Today, a bipartisan group of eight senators announced a proposal to reform the nation's immigration system. This proposal provides a path for citizenship for immigrants already living in the United States, and guest worker and employment verification system reforms.
The plan's four central themes are:
- Citizenship path for undocumented immigrants already in the United States contingent on border security and visa holder tracking improvements. The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.
- Business immigration system reforms, including reducing current visa backlogs and fast track permanent residence for American university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.
- Expanded employment verification system for all employers to confirm work authorization.
- Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.
While many predict the success of immigration reform legislation during this administration, these discussions are preliminary and no Bill has been introduced. In addition, the senators announced only general themes and working through details of immigration reform legislation will require significant effort and time. Accordingly, employers are reminded that if workers disclose unauthorized work status, existing immigration laws require employers to terminate employment and civil fines and criminal penalties are imposed for knowingly employing unauthorized workers.
If you have questions regarding this or the previously announced provisional unlawful presence waiver, please contact one of our immigration attorneys.
Also, please join us this Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:30 P.M. for a free informational session on both the provisional unlawful presence waiver and the potential changes to the immigration system.© 2013 Varnum LLP