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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly posted on its website Jan. 8, 2015, that it is considering a pilot program “to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the Northern border ports of entry.”
The “Known Employer” pilot, which the DHS expects to begin by late 2015, is intended to streamline adjudication of certain types of employment-based immigration benefit requests filed by eligible U.S. employers. It would make adjudications more efficient and less costly for both the department and U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers, according to the posting.
“We are pleased to see the Obama administration is considering a Known Employer pilot program on the northern border,” said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management. “Employers need efficiency, certainty and predictability throughout the entire immigration system, and this would be an important first step.”
The pilot would be jointly implemented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It comes from a binational commitment with Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as the
U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border initiative. In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments committed to exploring the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers between Canada and the United States.
“We have long advocated for a trusted employer program to increase efficiency and save employers and the government vital resources,” said Rebecca Peters, director and counsel for legislative affairs at the Council for Global Immigration. “If the Known Employer pilot reflects the priorities of our proposed Trusted Employer program, it would be a positive improvement to our system. We look forward to working on the concept with [the DHS] as it moves ahead.”
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.Follow him
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