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SPONSOR FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRANTS BEFORE “RAISE ACT” ELIMINATES KEY CATEGORIES

21 Aug

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) recently introduced the “RAISE Act”, which would dramatically decrease legal immigration to the United States, principally by eliminating key family-based immigrant categories, in addition to other major changes in the immigration system.

Many Family based immigration categories eliminated:

Under the RAISE Act, key family-based immigrant categories would be eliminated. Specifically, the following sponsorship opportunities would no longer exist:

  1. U.S. citizens would no longer be able to sponsor their parents for immigrant visas.
  2. U.S. citizens would no longer be able to sponsor their adult sons and daughters.
  3. U.S. Permanent Residents would no longer be able to sponsor their adult sons and daughters.
  4. U.S. citizens would no longer be able to sponsor their siblings.

While Foster does not currently anticipate the RAISE Act will become law, it is possible that some form of restriction on family-based immigration will be enacted, either as part of the RAISE Act or through other compromise legislation.  Accordingly, qualifying sponsors who would like to sponsor family-members under the types of sponsorship described above should contact their Foster immigration attorney to initiate the sponsorship process at this time.  Even if a particular immigrant category is eliminated before a relative is able to complete the immigration process, it is possible that applicants for whom the process has already started will be “grandfathered” and thus allowed to continue the process.

The Diversity Lottery eliminated:

Under the RAISE Act, the Diversity Visa program would also be eliminated.  This program, also known as the “visa lottery,” promotes the diversity of our immigrant population by setting aside visas for applicants who come from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States.  For more information on the visa lottery, please refer to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web page.  The next lottery opening is expected in October 2017.

Employment based immigration based on a point system:

Another key provision of the RAISE Act would be the establishment of a points-based system based on education and skill level rather than on sponsorship by employers for specific workers that possess skills and knowledge needed by the business.  A points-based system would be an unprecedented change in the way the federal government decides who is eligible for and can become permanent residents without taking into account the needs of the job market.  U.S. employers would not have a role in selecting the workers they need.

Employers are advised to consider initiating permanent residency sponsorship of their valued foreign workers sooner rather than later.  While the RAISE Act will face strong opposition and is not anticipated that this version will become law, future changes to our immigration system could result in greater difficulty in retaining talent.

Foster will continue to monitor legislative proposals and will provide information on key proposals and bills that gain traction in future Immigration Updates© and via Foster’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.