PER AILA Doc. No. 13013040, 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.
Some of the more interesting segments of the Act include:
* 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
* 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
* Allow dual intent for foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities
* Exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based green card cap:
o Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients
o U.S. STEM advance degree holders
o Persons with extraordinary ability
o Outstanding professors and researchers
* Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas
* 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
This is an interesting initial step towards immigration reform that addresses some of the employment-based problems with our current system. One red flag is the "reform" of H-1B fees. These filing fees are already high, and many question whether current additional fees that are supposed to go to U.S. worker training are effciently expended.
Andrew M. Wilson, Esq.
Serotte Reich Wilson, LLP