Senators reach deal on H-1B visa expansion plan
Washington: In a "major breakthrough", two influential American Senators today reached an agreement on the contentious H-1B visa expansion plan, which Congressional aides said is a compromise between the demand of the tech-industry and the concerns of the labour unions.
The deal reached between Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, covers eight amendments sponsored by the latter to make the process for granting H-1B visas more palatable to high-tech companies.
As a result of this agreement, the Republicans are now expected to vote in favour of the Senate immigration bill, in particular those provisions related to the H-1B visas.
It as a "major breakthrough" for the Senate immigration bill, which is currently being voted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Hill reported.
The Immigration Reform Bill as being discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires employers filing visa petitions to first offer a job to an "equally qualified" US worker.
The amendments introduced by Hatch if passed would impose this requirement only on "H-1B-dependent" companies but clarifies the definition of such companies.
"The Schumer-Hatch deal accepts the original intent standard for non-H-1B companies but only for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) positions. For all other professions, there would remain a strict prohibition against displacing workers within 90 days of visa petitions," The Hill reported.
The legislation would provide an opportunity of US citizenship to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally, create a new visa programme for low-skilled workers and permit a sizable increase in the number of high-tech visas.
The legislation will also mandate new measures to crack down on future unlawful immigration.