Highlights of High-Tech Visa Bill
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Highlights of High-Tech Visa Bill
By The Associated Press
The high-tech visa bill passed by the Senate would:
--Raise the number of new six-year H-1B visas that
the Immigration and Naturalization Service can issue
annually to 195,000 for the next three years.
--Foreigners who received at least a master's
degree from a U.S. college or university, or who
work for a U.S. institution of higher education,
would be exempted from the cap.
--Extend a $500 fee for each visa. The fees are
projected to generate $450 million over the three
years to pay for 60,000 scholarships for U.S.
students and training programs for 150,000 U.S.
--For delays of a year or more in INS processing,
the bill allows extensions for workers to remain in
the country while employers work on their behalf to
obtain other types of visas.
--The Department of Labor would be responsible
for investigating the program. Fraudulently obtained
visas would be returned to the pool available.
AP-NY-10-03-00 1532EDT !--END-->
At 04:07 PM 10/3/00 -0400, Hill, Donald W wrote:
>IEEE PACE Volunteers,
>This morning, the Senate passed the H-1B legislation. Please review the
>actions taken and
>the actions yet to be decided in the House.
>Thanks for your continued interest and efforts to influence Congress.
>Stay tuned.
>Don Hill
>PAOC Chair 2000
>1676 Donelwal Drive
>Lexington KY 40511-9021
>H 859 259 0740
>W 859 257 8487
>C 859 489 IEEE
>F 859 323 3287
>11:09 AM ET 10/03/00
>Senate Passes High-Tech Visa Bill
> By BART JANSEN, Associated Press Writer
> WASHINGTON (AP) The Senate passed election-year legislation
>Tuesday to provide nearly 600,000 new visas over the next three
>years for foreign workers sought by the burgeoning high-tech
> ``There is overwhelming unanimity that we must act in this
>fashion if we are to keep our economy strong,'' said Sen. Spencer
>Abraham, R-Mich.
> The 96-1 vote, while expected, followed weeks of partisan
>wrangling over efforts by Democrats to also allow more illegal
>immigrants and political refugees to remain in the United States.
> ``The short-term problem is how to fill the key positions
>immediately so that we don't lose opportunities to foreign
>competitors or so that we don't force American businesses to move
>offshore to where skilled workers might live,'' Abraham said.
> Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Democrats ``have tried to make
>this into a political brouhaha, which it didn't deserve.''
> But Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who supported the visa bill,
>expressed disappointment that it lacked measures to benefit other
>immigrants. ``I think the majority made a terrible mistake in that
>regard,'' he said.
> Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C., cast the lone vote against the
>bill. Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.; Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.,
>and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., did not vote.
> The Senate bill would allow the Immigration and Naturalization
>Service to issue up to 195,000 six-year temporary visas annually
>for the next three years to skilled foreign workers. The bill also
>would exempt from the cap foreign graduates of U.S. master's or
>doctoral programs or foreign workers at U.S. colleges.
> Under present law, the government issued 115,000 H-1B visas
>during the fiscal year that ended Saturday. With no new legislation
>the ceiling would fall to 107,500 this year and to 65,000 next
> An alternate House bill, vehemently opposed by software
>companies, would lift the ceiling entirely on the six-year visas
>but condition them to employers' paying the immigrants at least
>$40,000 a year and not using them to replace Americans on their
>payrolls. It was approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
> Technology companies contend that 300,000 jobs are going
>unfilled for lack of qualified workers; labor unions argue the
>companies want more immigrants to put downward pressure on the
>wages of Americans holding the same jobs.
> Despite bipartisan support for letting high-tech companies
>major campaign contributors to both parties this election hire
>more immigrants, House Republicans have disagreed among themselves
>on how to do it.
> The bill approved by the Judiciary Committee would require
>companies using the visas to increase the median pay of their U.S.
>workers in addition to establishing job projections for them.
> ``I am disappointed that the Senate would increase the number of
>foreign high-tech workers without including any safeguards for
>American workers,'' said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chief sponsor
>of the Judiciary panel's measure.
> Reps. David Dreier, R-Calif., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., are
>sponsoring House legislation supported by high-tech companies and
>similar to the Senate bill. GOP leaders have refused to bring it
>out of committee for fear that Democrats would try to use it to
>force votes on other immigration measures and make opponents appear
>anti-Hispanic in an election year.
> Democrats in both chambers said last week they will try to put
>some of the measures in one of the spending bills that Congress
>must pass before adjourning for the year. They include provisions
>to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who arrived in the United
>States before 1987 and offer permanent residency to more political
>refugees from Central America and Haiti.
> ``From a public policy point of view, it worries me that
>computer whizzes have more value and dignity than a person who
>cleans toilets or is a gardener,'' said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
> The visa bills are S.2045, H.R. 3183 and H.R. 4227.
George F. McClure
Ph. 407-647-5092
Fax 407-644-4076
1730 Shiloh Lane
Winter Park, FL 32789
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Updated 11/01/2000