October 23, 2000
1409 Rachel Ln.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089
Thank you for
contacting me regarding H-1B visas. I appreciate hearing from you
and would to take this opportunity to respond.
As you may
know, H-1B visas authorize highly skilled foreign workers to come
to the United States, usually for a limited period of three years.
Congress passed legislation in 1998 that authorized the issuance
of 115,000 H-1B visas for fiscal year 2000 and 107,500 for fiscal
year 2001. However, with the continuing growth in high technology
industries and the tight overall labor market, the requests for
visas far exceed these authorized numbers.
9, 2000, Senators Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
introduced the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of
2000 (S. 2045), a measure that would temporarily increase the
number of H-1B visas issued annually to 195,000 for fiscal years
2000-2002. These visas would produce more than $150 million in
fees to support training and scholarships for American workers.
The bill would also provide one-year extensions for certain visa
holders facing a lengthy delay in the adjudication of a request
for permanent residence.
the increase cite the importance of attracting highly skilled
workers to sustain the American economy and to continue advances
in technology. They note that H-1B workers represent 1/10 of 1
percent of the entire U.S. workforce. Some opponents of the
legislation question the evidence of a labor shortage and contend
that any shortfall can be overcome by hiring current college
graduates and retraining other workers.
support, the Senate passed S. 2045 on October 3, 2000, by a vote
of 96-1. On the same day, the House of Representatives passed the
measure unanimously, and it was signed into law by the President
on October 17, 2000.
you for contacting my office. If you have any additional questions
or comments, please do not hesitate to let me know.
P.S. - I am
pleased to invite you to be my guest at a weekly constituent
breakfast if you are ever in Washington. Senator Durbin and I
welcome our constituents at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday that the
Senate is in session for a continental breakfast and a discussion
of the issues that affect Illinois and the nation. Please call my
office at (202) 224-2854 for more details.