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Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Increase Visas and Green Cards for Foreign Workers

By Bill at January 16, 2015 01:24
Filed Under: Immigration News

On January 14, Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation that would make it easier for U.S. employers to hire more foreign specialists in science, technology and engineering(full textsummary, AILA News Release). 

Among the bill's provisions are the following:

  • Increases the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and allows the cap to go up (but not above 195,000) or down (but not below 115,000), depending on actual market demand.
  • Removes the existing 20,000 cap on the U.S. advanced degree exemption for H-1Bs.
  • Authorizes employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders.
  • Exempts dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients, U.S. STEM advanced degree holders, persons with extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors and researchers from the employment-based green card cap.
  • Eliminates annual per-country limits for employment-based visa petitioners and adjusts per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas.

For more information, please review full text or summary of S. 153, Immigration Innovation ("I-Squared") Act of 2015. 

MicrosoftGoogleFacebook and Apple are among companies that have been clamoring for better access to high-skilled foreign workers. 

Analysts say the bills have a strong chance of passing both houses. "Congress seems much more amenable to high-skilled reform than they were before," said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute. "Republicans have been on board with expanding high-skilled immigration for a very long time. Now that they control the Senate, they can control the discussion on that, and they're going to push for more liberalization of the system than they would have gotten in a mixed Congress." 

U.S. employers are always looking for skilled workers. Please polish your resume and update your career profiles regularly.

AILA: Immigration Innovation Act Would Help Economy

By Bill at January 16, 2015 00:19
Filed Under: Immigration News

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds the introduction of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (S. 153) by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL), Coons (D-DE), Flake (R-AZ), and Blumenthal (D-CT). The Immigration Innovation Act (“I-Squared” Act) provides critical reforms needed in the area of high-skilled immigration(full text, Summary).

“The American economy thrives when innovation and creativity are welcomed, and job growth follows,” said AILA President Leslie Holman. She continued, “What would be best for our country are immigration reforms that ameliorate the damage caused to families and businesses by our broken system. This bipartisan measure introduced by Senator Hatch addresses many of the critical reform needs in the business immigration context. AILA believes that the provisions in the ‘I-Squared’ Act would make long overdue updates to high-skilled immigration.”

Among the bill’s provisions are the following:

  • Increases the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and allows the cap to go up (but not above 195,000) or down (but not below 115,000), depending on actual market demand.
  • Removes the existing 20,000 cap on the U.S. advanced degree exemption for H-1Bs.
  • Authorizes employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders.
  • Recognizes that foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities have “dual intent” so they aren’t penalized for wanting to stay in the U.S. after graduation.
  • Recaptures green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used, and continues to do so going forward.
  • Exempts dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients, U.S. STEM advanced degree holders, persons with extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors and researchers from the employment-based green card cap.
  • Eliminates annual per-country limits for employment-based visa petitioners and adjusts per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas.
  • Establishes a grant program using funds from new fees added to H-1Bs and employment-based green cards to promote STEM education and worker retraining.

"I’m encouraged that this bipartisan group of Senators recognizes what so many economists and business leaders do as well: that welcoming innovative thinkers is key to economic prosperity. I’m also heartened to see members of the Senate looking past partisan rhetoric and instead focused on fixing our broken immigration system for the good of all,” concluded Ms. Holman.

Summary of S. 153, Immigration Innovation Act of 2015

By Bill at January 15, 2015 23:53
Filed Under:

Summary of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (S. 153) by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL), Coons (D-DE), Flake (R-AZ), and Blumenthal (D-CT). (full text)

