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NOTES ON THE DRAFT EXECUTIVE ORDER AFFECTING H-1B VISAS

Employers of individuals holding H-1B  and other forms of employment-based visas may be concerned about a draft Executive Order that has been circulated by the media.  While immigration attorneys at the Mitzel Group recognize the serious consequences this order would have to employers, we want to emphasize that this is a draft Executive Order that has not yet been signed by President Donald Trump.  The final version of the order and its mandates remain to be seen.  It is also uncertain at this time whether President Trump will sign the order or leave reform of the employment-based visa system to Congress.

The draft executive order would reduce the scope of employment-based visas and contains a variety of provisions. Among them, the order would reverse the current OPT extension available to F-1 visa holders in a STEM field, reform the H-1B and J-1 visa programs, and increase site visits to employers with L-1 employees.  The overall objective of the order is to “prioritize[] the interests of American workers.”

Unlike the Executive Order affecting individuals from select countries that took effect on January 25, 2017, this draft  Executive Order would not take immediate effect.  Rather, the order directs the Director of Homeland Security to take appropriate measures to achieve the order’s objective within varying time frames.  Thus, procedural and administrative changes enacted by the draft Executive Order are unknown at this time.

Your immigration attorneys at the Mitzel Group will keep you apprised if and when this draft Executive Order is signed by President Trump. As always, please contact us with any questions.