The current base cap for H-1B visas is 65,000. The new immigration bill proposes to raise the base cap to 110,000 (it also amends the current 20,000 exemption for U.S. advanced degree holders to a 25,000 exemption for advanced degree graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from U.S. schools).
The immigration bill further proposes that, in future years, the cap can go as high as 180,000. The cap will increase/decrease based on two factors plugged into one formula known as the “High Skilled Jobs Demand Index” (with each factor weighed at 50%):
- The percentage by which cap-subject non-immigrant visa petitions approved under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) for a fiscal year exceeds/fails to meet the cap (50%);
- The inverse of the percentage increase/decrease between the previous fiscal year and the current fiscal year in the number of unemployed persons in the “management, professional, and related occupations category” of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data (50%).
The most the cap can increase/decrease by each year is 10,000 visas.
In our next article we will discuss proposed changes to H-1B recruiting requirements.