H-1B Cap: Is the Senate’s Approach Sufficient?

The recently released Senate immigration bill (S. 744) seems to somewhat understand the need for increased H-1B visa numbers but does not go far enough.

As occurred this year, the cap of 65,000 (plus 20,000 for Masters degree individuals) H-1B visas was used up in a frustratingly short period of time. Within the first week of the H-1B cap opening the USCIS already received well over 100,000 applications, shutting down the possibility of being able to file any more ‘cap-subject’ H-1B cases until April 1, 2014. This is clearly not a workable system for U.S. companies who desire foreign national professionals to help grow, thereby beneficiating the local economy and U.S. economy as a whole.

The new Senate proposal aims to create a market based H-1B visa allotment system where there would be a floor of 110,000 H-1B visas each fiscal year and a ceiling of 180,000 H-1B’s. The formula boils down to a consideration of prior year H-1B allocations and the use of a multiplier/escalator as well as a consideration of particular unemployment rates of certain professions to then determine the next year’s quota.

Although this proposed methodology is definitely helpful as it allows for more the cap to reach above the current limit of 65,000 (plus Master’s cap), it is not enough of an increase as the USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B applications between April 1 and April 5, 2013.


Article categories: Employer-Based Immigration Law, Entrepreneurs and Business Start-ups, H-1B: Professional Workers

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