LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

There are currently two main pieces of legislation from 2007 of interest to employment based immigration. The SKIL Act of 2007 (S 1083/HR 1930) introduced April 10, 2007, by Senator Cornyn and Rep. Shadegg would:

  • raise the cap from 140,000 to 290,000 green cards a year and allows unused green cards to fall forward annually, while recapturing unused green cards from previous fiscal years
  • exempt from the EB cap professionals who have earned a U.S. master’s or higher degree and those awarded a medical specialty certification based on postdoctoral U.S. training and experience; exempt those who have earned a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) master’s or higher degree who have worked 3 years in the U.S.; exempt those who will perform labor in shortage occupations designated by the Secretary of Labor; and exempt spouse and minor children of employment-based professionals
  • raise the H-1B cap to 115,000 and provides for a market-based escalator if the cap is reached during the previous fiscal year
  • provide an exemption for professionals who have earned a U.S. master’s or higher degree AND those who have been awarded a medical specialty certification based on post-doctoral U.S. training and experience
  • modify the existing advanced degree cap of 20,000 to apply to those with a master’s or higher degree from an institution of higher education in a foreign country

There is also the STRIVE Act of 2007 (H.R. 1645), introduced March 22, 2007, by Rep. Gutierrez which proposes the most complete reform of our current immigration system. Regarding EB green cards, the STRIVE Act would:

  • increase EB green cards from 140,000 to 290,000 per fiscal year
  • exempt spouse and minor children of employment-based professionals
  • allow unused employment-based immigrant green cards from previous fiscal years are recaptured and made available for employment-based immigrant green cards for future fiscal years
  • make slight increases to the per-country limits for employment based green cards

The STRIVE Act has similar provisions related to the H-1B program as contained in the SKIL bill.

On smaller scales, three bills were introduced March 13, 2007, into the House of Representatives relating to high-skilled visas.

Rep. Smith (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5642 which would increase the numerical limitation to 195,000 with respect to H–1B non-immigrants for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5642:

Rep. Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 5634 which would exempt from numerical limitations any alien who has received a Ph.D. from an institution of higher education within the 3-year period preceding such alien’s petition for special immigrant status. http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5634:

Rep. Giffords (D-AZ) introduced H.R. 5630 which would modify certain requirements with respect to H–1B non-immigrants; increase the cap to 130,000 and includes a market escalator if the new cap is reached during the prior fiscal year; and includes added labor protections for U.S. workers. http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5630:

On 4/23/08, H.R. 5882 was introduced by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) that would recapture employment-based immigrant visas lost to bureaucratic delays and to prevent losses of family- and employment- based immigrant visas in the future (http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5882:

On 4/29/08, H.R. 5921 was introduced by Representative Lofgren (D-CA) that would eliminate the per country level for employment-based immigrants and to end the spill-over of unused immigrant visa numbers between employment-based and family-sponsored categories (http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/qu ery/z?c110:H.R.5921:

On 4/29/2008, H.R. 5924 was introduced by Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL) that would provide relief for the shortage of nurses in the United States (http://capwiz.com/aila2/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5924: