Biden Administrations Updated Regulatory Agenda Includes Immigration Employment Verification and Sustainability Rules - ISS Relocations

New regulations on immigration, employment verification, and sustainability are included in the Biden Administration’s updated regulatory agenda

There are several immigrations, employment verification, and sustainability-related new regulations in the Biden Administration’s Unified Agenda, released on 16 June.

In June, the Biden administration released its updated Unified Agenda, which provides updates on regulatory priorities across U.S. federal agencies twice a year. Several key issues have been identified by the Worldwide ERC® and its public policy forums in this Unified Agenda, including:

– Modernization of the H-1B programA proposed rule updating the H-1B program regulations has been pushed back to December 2023 at the earliest. The rule was previously scheduled for May 2023, but has now been shifted to October 2023. As part of this proposal, regulations relating to employee-employer relations will be revised, the registration process will be strengthened to mitigate misuse and fraud, “cap-gap” issues will be addressed, and new site visit guidelines will be implemented.

As a result of the registration issues experienced with FY 2024 H-1Bs, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had previously indicated that it would move this regulation forward this fall, and it is unclear why the Unified Agenda has now shifted the timing. FY 2025 H-1B aspects are not discussed in the Unified Agenda.

– USCIS Fee Adjustments: The final rule updating USCIS’s fee structure for immigration-related services is expected to be released in March 2024. When the proposed rule was released earlier this year, Worldwide ERC commented on its impact on employment-based immigration services.

Considering the timing, it is unclear if the fee adjustments would affect H-1B caps for FY 2025. Moreover, it is unclear whether employers will need to budget for 2024. Next year, employers will have to account for this uncertainty when calculating immigration-related expenses.

 Modernization of the H-2B program: A proposed rule from USCIS that updates the H-2B program is now scheduled for September 2023 at the earliest. Updated requirements would, among other things, reduce worker exploitation and abuse and increase worker protections. Additionally, it would improve program efficiency, as well as strengthen protections against prohibited payments and/or salary deductions in connection with recruitment and/or employment.

– PERM and H-1B wage protections: A proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor related to PERM and H-1B wage protections has been pushed to the long-term agenda, with publication expected in June 2024 at the earliest.

– Requirements for I-9 Document Reviews: The Department of Homeland Security will publish a final rule in August 2023 allowing the Secretary to authorize alternative examination procedures in some circumstances. Regulatory review of this rule was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on June 19, and this occurs prior to its publication.

A few months after ICE announced that COVID-19-related flexibility regarding physical documentation review would end, U.S. employers will have to inspect any documents verified electronically during the pandemic by 30 August 2023 in person. According to ICE, no impact is expected on the previously announced requirements as a result of this final rule.

– Climate Change Reporting: The Securities and Exchange Commission is now planning to publish its final rule in October 2023 at the earliest. A proposal for the proposed rule was submitted to the SEC in 2022 by more than 6,000 individuals and organizations. The rule would significantly increase the amount of environmental-related data companies must collect and disclose.

We will continue to monitor these potential regulatory changes in the United States through our public policy forums. Updates will be provided to members as they become available.

Currently, Michael T. Jackson is the vice president of public policy and member engagement at Worldwide ERC.

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