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05 October 2011

Addressing the Challenges Ahead: Immigration and American Competitiveness

Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Recently, I had the opportunity to give remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event, hosted by the National Chamber Foundation and the Partnership for a New American Economy, focused on immigration and American competitiveness.

Director Mayorkas (right) prepares to speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Photo: David Bohrer /© U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Above: Director Mayorkas (right) prepares to speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Photo: David Bohrer /© U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

My remarks emphasized the tools we have in current immigration law to grow our nation’s economy and the progress we are making to support American businesses.  Business leaders understand the obstacles to attracting top talent in an increasingly competitive world. The contributions that immigrants make to American prosperity are undeniable, and we must work in the short-term to use existing immigration tools more efficiently and effectively.

USCIS has taken several significant steps in three main channels to improve our effectiveness: policy, process and people. These include:
  • Clarifying our policies to reflect the availability of the H-1B visa and National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category to foreign-born entrepreneurs, and providing the corresponding training;
  • Expanding accelerated, or premium processing to immigrant petitions for certain multinational executives and managers;
  • Providing new training, starting in early October, to our adjudicators in the review of L-1 petitions;
  • Making significant changes in the way in which we adjudicate cases in the immigrant investor, or EB-5, program – a program designed to create jobs in America.
In addition, USCIS will hire people with business experience and consult with business leaders to inform our policy development and training. This will allow us to more ably address the realities and needs of the business community we serve.

We have many challenges before us. Each presents an opportunity to better our immigration system in an effort to improve our nation’s economic prosperity. America’s entrepreneurial spirit attracts the best and the brightest from around the world whose talents, skills and ideas are essential to growing this nation’s economy. USCIS has taken significant steps and will continue to make progress so that the engine of growth that is American business can thrive.



At October 6, 2011 at 1:47:00 AM EDT , OpenID Chris C said...

Great news! Please also take a look at some of the legal immigration-related petitions getting a lot of votes at the "We the People" page at, particularly ones that might help H4 visa holders with approved I-140's seek employment:



At October 7, 2011 at 7:56:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Mayorkas,

What about professionals like me having multiple degrees (including a masters) and several years of experience who are stuck in EB3 in a long wait (more than 10 years?) only because I was unlucky to get a EB3 job or that my Employer preffered to file in EB3 as an added insurance of a "locked-in employee" for years to come without any career prospects? Is it fair to provide all the overflow visas from EB1 to EB2 rather than divying it up fairly to both categories therby providing relief to EB3 as well? EB2 applicants in FY10 and FY11 alone received 10,000 visas each year 3 times more than EB3. There is little difference between a EB2 or EB3 job - it is left to the company to define it and most of them go for EB3 classification because they can keep the employees indefinitely.

Added to this fact is the inability of EB3 individuals to get promoted or file for EB2 porting easily on promotion. Neither is any incentive for the company to promote such a person in this AOS status. USCIS also makes it extremely diffcult for the individual to seek employment in another company with better career prospects by attaching the "same or similar" job requirements (AC21) and interpretting it very narrowly.

You might have already come across a study conducted by a research firm which claims the prospects for immigrants are not bright.

Please, please, please look into these significant issues. I have already contributed enough to the economy by purchasing a house and big ticket items,paying taxes, contributing to social security despite not being in the permanant status and thereby not eligible for social security and other benefits including scholarships for my child.What is the incentive for me when I could have safely stashed away cash abroad instead of investing in the American economy? There are several thousand undecided immigrants waiting in the wings to do exactly that thereby raising the economy and contributing to this great country that is also the new home to us.Please understand that by granting green cards to us highly skilled professionals, ultimately the country benefits. Please don't let us lose faith in the immigration system and this great country.

At October 10, 2011 at 4:41:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Respected Sir,

If what Chris says here is true, that H4 visa members may get an opportunity to work, why not include those on F2 status (dependent spouses of foreign students) and permit them to work too?

I have a daughter who came to the United States at age 13, studied in high school here, graduated with a stem degree in a college here, age 22 and has a good moral character, working on OPT in a State University as Research Specialist and yet for her to get a green card she has to complete grad school or get a sponsor for H1B - how many more years to wait? We are here already nine years and depleted almost all of our savings chasing an American Dream.

