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Senate Immigration Bill to Increase H1B Visa Cap

The Senate immigration bill named Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act will reform the H-1B visa program and it will raise the current limit on H-1B visas and the H-1B visa program is meant for the highly-skilled foreign workers with advanced degrees. The cap will be raised to 110,000 and in future, the cap is likely to go as high as 180,000. The bill will also raise the 20,000 exemption to 25,000 and these 25,000 visas will be allocated to graduates with advanced degrees in Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology fields. In future, the cap may be raised to 180,000 and this will be determined through “High Skilled Jobs Demand Index”. Based on the number of applications that the USCIS approves in one year, the cap will be raised or decreased by 10,000 visas per year.

US employers will be required to pay higher wages to H-1B workers and advertise the jobs to the American workers prior to hiring foreign workers. The employers may not be permitted to pay lower wages to America workers and they must advertise the jobs at higher wages. Likewise, US employers will be required to recruit America workers prior to recruiting foreign workers. A website will be established by the Secretary of Labor and the employers in America will have to post a detailed job opening on the website at least one month prior to recruiting H-1B workers.

Employers will have to give first priority to the Americans and they may not give preference to the H-1 B workers. Moreover, US employers who seek to hire more H-1B workers will have to pay higher wages than the US employers who hire less number of H-1B workers. Currently, the spouses of H-1B workers who enter into the country on H-4 visas cannot work in the country but the Senate immigration bill will permit the spouses of H-1B workers to work in America if their countries of citizenship permit the spouses of American workers to work there. Apart from that, foreign students who enter into America for bachelor’s degrees will be granted dual intent visas.

If a US employer has more than 50 H-1B or L-1 workers and if the percentage of H-1B of L-1 employees is between 30% and 50%, that particular employer will be required to pay a $5,000 fee for each additional employee. Likewise, that particular employer will be required to pay a $10,000 fee for each additional worker, if the percentage of H-1B or L-1 workers is above 50%. Moreover, a company that has more than 75% of foreign workers will be banned from bringing additional foreign workers.

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