US Senate approves doubling H-1B visas


WASHINGTON: The US Senate has approved a landmark immigration reform Bill that would give citizenship to millions of illegal persons and double the number of H1B visas from the present 65,000, a move that would greatly benefit thousands of Indian software professionals.

The Bill passed on Thursday provides for doubling the H-1B visas from the present 65,000 annually to about 115,000 and with a 20 per cent increase on an annual basis.

Various software and technology companies like Microsoft and Intel have been pressuring the US Government by threatening to move jobs abroad if it does not raise the cap on H-1B visas and allow more skilled workers into the country.

In the version that was cleared by the senate judiciary committee was also a new student visa classification for high tech studies.

However, the House version of the Bill has nothing on the H-1B visa and according to analysts it is most likely to be neglected when legislators get down to the negotiations at the conference committee stage.

The main provision of the bill is however to provide nearly 10 million to 12 million illegals living in the US citizenship rights that was denounced in many quarters as downright amnesty and something that House of Representatives has nothing to say when it passed the immigration legislation late last year.

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