Besides, apparently the way the bill is now proposed, she will neither qualify for a green card under the DREAM Act if it passes because the only criteria for eligibility she does not fulfill is that she is not undocumented. When the DREAM Act was originally initiated, the word 'A' stood for "Alien" and there was no discrimination between the documented and undocumented students.

Similarly, I am here as a dependent spouse of a foreign student and though I am qualified and skilled, yet I have wasted these precious years of my life doing nothing other than some volunteer work now and then to keep myself busy. Even this I had to give up in recent years because it would cost me to commute to and fro to the location and without an income, any expenditure pinches the pockets.

Hence, Sir, as you and your staff are doing their best to address people's genuine difficulties, it would be appreciated by many if you could look into the problems I have mentioned above too.

Thank you so much for your time and help.

At October 11, 2011 at 5:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please allow H4 dependents to work like L2 visa holders.


At October 11, 2011 at 7:28:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...


For the sake of fairness and if you believe that every individual needs a Jobs inorder, to function well please let the H-4 visa has a working permit.Many of us waiting for 5-7 years doing nothing in this dream land.As the founding fathers said every individual created equal and no one should be unallienable..but sorry i din't feel this over here, I felt unequal because i cant work, i can't support my family being the father, or as what they called head of the family.Very frustrating my 4 years old US citizen daughter,asking me (WHY ARE YOU NOT WORKING DAD? YOU ALWAYS LET MOMMY WORKED.)I pity my self because a 4 year can't not comprehend the reason that i gave to her.

At October 13, 2011 at 3:06:00 AM EDT , Anonymous JoeF said...

Guys, how about not posting off-topic stuff about EB3 on every blog entry???
It is not going to help any, on the contrary, it may be detrimental because people don't like having every discussion drowned out by that stuff.
Show some education, and post this stuff only in the appropriate forums. Posting in every thread here only shows that you guys deserve to be in EB3 for lack of education.

At October 13, 2011 at 2:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous JoeF said...

@October 11, 2011 7:28:00 PM EDT , Anonymous:

If you qualify, you could get an H1 yourself.
And USCIS can't do anything about H4s anyway. That's in the law. In this country, only Congress can change laws.
If you have as much free time on your hands as you claim, how about actually educating yourself about these things before posting???

At October 14, 2011 at 1:08:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are countries now where earlier in part were foreign colonies that later left these countries. However, at the time of the rule of these colonial powers, the people were citizens and had passports of the countries they were governed by, for example, Britain, Portugal and France. So if our parents were born and lived during the time of these colonies, can we apply for the Diversity Visa program? In fact, except for the youngest brother who was born in 1970, the older three including my husband had Portuguese passports but after his parents' death, they were not traceable. Only the grandmother' s Portuguese passport was found. The parents' birth certificate however is available to prove the country of their birth at the time of their birth. He is doing his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering in the United States and has previous experience in merchant shipping. Does he qualify to apply for the Diversity Visa Program?

It would help if these questions are answered on your website.

Thank you!!

At October 18, 2011 at 10:12:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Eb3 victim already more than 10 years. stucked .And there are so many more like me. They try to get their frustration away by writing on these blogs.

I am doing and you should all do. As we know there is GOD and God listens if we pray with heart. So please pray That GOD please punish all those USCIS emplyoees and their family So that they can feel the hardhip we and our families are going through and God please give us strenth to sustain this situation and help us.
I gurantee that GOD will listen to us and You all will witness how this country is going down in every respect. They are burdened with foreign debt. and all these economy,political and social problems . This country is going down and down because its citizens dont want to work hard rather salvate on immigrants.

At October 20, 2011 at 2:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please split the spillover between EB2 India and EB-3 India, EB-2 India is getting a Lion's share more than 12000 visas, Ultimately, people came to US on 2007 will get GreenCards but people who are here in US from 2002 onwards still waiting in the queue, this is not fair! people are waiting 12 to 13 Years in EB-3 India queue, Mr.Mayorkas Please ....

