Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 2, 2011 - Press Conference Transcript: USCIS Announces Initiatives to Promote Startup Enterprises and Spur Job Creation: Part II

Coordinator: Certainly. Once again, if you would like to ask a question at this time, please press star 1 on your touchtone phone and clearly record your name when prompted. One moment for the first question please.
The first question does come from (Patrick Sibido). Your line is open.

Patrick Thibodeaux: Great. Thanks for taking my question.

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Thank you.

Patrick Thibodeaux: So all these changes are designed to facilitate invest in the US by people overseas. And what do you think these changes may accomplish?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Well what the efforts are designed to do as I indicated is to ensure that the avenues that the law has currently made available to foreign talents that would benefit the US economy; to ensure that those avenues are indeed available as the law envisioned. And to ensure that the community that could pursue those avenues is aware of their availability.
That is the goal. And the goal really when you say what we hope to accomplish is that these avenues that are designed to benefit the US economy through the introduction of foreign talent, foreign investment, foreign efforts to create US jobs, that they are utilized to their fullest.

Patrick Thibodeaux: Okay, thank you.

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Thank you.

Edna Ruano: As a reminder, please provide your name and the outlet that you represent. That would be helpful. Thank you.

Coordinator: The next question does come from Alex Wagner with Huntington Post.

Alex Wagner: Hi, thanks for doing a call. I’m wondering how this fits in with the administration’s broader efforts towards immigration reform or its’ extra timetable?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: This is not, I think when the administration speaks of immigration reform, immigration - the administration speaks of much needed legislative change. We have laws currently in place. We as an agency have policies that are designed to achieve the results of the laws as the legislature intended. And what we are doing here is making sure that those policies are understood, that our operations are designed to achieve the policy objectives. And it is something independent of immigration reform.
This is not legislative action. This is operational efficiency and good policy.

Alex Wagner: So this isn’t fall into sort of - I mean each one - H1B visas in particular are mentioned in a lot of advocates or something you know as sort of the cherry on top of another wise tricky Sunday of reform. And the fact that you guys are sort of taking that (unintelligible), that has nothing to do with the broader reform tactic?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Well, well what is often communicated in the context of the H1B visa and comprehensive immigration reform is do our existing laws really provide the potential that we would want as a country to create a path for the best and the brightest. What we are speaking of now with respect to the H1B visa program as it currently exists is clarifying who may be eligible for the H1B visa under existing USCIS policy existing statutory and regulatory framework.

Alex Wagner: Thanks.

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Thank you.

Coordinator: The next question comes from (Antonia Tacadez) with LA Opinions. Your line is open.

Antonieta Cadiz: Thank you. I want to thank you for making this call and first question. How many (unintelligible) EB5 visas were granted in 2010?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: We can follow up and provide that data to you. I do not have that at my disposal. I do know that forgive me, I do know that the EB5 program has a maximum of 10,000 visas annually. We do not reach that potential and our operational improvements are designed to ensure that we’re making that process as open as it should be while adhering to scrupulously to the program’s requirements.

Antonieta Cadiz: Do you know how much time USA is paid to process this kind of visas in the (unintelligible)?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: I’ll be - you know the average processing time for example for the EB5 program is I believe just over - well there’re various aspects to the program. There are different types of petitions and different types of applications. But we are talking about a number of months, not the time period that we experience that some people complained about a number of years ago.
I think average of 4 to 5 months for various types of applications and petitions in the EB5 program. So we are moving as quickly as possible.

Antonieta Cadiz: I’m sorry, in the case of EB2 visa, the waiver that you mentioned, that wavier can apply only to entrepreneurs or this can be applied also to foreign workers with an advanced degree? That’s the way waiver work both ways or just entrepreneur?

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: No. Thank you for that question. The national interest waiver applies to individuals who are seeking an EB2 visa period. So it applies to foreign workers with advanced degrees and the individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business. Individuals who are seeking a visa who qualify in those 2 areas, one or the other, they must have a job offer and a Department of Labor certification. The exception to that is if they can obtain a national interest waiver. So it applies far more broadly then to just entrepreneurs. It applies to EB2 petitioners across the board.

Antonieta Cadiz: Thank you.

Alejandro (Ali) Mayorkas: Thank you.

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