The US Senate voted 68-32 to pass a historic immigration reform bill on Thursday. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.
The bill aims to put 11 million undocumented people on a path to citizenship, and dramastically incease the number of H-1B visas and green cards for skilled foreign workers.
Please click here to read
major provisions of the Senate immigration bill
or click here to read the full bill(start from page 872)
. Following are major provisions related to
skilled foreign workers:
Major provisions of the Senate immigration bill
Full Approved Immigration Bill(start from page 872)
- The cap on the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers would be immediately raised from 65,000 a year to 110,000 a year, with 25,000 more set aside for people with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. school. The cap could go as high as 180,000 a year depending on demand.
- Immigrants with certain extraordinary abilities, such as professors, researchers, multinational executives and athletes, would be exempted from existing green-card limits. So would graduates of U.S. universities with job offers and degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.
- A startup visa would be made available to foreign entrepreneurs seeking to come to the U.S. to start a company.
- A new merit visa, for a maximum of 250,000 people a year, would award points to prospective immigrants based on their education, employment, length of residence in the U.S. and other considerations. Those with the most points would earn the visas.
- The bill would eliminate the government's Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which randomly awards 55,000 visas to immigrants from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, so that more visas can be awarded for employment and merit ties.
- A new W visa would allow up to 200,000 low-skilled workers a year into the country for jobs in construction, long-term care, hospitality and other industries.
- A new agriculture worker visa program would be established to replace the existing program. Agriculture workers already here illegally, who've worked in the industry at least two years, could qualify in another five years for green cards if they stay in the industry.
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