Immigration Reform 2013!

  • Increase H-1B base cap from 65,000 to 110,000, with an escalator that can increase the cap to 180,000 in increments of 10,000 in response to demand.

 

  • The new legislation raises or lowers the H-1B visa cap by up to 10,000 visas each year, so long as it never exceeds 180,000 or drops below 110,000.  The amendments add a provision that blocks escalator increases if occupational unemployment for the management, professional and related occupations is 4.5% or higher. This will almost certainly ensure that the H-1B Visa numbers reach the 180,000 limit with 3-4 years. If the President could sign the bill into law as it is before the end of fiscal year 2013(Sep 30, 2013), we will have 55,000-75,000 new H1B Visa available starting October 1, 2013.

 

  • Employers who count H1-B holders as more than 75 percent of their workforce would be banned from hiring more foreign workers starting in 2014. That percentage cutoff would drop to 65 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2016.

 

  • The 60 day grace period is an important improvement that essentially means an employer can’t kick a worker out of the country by firing them. This will help increase worker power. In addition, workers who wish to renew their visas will no longer have to leave the country which is another important improvement

 

  • Those employers with more than 15 percent of their employees working under H-1B visa category come under H-1B Dependent Firms. An H-1B dependent employer will be required to post their job posting on government sponsored website to offer job to an equally or better qualified U.S. citizen. Outplacement ban applies only to H-1B dependent employers. This can be overcome by applying an H-1B employee, green card simultaneously and reducing the total tally of H-1B and L-1 employees. If the H-1B candidates hired in a consulting firm have their green cards under processing, the employer may skip being an “H-1B Dependent Employer “.

 

  • In addition, spouses of H1B workers would be allowed to obtain work authorization, provided that the home country provides the same treatment for spouses of U.S. workers.

 

  • Introduction of W Visa: Under the "W-Visa" program, which would start in April 2015, foreigners with lesser skills would be able to apply for positions in the country. The program would be based upon a system of registered employers who, after applying and being accepted, are allowed to hire a certain number of W-Visa category individuals each year. Employers must first advertise the position for 30 days on a Secretary of Labor website before it becomes a position capable of being filled by a W-Visa holder. Employers couldn't advertise positions that require a bachelor's degree or higher.The visa would last three years and workers could renew it for additional three-year periods. Visa holders couldn't be unemployed for more than 60 consecutive days. They would be able to bring a spouse and minor children, who also would receive authorization to work in the US. The number of visas to be offered would be capped at 20,000 the first year and grow to 75,000 by the fourth year. In the years thereafter, the annual cap would be based on a formula that would consider the number of new job openings, the number of unemployed U.S. workers as well as the demand for W-Visa workers.

 

  • The bill would mandate employers use an improved version of E-Verify, an electronic system for determining the legal status of current and prospective employees, within five years.