There have been two bills introduced which may help our cause and are surely of interest to readers of this Blog.
The first is a re-introduction of the SKIL Bill (S. 1083). The text of the bill has not yet been released to the public. It is expected that this will contain the same retrogression-elimination language that was contained in the 2006 version of the bill. The bill was introduced by Senator Cornyn and cosponsors include Senators Allard (R-CO), Bennett (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), and Lott (R-MS). As readers of this blog may be aware, Sen. Hutchison has long been a leader on Schedule A visa reform.
The second bill (S. 1092) seeks to immediately raise the H-1 quota, and was proposed directly as a result of last week’s immediately-reached H-1 visa cap. Sen. Hagel is the sponsor of this bill. The text of this bill is unavailable at this time as well.
Both bills shortly should be available on THOMAS.
UPDATE: As expected the 2007 version of the SKIL Bill contains favorable language. Sec. 201 of the proposed bill permanently exempts any Schedule A occupation from the immigrant visa quota. The Bill also:
- Broadens the types of H-1 employers who qualify under the quota-free non-profit exemptions.
- Eliminates an H-1 cap for US Masters degree holders.
- Creates a 20,000 visa quota for H-1 nonimmigrants that hold a masters degree from a foreign country.
- Raises the H-1 cap to 115,000 and provides for year-to-year market-based increases of the H-1 quota.
- Exempts dependents from immigrant visa quotas.
- Eliminates the need for a Labor Certification for certain post-doctorate medical specialists.
- Greatly increase the number of employment-based visas.
- Increases practical training options for students.
- Allows L-1 visa holders to stay beyond their 5 year and 7 year term limits if they file for a Labor Certification or immigrant visa before their last year in nonimmigrant status.
- Allows intending immigrants the ability to file an I-485 Adjustment of Status even if that category is retrogressed. The USCIS may not, however, issue the immigrant visa until a visa number is available. There is a $500 charge for this type of filing.
- Compels USCIS to establish a pre-certification process for employers who file multiple immigrant visas.
- Nationalizes the Prevailing Wage Determination process, and compels the DOL to issue PWDs within 20 days of a PWD filing.
- Streamlines the Job Order filing requirement for PERM cases.
- Compels BALCA to review appealed cases within 60 days of the filing of such an appeal.
- Requires the DOL to process all Backlogged Labor Certification cases within 180 days of the enactment of the SKIL Bill.
- Revives domestic visa revalidation for nonimmigrants in the US.