US-Ro Visa Regime Impacting Professionals’ Mobility
NURTURING RESILIENCE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
THIRD CONFERENCE OF ROMANIAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS
Opening Plenary Session: June 4th 2021
The third honorary consul featured during the plenary was Connecticut attorney Dana Bucin, a partner, and Chair of the Immigration Group at Murtha Cullina LLP. A returning, highly informative speaker in IRF’s annual conferences, Mrs. Bucin gave an overview of the virtual halt in legal migration channels impacting skilled professionals and researchers during the pandemic year. She highlighted the uniquely fortunate situation of Romania that was exempted from US travel bans, a situation that surprisingly compared favorably with that of all the Schengen area EU member states. Similarly, as of June 1st, US citizens to travel to Romania, if vaccinated, skip the quarantine. She spoke of the sluggish US visa processing system that came to a standstill a backlog with future repercussions on the US economy. Also, some of the more detrimental policies towards immigrants imposed by the previous administration were reverted and there are no more specific bans on work visas (previously considered a threat to the US labor market). Other measures such as lifting the ban on asylum and several supreme court cases, all resolved favorably for migrants. All these developments and post-pandemic labor market pressures are ripe conditions for immigration reform not only as a humanitarian imperative but as an economic one as well. Mrs. Bucin called on Romanian diaspora grassroots organizations to support through civic involvement the implementation of a bipartisan immigration reform predicated on five common ground criteria she outlined. She spoke briefly about Homeland Security’s efforts to work with the ACLU in assisting Romanian citizens currently held at the US-Mexico border during the zero-tolerance policy, a painful chapter for all involved. There is a need for cultural sensitivity in addressing situation and reuniting parents deported to Romania with children left in US, some separated for years. The current administration is willing to issue special paperwork allowing reunification on US soil. She also informed conference participants that there is a new US International Parole Program announced in May 2021 designed to encourage foreign innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas in the US as long as they own at least 10% equity in the venture and play a critical role in developing that business, at least attracting a $250,000 in venture capital financing, or $100,000 in governmental grants, or simply prove significant public benefit to the US. This is designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs that do not necessarily have access to funding abroad and may attract financing in the US. Romania does have a bilateral investment treaty with the US that allows investors in the US to get business visas. This latest program is the only one that basically requires only a brilliant mind, creativity, and proven dedication to innovation, leaving the financing to be the investment of people in the US.