Dear Mr. Paul,
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding H1-B visas. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome this chance to respond.
As you may know, the Immigration Act of 1990 established numerical limitations on the H1-B nonimmigrant classification to provide U.S. employers access to foreign skilled workers. H-1B visas allow high tech workers entry into the United States for a temporary stay. An H-1B visa allows workers to stay in the United States for three years, with one renewal, for a total of 6 years. The Immigration Act initially allowed 65,000 Hi-B visa entries per year but has significantly increased since 1997.
As you are aware, the 106th Congress approved legislation that increased the number of H1-B visas that may be issued in a year from 115,000 to 195,000 H1-B visas for the fiscal years 2001-2003. However, you may be interested to know that the recent economic downturn has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of requests for the technology-based H-1B visas. The Immigration and Naturalization Service recently released the FY01 visa numbers, where employers received 163,200 of an allotted 195,000 visas.
Nonetheless, Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) introduced H.R. 3222, which would limit the number of H-lB visas to 65,000 for any fiscal year and reduce the number of visas issued by 10,000 for each quarter percentage the unemployment rate for the United States falls below 6 percent.
Currently, HR. 3222 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for their consideration. Although I do not serve on this committee, rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind as this legislation continues through the House.
Thanks again for contacting me. If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to do so again.