Department of Homeland Security Reportedly Considering Changes to 7th Year H-1B Extension Rules — Just Kidding

23:31 09 January in News Updates


  As we advised on Friday the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was reportedly considering new regulations that would limit the ability of certain H-1B workers in the green card process to obtain an extension of their H-1B status beyond the usual six-year limit of authorized stay.

Today McClatchy DC reported:

“Under intense pressure from the business and technology communities, the Trump administration appears to be backing away from a policy change that could have forced foreign tech workers out of the country.”
   USCIS, through its Chief of Media Relations, Jonathan Withington, responded that “‘The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programs’ . . . However. . .’What we can say. . .is that USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit,'” the agency told McClatchy.  “‘Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.’

Withington said that USCIS was never considering such a policy change and that ‘any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.’

But multiple sources with direct knowledge of the conversations inside the department said that was not true, and that the administration had shifted over the last two weeks in response to the swift and harsh reaction from the business community.”

So, either the administration changed its position due to pressure from the business and technology communities, or the whole story was the figment of someone’s very creative imagination.   Either way, this update is a good sign and a relief to potentially impacted workers and their employers.

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your LAC attorney, and we’ll do our best to guess which way the wind will blow tomorrow.

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