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US Senator readies new plan to hike H1-B visas

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
May 23, 2006 19:04 IST
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As the US Senate inches towards a vote on a bill with a provision for increasing the H-IB visa cap, a Republican senator who brought another proposal on immigration reform has expressed hope that his plan would improve upon the existing one.

The present Senate plan calls for nearly doubling the 65,000 annual cap on H-1B visas with provision for a 20 per cent increase on an annual basis.

It would affect thousands of skilled Indian workers seeking employment in the US. But Senator John Cornyn's 'Securing Knowledge, Innovation and Leadership' (SKIL) bill exempts from the H-1B cap any professional who has earned a post graduate degree from an accredited US university.

When asked whether he was trying to merge provisions of the SKIL Bill into the Immigration bill being debated in the Senate which likely to vote on it later this week, Cornyn said his was a "standalone bill" which raises the cap on H1B visas even higher.

"I support the provisions with regard to H-1B visa reform in the underlying bill. Essentially the SKIL bill's a standalone bill that we hope to fold into the underlying legislation to further improve what is already a good thing, but could be made even better," the Texas lawmaker said.

The SKIL bill aims to retain highly skilled workers who are educated in the US, promoting competitiveness through a market-based approach and reduces paperwork burdens on employers and professional workers who have a record of complying with immigration laws.
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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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