Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, S.169

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah officially introduced this bill in the Senate to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States. This piecemeal bill covers nonimmigrant as well as immigrant visa reforms to attract and retain foreign brains. There are currently eleven (11) co-sponsors for this bill as follows:

  • Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT]
  • Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE]
  • Sen. Flake, Jeff [AZ]
  • Sen Heller, Dean [NV]
  • Sen Hoeven, John [ND]
  • Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN]
  • Sen Nelson, Bill [FL]
  • Sen Rubio, Marco [FL]
  • Sen Schatz, Brian [HI]
  • Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH]
  • Sen Warner, Mark R. [VA]

 Here is the sponsor's summary of the bill:

  • Employment-Based Nonimmigrant H-1B Visas
    • Increase H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000
    • Establish a market-based H-1B escalator, so that the cap can adjust ¡V up or down ¡V to the demands of the economy (includes a 300,000 ceiling on the ability of the escalator to move)
      o If the cap is hit in the first 45 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 20,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately.
      o If the cap is hit in the first 60 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 15,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately.
      o If the cap is hit in the first 90 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 10,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately.
      o If the cap is hit during the 185-day period ending on the 275th day on which petitions may be filed, and additional 5,000 H-1B will be made available immediately.
    • Uncap the existing U.S. advanced degree exemption (currently limited to 20,000 per year)
    • Authorize employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holder
    • Increase portability of high skilled foreign workers by:
      o Removing impediments and costs of changing employers;
      o Establishing a clear transition period for foreign workers as they change jobs; and,
      o Restoring visa revalidation for E, H, L, O, and P nonimmigrant visa categories
  • Student Visas
    • Allow dual intent for foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities to provide the certainty they need to ensure their future in the United States
  • Immigrant Visas and Green Cards
    • Enable the recapture of green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used
    • Exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based green card cap:
      o Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients
      o U.S. STEM advance degree holders
      o Persons with extraordinary ability
      o Outstanding professors and researchers
    • Provide for the roll-over of unused employment-based immigrant visa numbers to the following fiscal year so future visas are not lost due to bureaucratic delays
    • Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners
  • U.S. STEM Education & Worker Retraining Initiative
    • Reform fees on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards; use money from these fees to fund a grant program to promote STEM education and worker retraining to be administered by the states

Full Text of the bill:

It is anticipated that the number of co-sponsors may grow considering the powerful business and academic institution stakeholders' pressure involved, even though the chance for passing this bill as a piecemeal legislation apart from the Comprehensive Immigration Reform is uncertain. Despite such uncertainty, this bill will play an important role for the legislators to shape the employment-based immigration component in the CIR. 

This bill shows a very aggressive reform of EB immigration reform. For the reasons, it may face steep challenges from labor unions and their political backers on the left and ultra-conservative Republicans on the right who have been strongly opposing increase of visa quotas by all means. You guessed it. Sen. Durbin of Illinois has reportedly expressed his intent to work with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Illinois to amend the H-1B reform portion of this bill. Read on.

This bill is also known as the "I-Squared Act of 2013". You can read our previous coverage here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Posting Tips:

1. To estimate when priority date can be current, please see this GC Calculator:

2. View or add your I-130/I-485/NVC case to GC Tracker:

3. You can browse or post new questions in GC Forum:

Comments posted above will only appear in this blog post. Comments posted below will appear across all blog posts:

comments powered by Disqus