Bill Targets Higher Visa Capsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Bill Targets Higher Visa Caps Wired News Report 12:30 p.m. 15.Mar.2000 PST
Congresswoman David Dreier has introduced The HI-TECH Act (The Helping to Improve Technology Education & Achievement Act), designed to make it easier for technology companies to hire foreign workers.
The bipartisan bill is an attempt to aid in the shortage of high-tech workers by increasing the cap of H1-B visas to 200,000 for the next three years. Currently, 107,500 visas are available for 2001.
Under the new proposal, 10,000 of these work visas are reserved for graduates of American universities, while another 60,000 have been set aside for people with a Master's degree or higher.
The act also increases the H1-B fee from $500 to $1,000. The increased fee will be used for education and training programs aimed at improving technical skills, such as the Upward Bound Math/Science Program and National Science Foundation Scholarships.
The act would also change the per country quota system for allocating work visas. Each nation is currently allotted 7 percent of the total number of visas issued each year.
Dreier's bill would allow countries that have reached their limit to "borrow" unused visas from another nation's quota. The new system would also allow INS to "bank" any visas that remain unused during one year and use them when required in the future.
The bill also commissions a new tracking system that will allow non-immigrants to follow the progress of their application with the INS. It proposes a feasibility study of a computerized filing system that allows non-immigrants to file applications with the INS online.
If the bill is passed, it will take effect on October 1.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 15, 2000