11/30/2015 News update on Congress New Bill

A new bill in Congress has been proposed to reform both the H1-B and L-1 visa programs. If passed it would tighten restrictions on companies that sponsor such work visas, such as cracking down on companies that bring in a worker on a H-1B or L-1 visa and then later send them back to their native country to do the same work.

The bill is called the “H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2015” (S. 2266) and is co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill). The proposed bill would give the Department of Labor more power in its oversight of companies in order to ensure that the sponsoring company is complying with the requirements of the H1-B program. There would also be a new allocation preference system added that would give priority to applicants who were educated in the US, something that would be beneficial for anyone currently in F-1 status.

The bill would also make it easier to switch jobs with an H-1B visa. It would also become easier to obtain an H-1B if the applicant has an advanced degree.
While the bill has other prominent supporters in the Senate, it is unclear how much broad-based support there is on Capitol Hill for its potential passage into law. Additionally, as it becomes increasingly clear that the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is unlikely in the current political climate, even smaller immigration related bills focusing on specific visas will need to gather broad support of diverse interests in order to become law. Our firm is actively tracking these legislative developments and will provide any updates as they become available.

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