The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act (SKILLS Act), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) along with 20 co-sponsors.
The SKILLS Act would nearly triple the H-1B cap and also increase employment-based green card numbers and add 4,000 immigrant visas for health care occupations, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other allied health care workers who work in rural or undeserved areas.
Unlike the current situation where these employees are subject to 6-7 year backlogs in the EB-3 category, these additional immigrant visas are immediately available and not subject to retrogression.
This is the first step toward a House comprehensive immigration bill like the one passed in the Senate. However, the House is expected to debate the Senate bill and change many of its provisions. The House may administratively decide to have several smaller bills, rather than one large immigration bill. We hopefully await and see.