  • Employment-Based Nonimmigrant H-1B Visas
    • Increase the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000
    • Allow the cap to go up (but not above 195,000) within any fiscal year where early filings exceed cap and require the cap to go down in a following fiscal year (but not below 115,000) if usage at the end of any fiscal year is below that particular year’s cap
    • Uncap the existing U.S. advanced degree exemption (currently limited to 20,000 per year)
    • Authorize employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders
  • Increase worker mobility by establishing a grace period during which foreign workers can change jobs and not be out of status and restoring visa revalidation for E, H, L, O and P nonimmigrant visa categories
  • Student Visas: Allow dual intent for foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities to provide the certainty they need to ensure their future in the United States
  • Green Cards:
    • Enable the recapture of green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used, and continue this policy going forward through the roll-over of unused green cards in future fiscal years to the following fiscal year
    • Exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based green card cap:
      • Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients
      • U.S. STEM advance degree holders
      • Persons with extraordinary ability
      • Outstanding professors and researchers
      • Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners
      • Adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas
  • U.S. STEM Education & Worker Retraining Initiative: Reform fees on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards; use money from these fees to fund a grant program to promote STEM education and worker retraining to be administered by the states

Republican Immigration Reform Principals Widely Praised!

By Bill at February 01, 2014 19:20
Filed Under: Immigration News

A Republican blueprint for immigration reform offers legalization for the nation's 11 million people who are in the country illegally, but no special pathway to citizenship, except in the cases of children brought to the country illegally by their parents, according to a draft of the plan obtained by Myvisajobs team. click here to the one page blueprint 

Immigration reform advocates generally said they were pleased and expressed encouragement. read more 

President Obama said on Friday that he is open to a middle-ground agreement with Republicans(no special path to citizenship), "There are still some differences. Obviously, the devil is in the details, but it is my firm belief that we can get immigration reform done this year."

The blueprint criticizes U.S. immigration system: "For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed nation. ". 

It is also very friendly to business and foreign workers, "Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help to grow our economy." read one page plan

If you want to know more about immigration reform, please visit our immigration blog andsearch immigration reform

U.S. economy is recovering, U.S. employers are desperately looking for skilled foreign workers. It is time for you to update your career profile and pitch potential employers now!

Immigration reform advocates praise House GOP ‘principles’

By Bill at February 01, 2014 17:37
Filed Under:

Immigration reform advocates expressed encouragement Thursday at the new set of principles on the issue put forward by House GOP leaders.  click here to the one page blueprint 

The principles suggested an openness to legalizing the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the country but did not embrace a new path to citizenship for them.

Pro-immigration reform groups generally said they were pleased but also expressed the need for action.

Here's a sampling of their reactions:

Campaign for an Accountable, Moral and Balanced Immigration Overhaul (CAMBIO); coalition includes ACLU:

"It is encouraging to see the House leadership moving, however tentatively, toward reforming our country’s broken immigration laws.  But it is equally important that the Congress and the President move to restore justice and balance to the way current and future laws are enforced. ... These changes would go a long way toward fixing a system that is not only impractical, costly, and unfair, it also tears families apart at record pace."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.):

“While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard road but the door is open.”

New Democrat Coalition (pro-business Democrats in Congress):

“We are hopeful that the long awaited release of the House Republicans' immigration principles means that they are finally ready to bring immigration reform for a vote. While this step is welcomed, we need concrete legislation to fix our broken immigration system."

National Immigration Forum:

“With today’s release of these standards, House leaders are showing their sincere intentions to take action on commonsense immigration reform this Congress. Republicans and Democrats now must commit to a respectful debate that moves us forward as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."

America's Voice:

“We welcome the House Republicans to the immigration debate.  It’s about time.  We are encouraged that Republicans are gearing up to take action and glad they acknowledge that immigration reform has to include the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.  Now it’s time for them to translate these vague principles into a legislative proposal."

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (I):

"I applaud Speaker Boehner and the House Leadership for building a framework for action and recognizing that good policy is good politics."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue:

“The draft Standards for Immigration Reform being debated by the House Republicans today mark important progress in ensuring immigration reform is a priority this year. This is a very encouraging sign that House lawmakers are serious about fixing our broken immigration system.

FWD.us:

"The House Republican Conference's release of draft principles for how they will approach reform represents another important step toward fixing our broken immigration system. We have said from the outset that we need border security and employment verification, an improved legal immigration system to make sure we meet our workforce needs across all sectors of our economy, and a pathway to citizenship for people currently living here who are undocumented. We remain strongly committed to fighting for our principles as the House works through its process."

