The U.S. House of Representatives just released its own version of a high-skilled immigration reform bill and is actively seeking input through the collective IQ of the Internet. House Oversight Chairman and one of our Most Innovative People in Democracy, Darrell Issa, has placed the Supplying Knowledge-Based Immigrants And Lifting Levels of STEM (SKILLS) Visas Act on his very own public markup utility, Project Madison (we partnered with Issa’s nonprofit, the Open Government Foundation and have integrated it into our CrunchGov site).
Details Of The New Bill
A few important details about the bill that took an admirable bit of linguistic gymnastics to come up with a title to fit that obviously pre-determined acronym. (U.S. government 101: in order to become law, both the House and the Senate will have to combine their bills. The details below are the important differences between the House and the Senate).
1). SKILLS Visa is a net neutral green card allotment system; the 120,000 high-skilled visas are reached by cutting out the diversity visa program and the 65,000 green cards for siblings (unlike the Senate version). It also increases 25,000 green card visas for spouses and children.
2). Expands the the foreign worker visa (H1-B) cap from 65,000 to 155,000 (about 30K more than the Senate).
3. Allots up to 10,000 startup-visa cards. Right now, immigrants are tethered to a sponsoring employee, which has prevented brilliant workers from striking out on their own. Immigrants are eligible so long as they can create 5 American jobs and have at least $500,000 in investment.
4. Attempts to get rid of abuse in the H1-B system by allowing the federal government to audit businesses and requires that they give immigrants a prevailing market wage.
How to Contribute
Issa is seeking your brilliant ideas! His staff helped create the historic crowdsourcing platform and will be actively looking at your recommendations. Head over to our version of the public markup utility here.
There are (very simple) instructions about how to get started. On Project Madison, you can amend the SKILLS Visa Act line-by-line and vote up the best suggestions.
We at CrunchGov love direct democracy and look forward to your contributions.