Quick Hit Aricka Flowers Friday January 25th, 2013, 3:21pm

Senators Poised To Propose Immigration Bill Next Week

A bipartisan group of senators is set to propose a comprehensive immigration bill next week, according to The Hill.

The legislation would address a group of immigrants that President Obama mentioned in his inaugural speech on Monday; those "bright young students and engineers" that he would like to see "enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would focus on helping highly-skilled immigrants in the country. The Immigration Innovation Act would raise the number of H-1B visas to 115,000 a year from 65,000. The cap could raised again if the number of visas filed in a particular year is reached early on in the year, but no more than 300,000 would be permissible in such a year.

The bill would also lift the current 200,000 cap placed on employers seeking to hire U.S. educated graduates from foreign countries that have earned advanced degrees. The bill would also allow dependent spouses of H-1B holders to work in the U.S., which has previously been a controversial issue in immigration reform.

When it comes to green cards, the bill would get rid of per-country caps on those cards based on employment. The legislation would also free particular categories of immigrants from being held by the employment-based green card cap, including "outstanding professors and researchers", the dependents of those holding employment-based visas, U.S. educated graduates from foreign countries that hold advanced sgrees in engineering, science or math.

The bill would also increase the fees employers have to pay to file for H-1B visas and green cards. Those additional funds would then be allocated to a grant that would be focused on boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and new training for workers at the state level.  

 

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