Movement on H.R. 3012, Bill to Remove Per Country Quota for Green Cards

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Legislation to Eliminate Annual Per-Country H-1B Limits Passes One Hurdle

For some time, immigration legislation to eliminate annual per-country limits for green cards has been held up in the U.S. Senate primarily by a single U.S. Senator, Senator Charles Grassley. These limits have particularly affected Indians and Chinese applicants in the employment-based categories, as the per-nation quotas for both of these countries are backlogged for several years. We understand that Senator Grassley has agreed to withdraw his opposition to the legislation in return for some amendments he favors, and it appears this compromise means that the legislation has a good chance to pass. In return for allowing the legislation to move forward, Senator Grassley has demanded that the legislation require the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate H-1B compliance more vigorously.

Key Changes to The H-B Program

1. USDOL can launch an investigation without first receiving a complaint (the current process) where there are clear indicia of fraud or misrepresentation in the LCA.

2. USDOL can investigate without notice if it so deems fit (where notice would interfere with investigation or securing compliance) and that decision can no be challenged in courts.

3. USDOL will have greatly enhanced power to conduct annual audits of any H-1B employer but even more so of employers who employ more than 100 full time employees and whose workforce consists of more than 15% H-1B employees

It appears that Senator Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, struck the compromise with Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Subcommittee. The bill, H.R. 3012 in its un-amended form, has already passed the House of Representatives, but, once it passes the Senate, the amended bill will have to pass the House again and then be considered by the President. However, this compromise bodes well for the bill's passage.

In addition to its significance to H-1B employers and applicants, this compromise is significant for what it might mean for future agreement in immigration reform. If all sides can see the benefits of legal immigration to this country, maybe this means that we will see additional reform in the future.
Do note, this is just a compromise on a proposed legislation. This is not even close to a law yet. Each year, several immigration bills are proposed. Almost none make past even the initial stages.

We will provide more information as it comes available.

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