- Raising the cap on the number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 110,000 annually, with as many as 180,000 to be granted each year in the future.
- Raising the number of additional visas specifically for STEM advanced-degree holders from U.S. schools to 25,000 from the current 20,000.
- Requiring employers to pay higher wages for H-1B workers than under current law. (As now, they could not pay visa-holders more than the prevailing wage paid to native-born workers.)
- Requiring “H-1B dependent employers” -- those who employ a disproportionate number of guest workers -- to pay significantly higher wages and fees than normal users of the program. At present, the dependent-employer threshold stands at 15 percent of total headcount. This was one of the requirements that Facebook took aim against in its lobbying.
- Employers with 30 and 50 percent of their workforce made up of H-1B or L visa holders who do not have green-card petitions pending would pay an additional $5,000 fee per head.That fee would grow to $10,000 for employers with H-1Bs comprising 50 percent or more of its workforce.
- Companies would be required to advertise H-1B positions on a Labor Department website for 30 days before filling the position with an H-1B applicant.
- Increasing the allotment of green cards.
- Creating a “startup visa” for foreign entrepreneurs.
- Moving toward a points-based merit system in the visa process to favor education and skills over family status.
Tech Workers Wary, Industry Hopeful on H-1B Proposal
Tech industry groups are cautiously optimistic and tech workers are wary of the immigration reform bill introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, which was released by its sponsoring “Gang of Eight” early Wednesday in all its 844-page glory. On Tuesday, Neil Ruiz, associate fellow and senior policy analyst at the Brookings Institution, told us prospects for the bill’s passage looked promising, though at that point he had seen only a 19-page summary of the legislation. Among the wide-ranging bill’s provisions: