Legislation for More H-1B Numbers Introduced

Bi-Partisan Group of Senators Introduces Immigration Innovation Act of 2015

This Tuesday, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a bill that would address some of the most frustrating restrictions imposed upon high-skilled workers under our current immigration system. The Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (known as the “I-Squared” Act), co-sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would provide critical reforms to an outdated and inadequate system that hampers our economy by preventing the immigration of high-skilled workers. Key elements of the bill include the following:

• Increasing the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000, with the potential to increase to 195,000, depending on market demand;
• Removing the cap on individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions;
• Providing employment authorization for H-1B dependents (H-4 visa holders);
• Providing an exemption from the employment-based green card cap for dependents of green card holders, individuals with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. institutions, individuals with extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors and researchers;
• Recapturing immigrant visa numbers that were unused in previous years;
• Eliminating annual per-country limits for employment-based immigration and adjusting the caps for family-based immigration.

While it is encouraging to see Congress introduce a bill that would facilitate high-skilled immigration, we remain uncertain about the likelihood of its passage in our current political climate. Nevertheless, we will monitor the status of this bill and keep you apprised of any developments.