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