If the bill passes the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate as a whole, a separate Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill will be announced in the House of Representatives. The House bill will also have to pass that chamber and then be remedied with the Senate bill. Only then will it be presented to President Obama for signature. The key take-away is that this bill is still many steps from becoming law.
Keeping in mind that the final CIR may look different than this one, this MU Law Visa Advisor only highlights several key items that will be of interest to our clients and friends. Also, although the 17-page Oultine includes sections on Border Protection and Undocumented Worker Legalization we have not summarized these areas of the law in this MU Law Visa Advisor since they are of lesser interest to our clients and friends.
Here is the brief MU Law Summary of the Senate's CIR bill:
EMPLOYMENT-BASED GREEN CARDS
- The Senate CIR bill calls for an immediate elimination of retrogression for currently-pending green card applications. If this provision is true as listed in the Summary hundreds of thousands of long-delayed EB-2 and EB-3 applications would be immediately eligible for Adjustment of Status, Immigrant Visa appointments, and Green card issuance. It is unclear how the USCIS and State Department would handle this immense overload of applications.
- Going forward employment-based green card numbers would dramatically increase. Theoretically this could mean that future retrogression is small.
- All employers will be required to use E-verify over a five-year phase in period, which will include enhanced photographic measures.
H-1B / L-1 VISAS
- The H-1B visa cap will increase to 110,000, and can increase to 180,000 over seven years.
- Spouses of H-1B visa holders will gain work eligibility.
- H-1B prevailing wage rules may be changing, mandating higher wages for H-1B workers. It is somewhat unclear in the Outline to what extent the prevailing wage rules will change.
- Employers with more than 50 employees and who have 50% of their workforce who (a) hold H-1B and/or L-1 and (b) who do not have a green card pending, must pay an additional $10,000 in H-1B / L-1 filing fees.
- Employers with more than 50 employees and who have 30% of their workforce who (a) hold H-1B and/or L-1 and (b) who do not have a green card pending, must pay an additional $5,000 in H-1B / L-1 filing fees.
- By 2016 any employer who has more than 50% of its workforce on H-1B / L-1 status will be ineligible to petition for H-1B and/or L-1 visas.
- All employers who wish to hire an H-1B must advertise the position on a government database for 30 days.