When Immigration Matters

Immigration Innovation Act - Increases to H-1B Cap and Other Changes

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 @ 3:19 PM

Karen-Lee PollakIMMIGRATION INNOVATION (I2) ACT OF 2013 

ORRIN HATCH (R-UTAH), AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MINN.), MARCO RUBIO (R-FLA.), CHRIS COONS (D-DEL.)

The Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013 was introduced on January 29, 2013 by Sens. Hatch (R-UT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL), and Coons (D-DE). Among other things, the bill proposes increasing the H-1B cap, authorizing employment for spouses of H-1B visa holders, recapturing green card numbers, allowing dual intent for student visa holders, and reforming fees on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards.

What this Act Proposes?

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 – up or down – to the demands of the economy (includes a 300,000 ceiling on the ability of the escalator to move)
    • 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.  
    • 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.  
    • 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.  
    • 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 holders
  • Increase portability of high skilled foreign workers by:
    • Removing impediments and costs of changing employers;
    • Establishing a clear transition period for foreign workers as they change jobs; and,
    • 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:
    • Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients
    • U.S. STEM advance degree holders
    • Persons with extraordinary ability
    • 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 and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas

 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

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