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A Better Partnership


Mar 2013
March 27, 2013

Immigration Changes for Highly Skilled Workers?

On April 1, West Michigan businesses can begin to file for H-1B visas, which allow them to add highly skilled foreign workers to their payroll for three years.  Companies are putting the finishing touches on their petitions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service so ensure they will be able to snag one of the 65,000 visas available. 

Angela Jenkins, an attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, notes that last year the visas ran out in only 10 weeks – whereas in the prior year, they were available all the way through Thanksgiving.  Jenkins said this signal the economy is improving and there’s increased demand for highly skilled workers such as engineers, architects, scientists and other professional.  Capping the pool at 65,000 may seriously short-change thousands of companies this year.

Jenkins notes that a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced legislation to “bring long overdue reforms” to the H-IB visa program.  The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 would:
  • Nearly double the current cap, bringing the annual total to 115,000
  • Establish a market-based “escalator” that would increase if the new cap was hit within 45-60-90-185 days for a not-to-exceed number of 300,000
  • Uncap the existing exemption for holders of U.S. advanced degrees, which now stands at 20,000
  • Increase portability of highly skilled foreign workers and remove impediments and costs to changing employers
To read the proposed legislation, click here.

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