The Washington Post

What is an H-1B visa?

H-1B refers to a type of employer-sponsored visa that is available to highly skilled workers in specialized occupations. Sometimes called “high-tech” visas, the permits last for three years and can be extended for three more years.

Under current law, the government can award up to 65,000 H-1B visas each year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for those with master’s and doctorate degrees from U.S. universities. But last week, a bipartisan group of eight senators (above) filed a bill meant , in part, to attract more highly educated and entrepreneurial foreigners.

Some of their proposals:

Increase the number of H1-B visas to 110,000 and raise an additional allotment for those with advanced degrees to 25,000. Over time, the overall cap could reach 180,000.

Pay H-1B workers higher wages by reducing the allowable difference between salaries for foreign workers and U.S. citizens in the same occupations.

Charge higher fees to companies with more than 50 workers whose H-1B employees make up more than 30 percent of their workforce.

Ban firms from applying for more foreign workers if more than 75 percent of their staff have H-1B visas. The limit would drop to 50 percent by 2016.

Create a Web site for posting positions often filled by H-1B visa holders. Before hiring a foreign worker, businesses would have to post an opening online for at least 30 days.



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