Senate Judiciary Committee approved the amended Immigration Bill on May 21 with 13-5 majority votes. While the White House immediately praised the result, the H-1B opponents were angry, because the foreign workers and tech industry are big winners!
The original bill would increase H-1B Visa and "high-tech" green card, and give their spouses work authorization(read details). The amended bill extended more favors:
- According to Computer World, the revised bill raises the annual H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000(originally 110,000). The annual escalator increases from 10,000 to 20,000 if occupational unemployment for the management, professional and related occupations is below 4.5%(which has been below 4% in recent years). read details
If the President could sign the bill into law as it is before the end of fiscal year 2013(Sep 30, 2013), we might have 50,000-75,000 new H1B Visa available starting October 1, 2013(fights still ahead).
- Most employers will not be required to offer a job to an equally or better qualified U.S. worker before hiring foreign workers, only "dependent firms" have to do it. Dependent firms are those with 15% or more of the workforce on visas. The bill mandates the H-1B dependent employers to offer minimum of Level II wage and banning Level I wage.
- A new "intending immigrant" provision excludes the number of H-1B and L-1 employees who have started the green card process from counting the total number of H-1B and L-1 employees for the determination of "dependent firms".
This provision will certainly encourage employers to file large number of employment based green card petitions for their employees to avoid the title of "dependent firms"!
The best part of the original bill is a 60-day transition period for H-1B workers to change jobs. An employer can no longer kick a worker out of the country by firing them and workers who wish to renew their visas no longer have to leave the country. Foreign workers can finally make their own employment decisions without worrying too much about the legal status!
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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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 21, 2013
Statement by the President
I congratulate the Senate Judiciary Committee on completing its work on S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Leahy and a bipartisan group of eight Senators, the legislation that passed the Judiciary Committee with a strong bipartisan vote is largely consistent with the principles of commonsense reform I have proposed and meets the challenge of fixing our broken immigration system. The process for considering this legislation has been open and inclusive with multiple hearings, and more than a hundred amendments were considered and adopted, in many cases with bipartisan support.
I applaud the Committee members for their hard work, especially “Gang of Eight” members Senators Schumer, Durbin, Graham and Flake. None of the Committee members got everything they wanted, and neither did I , but in the end, we all owe it to the American people to get the best possible result over the finish line. I encourage the full Senate to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor at the at the earliest possible opportunity and remain hopeful that the amendment process will lead to further improvements.