Securing a visa to come live and/or work in the United States is a top priority for hundreds of thousands of people every year, from the immigrant themselves to the companies and families who are waiting to welcome them.
In other words, there are a lot of people with a vested interest in visa laws and procedures, and a lot of people who will be affected by changes to this system. And change could certainly be coming, according to a recent announcement by President Trump.
According to news reports, Trump has suggested a change to how visa applicants are prioritized. Today, family members of U.S. citizens and legal residents take the first spot as the highest priorities for visas. However, Trump is planning to shift the system in favor of skilled workers.
The plan is to adopt a merit-based system of awarding visas, which would mean that highly skilled workers would be better positioned to receive visas than they currently are.
There has been a cautiously optimistic response to this announcement. On one hand, it could mean easing restrictions on current employment-based visas and making the U.S. a little more attractive for highly-skilled workers from every country. On the other hand, critics say that if the new policies come at the expense of other visa applicants, including families, then the shift may be more harmful than helpful.
If and how this change in policy is adopted remains to be seen. As with other recent announcements and changes to immigration procedures and guidelines, there seems to be more questions than answers. However, it is important to be aware of these and other potential changes to the immigration process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding employment-based or family visas, it can be a good idea to talk to an attorney who is familiar not only with current laws but also with changes that could be right around the corner.