AILA Doc No. 07062167 | Dated June 21, 2007
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639) would replace the current employer-sponsored immigration system with a merit-based points system, and would institute reforms to the H-1B, L, and Conrad 30 nonimmigrant visa programs.
MERIT-BASED SYSTEM FOR IMMIGRANT VISAS (Title V)
Creation of Merit-Based System (Section 502)
Section 502 would largely replace the current employer-sponsored system with a merit-based preference system.
Numerical Limits on Merit-Based Immigrants (Section 501)
Worldwide Ceiling - Sets three different worldwide ceiling levels for merit-based immigrants:
Per-Country Limits (Section 508): Increases per-country limits on merit-based categories to 10 percent.
Merit-Based Evaluation System for Immigrants (Section 502)
Merit points are initially assigned as follows with a total of 100 points that could be earned. A separate point schedule for adjusting Z visa holders is also included in the bill.
Evaluation of Selection Criteria: Creates a standing commission on immigration and labor markets for evaluating the relative weighting and selection criteria included in the point system.
Petition Process: DHS has authority to establish regulations regarding petition process for merit-based system. Petitions that have not been granted within a 3-year period are deemed denied.
REFORMS TO H-1B, L, AND CONRAD 30 NONIMMIGRANT PROGRAMS
Reforms to the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Program
Increase in H-1B Cap: Raises the FY08 cap to 115,000 and indicates that in subsequent years the Secretary may issue additional H-1B visas (pursuant to new regulations that must be drafted) up to a 180,000 cap. (Section 419)
Definition of Specialty Occupation: Revises the definition of specialty occupation to exclude the "experience in the specialty" provision in section 214(i)(2)(C). (Section 419)
Extension of Six-Year Limit on H-1B Status: Provides an extension of the H-1B status beyond the six-year limit for merit-based adjustment applicants in one-year increments, but repeals sections 106(a) & (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000. (Section 419)
Employer Requirements (Section 420):
New H-1B Fees (Section 715): Creates a supplemental fee of $3,500 (or $1750 for employers with less than 25 full-time employees) to be paid in addition to existing H-1B fees. The supplement fee will be used to fund the American Competitiveness Scholarship Program.
Reforms to the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa Program (Section 422)
Petitions for Employment in New Offices: Requires that if the petitioner is to be employed in a new office, petition may only be approved for one year if the petitioner has not been the beneficiary of two or more petitions with in the past two years, and only if the employer has:
Extension of Such Petitions: An extension of the petition is not available until the employer and petitioner can show they have been doing business in the manner required by this section for the 12 month period.
Dependent Spouses: The dependent spouse of the L-1 may not work during the 12 months.
Conrad 30 Program - Medical Services in Underserved Areas (Section 425)
Cite as AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07062167.