On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began the rollout of its new electronic I-94 system. CBP will phase in the Form I-94 automation at all air and sea ports of entry with anticipated completion by the end May 2013.
Upon arrival to the United States, CBP will no longer require international non-immigrant visitors arriving by air or sea to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. Rather, the agency will gather the traveler’s arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records.
At arrival, air and sea travelers will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document with their entry date, type of status and expiration date of their stay. Information will be recorded and retrieved by CBP by scanning the traveler’s passport.
To obtain a copy of one’s I-94 (record of admission), travelers can go to www.cbp.gov/I94. Travelers are advised to print out a paper copy of the electronic I-94 information for personal records. This record will be available only until the traveler’s next entry into the United States.
With the new electronic process, CBP will rely on arrival and departure records provided by the airlines to record entry and departure information for foreign national travelers. Thus, it is imperative for travelers to make certain personal information such as name and date of birth is correct and consistent throughout the traveler’s documents and travel record.
CBP will continue to issue a paper I-94 at land border ports of entry.
Upon leaving the United States, travelers do not need to do anything differently.
Late in the evening on May 21, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bipartisan immigration reform bill. The bill would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The committee’s final vote was 13-5. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, where debate is expected to begin after Memorial Day.
A provision of the bill would make it easier for U.S. companies to hire highly skilled foreign workers. It raises the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000, with an escalator that can increase with demand to 180,000. H-1B visas allow employers to temporarily employ foreign workers with specialized or technical expertise in a particular field or specialty occupation that requires theoretical or technical expertise.
The immigration bill represents a win for the high-tech industry trying to fill positions with qualified workers. The bill would make it easier for employers to hire foreign workers, as it lightens their burden to demonstrate they first tried to hire a qualified American worker. At the same time, it includes a mechanism that would increase the number of visas available for foreign workers if skilled Americans are not available, and decrease the visa allowance when they are.
As of May 7, 2013, all employers are required to use the revised Form I-9 (revision 03/08/13) for new hires. Employers are required to complete the Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees in order to verify their identity and work authorization in the U.S.
A revised Form I-9 does not have to be completed for current employees. However, after May 7, 2013, for purposes of rehiring or reverifying an employee’s employment authorization, employers must use the new I-9 form.
The new Form I-9 is a 2 page electronically fillable document.
In a letter to Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) dated May 8, 2013, Stephen C. Goss, Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary, concluded the net effect of the proposed Senate Immigration Bill would be beneficial for Social Security’s financial solvency over the long-term.
According to Goss, the Senate Immigration Bill:
…includes extensive provisions for the treatment of individuals living in the United States without current legal documentation as of December 31, 2011. We estimate that there were about 11.5 million such individuals, of whom about 8 million will apply for and be granted Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. Many of these individuals already work in the country in the underground economy, not paying taxes, and will begin paying taxes upon application for RPI.
Furthermor, he states:
Over this longer time frame, benefits will become more significant for those with additional earnings taxed and credited. However, over this same longer time frame, the additional births for the increased population under this bill will have substantial positive effects. Overall, we anticipate that the net effect of this bill on the long-range OASDI actuarial balance will be positive.