There have been rumblings that a new bill to raise the H-1B cap will be brought to the forefront when the Republican Congress returns from its recess in January 2015. The I-Squared Act was originally introduced in January of 2013 in the Senate by two Republicans and two Democrats, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) , Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.). It proposes raising the cap from its current 65,000 to 115,000 with an additional 20,000 for U.S. advanced degree graduates and contains a provision that would allow the cap rise up to 300,000 depending on market conditions and existing demand.
I-Squared would also provide work authorization to spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants.
It seems that there is bipartisan support for raising the H-1B cap and Congressional Republicans are motivated to take this issue off the table when discussing broader reform (such as border security and legalization). The majority of Republicans do favor raising the H-1B cap (regardless of their views on legalization). For instance Jeb Bush has been quoted as stating: the 85,000 H-1B cap is “hopelessly inadequate to preserve America’s leadership role in technology.”
We are aware that the hostility between Congress and the White House due to its executive action may prevent this bill from moving forward. However, it was originally introduced over a year ago and the only thing that stopped its progression then was the Senate’s desire for comprehensive reform as opposed to step-by-step reform. This air has changed drastically since the President’s executive action.
As a reminder, Immigration Services will begin accepting cap H-1Bs on April 1, 2015, for an October 1, 2015 start date. Assuming the cap is reached, only cap H-1Bs received during the first five business days beginning April 1, 2015 will be eligible for selection in the H-1B cap lottery.
If you have questions about the H-1B cap, please feel free to contact Managing Partner Michael Wildes at email@example.com.
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