From the White House to Capitol Hill, immigration reform has been a hot topic lately – but Congress has yet to introduce any legislation.
When they do, you’ll need to know the lingo so you can follow along. Herewith, an immigration reform primer . . . .
Terms you need to know:
- The U.S. government’s current electronic employment-verification system (EEVS) program is known as E-Verify.
- E-Verify is a federal, web-based program through which U.S. businesses can attempt to verify the work authorization of new hires. Although it’s currently a voluntary system, the federal government requires that all of its contractors use it. Some states have made it mandatory.
- H-1B visas are for highly educated foreign professionals in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree – or the equivalent. The visa is for 3 years, with a renewal for up to 6 years total. Visa holders may be sponsored for permanent visas by their employers.
- H-2A visas are for temporary agricultural workers. The visa is for up to 1 year, and can be renewed yearly for up to 3 years. Visa holders cannot be sponsored for permanent visas for the same job by their employers.
- H-2B visas are for “seasonal,” non-agricultural temporary workers. The visa is for up to 1 year and may be renewed twice for a total of up to 3 years. Visa holders cannot be sponsored for permanent visas for the same job by their employers.
- J1 and F1 visas are for students.
White House Action
- Framework on immigration reform was released at the end of January 2013 that mentions E-Verify.
- Some members of the Senate have outlined a comprehensive immigration reform effort that mentions E-Verify, but no legislation has been introduced.
- The House Committee on the Judiciary has held two hearings, but no one has introduced legislation.
Recent State Action
- There has been action at the state level in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah. Legislation mandating E-Verify has been attempted in Michigan – but not passed.