Sat. Dec 4th, 2021

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Extends Expiring Immigration Programs, Broadens Recovery Rebate Eligibility for Nonimmigrants

3 min read
Immigration policies

President Trump has signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Which funds the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, the State Department, and other federal agencies through FY 2021, expands a few expiring immigration programs and gives a limited cap exemption for the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program. Also, the legislation creates a second stimulus check program for U.S. taxpayers, including eligible nonimmigrants.

Extension of expiring immigration programs

The E-Verify, Conrad 30, and non-minister religious worker green card programs are reauthorized under the Act through 30th September 2021.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program is reauthorized without change for six months, through 30th June 2021. Before, the program had typically been reauthorized in one-year increases. The six-month expansion implies that the program will terminate in midyear unless if Congress reauthorizes it once again. Also, the short reauthorization implies Congress will have a midyear opportunity to make statutory changes to the program. Which has long been discussed in the legislature.

H-2B Cap Relief

The spending law authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the 66,000 H-2B cap for FY 2021 after consulting with the Department of Labor. If DHS determines that there are insufficient willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers to meet the needs of American businesses for temporary non-agriculture work this fiscal year. However, the cap can’t be increased by more than the highest number of H-2B workers. Who participated in the now-expired H-2B returning worker cap exclusion in a year in which that exemption was in place.

Stimulus Payments | Immigration Programs

The law gives a tax credit of (1) $600 for eligible people (or $1,200 for those filing a joint return); and (2) an extra $600 per qualifying kid. For those with an adjusted gross pay of not more than $75,000 for individual taxpayers, $150,000 in the case of a joint income tax return, or $112,500 in the case of a head of household. The credit is reduced by $5 for every $100 in income above the threshold.

For purposes of the rebate, an eligible individual is a person who is a resident outsider. As that term is characterized by the Internal Revenue Code. A foreign national is a resident outsider for income tax purposes if they meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the calendar year.

Nonimmigrants who pay U.S. income taxes as resident aliens and who are not listed as dependents on another’s income tax return are probably going to be eligible for the recovery rebate. Also, if they meet the pay standards and U.S. Social Security Number requirements.

Taxpayers filing individually should list a valid SSN on their income tax return to be eligible for the rebate. Also, eligible citizens claiming extra rebates for dependent children must list a valid SSN for each child claimed.

[US court seeks joint status report on H4 visas]

In an important change from the Spring 2020 recovery rebate program, SSN requirements have been facilitated for married couples filing mutually. To qualify, one spouse should have an SSN. Previously, both spouses expected to have an SSN to meet all requirements for the refund. Hence, the new law, an H-1B principal who files mutually with her H-4 spouse could qualify for a rebate as long as the couple meets the income requirement. And even if the H-4 spouse doesn’t have employment authorization or an SSN.

Conclusion

Moreover, married couples who were ineligible for the Spring 2020 rebate because one spouse didn’t have an SSN may claim that rebate on their joint 2020 income tax return. Since it is structured as an advance tax credit. The recovery rebate isn’t a cash public benefit for purposes of public charge bars to admissibility.

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