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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.

Senate passes historic immigration bill by a big margin

By Bill at June 28, 2013 07:29
Filed Under: Immigration News

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:
  • 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.
Major provisions of the Senate immigration bill

Full Approved Immigration Bill(start from page 872)

Please make sure you polish your resume and update your career profiles regularly.

Major provisions of the Senate immigration bill

By Bill at June 28, 2013 07:12
Filed Under: Immigration News
Update: 6-28-2013: Full Text of Approved Immigration Bill(1198 pages, H-1B Visa parts start from page 872)

Note from myvisajobs.com editor: Following summary was released by Associated Press on June 27.  It just lists the major provisions of the immigration bill and some might not be up to date. 

For example, the regular annual cap for H-1B visa had been increased to 115,000 by one admentment, the AP summary still used the old figure 110,000.  The summary also did not include some key provisions like removal of county limit on employment green card, work authorization for the spouse of work visa holders, dual-intent for student visa. 

Myvisajobs will release a new summary after reviewing all the admentments passed. 

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A look at major provisions of the Senate immigration bill:

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BORDER SECURITY

—The bill sets out a series of requirements that must be achieved over 10 years before anyone here illegally can obtain a permanent resident green card. These include:

(1) Roughly doubling the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border, to at least 38,405.

(2) Completing 700 miles of pedestrian fencing along the border, which would require approximately 350 new miles of fencing.

(3) Installing a host of new security measures and technologies in specified locations along the border, including specific numbers of surveillance towers, camera systems, ground sensors, radiation detectors, mobile surveillance systems, drones, helicopters, airborne radar systems, planes and ships.

(4) Implementing a system for all employers to verify electronically their workers' legal status.

(5) Setting up a new electronic system to track people leaving the nation's airports and seaports.

—The border security improvements are designed to achieve 100 percent surveillance of the border with Mexico and ensure that 90 percent of would-be crossers are caught or turned back.

—If the goals of a 90 percent effectiveness rate and continuous surveillance on the border are not met within five years, a Southern Border Security Commission made up of border-state governors and others would determine how to achieve them.

—Border security spending in the bill totals around $46 billion.

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PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

—The estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally could obtain "registered provisional immigrant status" six months after enactment of the bill as long as:

(1) The Homeland Security Department has developed border security and fencing plans, per the specifications set out in the bill.

(2) They arrived in the U.S. prior to Dec. 31, 2011, and maintained continuous physical presence since then.

(3) They do not have a felony conviction or three or more misdemeanors.

(4) They pay a $500 fine.

—People in provisional legal status could work and travel in the U.S. but would not be eligible for most federal benefits, including health care and welfare.

—The provisional legal status lasts six years and is renewable for another six years for $500.

—People deported for noncriminal reasons can apply to re-enter in provisional status if they have a spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or if they had been brought to the U.S. as a child.

—After 10 years in provisional status, immigrants can seek a green card and lawful permanent resident status if they are current on their taxes and pay a $1,000 fine, have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S., meet work requirements and learn English. Also the border triggers must have been met, and all people waiting to immigrate through the legal system as of the date of enactment of the legislation must have been dealt with.

—People brought to the country as youths would be able to get green cards in five years, and citizenship immediately thereafter.

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HIGH-SKILLED WORKERS

—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.

—New protections would crack down on companies that use H-1B visas to train workers in the U.S. only to ship them back overseas.

—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.

___

LOW-SKILLED WORKERS

—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.

___

FAMILY IMMIGRATION

—Under current law, U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, children and siblings to come to the U.S., with limits on some categories. The bill would bar citizens from sponsoring their siblings and would allow them to sponsor married sons and daughters only if those children are under age 31.

—Legal permanent residents can currently sponsor spouses and children, but the numbers are limited. The bill eliminates that limit.

___

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION

—Within four years, all employers must implement E-Verify, a program to verify electronically their workers' legal status. As part of that, noncitizens would be required to show photo ID that must match with a photo in the E-Verify system.

Revised Senate Immigration Bill Furthur Increases H1B Visa Number

By Bill at May 27, 2013 20:17
Filed Under: Immigration News
The original Senate Immigration Bill, would increase H-1B base cap from 65,000 to 110,000, with an escalator that can increase the cap to 180,000 in increments of 10,000 in response to demand. It also included an increase of the 20,000 exemption for U.S. advanced degree holders to be 25,000. Read the original bill for details.

The tech industry wanted a cap of at least 300,000. According to Computer World report, the revised bill raises the initial cap from 65,000 to 115,000. Not sure about the change to exemption for U.S. advanced degree holders yet. 

The annual escalator was increased to 20,000, while the overall cap of 180,000 remains unchanged. The amendments add a provision that blocks escalator increases if occupational unemployment for the management, professional and related occupations is 4.5% or higher. This will almost certainly ensure that the H-1B Visa numbers reach the 180,000 limit with 3-4 years. 

"Did the supporters of the amendment know that the average unemployment (rate) for this group was 3.7% last April, compared with what this amendment has, 4.5%?" said Grassley. "This amendment does nothing to stop huge increases in H-1B visas." 

In the first quarter of this year the unemployment rate for management professionals was 3.8%; for computing and math specialists, 3.5%, and for tech architects and engineers, 3.8%.

So if the President could sign the bill into law as it is before the end of fiscal year 2013(Sep 30, 2013), we will have 55,000-75,000 new H1B Visa available starting October 1, 2013. 

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