AILA Doc. No. 00032071 | Dated March 20, 2000
H-1B CAP REACHED: ADVOCACY NEEDED
The INS General Counsel has advised AILA that the Federal Register notice that the fiscal year 2000 H-1B cap has been reached will be published on Tuesday, March 21. Information regarding handling of pipeline cases should be available at that time. Please monitor Infonet for details. AILA also was advised that INS has decided NOT to count any overissuances of H-1B numbers from fiscal 1999 against fiscal 2000 numbers, but cannot say at this time whether it might apply those excess issuances, if there are any, against future years.
Given that the cap has been reached, advocacy efforts in support of H-1B legislation are all the more urgent! PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, URGING YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT S. 2045 AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT H.R. 3983. The Congressional Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. More information is available in the Advocacy Center on InfoNet.
We expect the Hatch-Abraham H-1B bill (S. 2045) to be voted on by the Senate the week of April 10. Contact your Senators to urge them to support this bill which would increase the H-1B cap to 195,000 for the current and next two fiscal years, and would exempt from the cap employees of higher educational institutions and research institutions, and foreign students graduating from U.S. schools with Masters or Ph.D. degrees. The bill also would fix current problems with per-country limits by allowing excess employment-based immigrant visa numbers to be used by nationals from oversubscribed countries, would extend nonimmigrant status for individuals hitting their six-year cap due to those limits, and would require INS to extend the nonimmigrant status of individuals who had have employment-based immigrant visa petitions or adjustment of status applications pending for more than one year. The bill also would allow H-1B nonimmigrants changing employers to begin employment with the new employer upon filing a new H-1B petition.
We also urge you to contact your Representatives to support H.R. 3983 introduced by Representatives David Dreier (R-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and others. The “Helping to Improve Technology Education and Achievement” has strong bi-partisan support and contains elements similar to S. 2045. It would: Increase the limit on H-1B visas to 200,000 for FYs 2001, 2002 and 2003, and “set aside” 10,000 visas for employees of higher educational institutions, and government and non-profit research institutions, and 60,000 visas for individuals who hold masters or higher degrees (or their equivalent); Deal with the problems resulting from the per-country limits in business immigration by allowing unused visas to spill over to over-subscribed countries; Allow applying “carryover visas” from FY 99 that were counted against the FY 2000 cap to FY 99, thereby having fewer carryovers counted for this year; Allow extension of H-1B status for those hitting the six-year limit due to INS and DOL delays in processing immigrant visa cases or the per country limit; Recapture employment-based immigrant visas that were “lost” in the last two fiscal years because of INS delays in processing; Allow companies that must document U.S. recruiting to use Internet recruiting exclusively; mandate that INS and DOL institute Web-based case tracking systems within one year, and institute a Technology Advisory Council for those agencies to look at developing web-based case filing systems; Require employers to file annually with DOL copies of the W-2 forms for their H-1B employees; Increase the “training” fee to $1000 for initial H-1B petitions—the fee remains $500 for extensions and change of employers; The bill also redirects the H-1B fees to student loan forgiveness for math and science teachers, “Upward Bound” projects in science and mathematics education, low-income college scholarships, and regional skills training alliances.
AILA, along with our business community allies, strongly supports H.R. 3983. However, AILA also has registered its strong concerns about the impact of the increased fees on non-profits, small businesses and state and local governments that are increasingly using the H-1B program. We urge you to do the same in the context of support for H.R. 3983.
NOW IS THE TIME TO ADVOCATE IN SUPPORT OF THE H-1B PROGRAM AND S. 2045 AND H.R. 3983.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 00032071.