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Senate to Vote on Amendments Related to Non-Immigrant Visa Programs

The Senate Judiciary Committee met last week and debated on few amendments. 21 amendments that were filed to the immigration reform bill were adopted and the committee will meet again today and debate on a few more amendments. Last week, the committee reviewed the first part of the Senate bill that deals with border security. The committee debated on 32 amendments, adopted 21 and rejected 11 amendments. Few changes were made to the bill but the key provisions of the bill were not changed.

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will debate on the part of the immigration reform bill that includes provisions for non-immigrant visas. This part of the bill calls for a new guest worker program for low skilled workers, the W visa program. According to the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill, W visas would be issued to low skilled foreign workers and the W visa holders would be permitted to work legally in America for three years. These W non-immigrants would also be permitted to bring with them their spouses and children to the United States and those immediate relatives also would be granted authorization to work in America. If the immigration reform bill is passed, this visa program would begin in April 2015.

Not all the low-skilled foreign nationals who apply for visas would be issued W visas and this new guest worker program would be based on a new system. To hire W non-immigrants, US employers must register and they would be permitted to hire only a certain number of W visa holders for registered positions, every year. These employers who register must post the jobs in the Secretary of Labor website and they may hire low skilled foreign nationals if they are unable to find suitable US citizens.

These W visas could be renewed. But the W non-immigrants would lose their status if they remain unemployed in America for 2 consecutive months. W visas would benefit the immediate relatives of W non-immigrants as they would also be permitted to stay and work in America. The Judiciary Committee will open a debate today and it will meet again on Thursday. The committee is planning to finish marking up the immigration reform bill before 27th May, 2013.

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