With the close of 2012 and the upcoming New Year, all signs point to 2013 being a very dynamic year in terms of the country's immigration laws and regulations. Following the presidential election, both political parties have recognized the need for comprehensive immigration reform. This likely means a renewed focus both on border security, but also upon reforming current employment-based visas (probably including an expanded guest-worker program and more H-1B visas available on a yearly basis) and potentially (but less likely), addressing the severe backlog associated with family-based visa applications. With some family-based categories taking over 10 years before becoming available, the current system is in significant need of overhaul. National business leaders have voiced concerns about the shortage of temporary skilled worker visas (H-1Bs) available on a yearly basis, which may push for an increase in the numbers of availability.
In addition to these potential changes, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to roll out its new regulations concerning the I-601A Waiver of Inadmissibility, which will permit individuals already in the United States to apply for waivers of forgiveness for having remained in the United States for a longer time than permitted. Typically, to apply for such a waiver, an individual must first leave the country, be considered subject to a bar against re-entry and then apply for a waiver, all of which can take months, if not years, to completed. This alternative route, the I-601A, is specifically designed to alleviate the amount of time necessary that a family member must remain outside of the country before being permitted re-entry.
All told, 2013 holds the potential for being a very exciting year with respect to our current national dialogue regarding the direction of our country and the future of the nation.
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