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Washington Lawmakers Increasing Available Visas

November 23, 2004
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The U.S. Congress has passed--and the president is likely to sign--a bill that would make significant changes to the laws regulating immigrant workers.

Under a bill passed by Congress on November 20, as many as 20,000 additional guest-worker visas will be available each year to foreigners who have earned advanced degrees in the United States, CNET and Computerworld report. The visa provision is part of a larger spending bill that has Congress passed.

The bill, according to CNET, would also:

  • Make companies attest that an employee with an H-1B visa is not displacing a U.S. worker.

  • Add new fees to the visa applications, with the money going to education and training programs for American workers.

  • Give more authority to the Department of Labor to investigate inappropriate uses of the H-1B visa program.

Unions and employee associations generally oppose higher visa ceilings, saying that there are thousands of qualified American employees available for work. Large technology employers such as Microsoft and Intel are among the biggest supporters of expanding visas.

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