One group that is not impressed is the AFL-CIO. Here's its statement:

"Seven months after 68 Senators overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration bill, House Republicans respond with a flimsy document that only serves to underscore the callous attitude Republicans have toward our nation’s immigrants."

 click here to the one page blueprint 

Recent Developments of Immigration Reform

By Bill at January 24, 2014 03:51
Filed Under: Immigration News

In June 2013, the US Senate voted 68-32 to pass a historic immigration reform bill which will not only legalize 11 million undocumented, but also dramastically incease the number of H-1B visas and green cards for skilled foreign workers. 

However, the reform bill has been stuck in the House of Representatives since then. If no action is taken in coming months, we will still have only 85,000 cap-subject H-1B visa for next year. 

1.The President: I'll Act on my Own Agenda!
President Obama vowed to use his executive authority to usher in a "year of action" even if Congress remains gridlocked. At a recent Cabinet meeting, he said he would talk to agency heads about using "all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance" his policy priorities. 

In the summer of 2012, this president issued Dream Act executive order which stops the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 years old and grants them work-authorization papers. 

2. The House Democrat: Co-Sponsors for Democratic Immigration Reform Bill reached 195.
On October 2, 2013, Democrats in the House proposed an immigration reform bill(H.R.15), which is very similar to S.744, the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate. The co-sponsor of this bill has reached 195 last week, including some Republican representatives. Only 218 votes are needed to pass this bill, but the House majority leaders just refuse to give it a chance to vote. 

3. The House Republican: Scheduled to release their "Principles" of immigration reform.
According to a recent NFAP report, following are Republican principals related work visa:

  • Increase the employment-based green card quota beyond the current 140,000 a year limit, counting only principals toward the quota, eliminate the per country limit for employment-based immigrants and exempt from the annual limit foreign nationals with a master's degree or higher from a U.S. university in a STEM field.
  • Increase the annual H-1B visa cap and expand current exemptions from the cap for highly skilled foreign nationals.
  • Establish a visa category for immigrant entrepreneurs.
  • Create a temporary visa category for agriculture that is far easier to use than the current H-2A category.
  • Establish a temporary work visa category that will allow full-year (as opposed to seasonal) work in the jobs typically held by unauthorized immigrants in fields like construction and hospitality.

Stay turned, we will report new developments on our FaceBook page and Immigration blog

U.S. employers are expected to file more than 150,000 H-1B visa petitions in the first week of April. It is time for you to update your career profile and pitch potential employers now!

Obama calls for immigration law by end of the year

By Bill at October 24, 2013 23:56
Filed Under: Immigration News

President Barack Obama called on Congress Thursday to finish work on an immigration overhaul by the end of the year. read full speech 

During remarks at the White House, Obama insisted that Congress has the necessary time to finish an immigration bill by the end of the year. The Senate passed sweeping legislation this summer that would provide an eventual path to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants living here illegally and would tighten border security. It also increase the annual H-1B visa cap from 65,000 to 180,000, depending on demand

The White House was buoyed by comments this week from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who said he was optimistic his chamber could act on immigration by year’s end. However, most House Republicans have said they prefer a piecemeal approach to fixing the nation’s fractured immigration system. 

On Wednesday, two More House Representatives Joined Co-Sponsorship of House Democratic Version Comprehensive of Immigration Reform Bill(H. R. 15). Now the total number of co-sponsors of H.R. 15 has increased from 182 to 184. 

Based on our analysis, if the president could sign the immigration bill in coming months, there will be 140-150K H-1B visa available on April 1, 2014. Please stay tuned. 

Are you ready? The employers are always looking for skilled workers, make sure you polish your resume and update your career profiles regularly

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Transcript: President Obama’s Oct. 24 remarks on immigration reform

By Bill at October 24, 2013 23:38
Filed Under: Immigration News

President Obama delivered the following remarks on immigration reform at the White House on Oct. 24, 2013.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. Everybody have a seat. Have a seat. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Well, please have a seat, everybody.

Good morning --

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Good morning.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: -- and welcome to the White House.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Thank you. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Today I'm here with leaders from business, from labor, from faith communities who are united around one goal: finishing the job of fixing a broken immigration system. This is not just an idea whose time has come; this is an idea whose time has been around for years now. Leaders like all of you have worked together with Republicans and Democrats in this town in good faith for years to try to get this done, and this is the moment when we should be able to finally get the job done.

