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Summary of Key New Worker Provisions in S. 1639

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07062168 (posted Jun. 21, 2007)"

Title IV of the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639) would create a nonimmigrant Y visa program to allow new workers to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis.

Creation of Y Visa Category (Section 401): Creates a new Y nonimmigrant visa category and folds the current H-2A and H-2B programs into it (Y-2A and Y-2B, respectively).

  • Trigger requirement: The creation of the new Y-1 visa category and the new Y-2B visa category (formerly H-2B) do not go into effect until the enforcement triggers are satisfied.
  • Sunset of Y-1 Visa Program: The Y-1 program will sunset 5 years after the date on which the first Y-1 visa is issued. After the sunset, no alien may be issued a new visa as a Y-1 nonimmigrant.

Numerical Limitations on Y-1 and Y-2B Visas (Section 409)

  • Y-1 visas: 200,000 annual limit on new Y-1 visas (with no escalator to increase the visa cap to meet labor need)
  • Y-2B visas (formerly H-2B): 100,000 annual limit on visas, with an escalator that could raise the limit up to 200,000 to accommodate labor needs

Terms of Admission for Y-1 Visa Holders (Section 402)

Terms for Y-1 Visa Holders Entering without Family Members

  • Maximum of three 2-year periods of admission.
  • Must leave country for 1 year after each two-year period.
  • 2 years here, 1 year home, 2 years here, 1 year home, 2 years

Terms for Y-1 Visa Holders Accompanied by Family Members

  • Maximum of two 2-year periods of admission
  • Family members may accompany Y-1 visa holder for only one 2-year period
  • Must leave country for 1 year after first two-year period.
  • 2 years here, 1 year home, 2 years here.
  • Must show income at 150% of the poverty level and health insurance for the dependents.

Additional Terms for all Y-1 Visa Holders:

  • No extensions of admission period authorized.
  • Y-1 visa holders who overstay are permanently barred from admission to U.S.
  • Y-1 visa holder may change employers if the new position has been certified by DOL.
  • $500 state impact fee ($250 for each dependent if applicable)

Reforms of H-2A Program for Seasonal Agricultural Workers (Section 404)

This section reforms the existing H-2A program for the temporary admission of alien agricultural workers. H-2A aliens are admitted or extended for the period of employment of an approved labor application, not to exceed 10 months. An H-2A alien must remain outside the United States for a period equal to at least 1/5th of the alien's presence in H-2A status before again being admitted as an H-2A alien.

Employer Obligations under Y Visa Program (Section 403)

Employers must petition for a Y nonimmigrant after obtaining certification of the position from the DOL. Certification involves demonstrating:

  • Recruitment of U.S. workers
  • Payment of greater of the prevailing or actual wage paid to U.S. workers
  • Same working conditions as U.S. workers
  • Compliance with other labor protections
 
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