Today The Hill obtained a copy of a forthcoming proposed law dubbed the ‘Immigration Innovation Act.’ Critically, it is backed by a bipartisan collection of Senators, giving it a clear shot at clearing the upper chamber of the United States Congress.
While likely imperfect, the bill’s two key tenets would dramatically improve the high-skill immigration system of the United States. According to The Hill’s notes, the act would:
- Completely end the cap on the total, yearly number of H-1B visas that American companies can apply for, providing that they are applying for a foreign graduate with a technical degree of an American university. TNW isn’t sure, but we’re assuming that degrees that fall under the “STEM” rubric are what will be required.
- Improve the extant H-1B system by adding 40,000 slots each year. Also, the act would grant more H-1B visas based on market demand, provided that the new 115,000 visa ceiling was reached before the end of the year. This system would have a final cap of 300,000.
F**k it, we'll do it live!
Our biggest ever edition of TNW Conference is fast approaching! Join 10,000 tech leaders this May in Amsterdam.
The bill does allow for spouses of H-1B visa holders to live and work inside of the United States. The House will likely have issues with the provision. Given that the House has been home to various immigration conspiracy theories, it would be out of character for it to keep its marbles this time around. This bill is a massive improvement on the laws tossed around during the last Congress.
The previous bill included fewer high-skilled visas, did not create the education exception, and perhaps most oddly ended the popular ‘green card lottery.’ That specific provision ended the proposed law’s chance of becoming law.
Here is the list of tipped co-sponsors for the Immigration Innovation Act: “Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).”
If it can quickly pass the Senate, and receives a nod from the President, the House will be under immense pressure to pass it as well, but it could become weighed down with ponderous amendments that could be viewed as poison pills, roughly.
In his inaugural address, the President called for an improvement of the country’s high-skill immigration system. He may get it.
Top Image Credit: ttarasiuk