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Bipartisan immigration legislation introduced

Immigration reform is something that many people throughout the nation are eagerly awaiting. Though there have been attempts over the course of the last few years, so far none of those efforts have been successful. This leaves many immigrants, including those in Miami, unsure of their futures.

Lawmakers are taking up the issue again. Recently, bipartisan legislation called the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015, was introduced. Also referred to as “I-Squared” the legislation was sponsored by six senators.

While this is not the comprehensive immigration-reform bill that many hope for, it does offer some changes that many would likely welcome. Focusing on the retention of skilled and highly educated immigrants, if passed, it could greatly benefit businesses throughout the nation. Among other things, it:

  • Exempts persons with extraordinary ability, advanced STEM-degree holders, and dependents of skilled immigrants from the visa caps
  • Enables the recapture of unused green card numbers. This in turn could reduce wait times for skilled immigrants who are currently trapped in limbo while waiting for a green card.
  • Eases restrictions on changing jobs. This would make it possible for workers to secure jobs that at a minimum pay market wages.
  • Allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work.
  • Removes the limits on the number of immigrants who can be in the country with advanced degrees.
  • Increases the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000.

These changes are designed to benefit U.S. businesses and provide the talent necessary to continue down the innovation path. This in turn would positively impact the economic growth of the nation and improve its competitiveness at the global level. Should the bill pass and become law it is likely that many immigrants would want to take advantage of it. We will provide updates on the matter as they become available.

Source: Washington Post, “At last, sensible immigration reform may have a chance in Washington,” Vivek Wadhwa, Jan. 16, 2015

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