At October 20, 2011 at 4:31:00 PM EDT , Anonymous EB3 India Guy said...

Dear Sir,

I would like to bring the plight of EB-3 India/China cases. The current priority date is in year 2002 for India. There are tons of applications pending. I would also like to bring your attention to HR 3012 which talks about bringing equality to all applicants in same category. Why would someone give preference to EB-3 Belgium than EB-3 India/China? There is country cap on no of visas, but they just got inherited from diversity visa lottery. All these cases should be treated in first come first serve basis in each category. Can USCIS make some progress in that case?

Also, USCIS has not release pending I-485 cases for a while now. Can you please make one available right away and can you make it part of Visa bulletin? It can atleast guide us to know our place.


At October 24, 2011 at 10:14:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Boris Rusakov said...

I was running small consulting company that used to prosper and bring top-notch IT professionals on H1-B. Now, thanks to your new bureaucratic initiatives I lost this business. After you denied H1-Bs on bogus motivation that my company is not "end" employer, I had to fire all people who were employed because of this business, my clients lost millions of dollars, my company lost hundreds of thousands, and I am about to file for bankruptcy.

So Mr. Mayorkas, stop lying about your "contribution" to the US economy. Your contribution in my case: 12 unemployed families, who were employed before, $700,000 loss to the business, and unspecified million-dollar losses to my clients.


At January 11, 2012 at 3:42:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

JoeF, dont be mean...these people are just frustrated :(

At January 13, 2012 at 10:42:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an H4 visa holder, father,husband and the law says, I can not work. My boys are getting closer and closer to (21)on a H4. What most a man do to help is family.
Please listen to the cry.

At January 16, 2012 at 10:32:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sir / Madam,

•Expanding accelerated, or premium processing to immigrant petitions for certain multinational executives and managers;

Is there any tentitive date on above point?


At February 7, 2012 at 2:07:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sir/Madam

Hi could you tell me the date when the process will be ready for executives and managers multinational, thanks.

Best Regards

At February 23, 2012 at 5:38:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also EB3 victum after legaly entered in this country and maintained legal sataus throughout any paying year after year why we are still waiting to get our green card my kids are growing up in this country and paying full tuation fees as we are not legal in this country this is very unfair for country says that equal oppurnity
we have spend 1000 of dollars just renewing our H1B EAD AP year after year
every 2 years going on renewing our driving licence
this is very unfair to us
just because we come to this country to full fill our dream this country is created and devloped by immigreants no one has right to stop leagal immigrant to become its citizin

At April 3, 2013 at 10:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please allow H4 dependents to work like L2 visa holders. This will not only help them to achieve their dreams n aspirations but will also be an added value towards the economy of this land of opportunity-USA!!!!


At April 25, 2014 at 1:22:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am British citizen currently living in US on H4 visa. My wife is working one of the prestigious university in Boston as a professor. I am having over 10 years experience in IT and having a PhD as well. It is silly that legal highly experience and qualify migrants like my self can not work because of the visa the H4 status. H4 visa is a curse!!!

At May 6, 2014 at 5:34:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

H4 visa is a curse, especially for law abiding immigrants. My wife being master in finance and have more than 6 years of work experience with prestigious bank cannot work due to visa restrictions. I feel everyday going home how stressful it is to stay home and do nothing for most part of the day. She is brave cause it unimaginable for me to stay home all day for years and not working. Hope president Obama can help her and others on H4 (not only with stem background but all). Please don't restrict law abiding immigrants within 4 walls of houses.

At May 27, 2014 at 5:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At February 26, 2015 at 1:28:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that the DHS is extending the eligibility for employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses
Would this be revised on TN visa holders?

At December 26, 2015 at 1:28:00 AM EST , Anonymous Vishal said...

I am Indian citizen what would the procedure of H4 visa and what else documents would be require to apply that visa?


At February 6, 2016 at 7:03:00 AM EST , Blogger Gani Toharin said...

Please allow H4 dependents to work like L2 visa holders. Manfaat
Thank you very much


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