Now, it's no secret the American people haven't seen much out of Washington that that they like these days. The shutdown and the threat of the first default in more than 200 years inflicted real pain on our businesses and on families across the country, and it was a completely unnecessary self-inflicted wound with real cost to real people, and it can never happen again.

But even with the shutdown over and the threat of default eliminated, Democrats and Republicans still have some really big disagreements. There are some just fundamentally different views about how we should move forward on certain issues.

On the other hand, as I said the day after the shutdown ended, that's no reason that we shouldn't be able to work together on the things that we do agree on. We should be able to work together on a responsible budget that invests in the things that we need to grow our economy and create jobs, even while we maintain fiscal discipline. We should be able to pass a farm bill that helps rural communities grow and protects vulnerable Americans in hard times. And we should pass immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Pass immigration reform. (Applause.)

It's good for our economy. It's good for our national security. It's good for our people. And we should do it this year.

You know, everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum, people understand this. We've known it for years. It's not smart to invite some of the brightest minds from around the world to study here and then not let them start businesses here. We've sent them back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs and invent new products someplace else. It's not fair to businesses and middle-class families who play by the rules when we allow companies that are trying to undercut the rules work in the shadow economy to hire folks at lower wages or no benefits, no overtime, so that somehow they get a competitive edge for breaking the rules.

That doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move ahead. It's not smart; it's not fair; it doesn't make sense. We have kicked this particular can down the road for too long.

Now, the good news is this year the Senate has already passed an immigration reform bill by a wide bipartisan majority that addressed all of these issues. It's a bill that would continue to strengthen our borders. It would level the playing field by holding unscrupulous employers accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers.

It would modernize our legal immigration system so that even as we train American workers for the jobs of the future, we're also attracting highly skilled entrepreneurs from beyond our borders to join with us to create jobs here in the United States.

It would make sure that everybody plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are here illegally, one that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes, paying a penalty, getting in line behind everyone who is trying to come here the right way.

So it had all the component parts. It didn't have everything that I wanted; it didn't have anything -- everything that anybody wanted; but it addressed the core challenges of how we create a(n) immigration system that is fair, that's just, that is true to our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

And that's passed the Senate by a bipartisan majority.

So -- (applause) -- here's what we also know, that the bill would grow the economy and shrink our deficits. Independent economists have shown that if the Senate bill became law over the next two decades, our economy would grow by $1.4 trillion more than it would if we don't pass the law. It would reduce our deficits by nearly a trillion dollars.

So this isn't just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do. Securing our borders, modernizing our legal immigration system, providing a pathway to earned legalized citizenship, growing our economy, strengthening our middle class, reducing our deficits -- that's what commonsense immigration reform will do.

Now, obviously just because something is smart and fair and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor -- (laughter) -- the evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans, that does not mean that it will actually get done. (Laughter.) This is Washington, after all.

So everything tends to be viewed through a political prism. And everybody's been looking at the politics of this. And I know that there's some folks in this town who are primed to think, well, if Obama's for it, then I'm against it. But you know, I'd remind everybody that my Republican predecessor was also for it when he proposed reforms like this almost a decade ago.

And I joined with 23 Senate Republicans back then to support that reform. I'd remind you that this reform won more than a dozen Republican votes in the Senate in June. I'm not running for office again; I just believe this is the right thing to do. I just believe this is the right thing to do. (Applause.)

And I also believe that good policy is good politics in this instance. And if folks are really that consumed with the politics of fixing our broken immigration system, they should look -- take a closer look at the polls, because the American people support this. It's not something they reject; they support it. Everybody wins here if we work together to get this done. In fact, if there's a good reason not to pass this common-sense reform, I haven't heard it. So anyone still standing in the way of this bipartisan reform should at least have to explain why. A clear majority of the American people think it's the right thing to do.

