Obama enacts visa program for religious workers

President Barack Obama has enacted a three-year extension to a visa program for religious workers.

On Sept. 28, Obama signed the law that Congress had passed overwhelmingly earlier in September, extending the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program until Sept. 30, 2015.

The legislation, first passed in 1990, has a built-in sunset provision and has been reauthorized seven times.

The law is particularly important to small Jewish communities in remote areas, making available up to 5,000 permanent immigrant visas each year for religious workers. These communities often find it difficult to fill positions and rely on the visas to bring in rabbis, cantors, kosher butchers, Hebrew school teachers and other religious workers. — jta