Updated:  

The Department of Homeland Security announced a series of reforms that reflect the Obama Administration's continuing commitment to attracting and retaining highly-skilled immigrants. The Administration's new initiatives will lead to increased work permits for foreign workers while 22 million Americans can't find a full-time job.

The Administration's reforms include:

  •  Expanding eligibility for a 17-month extension of foreign student visas for students with a prior degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  
  • Providing work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B holders.
  • Offering E-3 visa holders from Australia and H-1B1 visa holders from Singapore and China a 240 day extension while their petitions for extension of status are pending.
  • Launching a new initiative to discuss how to maximize current immigration laws' potential to attract foreign entrepreneurial talent. 

These new initiatives come a day after a Google-sponsored Town Hall with President Obama where the issue of H-1B visas came up. During the Jan. 30 Town Hall, Jennifer Wedel from Fort Worth, Texas asked the President why the government continues to issue and extend H-1B visas while unemployed American engineers, like her husband, remain unemployed.

For more information on Jennifer Wedel's question and President Obama's response, read Andrew Good's blog.  

For more information on the Obama Administration's new initiatives to attract more foreign workers read the Department of Homeland Security Press Release 

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