Thursday, June 8, 2006

Immigration Reform Bill and H1B visa Quota for 2006-07

Lots of folks were very happy to hear the news on 25th May, 2006 that Senate passed a comprehensive immigration  reform bill (S.2611) that increase the H1B visa quota from current cap of 65000 to 1,15,000 with an automatic 20% increase year on year. There is another provisions in the bill that would also help to ease up on the quota. Visas for applicants who studied Masters in USA, would not be included in the cap, means they are not counted towards the cap.  Students who do Masters in USA, a H1B work visa is then a guaranteed option. Current 20000 special exemption quota for Advanced Degree holders will be used for students who did Masters in other parts of the world.


But there was a big confusion voiced that the House version of the Reform bill ((H.R.4437) that was passed in December last year did not mention any thing about this hike. The Senate bill must be reconciled with the House version of the bill by the joint Senate-House Conference Committee to enact this bill as law. This poses serious questions and doubts about the enactment of this law. Can they reach a compromise solution that include this H1B hike? 


Some news reports and Lawyer associations expressed doubts about the possibility of reaching a compromise solution that would include hike of H1B visas.  A circular issued by American Immigration Lawyers Association  notes that this would be one of the most contentious House/Senate conferences. A news story @ yahoo reports that negotiations will be tough and getting this bill passed by Senate is only a first step, hinting more hurdles.


There is little more comprehensive discussion of these two versions of the Immigration Reform bill is available at wiki.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S2611 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.R._4437). Specific information about the time frame for the Joint Conference Committe to finalize on this matter is still largely unknown to me. If  a favourable resolution is reached, can it be this year?


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3 comments:

  1. my friend is waiting for that.....,

    can it happen this year, if so when ?

    if news , regarding that. please update me.

    by,
    k.vimalkumar

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm one of those experienced American IT workers that are being replaced by cheaper, less-experience Indian workers. I've already had two positions outsourced to India because the Indians were willing to work for $20-25K/yr less. If I took that kind of pay decrease, I wouldn't be able to afford my home mortgage. It's bad enough for us IT consultants to get no benefits, no vacations, no paid holidays, no insurance, no 401Ks, etc., but we also have to pay for our education and certifications out of our own pockets with no tuition reimbursement just to keep abreast of the changing technology.

    The H1B VISA program is just another program catering to big companies at the expense of American workers. There never was a shortage of skilled IT workers in the United States. This H1B VISA program is designed to bring in cheap foriegn labor at the expense of American workers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Richard,

    I agree with you on a few concerns you pointed out regarding the H1B program and experienced IT professionals. Most experienced IT Professionals, Americans and Indians alike, are facing similar dilemma. Many of my friends, who have been working in USA for last 12 years, have been replaced by 'cost' factors. IT doesn't look any more like a knowledge based industry. Many companies started viewing it rather as a commodity that can be replaced by resources any where in the world, by virtue of cost rather than experience and knowledge.

    This is quite scary for every IT Professional who thought it would be a knowledge based industry and your genuine experience and knowledge matters. I do not know how much H1B program alone contribute to this, but in general global outsourcing strategies of capitalistic economy has significantly changed the scene. Many firms have been moving their manufacturing and assembly lines to other countries, motivated by cost factors. And now, I see same trend in IT as well.

    It is quite unfortunate that many think of 'cheap labor' when they think of Indian IT professionals. Most of us don't deserve any of that, and definitely don't fit in to that kind of generalization.

    ReplyDelete

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