Now, how do we -- how do we move forward? Democrats -- Democratic leaders have introduced a bill in the House that is similar to the bipartisan Senate bill. So now it's up to Republicans in the House to decide whether reform becomes a reality or not. I do know -- and this is good news -- that many of them agree that we need to fix our broken immigration system across these areas that we've just discussed. And what I've said to them, and I'll repeat today, is if House Republicans have new and different additional ideas for how we should move forward, then we want to hear them. I'll be listening.

I know that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, those who voted for immigration reform are ready, are eager to hear those additional ideas. But what we can't do is just sweep the problem under the rug one more time, leave it for somebody else to solve sometime in the future.

You know, rather than create problems, let's prove to the American people that Washington can actually solve some problems. This reform comes as close to anything we've got to a law that will benefit everybody now and far into the future, so let's see if we can get this done and let's see if we can get it done this year.

Now the -- (applause) -- we've got the time to do it. Republicans in the House, including the speaker, have said we should act, so let's not wait. It doesn't get easier to just put it off, let's do it now. Let's not delay. Let's get this done. And let's do it in a bipartisan fashion.

To those of you who are here today, I want to just say one last thing, and that is thank you. I want to thank you for your persistence, I want to thank you for your activism, I want to thank you for your passion and your heart when it comes to this issue. And I want to tell you, you've got to keep it up. Keep putting the pressure on all of us to get this done.

There are going to be moment -- and there are always moments like this in big efforts at reform -- where you meet resistance and the press will declare something dead. It's not going to happen, but that can be overcome.

And I have to say, Joe, as I look out at this room, these don't look like people who are easily deterred. (Laughter.) They don't look like folks who are going to give up. (Applause.) You look fired up to make the next push. (Applause.)

And whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or an independent, I want you to keep working, and I'm going to be right next to you, to make sure we get immigration reform done. It is time. Let's go get it done. Thank you very much, everybody. (Cheers, applause.)

(Off-mic conversations.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)

House Judiciary Committee Approves High-Skilled Immigration Bill

By Bill at July 03, 2013 15:47
Filed Under: Immigration News
The House Judiciary Committee today approved the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (H.R. 2131), also known as the SKILLS Visa Act,in a vote of 20-14. This bill provides American employers with access to the world’s best talent by allocating green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, increasing H-1B visas, and repealing the employment-based per-country cap.

Key Components of the SKILLS Visa Act:

Increases Green Cards for STEM Grads: The SKILLS Visa Act allocates up to 55,000 green cards a year for employers to petition for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM fields.

Increases and Strengthens H-1B Visa Program: The SKILLS Visa Act increases the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled workers to 155,000 and increases the special pool of visas for foreign graduates of U.S. universities to 40,000. The bill contains enhanced anti-fraud provisions and allows H-1B spouses to work.

Market-Based Approach to Protect American Workers: The bill improves the prevailing wage calculation to better protect American workers and extends the prevailing wage protection to similar visa programs.

Provides Entrepreneur Visas: The bill allocates up to 10,000 green cards a year for alien entrepreneurs who can attract investment from venture-capital firms to establish businesses that will create at least five jobs or have already created five jobs over 10 years through the E-2 treaty investor program.

Strengthens Investor Visa Program: The bill strengthens the investor visa green card program by making the regional center pilot project permanent, indexing investment requirements for inflation, and adding anti-fraud protections.

Eliminates Arbitrary Caps: The bill eliminates the employment-based green card per-country cap, allowing American employers to have access to the best talent.

Keeps Families Together: The bill allocates an additional 25,000 green cards a year to the spouses and minor children of permanent residents. It also raises the family-sponsored per-country cap.

Makes Immigration System Smarter: The bill repeals the diversity lottery green card program, which is a magnet for fraud and poses a national security threat.

House Immigration Bill Coming Early Next Week

By Bill at July 03, 2013 02:16
Filed Under: Immigration News
Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth says a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be introduced in the House early next week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate version of the bill passed by a comfortable bipartisan margin last Thursday after months of debate.

But Speaker John Boehner has made it clear the Senate version means nothing to the Republican-controlled House, where many lawmakers have described the pathway to citizenship provisions for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as nothing more than amnesty.

The speaker has has also made it clear he will not bring any measure to the House floor unless it receives support from the majority of the GOP caucus.

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