San Diego readers may be interested in a recent immigration law story concerning the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (Fairness Act). Two U.S. senators recently reached an accord to allow the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (Fairness Act) to proceed. The bill allows for the allocation of ’employment-based green cards’ regardless of a person’s origin and without limitations on a per country basis. These visas can include L-1B, H-1B, and O-1A visas, all considered high skills visas. Obtaining a work visa under the new law could potentially aid both immigrants and the employers who need them.
Some 140,000 of these work visas are issued annually, but current law only allots a country 7 percent. Individuals from some countries wait years, potentially decades, to receive this type of visa. Although the Fairness Act now appears on track for consideration by the full Senate, an agreement has been tacked on to the bill that could expand the Department of Labor’s (DOL) authority. With the amendments in place, employment visas could be placed under the microscope and heavily scrutinized by DOL overseers. This could hold up visas and potentially bring more audits for those seeking H-1B or other types of work visas.
Right now, the DOL has the authority to audit employer-submitted visa applications, but only after a visa is issued. In addition, an audit can only occur if a complaint alleges visa fraud. With the new amendments, officials could delay any applications, provided they find evidence of fraud or a material fact that has been misrepresented. The proposed bill is vague about exactly what evidence is required to allow the DOL to delay any applications using personal discretion. Delaying those applications could potentially hurt both highly skilled immigrants and the employers who need them, while also costing money.
San Diego immigrants are likely already aware that receiving a work visa can be a difficult process. If the proposed bill happens to pass with the amendments that expand the Department of Labor’s authority, there could be an even longer delay and one that could harm everyone involved in the process. However, if the bill passes without the amendments, it could potentially help highly skilled workers attempting to seek entrance into this country for work purposes. Such would benefit employers who have need of their skills and the workers attempting to enter the United States, no matter from which country they originated.
Source: Forbes, “High-Skilled Immigration Restrictions Are Economically Senseless,” David Bier, July 22, 2012