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On Feb. 8, 2016, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the ARTS Act (S.2510), which would enforce the current statutory mandate for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite processing of O and P visas at the agency. Under the legislation, if USCIS does not process an O or P visa within the 14 day time period mandated by current law, the agency would be required to process the case under premium processing at no additional cost. The senators released a joint statement on the bill’s introduction, noting its intent to foster international cultural exchange.

Senators Leahy and Hatch introduced a version of this legislation as an amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill of 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744). At that time, the Senate adopted the amendment on a vote of 69-29.

The bill, according to the senators’ joint press release, is broadly supported by performing arts organizations in the United States. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Senator Leahy serves as Ranking Member, and of which Senator Hatch is a former Chairman and currently a senior member.  GT will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and will provide updates as Congress considers the legislation.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies,

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.