On December 19, the House of Representatives approved a conference report in relation to Senate Bill 1932 that would get rid of pro-immigration provisions that were part of the original Senate version of the Bill. While the report has not yet been provided to the public, it is understood that key provisions related to immigration were eliminated from the Bill, including an original House proposal to introduce an $1,500 fee increase on L visas. In addition, provisions to recapture 30,000 H-1B visas, along with the recapturing of certain unused Employment-Based immigrant visas, were eliminated from the bill.
This conference report was then approved on December 20 by the Senate by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote. The Bill will now be returned to the House for a final vote; it is expected that the House will approve the Bill with these provisions eliminated.
This is bad news for the many individuals and businesses that were depending on additional H-1B and EB visas in the coming months, and may be quite harmful to various segments of the U.S. business population. However, the fight to recapture these visa numbers is not over, and our firm, along with immigration support groups such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and numerous businesses, will be working hard to affect legislation in the coming months.