5 Reforms To Watch As The Immigration Debate Heats Up

Abigail Rubenstein, Law360, May 23, 2013 - "A Senate panel this week advanced an overhaul of U.S. immigration law, which is likely headed for a full Senate vote in June, but experts caution that the measure is still a long way from being signed into law and could undergo revisions that will affect employers. Here's what employers and their attorneys should keep an eye on as the bill continues to develop.

Access to Lower-Skilled Workers: To address a void in the market for employers that can't locate lesser-skilled workers for essential positions in the U.S., the proposed legislation creates of a new category of visa, known as the W visa, for lower-skilled workers and their families. ...

Access to Highly Skilled Workers: On the other end of the spectrum, the bill is also poised to make significant changes to the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers, which employers that require such workers from abroad should be following, especially as these provisions of the bill have recently become the subject of intense debate.  ...

E-Verify Obligations: Whatever changes are ultimately made to the bill, attorneys expect the mandatory use of E-Verify for all employers to remain a part of any final legislation as a means of rooting out illegal immigration. ...

Industry-Specific Fixes: Employers should also be on the lookout for any discussions that touch on their specific industries as the legislation moves forward, lawyers say. ...

Green Card Availability: The bill includes provisions aimed at eliminating the severe backlog for employment-based green cards, which attorneys say makes it tougher for employers to recruit qualified foreign workers. ...