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June 20, 2005

DHS Implements New H-1B Exemption

The AILA, WASHINGTON UPDATE, Volume 9, Number 4, June 2005 there article about H-1B visas;

On May 12, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting new FY2005 H-1B petitions in accordance with the relief provided by the H-1B Reform Act of 2004. This Act was included as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (Pub. L. No. 108-447). The new law adds a limited exemption of 20,000 to the annual 65,000 H-1B numerical cap for foreign nationals who graduate with an advanced degree from a U.S. university.

The limited relief included in the H-1B Reform Act of 2004 is inadequate and will likely be exhausted prior to the end of the fiscal year. Anticipating that employers will file more H-1B exemption petitions than there are visas available, USCIS stated in it implementation guidance that it will automatically convert into an FY2006 petition any petition processed after the 20,000 limit is reached, unless notified otherwise. For such petitions, the foreign nationals cannot begin work pursuant to their H-1B visas until October 1, 2005, the first day of FY 2006.

As the U.S. economy improves and demand increases, U.S. employers will need more access to these highly educated foreign professionals. The American economy could suffer if such access is not provided. In the short term, limitations on access would prevent employers from fully utilizing the special skills of these highly educated foreign professionals. In the longer term, such rigidity would limit our labor market supply of these available professionals, thereby hampering our economic vitality. The result will be American jobs lost and American projects losing out to foreign competition. Congress needs to support an H-1B program that reflects our nation’s need for these professionals and allows U.S. employers’ access now and in the future to the talents of these highly educated foreign professionals.

CONTRIBUTORS

Judith Golub, Senior Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs
Marshall Fitz, Associate Director of Advocacy
Danielle Polen, Legislative Counsel
Joanna Hedvall, Business Immigration Associate
John Estrella, Senior Policy Associate
Julia Hendrix, Media Relations Associate
Michelle Mendez, Advocacy Assistant

American Immigration Lawyers Association
918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-216-2403

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Posted by VisaLawyer at June 20, 2005 07:24 AM

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