After months of work, and internal debate, the Senate Gang of Eight has reached an agreement on immigration reform. While we’ve yet to see the full text of the bill, here’s a quick rundown of what we know so far.
The plan predominantly deals with the controversial issue of undocumented immigrants already in the country, border security, and visas for low-skilled workers. Still, there are also a number of provisions that impact the technology community.
- Startup Visa for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the US
- H-1B visa cap raised from 65,000 to 110,000, with an adjustable cap -- as high as 180,000 -- based on the High Skills Jobs Demand Index formula. But the most the cap can increase or decrease each year is 10,000
- H-1B cap exemption for masters and PhD STEM graduates increased to 25,000
- Higher wage requirements for H-1B recipients. Jobs must also be posted on a new searchable portal created by the Secretary of Labor
- 120,000 merit-based visas for talented people, based on education, employment and length of residence in the US, alongside other considerations. The individuals with the most “points” will earn the visas. This allocation also has an adjustable cap that can reach up to 250,000 during years of low unemployment
- All PhDs exempted from green card cap. People of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, certain physicians, and dependents are also exempted
- STEM visa for individuals with an advanced degree, or the equivalent experience
- Dual intent for all students on BA degree programs, or above. This allows those with job offers to apply both for green cards and H-1B visas
Stay tuned for full analysis.