December 7, 2021

Volume XI, Number 341

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December 07, 2021

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December 06, 2021

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First Senate Bill Introduced to Address Legal / High-Skilled Immigration Reform

Earlier this week, Senators Hatch, Klobuchar, Rubio, Coons, Flake and Blumenthal introduced S. 153 the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (I-Squared). This bi-partisan bill marks the first positive immigration legislation introduced in the 114th Congress. It is also a solid bi-partisan piece of legislation. Please see a link to the official Senate press release.

Here is an excerpt of the major provisions of the I-Squared Act of 2015:

Employment-Based Nonimmigrant H-1B Visas

  • Increase the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000
  • Allow the cap to go up (but not above 195,000) within any fiscal year where early filings exceed cap and require the cap to go down in a following fiscal year (but not below 115,000) if usage at the end of any fiscal year is below that particular year’s cap
  • 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 worker mobility by establishing a grace period during which foreign workers can change jobs and not be out of status and restoring visa revalidation for E, H, L, O and P nonimmigrant visa categories

Student Visas

  • Allow dual intent for foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities to provide the certainty they need to ensure their future in the United States

Green Cards

  • Enable the recapture of green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used, and continue this policy going forward through the roll-over of unused green cards in future fiscal years to the following fiscal year
  • Exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based green card cap:
    • Dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients
    • U.S. STEM advance degree holders
    • Persons with extraordinary ability
    • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas

U.S. STEM Education & Worker Retraining Initiative

  • 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 to be administered by the states
©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume V, Number 15
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About this Author

Laura Foote Reiff, Greeberg Traurig Law Firm, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Labor and Employment, Immigration Law Attorney
Shareholder

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to...

703-749-1372
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