Extreme vetting comes to employment-based immigration

In a busy weekend for immigration news, the Trump administration took another step toward restricting employment-based immigration. On the heels of Friday’s news concerning the pardon of the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the questionable future of DACA and of certain categories of J-1 exchange visitors, the administration significantly expanded its “extreme vetting” into employment-based immigration.

According to an internal Department of Homeland Security memo leaked to NBC News and Politico, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced its intention to interview all employment-based applicants who are seeking permanent residence through adjustment of status. Under current policy, most employment-based applicants are not required to attend interviews, a policy that has been in place for some time. In Fiscal Year 2015, roughly 122,000 people moved from an employment-based visa to lawful permanent residence (the green card), many of whom were not subject to in-person interviews. Although details are not widely known, it is anticipated that interviews will begin in October.

The overall impacts of this development are not known. However, it is clear that this is likely to significantly slow the immigration process for employment-based permanent residence. In addition, USCIS has indicated that the categories of visa applications that require interviews will expand in the future. This may mean that individuals looking to change from one non-immigrant status to another may also be required to attend interviews. As details are released, we will continue to update our site with the latest news.