New Appropriations Act Would Affect Many Aspects of Immigration Law

This week, President Bush signed into law H.R. 1268, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005. This act included a few provisions that directly relate to immigration. These provisions are as follows:

The REAL ID Act: This act “alters the standards and evidentiary burdens governing asylum applications, applications for withholding of removal, and other discretionary grants of relief from removal,” according to the USCIS. This Act specifically would impact asylum cases, the issuance of driver’s licenses, border security and free speech.

Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act: This Act would provide an exemption for the numerical cap for any foreign workers who have been counted toward H-2B visa numbers during any one of the previous three fiscal years.

Professional Visa for Australian Nationals : This portion of H.R. 1268 would provide for reciprocal visas for nationals of Australia involved in a specialty occupation.

Recapture of Visa Numbers for Schedule A Occupations: This Act would place unused employment-based visa numbers from fiscal years 2001-2004 back into use for future fiscal years when there is a demand for EB-1, 2 and 3 that exceeds the available numbers. This program would only be applicable to Schedule A immigrants (nurses, physical therapists and certain performing artists).

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