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Immigration Overhaul Compromise Could Raise H-1B Visa Cap

New provisions could be drafted as early as next week following an agreement between a bi-partisan group of senators and the White House.
A compromise on comprehensive immigration reform was reached on Thursday between a bi-partisan group of senators and the White House, which could pave the way for the cap on H-1B visas being raised.

The reform deal includes a provision to raise the cap on H-1B visas, although details of the numbers haven't yet been disclosed, said a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) However, several bills that have been introduced into the House of Representatives and Senate in recent months have proposed raising the cap from the current 65,000 to 115,000.

In fact, a bill introduced just this week by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) proposes raising the cap on H-1B visas -- the most common visa used by foreign-born technology workers -- to 115,000, with provisions to raise the cap up to 180,000 based on market conditions.

That bill -- as well as bi-partisan legislation introduced by Sen. Durbin and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in April -- also contains several provisions to rein in visa abuse and fraud.

However, Durbin's spokesman was uncertain whether any of those abuse provisions are part of the compromise bill reached today, or whether they will be added. The bill is expected to be debated in the senate on Monday, he said.

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