A new immigration bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress – the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This follows on U.S. President Joseph Biden having released on his first day in office, a fact sheet outlining his intention to send a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system. The legislation aims to execute on many of President Biden’s campaign promises, including providing pathways to citizenship for certain undocumented individuals as well as streamlining multiple employment-based programs for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas.
On February 18, 2021, Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) formally introduced a new immigration bill – the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.1 On his first day in office, President Joseph Biden released a fact sheet outlining his intention to send a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system.”2 The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is the bill by which this administration hopes to achieve this goal.
This legislation aims to execute on many of President Biden’s campaign promises, including providing pathways to citizenship for certain undocumented individuals as well as streamlining multiple employment-based programs for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. (For related coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2021-037, 22 January 2021.)
There are many changes foreseen in this legislation that could impact the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain foreign talent. Employers with employees currently holding nonimmigrant visas as well as employers seeking to sponsor employees for immigrant visas should monitor the legislation, as reforms to the current U.S. immigration system could affect portions of their workforce.
The provisions in the U.S. Citizenship Act which, if implemented, could impact business immigration are summarized below:
In order to become law, the bill must first pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it is signed by President Biden. Given the wide-ranging changes proposed in the bill, it is anticipated Senate Democrats will face challenges in passing the bill in its current form. The bill is expected to undergo several amendments and will require votes from Republican Senators in order to amass a sufficient number of votes to move forward.
U.S. employers should pay close attention to any changes taking place so they can strategize accordingly to address workplace planning needs as well as to foster continued immigration compliance.
KPMG Law LLP in Canada will continue to monitor this closely. We will endeavor to keep readers of GMS Flash Alert posted on any important developments as and when they occur.
1 To see the bill, click here.
2 See: White House, Statements and Releases (January 20, 2021) ”Fact Sheet: President Biden Sends Immigration Bill to Congress as Part of His Commitment to Modernize our Immigration System.”
*Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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