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[Federal Register: December 22, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 247)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 80744-80745]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



22 CFR Part 42

[Public Notice 3515]

Bureau of Consular Affairs; Visas: Immigrant Religious Workers

AGENCY: Bureau of Consular Affairs, DOS.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule amends the Department of State's existing regulation 
regarding the validity of an immigrant visa issued to an alien worker 
coming to the United States to perform work in a religious occupation 
or vocation. The current regulation permits validity of those visas 
only until September 30, 2000. This rule amends the regulation to 
extend the program until September 30, 2003. The amendment is 
necessitated by a change in the authorizing statute.

EFFECTIVE DATE: December 22, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: H. Edward Odom, Legislation and 
Regulations Division, Visa Services, (202) 663-1204.


What Is the Background of This Regulation?

Immigration Act of 1990

    Sec. 151 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90), Pub. L. 101-
649, amended INA 101(a)(27)(C) by adding a new category of special 
immigrant visas for aliens who will work in a religious occupation or 
vocation for a religious organization in a professional or other 
capacity. Unlike the provision for special immigrant ministers of 
religion, which does not contain a sunset provision, the provisions for 
religious workers (as defined under INA 101(a)(27)(C)(ii)(II) and 
(III)), as originally enacted, required religious workers to seek to 
enter the United States before October 1, 1994.

Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994

    On October 25, 1994, sec. 214 of the Immigration and Nationality 
Technical Corrections Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-416) amended INA 
101(a)(27)(C)(ii) to extend the sunset date to before October 1, 1997.

Religious Workers Act of 1997

    Sec. 1 of the Religious Workers Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-54 further 
extended the deadline for special immigrant religious workers to enter 
the United States until before October 1, 2000.

Religious Workers Act of 2000

    On November 1, 2000, the President signed the Religious Workers Act 
of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-409), extending the program for three additional 
years through September 30, 2003.

Final Rule

How Is the Department Amending Its Regulation?

    This rule amends 22 CFR 42.32(d)(1)(ii) by changing the date from 
September 30, 2000 to September 30, 2003 to conform to the statutory 
requirements of the Religious Workers Act of 2000.

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department's implementation of this regulation as a final rule 
is based upon the ``good cause'' exceptions found at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) 
and (d)(3). As the amendment to the regulation provides a benefit to 
aliens by extending the special immigrant religious worker program for 
an additional three years, the Department has determined that it is 
unnecessary to publish a proposed rule or to solicit comments from the 
public. In view of this benefit and since the current validity date has 
already expired, the rule will be made effective immediately upon 
publication in the Federal Register.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of State, in accordance with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation and, by 
approving it, certifies that this rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary 
under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

    The Department of State does not consider this rule, to be a 
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 
3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, and the Office of Management and 
Budget has waived its review process under section 6(a)(3)(A).

Executive Order 13132

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
states, on the relationship between the national government and the 
states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 
of Executive

[[Page 80745]]

Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism 
summary impact statement.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new reporting or record-keeping 
requirements. The information collection requirement (Form OF-156) 
contained by reference in this rule was previously approved for use by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction 

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 42

    Aliens, Immigration, Passports and visas.

    In view of the foregoing the Department amends 22 CFR Chapter I as 


    1. The authority citation for Part 42 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1104.

    2. In Sec. 42.32, revise paragraph (d)(1)(ii) to read as follows:

Sec. 42.32  Employment based preference immigrants.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (ii) Timeliness of application. An immigrant visa issued under INA 
203(b)(4) to an alien described in INA 101(a)(27)(C), other than a 
minister of religion, who qualifies as a ``religious worker'' as 
defined in 8 CFR 204.5, shall bear the usual validity except that in no 
case shall it be valid later than September 30, 2003.
* * * * *

    Dated: November 13, 2000.
Mary A. Ryan,
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs.
[FR Doc. 00-32740 Filed 12-21-00; 8:45 am]