A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Senate Bill to Increase H-1B Visa Cap and Employment-based Immigrant Visas

A new Senate bill was introduced on January 29, 2013 to increase the H-1B visa cap and to make it easier for advanced degree holders to obtain U.S. immigrant visas.  The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 was drafted by several senators including Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to respond to the current high demand for workers with advanced technical skills in the United States.  The highlights of the bill includes:

·        H-1B visa cap will increase from 65,000 to 115,000 with a mechanism to dynamically increase the cap based on actual demand of the year;

·        Advanced degree holders will no longer be subject to any H-1B cap;
·        Dependent spouses of H-1B workers will be authorized to work;

·        Unused employment visa numbers from previous years will be recaptured for use;

·       Dependent applicants, STEM degree holders, extraordinary ability aliens, and outstanding professors and researchers will be exempt from immigrant visa quota;

·        The per-country cap for immigrant visas will be eliminated;

·         Visa re-validation will once again be allowed from within the U.S. for E, H, L, O, P work visa;

·         A 60-day grace period will be available for H-1B workers who lose their jobs.

It's very important to note that this is only a proposal which may or may not become law.  In fact, this one of the many proposals recently announced by the While House and Congress regarding immigration reform.  Because of the changes in political climate, it is generally agreed that some form of immigration reform will likely take place this year.  It is therefore important to stay tuned for any new development.

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