House Introduces Bill on H-1B Visas

House Introduces Bill on H-1B Visas

Just hours before the House of Representatives broke for a two-week recess, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), along with other House Republicans, introduced the "American Workforce Improvement and Jobs Protection Act" (H.R. 4166). This bill would create a permanent exemption from the H-1B cap for graduates of U.S. universities who have earned a Master's or higher degree. However, this exemption would be capped at 20,000 per year. The bill also includes narrowly tailored modifications to the L category that AILA supports. In exchange for these benefits, H.R. 4166 would, among other things, reinstate the recently sunsetted H-1B fees and attestations and would impose a new $500 fraud fee on petitions. While AILA recognizes that H.R. 4166 moves in the right direction, the bill's H-1B provisions should include an uncapped exemption from the cap for graduates of Master's and PhD programs. Such an uncapped exemption is appropriate given the benefits these graduates produce for the U.S. economy, and the need to retain in this country U.S. educated talent, rather than sending them abroad to our competitors. AILA also strongly supports an exemption for federal, state and local government workers, including teachers. For more information on the need for H-1B visas, see AILA's issue paper at: http://www.aila.org/infonet/fileViewer.aspx?docID=9852 The text of H.R. 4166 is available on the InfoNet at: http://www.aila.org/infonet/libraryViewer.aspx?docID=10538

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