H-1B Visa Changes in the Immigration Reform Bill

The Senate immigration reform bill attempts to provide the US businesses with more visas and the bill would double the H-1B visa cap from 65,000 to 110,000. Likewise, the country lacks high skilled tech and trained science workers and so the bill would allocate 25,000 immigrant visas to STEM graduates who obtain master’s or doctoral degrees in America. Moreover, the bill would require the American business to raise the wages for H-1B workers and hire foreign workers only if there is a need. Microsoft and few other tech companies have told that they would support the Senate immigration reform bill that would expand the H-1B visa program. Initially the immigration reform bill would raise the H-1B visa cap to 110,000 and in future the cap would raise to 180,000. Based on the number of applications the USCIS receives in a year, the cap would increase/decrease by 10,000 visas, every year.

US employers would first be required to advertise the jobs to Americans at higher wages and then hire foreign workers if they are unable to find suitable Americans. Likewise, US employers hiring H-1B workers would be required to pay them higher wages than what they normally pay. Moreover, the immigration reform bill would grant work permits to the spouses of H-1B workers who hold H-4 visas. However, this will happen only if the home countries of the H-1B workers, permit the spouses of US citizens who are working there, to work legally in those countries. H-1B workers would also be permitted to change jobs and they would be required to return to their home countries only if they remain unemployed for two consecutive months and the foreign students who come to America to pursue education, would be granted dual intent visas.

US companies may not be permitted to hire more number of H-1B workers and if more than 75% of the workers are H-1B workers, that particular company would not be permitted to hire additional H-1B workers. Likewise, if a company has more than 50 H-1B workers and if the overall percentage of H-1B workers in that company lies between 30% and 50%, that particular company would be required to pay a $5,000 fee for each additional H-1B worker and a fee of $10,000 must be paid by a US company that has more than 50 H-1B employees and if the percentage of foreign workers in the company is above 50%.

The Senate immigration reform bill would protect the American workers and it would require the US companies to recruit American workers before recruiting H-1B employees. The Secretary of Labor would establish a website and the US employers will have to post the H-1B positions on this website and this must be done at least 30 days prior to hiring H-1B workers. Employers may not give preference to the H-1B non-immigrants and top priority must be given to the American workers.

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