Effect of 2006 Senate Bill 1/3

Posted on June 26, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

The Effect of the Senate Bill on Employment-Based Immigration

Recently, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 which could benefit a lot of people including both legal and illegal immigrants. The employment-based immigration is the largest category of the U.S. immigration other than the family-based immigration. It is the most important category for those aliens who have no qualified relatives in the U.S. and/or cannot meet the requirements of other immigration categories. This category aims to attract people from all over the world who can benefit the economy, technology, culture, arts and etc. to come to the U.S.

There are five preference categories in the employment-based immigration group; the application procedure and available quota for each category are different.  And, there exist two main problems in the employment-based immigration system: the scarcity of quota and the complexity of procedure. Additionally, many low-skilled workers are excluded from the immigration category which results in the shortage of low-skilled workers in the U.S.

Thus, in order to solve these problems, the new bill may provide solutions in three different areas. Firstly, it will increase the quota for the employment-based immigration from 140,000 to 650,000 which will include spouse and minor children of the beneficiary. Secondly, it will create a total of 200,000 guest worker’s visa. And lastly, it will increase the quota for H-1B from 65,000 to 115,000 and it may be increased even higher with the growing demand in the market. Those immigrants with advanced degrees are not restricted by quota.

Under the first provision, the increase in the quota is still great even if the beneficiary’s spouse and minor children are included. And under the second provision, the new guest worker program is the response to the President Bush’s temporary guest worker program. It could benefit many low-skilled alien workers. It would give more aliens the opportunity to work in the U.S. and the opportunity of legal immigration.  200,000 for temporary workers and their spouse and minor children will be included in the 650,000 quota for the employment-based immigration.

Besides these, the bill would also allow more skilled workers to work in the U.S. and to legally immigrate through the increase of H-1B visa. One of the biggest groups of beneficiaries of the bill would be the professionals holding master degrees, at a minimum, in the area of science, technology, project, mathematics, and etc. They could apply for green card while they are getting their degrees. Since they will not be restricted by the quota, they could get green cards relatively fast.

Another great beneficiary group would be the U.S. employers. Under the present immigration system, it is difficult for the low-skilled workers to enter the U.S.  In fact, it has been difficult for the employers to find any suitable workers in the U.S. when they needed short-term workers with low skills. With the guest workers program, this problem could be easily solved.

Additionally, there would be fewer restrictions on practical training stated of alien graduates in the new bill. The practical training period would increase from present 1 year to 2 years. It would also allow alien students to have a part-time job for less than 20 hours per week and the jobs may not necessarily be related to their majors. Under such a system, there would be more opportunities for alien graduates to get green cards in the U.S.

Generally speaking, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 seems relatively moderate for the employment-based immigration. Though it still needs to be revised, it would play an important role in the process of immigration reform. If the bill became the law, it could benefit both the U.S. employers and the alien workers. Moreover, the bill could also help resolving the problems of illegal immigrants.

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