The 800 plus page Senate Bill 744 aptly titled the, "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," made its first hurdle on June 27, 2013, when the Senate passed the bill 68-32. The bill is now on its way towards the House of Representatives where it will either pass or be modified by a negotiations team, and if agreed too; the President of the United States will then sign the bill into law. Even though there is quite a bit of work ahead of S.B. 744 -the ball has started rolling.
What is Senate Bill 744? The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.B. 744) is an immigration reform bill introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in the United States Senate and co-sponsored by seven other members of the "Gang of Eight," a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who wrote and negotiated the bill.
S.B. 744, which was introduced into the United States Senate on April 16, 2013, would make extensive changes to existing US immigration laws. The bill touches on several issues relation to immigration reform including border security, granting citizenships to an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US and increasing H1-B visa petitions from around 60,000 to well over 115,000; nearly doubling the amount of current visa holders (of which Indian nationals account for nearly 60%).
What does this mean for the outsourcing industry? The broad changes proposed by S.B. 744 would obviously have significant effects on the state of the outsourcing industry. Here are some highlights:
A mechanism has been crafted in the bill that allows for fluctuations for the issuance of H1-B and L-visas based on maximums and caps and depending on market conditions. This would allow companies greater access to skilled foreign workers.
The bill would require employers to submit a $1,000 fee (to be deposited in the STEM Education and Training Account) along with an application for certification.
The bill would provide a 60-day lawful status period for any H-1B alien whose employment has been terminated.
Sec. 4105 of the bill would require an employer (except for nonprofit research institutions and nonprofit educational institutions), to file a petition to hire H-1B or L-visa aliens to pay a fee of: (1) $1,250 for each petition filed by any employer with not more than 25 full-time employees in the United States, and (2) $2,500 for each petition filed by any employer with more than 25 such employees.
There are conditions where the employer may not exceed certain percentages of using foreign labor where the percentage of H1-B labor may not exceed 75% in 2015, 65% in 2016, and 50% for 2016 and beyond and if the number is above 50%, the company must pay $10,000 per visa.
The bill would require employers who use foreign workers to treat them as they treat their authorized domestic workforce.
There are still several unknowns at this time. The S.B. 744 will undoubtedly undergo several iterations before it is (if at all) signed into law. As provider's world class sourcing advisory and benchmarking, Alsbridge will continue to monitor the situation and provide up-to-date information as the bill progresses through the House.