Friday, February 17, 2017

SEN. HATCH OFFERING BILL TO INCREASE H-1B CAP

Computerworld is reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is preparing an H-1B bill, which could raise the H-1B cap as high as 195,000 visas.  The current H-1B cap ceiling is 85,000, of which 20,000 are reserved for graduates of at least a US Master’s degree program. 

Sen. Hatch’s bill reportedly is an update of his 2015 I-Squared Bill.  The I-Squared bill was first offered in 2013.  The 2015 bill contained many excellent provisions for the IT industry and H-1B employers.  It remains to be seen which of these provisions will be in the 2017 version of the bill.  Sen. Hatch is to be applauded for his long-standing belief in the employment-based immigration system and the contributions made by employment-based visa holders.

The 2015 bill included these provisions:

-provided H-4 spousal work authorization.
-reduced the ability of the USCIS to issue harassing H-1B RFEs.
-gave an H-1B worker a 60 day grace period at the conclusion of H-1B status.
-allowed H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-1, E-2, and P-1 visa holders the ability to have their visas extended in the US.
-increased green card numbers.
-eliminated the per-country immigrant visa quota.
-created funding for US training programs in STEM fields by increasing USCIS filing fees.

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