We receive daily calls from U.S. employers who express their frustration with the need to comply with U.S. immigration law requirements, but the lack of appropriate tools to comply. While undergoing internal I-9 audits, some employers find out that some workers may not have employment authorization, and that they need to be terminated. Employers are interested in doing the right thing and filing for work visas and/or permanent resident status for their workers. They are often prevented, however, from completing the process for workers who may not have current valid immigration status because workers may be subject to a ten-year bar. This means that before being eligible for employer-based visa or green card, the worker must first spend ten years abroad. Certainly this is not a feasible way to conduct business.
What is Section 245(i)?
Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act would allow a worker whose employer went through the proper immigration process, and jumped through all the legal hoops for employment-based green card, to apply for that green card without leaving the U.S. for ten years. Instead, the worker would first go through all the applicable eligibility checks, and then pay a $1250 fine to be allowed to be processed in the U.S.
Section 245(i) expired on April 30th, 2001. After the law expired, the House of Representatives introduced legislation that would have expanded the class of eligible candidates to apply for legal status under the 245(i) provision, and extended the petition and filing deadlines. After the tragic attacks of September, 11, 2001, however, Congress chose to not renew Section 245(i), leaving employers without a legal tool needed to ensure legal employment authorization for their workers.
Why should Congress care about the 245(i) provision?
Bringing back the 245(i) provision would provide a solution to the current labor shortage many U.S. employers are experiencing, without the need for major immigration reform, and without addressing the controversial topics of amnesty-type legislation. What we want to see from Congress is a bill that would reintroduce Section 245(i). Click here to find contact information for your district’s member of Congress.
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The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.