October 20th, 2005: the US Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that could add an extra 30,000 H1B Visas for foreign workers who want to live & Work in America.
The committee voted 14-2 in favor to approve legislation that would expand the cap on H1B visas from 65,000 to 95,000 in the US Government's fiscal year 2006. The proposal must now go through the Senate-House conference.
The H1B and Green Card provisions are included in a Budget Bill, which was taken up the US Senate judiciary committee on October 20. The provisions consider making unused H1B visas and Green Cards from previous years, available to foreign nationals and imposing an additional filing fee of $500.
For the H1B category, the provisions would allow all unused visas from as far back as October 1991 (the date when the legislation creating the H1B became effective) to the present time. These unused H1B visas could then be added in stages over the next few years, to the regular annual quotas. It is estimated that this would amount to a total of as many as 300,000 unused H1B visas.
However, although the initial proposal was to release these additional unused H1B visas at the rate of 60,000 a year, an amendment to reduce the number of additional visas available annually to 30,000 was accepted. These new H1B visas will be added to the existing 65,000 annual H1B quota.
While this is a huge gain for companies and organizations that have been lobbying to increase the annual number of available H1B visas, the battle isnít over yet.
The proposal must now go through the Senate-House conference.
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