H.R. 3012 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (Updated 7/18/12)

9/22/11 AILA Doc. No. 11092862. Business Immigration, Congress, Family Immigration

H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, introduced on September 22, 2011 by Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), eliminates the employment-based per-country cap entirely by fiscal year 2015 and raises the family-sponsored per-country cap from 7% to 15%.

On 10/27/11, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup and H.R. 3012 was reported favorably out of committee by a voice vote. An amendment from Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) that would make adjustments to the three year phase-in period was accepted. H.R. 3012 must next be scheduled for House floor debate which may occur in the next few weeks. Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011 House Report 112-292

On 11/29/11 the House passed H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act by a vote of 389-15 with no additional amendments. The measure now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

On 11/30/11 Senator Grassley (R-IA) made the following statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

Mr. President, I rise to inform my colleagues that I am placing a hold on H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. This bill would eliminate the per-country numerical limitations for employment-based visas and increase the numerical cap for family-based immigrants. I have concerns about the impact of this bill on future immigration flows, and am concerned that it does nothing to better protect Americans at home who seek high-skilled jobs during this time of record high unemployment.

Senate procedures allow any member of the Senate to place a "hold" on legislation or nominations in order to delay consideration of the measure or nominee. At this time it is unclear how long Senator Grassley intends to maintain his hold on H.R.3012. We will update as soon as more information becomes available.

On 12/15/11, in order to release his hold on hold on H.R. 3012, Senator Grassley offered an amendment that would make dramatic changes to the bill including elimination of the family per county limit increase and reducing the employment based per country limit to 15%. Furthermore, his amendment would eliminate the diversity visa program and adds in provisions that would increase enforcement and U.S. worker protections to the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.

Senator Grassley’s amendment was objected to, therefore his hold on the bill remains. While other senators may try to negotiate a compromise amendment with Senator Grassley, at this time it appears unlikely that such an agreement is likely.

On 6/22/12 in ongoing negotiations between key Senators to try and move H.R. 3012, Senator Grassley has proposed new H-1B enforcement language that if agreed to would allow him to lift his objections to the underlying measure and would be incorporated into a new Senate version of H.R. 3012. We will update as soon as new information becomes available. (AILA Doc. No. 12062243.)

On 07/11/12 Senator Grassley released his hold on H.R. 3012. Senators Grassley and Schumer reached an agreement on additional H-1B enforcement provisions to move H.R. 3012 forward; however, other senators are reportedly preparing to raise other objections to the bill. (AILA Doc. Nos. 12071861, 12062243)