases would still be eligible for the one-year extensions under the current statute.
Elimination of these extensions was strongly opposed by many, including Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). In a letter to President Donald Trump, they argued the foreign nationals who would be affected “are working with the American immigration system, not against it.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opined that such a change would be a “tremendously bad policy” because it would “harm American business, our economy and the country.” And, advocacy groups for the especially vulnerable Indian tech industry mobilized lobbyists and others to argue against any such change.
Jackson Lewis will continue to follow these and other developments regarding the H-1B program.