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November 24, 2005

Senate reconciliation sign on letter

We are coming down the homestretch in this budget reconciliation process. The House and Senate will be conferencing to resolve the differences between their respective budget reconciliation packages. Remember, the House bill contains a new $1500 fee on L visas; the Senate bill provides significant relief from the H-1B backlogs and EB immigrant visa retrogression. Unless we want our clients to get saddled with a new tax on intracompany transferees without any relief from the H-1B and EB crises, we must be able to demonstrate overwhelming support in the business community for the Senate version of the bill.

The attached company sign-on letter to Congress currently has more than 600 names and we can push that over 1,000 if we can get all of the companies that signed on to the earlier H-1B letter to sign on to the attached. Contact me is you wanto to sign on but have not done so yet.

Here is the letter;
Over 600 American Businesses and Universities Call for a Reasonable Solution to H-1B Blackouts and Lengthy “Green Card” Backlogs

November XX, 2005

The Honorable __________
United States Congress
Washington, DC ______

Dear Senator/Representative ________:

We are writing to urge Congress to take immediate steps to address the crisis currently facing American businesses and educational institutions as a result of lengthy visa backlogs and an H-1B “blackout.” The Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan budget reconciliation package would provide a reasonable and workable solution to both of these problems, and we urge you to give it your strong support, while opposing any attempts to weaken it.

As you are likely aware, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on August 12, announced that the FY 2006 numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for temporary professional workers had been exhausted, nearly two months prior to the start of the fiscal year. This means that U.S. companies will lose access for over a year to highly educated foreign professionals vital to our businesses. This is the third year in a row that the cap has been reached, and the seventh time since 1997.

In a parallel phenomenon, highly educated and skilled workers are currently faced with lengthy “green card” backlogs that will prevent them from becoming U.S. permanent residents in the foreseeable future. These employment-based immigrants already have been found to serve the U.S. national interest as a result of their achievements and skills. Our inability to hire them on a permanent basis as a result of these backlogs severely hinders our ability to remain competitive with foreign businesses, which are actively recruiting these talented professionals to the disadvantage of the American economy.

Couple these two crises and you have the makings of a “perfect storm” confronting American businesses and educational institutions. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s budget reconciliation package seeks to mitigate the impact of this storm. It would provide for the modest recapture of both unused employment-based visas from prior years and unused H-1B numbers dating back to FY 1991. Although we believe the annual recapture of 60,000 H-1B visas proposed in the Chairman’s mark would have more effectively addressed the current shortages, we nonetheless strongly support the compromise provision approved by the Committee allowing annual recapture of 30,000 H-1B visas. In addition to the visa recapture provisions, the proposal would impose new fees on employment-based immigrant visas, on the recaptured H-1B nonimmigrant visa numbers, and on L-1 visas.

While we remain concerned about escalating fees, we believe these increased fees represent a measured approach that, while satisfying the reconciliation target, would be implemented in the context of increased access to H-1B professionals and green cards for employment-based immigrants. We are more concerned about the increased fee on L visas because it is unaccompanied by any changes in service or access and we would be particularly concerned about a reconciliation approach that rested on steep fees, with no relief from today’s crisis-level shortages.

While these measures are in no way a substitute for comprehensive solutions, we urge their swift passage as important first steps toward creating an immigration system that channels the forces of the marketplace to America’s competitive advantage.

Sincerely,

[Company name] [City] [State]

Posted by VisaLawyer at November 24, 2005 08:36 AM

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