12 Days of Compliance: Our 2018 Immigration Trends Predictions

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

We took a look back at top 2017 immigration trends and policy updates to provide some 2018 immigration trends predictions. 

Business and policy didn’t always see eye to eye, when it came to immigration in 2017. Organizations trended toward expanding their global workforce, due in part to the growing lack of highly-skilled American labor. At the same time, governments, in the U.S. and abroad, focused on nation-serving policies, regulations and enforcement of immigration law.

We also recently surveyed more than 500 companies about immigration practices at their companies, and the results coming in are impressive. You’ll be able to read up on the latest trends in business – what companies are doing in immigration and where they’re headed – in our upcoming 2018 Immigration Trends Report.

In the meantime, here are a few emerging topics:

Buy American, Hire American could still rule

2018 immigration trends predictions - buy american hire american could still rule

The focus on American jobs over jobs for foreign nationals in the United States will likely continue into the new year, and possibly beyond.

It’s not a trend that’s going anywhere soon, especially with Trump’s Buy American, Hire American executive order from early 2017 still impacting immigration enforcement.

H-1B Visa petition scrutiny here to stay

H-1B visa scrutiny is here to stay

In the first eight months of 2017, USCIS issued over 85,000 requests for evidence (RFEs) to companies sponsoring H-1B visa applicants.

The high level of scrutiny in 2017, with RFEs increasing by 45 percent more than the previous year, is expected to continue as we look at 2018 immigration trends predictions. With a few regulatory changes all ready to be set in motion for 2018, scrutiny of H-1B visa applications is expected to stay high.

More restrictions for entrepreneurs and students

2018 immigration trends predictions - More restrictions for entrepreneurs and students

In December, the current administration announced its plans to get rid of the International Entrepreneur program, which allows certain entrepreneurs to remain the U.S. for up to five years.

The F-1 program, granting certain foreign students the possibility to temporarily work in the U.S. after graduation, has also been tagged by the administration for restriction in the coming year.

Dependents could lose work authorization

2018 immigration trends predictions - dependents could lose work authorization

In December, plans were also announced to eliminate H-4 dependent work authorization, which allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the U.S.

In light of the recent Unified Agenda released by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, we’re likely to see more changes in immigration-related regulations throughout 2018.

DACA could be salvaged

2018 immigration trends predictions - DACA could be salvaged

We could see an immigration bill presented by Senate Republicans to kick off 2018.

This bill, in reaction to the executive order issued by Trump calling for a wind-down of the program, will be a bipartisan effort to protect the nearly 800,000 young undocumented Dreamers who have been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memo since 2012. May have already started to lose their immigration status.

Get more of the top immigration trends of 2017 in our Changing Landscape of Immigration 2017 on-demand webinar. And, download our 2017 Immigration Trends Report to get subscribed for our upcoming 2018 Immigration Trends Report.