Fairness for Highly-Skilled Immigrants Act Hits a Snag
Sep 6, 2012
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 5, 2012 – Legislation that would keep highly-skilled immigrant workers in the United States was passed overwhelmingly by the house last November, but political maneuvering, including a hold placed on the bill by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has so far prevented it from becoming law.
The bill, H.R. 3012, is known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. Although Grassley reached a compromise to remove his hold on the bill, obstacles remain.
Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney, suggested that H.R. 3012 would be a step forward for U.S. immigration policy.
“H.R. 3012 was designed to help America retain its economic leadership by keeping a small, but key number of highly-skilled workers here, certified to be in short supply with additional immigrant visa numbers,” said Rabinowitz. “These are persons who are chiefly from India and China and are understandably, and increasingly frustrated, by an employment-based immigrant visa wait time of as long as 10 or more years for some immigrants under current law. H.R. 3012 will help.”
Rabinowitz added that Senator Grassley’s hold on the bill was unjustified.
“This is the legislation on which Senator Grassley placed a hold in November 2011. In June 2012, he reached a compromise to release his hold. Its provisions? Amend the H-1B non-immigrant visa program – unrelated to employment based immigration – with language stating on a Labor Condition Application or LCA (a required filing as part of getting an H-1B visa requiring certification from the Department of Labor) that if the DOL finds ‘clear indicators of fraud or misrepresentation of material fact…,’ then it may investigate and hold hearings,” explained Rabinowitz.
“The translation is that the DOL will now have broad powers to prioritize finding fraud under every rock, and frustrate the vast majority of U.S. employers who are law-abiding,” said Rabinowitz. “Employers will not know how long the LCA process may take. This will add more uncertainty to the timeframe to obtain an H-1B visa for needed foreign, highly-skilled workers. Evidently, Senator Grassley prefers more government regulation of U.S. businesses, rather than helping the U.S. business economy gain short-term, highly-skilled temporary H-1B workers quickly.”
Said Rabinowitz of Grassley, “He giveth with one hand and taketh with the other.”
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