Currently the number of H-1B visas issued annually is 65,000 for first-time applicants, although the first 20,000 applications for workers who have a master’s degree or higher are exempted from the limit.
The I-Squared Act was previously introduced in 2013 during the 113th Congress, but it failed to progress from the Senate Judiciary committee.
An H-1B visa holder whose employment relationship ends (voluntarily or involuntarily) before the expiration of his or her authorized admission would maintain their legal status for 60 days if an employer files a petition to extend, change, or adjust the person’s status during that period.
The Secretary of State would be directed to authorize a qualifying applicant to an H-1B visa who have previously been admitted under an E-visa (for traders and investors), H-visa (temporary workers), L-visa (intra-company transferees), O-visa (extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, or entertainment), or P-visa (athletes, artists, and entertainers) to renew his or her visa in the U.S.
The foreign student visa requirement that an individual has no intention of abandoning their foreign residence would be eliminated.
The per country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants would be eliminated, and the per country family limit would be increased. These provisions would take effect in the 2016 fiscal year.
The Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992
would be amended to eliminate the provision requiring the reduction of annual Chinese immigrant visas to offset status adjustments.
Exclusions from employment-based immigrant limitations would be put in place for visa holders who:
Are the spouse or child of an employment-based immigrant.
Have a master’s degree or higher in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and math) from a school qualified under the Higher Education Act of 1965.
H-1B employer fees would be increased, and a fee on employment-based visa petitions would be established. These fees would be used to fund STEM education and training.
This bill would establish in the Treasury Department a Promoting American Ingenuity Account (PAIA) to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness by:
Strengthening STEM education and ensuring that schools have access to well-trained STEM teachers.
Strengthening the elementary and secondary curriculum, including efforts to increase computer science course availability.
Helping colleges and universities produce more graduates in fields needed by American employers.
3 percent of PAIA deposits would be allocated for grants to establish American Dream Accounts. Provisions regarding fund allocations, state grant applications, and approved grant activities would be included.
Nothing in this legislation’s STEM funding requirements should be interpreted as allowing the Secretary of Education or any other federal official to approve the content or academic achievement standards of a state.
Sponsoring Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Press Release
The Hill (In Favor)
Independent Journal Review (Opposed)
Cato Institute (In Favor)