As a full-service immigration law service in PA and FL, Voloshen Law Firm feels it’s essential to take a global view of the impact of Covid-19 on the business. At first, you might not think immigration has anything to do with this picture. But consider the business person whose visa is expiring and still needs to travel for work. Because of travel bans, such an individual can’t even get an exception while paperwork moves forward.
Worse, even if our client makes it to the proper destination, they have no assurance of being allowed re-entry into the US. It could take months for this mess to sort itself out. Here you have someone fully vaccinated who moves freely throughout the US but has to return to their home country to get a visa extension. Meanwhile, travelers with a relationship to a US citizen from banned countries can travel without issue. There is a consistency problem here that needs to be addressed by the State Department to level the proverbial playing field.
Processing for Visas vs. Passports and Green Cards
An immigration attorney’s job is knowing the ins and outs of visas, passports, and green cards, Did you know that there have been extended passport validations and green card expirations because of the backup in document processing? Why can’t visas be the same? Business travelers would happily pay a fee to keep things on track with their partners worldwide.
This particular example illustrates how the State Department can help businesses bounce back from Covid-19 by making simple changes in procedures. A suggestion on the table is extending visas 24 months as a Covid-measure. Consular offices have far more critical issues to deal with, requiring their time and focus. Extending visas would reduce their backlog considerably.
Specific government actions slowed immigration on the assumption it would improve American employment opportunities. It didn’t. The whole idea was oversimplified. Immigrants are not simply part of the job force but also consumers adding to the economy. Many immigrants are (or will be) entrepreneurs whose efforts create more jobs for qualified personnel. Others have highly diversified skills ranging from Scientists to innovators, all of whom contribute value to the US social structure and strength. Immigrants can also have a positive impact on trade. So, finding a smoother route to immigration is an issue on which the State Department should remain focused, especially with Covid-19 in the picture.
As the United States begins reopening, immigrants can continue contributing to America’s economic growth prospects. It is also worth noting that Immigrants represented a large portion of essential workers throughout the pandemic, specifically health care. For example, in New York and New Jersey, about one-third of frontline workers were foreign-born.
Three Action Plans for the State Department
There’s no question the State Department has a lot on its hands in trying to find ways of helping businesses bounce back from Covid-19. Some sound ideas honed toward companies with foreign workers include:
- Convert temporary visas to permanent ones with a clearly defined path to legalization, focusing again on essential pandemic sectors.
- Expand the skilled visa program (H1B). This program supports high-tech jobs that strongly affect a region’s economy.
- Simplifying access to individuals with “in need” skill sets. Such people can provide relief to others on the line who have not really stopped to catch a breath.
If you live in Buck’s County, PA, or Boca Raton, FL, don’t hesitate to contact the Voloshen Law Firm. We have a commitment to quality and personalized services tailored to your needs. Talk to one of our professionals by calling (215) 437-7854.