This new bill is a model of simplicity:
- It would cut the H-1B cap from 85,000 new visas per year to 70,000. This would be done by subtracting 15,000 from the current yearly cap of 65,000 “ordinary” new H-1B visas; the 20,000 supplement for foreign students with a graduate degree would remain intact (as would the exempt categories, unfortunately).
- In the event (a yearly one, in recent times) that there are more applications for visas than the cap allows, the applications would be processed in order of offered salary. This applies to both the “ordinary” H-1Bs and the one mentioned above for foreign students.
That second provision was proposed a few years ago by CWA and the Programmers Guild, and is something I’ve always supported.
Of course, if Congress were to separately pass a staple-a-green-card bill (or add it to this one), all bets are off, as it would be an end-run around H-1B entirely. This is what happened in a bill by Rep. Zoe Lofgren a few years ago; she had a provision to award H-1B visas by order of salary, but also had staple-a-green.
The bill is a breath of fresh air in the midst of so many poisonous pieces of legislation introduced in the last few years.