Four immigration programs are set to expire on September 30th unless Congress chooses to reauthorize them in a spending bill for the new fiscal year. If the programs are not extended by Congress prior to September 30th, pending applications would be put on hold until the programs are reauthorized.
Conrad 30 Waiver Program
The Conrad 30 Waiver Program was created to address a severe shortage of qualified doctors in medically underserved communities across the United States. Under the program, J-1 medical doctors are able to waive the requirement that they return to their foreign residence for two years after the program’s end before applying for another immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. In turn, the J-1 medical doctors must agree to work fulltime for three years in a health care facility located in an area designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area, or Medically Underserved Population.
EB-5 Regional Center Investor Program
The EB-5 Regional Center Investor Program allows foreign entrepreneurs to apply for permanent residency if they make a substantial investment in a designated “Regional Center.” Regional Centers are economic development agencies located in targeted employment areas, which are designated and monitored by USCIS. Normally, EB-5 applicants would be required to make an investment in a commercial enterprise which would create at least ten permanent, fulltime jobs for U.S. workers. By investing in a Regional Center, however, the investor is able to meet these requirements indirectly through the aggregated efforts of the economic development agency.
H-2B Returning Worker Program
Under the H-2B Returning Workers Program, returning H-2B temporary, non-agricultural workers are exempt from the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 visas if they had already been counted against the cap during one of the previous three years.
Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Workers Program
The Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Workers Program, under the EB-4 immigrant visa category, allows non-minister religious workers to apply for permanent residence through their employment with a bona fide, non-profit religious organization in the United States. Special Immigrant Religious workers entering as ministers would be unaffected by the expiration.