The budget deal in Congress yesterday included some immigration provisions. Some visa programs had deadlines so needed to be addressed.
The EB5 regional center (‘pilot’)Program was set to expire but like previous years, it was extended. This time is was extended until September 2016. In the past, the extensions have been for up to 3 years. What is surprising is that there were no changes made to the EB5 provisions despite much speculation. debate and even intention. A bill was introduced to raise the investment amounts and to create many tighter restrictions particularly to the regional center program. None of those were addressed. So, the program will continue on as usual.
H1b and L1 visas will be subject to higher visas fees. If the employer employs over 50 employees and if 50% or more are in non-immigrant visa status, then the combined fees will be increased by $4500 for L-1 visas and by $4000 for H1b visas. These fees will be until 2025 starting from the date the bill becomes law.
The H2B visa has some changes mentioned. The R1 visa program was extended also and was the physician provisions.
The Visa Waiver Program has restrictions specifically for people who may have visited Iraq or Syria or any other country under the terrorist designation. I will write details in a future post.