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Congress Opens Doors to Skilled Foreign Workers

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2000
At the urging of lobbyists for high-tech companies and with the support of the Clinton administration, Congress has passed a bill that will increase the number of six-year H-1B visas for skilled, foreign-born workers.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service will be empowered to issue 195,000 visas each year for the next three years, up from 115,000 per year. The measure, which proponents hope will offset a perceived labor shortage in high-tech industries, was approved 96-1 in the Senate and passed in the House on a voice vote.

The bill includes a provision that requires employers to pay H-1B workers the same salaries that they pay American workers in the same position. It also continues education and training programs for American students and workers that are partly financed with filing fees paid by sponsoring employers.

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