Immigration reform has a significant impact on small businesses in the U.S. That’s why it’s important to keep up with developments in immigration reform; immigration reform and the economy and immigration reform and business go hand in hand. You should be aware of the following issues in immigration reform, but if you have any specific questions about immigration reform and business, the immigration lawyers in the Priori network are always available to help.
Executive Actions under the Obama Administration
Under the Obama Administration, executive actions have addressed four major categories of immigration reform.
Strengthening Border Security
Tightening border security and infrastructure has become a priority in immigration reform. More resources are being applied to increasing border patrol, streamlining the immigration court process, and creating stronger cross-border law enforcement partnerships.
Streamlining Legal Immigration
Another priority has been to streamline legal immigration processes and simplify the application for worker visas. This particular reform helps tie together immigration reform and the economy; success in this area could have a significant, positive impact on companies that employ immigrants, both for unskilled labor and for highly skilled positions. Furthermore, this area of immigration reform will provide portable work authorization for highly skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses, ensuring that highly-qualified employees can change jobs more easily. Finally, these reforms would clarify guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to the U.S. and modernize the labor market test applied, so that it would be easier for international companies to transfer key employees where they are needed in the U.S.
These immigration reforms would provide a provisional legal status to undocumented workers for those abiding by the law and paying taxes. They would also provide a path to citizenship for children brought to the country illegally provided that they attend college or serve honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years.
Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Illegal Immigrants
These immigration reforms would crack down on employers hiring illegal immigrants and create more regulations to prevent this practice. A large part of this area of immigration reform would include company participation in a mandatory electronic employment verification system that would be phased in over five years, mostly by expanding E-Verify or a similar program. It would also increase the penalties for companies hiring illegal immigrants, especially those doing so to avoid compliance with labor standards or who are seeking to abuse labor rights.
Another area of immigration reform involves the concept of startup visas. A startup visa would allow entrepreneurs to build startups in the U.S. after receiving an education here, rather than taking those businesses back to their home countries. This is another area where immigration reform and the economy go hand in hand. Startup visas would provide opportunities for American workers and entrepreneurs. The startup visa would have much lower requirements than the current business founder or investment visas, allowing applicants to develop technologies through innovation, even if starting with limited resources.
The proposed startup visa would be open to current holders of either H-1B founder visas or F-1 student visas. To keep the startup visa, the holder would have to employ two full-time, non-family employees after one year, and raise or invest $100,000 for the business. The Kauffman Foundation estimates that a startup visa could create anywhere between 500,000 to 1.6 million jobs in the U.S. over the next ten years.
Depending on your immigration needs, legal costs can vary dramatically. Hourly rates for immigration lawyers start around $150 per hour and range upwards to around $350 per hour. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and receive a free price quote from one of our lawyers.
What impact do immigration reform and business have on one another?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, immigration reform would increase real GDP by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033, an increase equal to about $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033—much of which would be earned by small businesses owned by immigrants and Americans alike. That said, the impact of new legislation aimed at curtailing the hiring of illegal immigrants in American small businesses has yet to be measured.
How will the 2016 presidential election impact immigration reform?
It’s still impossible to tell what ultimate impact the 2016 presidential election will have on immigration reform efforts, but it is clear that immigration will be an issue at the forefront of the election. If you want to know how any candidate’s proposed immigration policies could impact your business, an immigration lawyer would be able to help give you an idea of what the future might hold.