Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Immigration & Compliance Law 
President Obama Announces Immigration Changes


On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his Executive Action on Immigration Reform.  While the executive action addresses several different aspects of U.S. immigration law, I am only listing the highlights that pertain to employment-based immigration matters.


The President's plan to modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs will benefit U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.


The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) will:

  • Finalize a rule to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status.
  • Work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations to expand and extend the use of optional practical training (OPT) for foreign students.
  • Provide clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of "specialized knowledge" to bring greater clarity and integrity to the L-1B program, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies' confidence in the program.
  • Work with the Department of State (DOS) to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas.
  • Work with the DOS to modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make determinations of visa availability.
  • Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays.
  • Clarify the standard by which a national interest waiver may be granted to foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to benefit the U.S economy.
  • Authorize parole, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

Other changes that were mentioned include:

  • The ability of individuals with approved employment-based immigrant petitions who are caught in the quota backlog will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment (i.e. applications for employment and travel authorization). This is expected to impact over 400,000 people. This will be done by regulation.
  • Modernizing the visa system with a view to making optimal use of the numbers of visas available under law. Issues such as whether derivatives should be counted towards the visa quota and whether past unused visa numbers can be recaptured are expected to be included in this effort.

Please note that these benefits are not currently available. These changes will take effect upon the issuance of new guidelines and regulations. As the White House and the related Government agencies provide additional information over the coming days and weeks, I will send out updated Client Alerts. 

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If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided in this email, please don't hesitate to contact me.




Leila Freijy
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Leila Freijy, Esq.
3150 Livernois Road
Suite 145
Troy, MI 48083
248.287.4115 (fax)