Immigration Reform and H1B Visa is a hot topic. I recently read an article here Indian IT services company are hoping that proposed changes will not be implements.
Following infographic shows the amount of money spent by Indian IT Services companies to lobby U.S. lawmakers to not implement strict H1B provisions.
CTS was recently asked by press about the impact of company earnings if higher H1B Visa fees were implemented. FYI – CTS is the largest user of H1B Visa in recent years. Proposed immigration reform bill contains higher fees and strict hiring rules.
You may read the summary of comprehensive immigration reform bill which contains major changes to High skilled legal immigration, H1B Visa, L1 Visa, Work Authorization, Start-up Visa, etc.
Read the first part of the this series – High Skilled Legal Immigration and Green Card changes in Immigration Reform
Immigration Reform and H1B Visa
I reached out to Immigration Attorney’s with following question –
What do you think about H-1B Visa provisions of the bill and do like to see any changes in the proposed language?
The H-1B provisions have been somewhat of a disappointment mainly because expectations were raised as a result of the superb I-Squared bill which many thought would be the model for the Senate bill. The H-1B cap increase in the actual bill was a shadow of the proposed increase in I-Squared. The H-4 employment authorization provision in the Senate bill contained a provision that could severely limit the usefulness of that provision. And the dreadful, protectionist provisions proposed over the years by Senators like Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin have found their way in to the bill. Hopefully, the House will avoid going down the same path and propose a robust, pro-immigration model.
I am very happy to see that the cap is proposed to be increased. However, I am not very sure about the requirement for posting a job on a Department of Labor website for certain period. This kind of requirement would slow down the H-1B process substantially for many employers who simply want to make a quick hire of an H-1B worker. Currently, the LCA requirement adds 2-3 weeks to the H-1B filing process, if this is added on top of a few weeks to have a job posted, an employer may need to wait 1.5-2 months to file an H-1B — this may be too long for some employers. I would like to see this mechanism streamlined/shortened.
Also, some of the increased H-1B fees would make it prohibitively expensive for some H-1B dependent employers to continue to employ H-1B workers. I understand the criticism and that there may be some abuse in the H-1B system, but the high amount of fees would be a substantial negative factor for many H-1B employers.
Some of the provisions in the Senate legislation related to the H-1B professional worker category are good and others are bad. On the positive side, the bill increases the regular H-1B cap from 65,000 to 110,000. In addition, it would allow the Department of Homeland Security to increase the H-1B cap up to 180,000 depending on demand. The legislation would also increase the Master’s cap from 20,000 to 25,000.
Another very favorable provision is allowing H-1B workers 60 days to transition between jobs. Our currently law does not allow any transition time, which is unrealistic in our job market. The bill will also allow certain spouses of H-1B visa holders to obtain work authorization, which again is an improvement over current laws.
Unfortunately, the bill also places some unnecessary burdens on employers who use the H-1B program. For example, all employers would be required to test the US labor market before filing an H-1B application. Under current law, only certain H-1B dependent employers (those whose workforce consists of a large number of H-1B workers) must test the labor market first.
In addition, the bill places severe penalties on H-1B dependent employers. For example, employers with 50 or more employees would have to pay an additional fine of $5000 per sponsored worker if more than 30 percent of their workforce consists of H-1B workers.
This fine increases to $10,000 if their workforce consists of more than 50 percent of H-1B workers. The bill also places an upper limit on how many H-1B workers a company can ultimately hire. We believe that some of these provisions should be changed to make the H-1B program more ‘market-based’ instead of heavily regulated as is proposed by the current legislation.
Jacob Sapochnick (www.visalawyerblog.com). Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick, Immigration Lawyers.
For H1B some nice changes proposed, Increase the quota to a floor of 110,000 and a ceiling of 180,000, increase the U.S. advanced degree exemption to 25,000 but limit it to STEM graduates, add a recruitment requirement for all H-1B labor condition applications involving a detailed posting on an Internet site designed by the Labor Department, add a non-displacement attestation, change the prevailing wage formula, provide EADs for spouses, and add a 60-day grace period after an H-1B has been terminated from his or her job.
I personally don’t like the added recruitment requirements for the H1B process. It is already complicated enough. I fear it will slow down the process and make it harder for applicants to secure H1B jobs. Imagine getting into all this mess before hiring an employee.
I would like to see no Cap on the H1B program, this makes sense. If there will be no pressure to do this, it will create more order in this system allowing qualified workers join legitimate employers.
As you can se, there are good and bad parts of the H1B Visa provisions in immigration reform bill. Sentators will be making changes to the H1B Visa sections this week. Stay tuned for more updates.
- Do you have any questions about the new immigration reform and H1B visa provisions listed above?
- Do you think these changes will affect you?