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US Bill seeks 50,000 more H-1B visas

Lawmakers introduce a Bill in Senate proposing to increase the number of visas annually, raising hopes for Indians.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Washington
UPDATED ON MAY 18, 2007 11:34 AM IST

Four US lawmakers have introduced a Bill in the Senate proposing to increase the number of H-1B visas by 50,000 annually, raising hopes for Indian professionals seeking jobs in America.

Independent Senator from Connecticut Joseph Lieberman, along with Republican from Nebraska Chuck Hagel, introduced the Skilled Worker Immigration and Fairness Act of 2007 to ensure the US’s innovative industries can hire the workers they need to fuel the country’s economic growth, and to better protect American workers.

The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell, Democrat from the State of Washington, and George Voinovich, Republican from Ohio.

The Bill would increase the annual allotment of H-1B visas, which provide American employers with access to highly educated foreign professionals in “specialty occupations” those requiring at least a US bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and work experience. The current H-1B cap is 65,000 per year.

The Lieberman-Hagel Bill would increase the cap to 1.15 lakh in 2007 and would add a flexible adjustment mechanism that would enable the cap to rise as high as 180,000, depending on market conditions this ceiling would still be less than the 195,000 limit in 2001-2003.

“Despite dramatic changes to the US economy in the past 17 years, the H-1B cap remains at its 1990 limit of 65,000 per year (an additional 20,000 visas are available for foreign nationals holding US graduate degrees). As a result, thousands of US high-tech jobs today remain unfilled,” Senator Hagel said in a statement.

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