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Stay in the Know at the Public Policymaking Table with Worldwide ERC®

Worldwide ERC® Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy reflects on public policy and advocacy for the workforce mobility industry over the past year while looking forward to new opportunities in 2021.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that you, our members, are remarkably resilient. As we look to 2021, the new administration and U.S. Congress will no doubt have to make tough decisions to resolve an economic situation like no other – decisions that will most likely impact you, your organizations and the people you serve. Worldwide ERC® is your seat at the table. Now, more than ever, it is important to have Worldwide ERC’s® advocacy. Here’s why.

We Are Already Making Our Priorities Known to Biden and Harris

Last week, we shared with the Biden-Harris transition team our top priorities for public policies to stimulate the economy and deliver positive immigration reform, part of our continuing engagement with the incoming Administration.

We Have Pushed for Economic Stimulus and Relief before the New Year

Congress has passed and the President is expected to sign a $900 billion COIVD relief package and a $1.4 trillion bill to fund the government until September 30, 2021. This package includes relief measures we have pushed for this Congress since April and most recently November: $284 billion in additional funding through extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small business hit especially hard by the pandemic; deductibility of business expenses covered by forgiven PPP loans and another round of direct payments to individuals.

We Are Fighting for Fairness as the Trump Administration Issues More Immigration Rules

We will continue to push back on and work to undo harmful immigration rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL).

  • The DOL High-Skilled Wage Rule. Worldwide ERC® filed comment on the rule, raising procedural and substantive concerns. Litigation challenging a final rule, a rule which we expect before Trump leaves office, is not likely to be successful, and the incoming Biden Administration will likely not turn to potentially address this in part until much later on in his term. We will be here to help our members navigate the final rule.
  • The DHS Special Occupation Rule. We anticipate a final rule before Trump leaves office, and while there are substantive arguments to challenge this rule, it is unclear how strong a challenge will be made. Indian information technology companies, and others in their industry, will be impacted the most by this rule.
  • The DHS H-1B Wage-based Lottery Allocation Rule. Worldwide ERC filed comment on this rule that proposes to change how H-1B visas are allocated from a random lottery to a wage-level based allocation, arguing procedural and statutory problems with it. We believe a challenge to this rule has a good chance for success.
  • H-4 Work Authorization Rule. If the Trump Administration tries to rescind this rule that allows spouses of H-1B holders to work, then Worldwide ERC® will ask that the Biden-Harris Administration reinstate it.

We Are Launching Our Advocacy Agenda for 2021

Based on your input at our GWS Public Policy Forum roundtables, we are crafting principles for reform on the top public policy priorities for our industry, including tax, real estate and mortgage, immigration and regulatory and compliance issues.

The principles will be released early next year and will give us a platform by which to advocate on public policy proposals, from the incoming Biden Administration and Congress:

Biden-Harris 100-Day Priorities. We understand Biden’s agenda for his first 100 days will focus on two key actions: (1) the passage of a broad economic aid package and (2) a series of executive actions centered on advancing his public policy priorities, including immigration reform that will have a challenging time passing a divided Congress.

Relevant to global mobility, his day one agenda is likely to include immediately rejoining the World Health Organization and reversing some of the Trump immigration visa bans.

In terms of Biden’s cabinet, Worldwide ERC® will be watching these as they are likely to have the most impact on our members: Alejandro Mayorkas to head DHS, who ran the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implementation as Preisdent Obama’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director; Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, who served as deputy national security adviser to then-Vice President Biden, among other notable positions, and who will be charged with repositioning the United States globally; and whoever is nominated by Biden as DOL Secretary as Biden’s focus on empowering U.S. workers and rebuilding the middle class could mean a more progressive person in this position, such as Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), a former union organizer with DOL experience, California Labor Secretary Julie Su, Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez, AFL-CIO Chief Economist Bill Spriggs, or possibly even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Congressional Priorities. The new Congress convenes on January 3, with a Democrat-controlled House and the January 5 Georgia runoffs determining the majority in the Senate. We anticipate that another economic stimulus will be a priority in the new Congress, but with tight majorities in both chambers, it will be a very difficult year to move much else beyond funding bills and bipartisan support will be more crucial than ever to pass even technical amendment bills, like the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act (S. 326/H.R. 1044) that recently passed in the Senate but did not pass on an end of the year bill.

We Are Working on the Global Stage

In my first six months on the job this year, we have ramped up our public policy advocacy efforts, filing almost two dozen letterscomments and amici briefs on issues of economic stimulus and tax relief; pushing back on harmful immigration presidential proclamations and regulations; developing a COVID-19 Workforce Mobility Safety Framework; and supporting tax and real estate and mortgage legislation; and amplifying your voice through partnerships with coalitions and working groups at the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Compete America coalition, the International Association of Movers and more. You can find all this information and more, engagement opportunities, on our redesigned public policy page.

This is all just a preview of what is to come in 2021. You are where work is going, and Worldwide ERC® is where work is going for you. Pull up a chair, and let’s go! As they say in Washington if you are not at the table – you will be on the menu.

In the meantime, on behalf of the Worldwide ERC® family, I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful holiday season.

All the Best for 2021,

Rebecca Peters
Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy

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