Immigration Law Changes for 2020

March 9, 2020

Every year, immigration laws and expectations change in the United States. In 2020, several immigration updates will affect employers and employees. Even small changes can have a big impact on the documented immigrants working in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the nation. The following are a few of the immigration news items most important for companies and the immigrants they hire.

H-1B Lottery and Applications

When businesses in the United States need workers to perform specialized tasks, they sometimes bring immigrants in from foreign countries. The immigrants are legally allowed to work for a specific period under an H-1B visa. This year, the H-1B visa lottery selection will allow employers to submit applications online. The applications will then go into a lottery system automatically. The lottery is a simplified way for the United States to distribute 65,000 H-1B Regular Cap and 20,000 H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption visas. The lottery application process is scheduled to go into effect March 1, when employers can submit their petitions electronically.

Redefinition of Specialty Occupation

Currently, H-1B visas are typically given to employees who have the credentials and experience to fulfill specialty occupation roles. These often includes highly technical skill sets, such as high-end computer programmers. However, some legislators want to see the term, specialty occupation, more clearly defined. Narrowing the definition could lead to fewer immigrants coming into the country, or more immigrants being denied the ability to work in the United States because they no longer meet strict background standards.

Updates to H-4 Permits

When a married individual comes to the United States on an H-1B work visa, the individual’s spouse may be able to apply for and receive an H-4 work permit. The H-4 work permit enables the spouse to earn a living while the couple resides in the country. According to statistics, many Indian women routinely use H-4 work permits to continue their careers while their husbands work in specialized fields at United States-based companies.

In 2020, the overall number of H-4 work permits given to foreign spouses may dwindle to record numbers. Government agency officials say that making it harder to get an H-4 work permit removes some of the barriers for citizens to find jobs. Though no date has been set to limit H-4 work permits, many immigration experts feel that 2020 will be the year that changes will take place.

DACA Decisions

Teen and grown children of undocumented immigrants can work like citizens in the United States per the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In 2020, certain DACA participants may find themselves out of jobs due to a proposed and expected government curtailment of the practice of allowing work permits for these young people. Employers may be faced with the need to fill tens of thousands of positions every month as they lose DACA employees from their payrolls.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients with Changes to Immigration Law

If you are an undocumented immigrant and have immigration law concerns, please contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC. Call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.