Green Card Changes to Slow Down Biotech Hiring

snailThe current US administration has announced that green card applicants will now have to go through in-person interviews as part of the process, as outlined in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The move, intended to provide more security, is seen by many as an unnecessary burden in the hiring process as applicants would have already been vetted during their immigration process.

Kathleen Spero, an immigration attorney in San Diego, said that because of the steps required for employers to sponsor an employee’s green card, fraud is rare.

“There are certainly instances where marriage fraud occurs, where people pay someone to act as a sponsor,” Spero said. “But in the employment context, it’s not typical to see that type of fraud. People don’t make fraudulent offers of employment all that often.”

She said people who are in the U.S. working on temporary visas who are applying for green cards were already vetted before they came to the U.S., so the security concerns don’t make sense either.

“It’s hard to see what the benefit of the interview will be,” Spero said.

The new rules are expected to impact hiring in the biotech industry:

“This will definitely impact the STEM community,” said Anita Rusch, executive director of the MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego.

Diana Vellos Coker, a San Diego-based immigration attorney, said that the federal agency that processes green card applications does not have the resources to accommodate a large increase in demand for interviews. The agency had about 138,000 applications nationwide waiting for a decision at the end of March, its most recently available data.

Interviews at the local office take about 20 minutes, Coker said, and she didn’t think they could be streamlined much further and still be effective.

“We are anticipating tremendous delays in an already extremely lengthy process for these green card cases to be completed,” Coker said.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune