H-1B Worker Visas at the Heart of Contentious Immigration Bill
In a political battle that some claim pits organized labor versus business interests, a U.S. Senate committee voted last Monday to significantly increase the number of visas offered to highly-skilled foreign workers. The H-1B visa, applied specifically to foreign workers with specialized skill sets, is an in-demand visa with a current quota of 65,000.
Thus far, all such visas for 2006 have already been awarded with the current fiscal year beginning in October, 2005, and all 2006 visas awarded by August, 2005, the increasing and continually heavy demand has led lawmakers to continuously research the issue and has led some in particular to push for higher quota limits. In February, 2006, Senate Judiciary Committee would increase the cap to 115,000 for 2007 and thereafter increase the cap by 20% after any year in which the limit is reached. The move follows two other temporary increases in the popular visas, with 195,000 being offered in 2001 and 2003, then reverting to the pre-1998 level of 65,000 in 2004.
While labor unions, and specifically the AFL-CIO, have expressed dismay over immigration and guest worker programs, the H-1B visa issue actually has little effect on labor union constituents, as positions for which H-1B visa applicants typically apply and fill are non-union, high-tech positions.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.