Hello everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to this week's edition of immigration matters.
The new H-1B legislation, which was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, was passed by the US Congress. It will increase H-1B visa numbers from 65,000 to 115,000 in the next two years. The number will go down to 107,000 in the third year and back to the current level of 65,000 in the year 2002.
Once again, immigration legislation was passed without too much thought being put into it. Where did the number 115,000 come from? It is as arbitrary as the former 65,000 limit. No studies were conducted to find out whether these numbers would be able to cope with the demand? Paradoxically, if we have a recession in the United States, the increased numbers will be of no use.
Assuming that all 115,000 numbers are used for the next two years, more individuals on H-1b visas will apply for permanent residency. This will increase the backlogs for the India and China Employment Second and Third preferences. The permanent labor certification system will also collapse. In fact, it is virtually on a respirator with labor certifications expected to take four years or more in New York, New Jersey and California.
In the mean time, the H-1B visa is only valid for 6 years. More and more foreign workers would luck out if they are unable to obtain green cards before the sixth year. Even if one tries to expedite the process through reduction in recruitment and limited review, these applications will also slow down as the Labor Department will be unable to cope with the increased number of applications. Even national interest waiver applications are more difficult.
Initially, when Senator Abraham first sponsored the legislation, it included a provision that would allow an extension of the sixth year of the H-1B visa for people who were awaiting their green cards. This provision, unfortunately, was deleted from the final legislation.
The new H-1B legislation is only a band-aid. It does not fix the system. It is time to create greater awareness about the acute problems that many foreign nationals are facing with their permanent immigration applications. When the law allows US workers to legitimately sponsor foreign workers whose skills are unavailable in the local labor market, neither the employer or the foregin national deserves to wait for four or more years, with no guarantee of a positive outcome.
I hope you found this segment informative and helpful. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Cyrus D. Mehta at 212-686-1581. The number once again is 212-686-1581. You could also e-mail us at email@example.com
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This is Cyrus Mehta wishing you a wonderful weekend. See you again in two weeks.