A Preview of Business Immigration in 2016: H-1B

A Preview of Business Immigration in 2016: H-1B

EB-5 Visa, EB5 Visa, EB-5 Investment

From proposals to slash the H-1B cap to overhauling the EB-5 investor program, 2016 is already proving to be an interesting year for business immigration. In a series of posts, the Mintz Levin team will provide an overview of the cases, legislation, and regulations to look out for in the new year. In our first post we will discuss the H-1B visa and proposed reforms.     

A new wave of bills on Capitol Hill may lead to greater scrutiny of the H-1B program for high-skilled temporary workers in 2016. Since November, senators on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation related to the visa category. One comes from Republican presidential candidate and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who hopes to reform the program by creating a “layoff cool-off period” under which employers could not hire any H-1B workers within two years of layoffs, furloughs, or employee strikes. The “American Jobs First Act of 2015” would also end the Optional Practical Training program, which allows certain foreign students or graduates to temporarily work in the United States. Bill co-sponsor Senator Jeff Sessions, (R-AL), said the H-1B program has become a “backdoor method for replacing American workers.”

Senator Sessions, known as an immigration hardliner, also co-sponsored the “Protecting American Jobs Act” with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to reduce the annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 50,000. If more than 50,000 petitions are filed within a fiscal year, the bill would require DHS to prioritize workers with the highest wages. “This bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally qualified U.S. workers,” stated Senator Nelson. His legislation directly opposes fellow Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s earlier 2015 bill that would triple the H-1B cap to between 115,000 and 195,000 visas.

Another bipartisan effort comes from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who recently introduced legislation that would greatly reform and increase enforcement of the H-1B program. Their bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B workers if they have more than 50 employees and over half are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

Whether any of these bills will actually pass remains the biggest question for H-1Bs in 2016, particularly as certain bills—and legislators—oppose one another, both in the Senate and in presidential campaigns.

Parnia Zahedi assisted with this post.




  • Massachusetts

Securities Disclaimer

This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. EB5Projects.com LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.