The Immigration Innovation Act

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Just days ago, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announced their support for a bill that would greatly increase the number of highly-skilled immigrants who could legally enter and reside in the U.S.

The Immigration Innovation Act, if passed, would increase the number of workers in “specialty occupations” who are allowed to enter the U.S. each year, giving much needed labor support to domestic enterprises that have been clamoring for more help as available H-1B visa slots get filled within a few months after opening.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith has reportedly stated that “Microsoft strongly supports efforts to permanently reform our highly-skilled immigration system” and a number of Silicon Valley companies have already embraced the idea of opening the doors wider for highly-skilled immigrants who can fill slots that otherwise would remain unfilled by the domestic labor pool.

The proposed act would significantly increase the size of the H-1B visa cap, taking it from 65,000 successful applicants per year to 115,000. The new cap would also contain a market-based factor that could increase or decrease the size of the cap based on employer-demand, but would never allow it to go below 115,000.

In response to input from domestic companies, the act would also allow foreign students at U.S. institutions of higher education (such as engineering, math and science students) to apply for green cards while in this country on student visas.

Because the act opens immigration doors in response to the needs of business, it is expected to receive support from Republicans as well as Democrats in both houses of Congress.

If you are an employer or an employer’s agent charged with immigrant recruitment, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney who can help you with employment-related immigration issues. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we might assist you in a variety of ways.