Four immigration programs that were set to expire have been temporarily extended without alteration after Congress passed a short-term budget bill late Wednesday.

The programs were set to expire Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year, and have been extended, along with other federal government programs, through Dec. 9.

The programs in question are:

  • The Non-minister Special Immigrant Religious Workers Program. This visa category is for non-minister professional and nonprofessional religious workers. This category covers immigrant visa recipients, but does not affect nonimmigrant categories such as the R-1 visa category.
  • The Conrad 30 Waiver Program. This program addresses the shortage of doctors in certain geographic areas. It allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver to a requirement that they return to their foreign residence for two years after completing a J-1 exchange visa program in medically underserved communities.
  • The EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program. This program (visa categories R51 and I51) allows foreign entrepreneurs to apply for green cards if they make substantial investments in commercial enterprises through “regional centers” in the U.S.
  • E-Verify. E-Verify is the electronic system that employers use to verify employees’ authorization to work in the U.S.  The system compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration data. Certain employers who enter into contracts with the federal government are legally required to participate in E-Verify, and some states have enacted laws mandating wider participation.

The extension of the programs described above applies not only to principal visa applicants, but also to spouses and dependent children.

BAL Analysis: The stopgap budget agreement reached Wednesday will extend the programs listed above through Dec. 9, but Congress must approve a longer-term budget agreement for them to be extended beyond that. BAL will continue to monitor developments in Congress and report on any significant immigration-related developments in the coming weeks and months.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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