US lawmaker supports H1B visa hike

Updated on Mar 22, 2006 09:57 AM IST

American Senate Judiciary Committee currently has a proposal to increase H1B visas availed largely by Indians.

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None | ByPress Trust of India, Washington

As US Senate prepares to take up proposals to raise H1B visas availed largely by Indian IT professionals, a veteran lawmaker has backed the increase to "ensure we have the best and brightest people here."

The Senate Judiciary Committee currently has a proposal to increase H1B visas in the highly skilled category from the present 65,000 to 115,000 with annual increase of 20 per cent.

Senate is to take up the proposal, which forms part of a larger immigration reform bill, when it meets after recess.

Senator Diane Feinstein, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in San Jose, California on Tuesday that she backed the increase in H1B visas because "we have to ensure that we have the best and the brightest people here."

The California Democrat, who in the past had backed increases for the H1B visa category -- although not to the extent the industry may have wanted -- also said she will be introducing legislation on a number of things when Senate returns from recess, including on Iraq and climate change.

As the visa numbers go up, the number of soldiers in Iraq should go down, she told the Group, a prominent organisation of senior IT professionals.

The Judiciary Panel's proposals have been extensively debated within the Senate itself, but there is no consensus on how the comprehensive immigration reform should be legislated.

The H1B visa cap for Fiscal 2006 was reached last August itself, filled up mostly by Indian IT professionals.

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