Uncertainty regarding employment-related immigration regulations has not ebbed with the arrival of the New Year.

Employers may be losing employees to the possible elimination of H-4 EADs and STEM extensions. Major changes in the H-1B cap process, including pre-registration and new eligibility standards, also are said to be on the horizon. The Trump Administration reportedly wants to eliminate H-1B extensions for employees with pending Green Card cases.

This last possibility would be particularly troubling because long-term employees and their dependent family members might have to leave the United States and work elsewhere while they wait for their Green Cards – a process that can take years for many employees, including Indian nationals.

While such changes are expected or possible during 2018, businesses will find it difficult to plan for them.

For-profit employers are not the only ones affected by the expected changes. Non-profit universities in the U.S. are already feeling a financial pinch from the drop of foreign students. Foreign students contribute $39 billion in revenue to universities, and many schools, particularly in the Midwest, have come to rely on the growth of their foreign student population. At some state institutions, foreign students pay twice the tuition of in-state students. Schools have used that extra tuition money to expand programs and improve their bottom lines. Moody’s Investors Service has changed the credit outlook for higher education to “negative,” from “stable.” That may make it more difficult for some schools to borrow money for expansion.

U.S. institutions have been losing out to schools in other English-speaking countries, such as Canada and Australia. These countries have been trying to attract foreign students of the sort who, up to now, have been coming to the U.S. Recognizing the economic and other benefits of attracting and retaining highly educated workers, Canada has created a special path to citizenship and Australia has made its visa process easier.

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s travel bans and extreme vetting have made it more difficult and less appealing for foreign students to attend a school in the U.S. The possible cutback or elimination of OPT and STEM extensions also has reduced foreign student enrollment. The ability to participate in training after completing a degree in the U.S. has been a great draw, but those programs now may be on the chopping block.

Jackson Lewis attorneys will continue to follow these developments to help clients be ready to plan and adapt in this time of uncertainty.


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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.