Navigating Business Immigration: Highlights of 2023 and Anticipated Developments in 2024

Navigating the Business Immigration Landscape: Reflecting on 2023’s Transformations and Anticipating Shifts in 2024
The year 2023 witnessed unprecedented transformations in the realm of business immigration, characterized by record-breaking H-1B registrations and pivotal policy shifts. As we stand on the cusp of 2024, it is essential to review the highlights of the past year and delve into the expectations for immigrants and their families in the coming year.
2023: A Year of Challenges and Changes
Record H-1B Registrations: A Call for System Reform
In 2023, a staggering 781,000 H-1B work visa registrations were observed. With 96,000 individuals contributing to 408,000 of these entries, the H-1B lottery underscored potential system abuses, prompting USCIS to contemplate changes favoring a one-entry-per-person model for a more equitable selection process.
PERM Case Settlements: Balancing Compliance and Non-Discrimination
Following the 2021 Facebook green card litigation, Apple’s $25 million settlement over PERM green card sponsorship program employment discrimination allegations brought compliance concerns to the forefront in 2023. The cases initiated discussions on aligning standard recruitment practices with the PERM process, emphasizing the need for a delicate balance between compliance and non-discriminatory recruitment policies.
Priority Date Retrogression: Immigrants in Limbo
The aftermath of COVID-19 resulted in a considerable backlog in Priority Dates due to fewer family-based visa numbers being carried over. In response, USCIS implemented measures in 2023, extending the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and Advance Parole (APs) to alleviate the uncertainty faced by immigrants awaiting visas.
Rise in Administrative Processing
In 2023, there was a significant rise in Administrative Processing, impacting immigration timelines. Heightened security checks, increased scrutiny, and a backlog exacerbated by the pandemic underlined the need for more efficient processing methods and transparent communication from immigration authorities.
2024: Preparing for More Changes and New Initiatives
DOS Pilot Program for Stateside Visa Renewals
A significant development in 2024 is the Department of State’s (DOS) pilot program for stateside H-1B visa renewals. Limited to 20,000 applications, this initiative streamlines the renewal process for H-1B visa holders, potentially reducing the need for international travel for visa stamping.
H-1B Modernization: Towards a More Equitable System
In 2024, the H-1B visa program is set for significant changes through modernization rules, emphasizing a more equitable system. The shift in the H-1B lottery selection process aims to focus on unique beneficiaries, fostering diversity among applicants. Additionally, the extension of Cap-Gap protection offers increased flexibility for international students transitioning to work visas.
DOL’s Approach to PWD Processing Times
The Department of Labor (DOL) is changing its approach to Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs) in 2024. With a new standard processing time of six months, the DOL aims to manage increased application volumes efficiently, providing a more coordinated relationship with USCIS.
Emerging EPT Laws and Their Impact on Immigration
The expansion of Equal Pay Transparency (EPT) laws is expected to impact the immigration landscape in 2024. States like Hawaii and Illinois are anticipated to enact EPT laws, necessitating alignment of recruitment practices with state-specific laws for employers involved in PERM-related green card processes.
As we reflect on 2023 and anticipate 2024, the dynamic world of U.S. business immigration continues to evolve. The changes and challenges witnessed in the past year set the stage for a more streamlined and fair immigration process in the future. Stay informed about these developments to navigate the ever-changing landscape of business immigration effectively.

Source: Boundless