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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WASHINGTON STATE GRANTING IN STATE TUITION TO NIV KIDS

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I just had a consultation this week with an engineer working on an H-1B for several years with one of America's best known companies. He's got an unusual skill set that makes him highly valuable to the company and he is a good candidate for eventually getting a green card, something he and his company both want to see happen. Unfortunately, he's in a green card category that will be backlogged for several yaers.

But this fellow is facing a real problem. He has three teenage children and is facing paying out of state tuition costs for the universities in his state, something that will end up costing him more than his house by the time he's finished paying. Private universities are even more expensive.  And he's not interested in saddling his kids with massive debt. But until he gets the green card, this is what he's facing.

It's not a dilemma that is very unusual in this country. But at least American citizen and permanent resident parents have the option of claiming in state tuition rates. My taxpaying engineer client doesn't get that choice.

And that's why I was really happy to hear Washington state gets the problem and is now going to treat non-immigrant workers, such as those on H-1Bs, who have been in the state for at least a year, as residents for purposes of claiming in state tuition rates. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon will have a major new incentive to help them recruit top talent. And Washington state's universities will now have a bumper crop of extremely talented kids (I can tell you from experience that these families produce a lot of very gifted children).

Hopefully, other states will take note and pass similar measures.

[hat tip to Dan Kowalski for the link].

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Comments

  1. analytical's Avatar
    Hi greg
    It is said that CIR will be debated after Health care reform and Energy bill.But when will they take up these bill for debate?It looks like it will take ages for them to prepare health care bill.
    should we still hope that CIR will be taken up this year?
    Thanks
  2. LBeans's Avatar
    College tuition for high school students entering college on NIVs was never an issue in Washington. Washington treated these students the same as undocumented students in granting them in-state tuition. The only caveat was that they needed to have resided in Washington for 3 years prior to graduating from high school or taking the GED.

    This action in Washington specifically qualifies on NIVs who already have a high school education for in-state tuition. It is also the first time that E-3 holders, who are not considered to have dual intent, have been granted in-state tuition by a state government.
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I'm told that the goal is to get a bill introduced by the August recess and then spend the fall working on it. That's ambitious, but it is possible to do markup while the health care bill is being processed. We'll see.
  4. cn's Avatar
    So, hopefully by the year end we'd have a new Immigration policy in place.
  5. AMP's Avatar
    Greg,

    It depends on the university to decide who gets charged as In-state or Out of state tuition. At Indiana University there was a change in policy in Fall 2007 to allow those on H1B/H4 to be qualified as residents if they meet the rules (been in the state for more than 12 months ...).

    So, yes there are many states/universities which do allow this concession.

    Thanks for bringing this to everyone attention.

    -AP
  6. royally_screwed's Avatar
    Greg

    A little premature for asking this, but do you think, if they CIR fails this year, would they introduce a SKIL bill sort of thing to ease life for us legals or are we stuck in the trap of the CIR for the rest of our wretched lives?
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Thanks AMP - I know in my state and a number of others, it is not up to the individual university. It's a state policy and until the green card is in hand, there's no getting around paying the non-resident tuition rate. But I would say that even in states where it is up to the individual school, I would still say that companies are at a disadvantage since foreign employees often don't really know the schools in a state that well before arriving and they still may find it a turn off if they later learn that the school of their choice is one of the ones in the state that doesn't treat non-immigrants as residents.
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Royally - I do think if immigration reform is voted down, efforts to deal with immigration reform comprehensively will be abandoned for a while and we'll see lots of separate bills.
  9. royally_screwed's Avatar
    Well, that might not be a bad thing, i just hope they pass that SKIL bill, that was one helluva great bill. Unfortunately it didn't even get a chance to get voted on! ( thanks to that Jeff Sessions)
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