H-1B Increase Quietly Passes First Hurdle

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-05-31 Print this article Print

The U.S. Senate passes the controversial immigration reform bill, which includes a provision to raise the H-1B visa cap to 115,000 from 65,000.

In the lull before the long holiday weekend, the U.S. Senate passed the immigration reform bill on May 25, which includes a controversial provision to raise the H-1B visa cap to 115,000 from 65,000.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect and long a proponent of an uncapped H-1B program, arguing that limits must be lifted to keep the United States globally competitive, praised the Senate in a statement.

"By passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation today that makes prudent adjustments to the annual H-1B visa and green card caps for high skilled employees, the U.S. Senate has taken a critical step forward in its important work to ensure that our nation remains the global leader in technology innovation," said Gates.

Opponents of the H-1B program, who view it as flawed, diluting the IT professional pool and rife with abuse by companies not paying visa holders equal wages, immediately slammed the bill's progress.

"We don't understand why the Senate wants to expand a program that numerous government reports have found leaves U.S. and foreign workers open to exploitation. Fraud, abuse and misuse of the visas [are] rampant. The program should be fixed before it is expanded," said Ralph Wyndrum Jr., president of IEEE-USA, an organizational unit within the IEEE, in a statement.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: H-1B Increase Quietly Passes First Hurdle


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