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The New Immigration Law Will Give Rise to “W Visa”

The Gang of 8 Senators tasked to draft the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, announced the possibility of adding a new temporary visa in the list of US visas, the “W visa. ”

Although still a proposal, the US Senators believed it is necessary to provide a solution to most US employers’ problem on labor shortage for low-skilled workers and non-seasonal workers. The W visa came about with the help from U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to address the need for employees in the lower rung without impeding the rights and privileges of American citizen workers.

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The benefits and privileges of W visa

The Senators had spoken to the media and provided some of the benefits, privileges and restrictions in the use of W visa. They revealed that the W visa is designed to give migrant workers a fair chance and offered the same working opportunities given to US workers while in the US.

This includes the chance to petition the U.S. government for green card after their employment contract. This privilege is not available in most of temporary visas in the US. W visa holders will also have the chance to change employers and job positions without violating the conditions of the visa. In addition, foreign workers with minimum skills or under skilled workers will have now the chance to work legally in the US, obtain residence, travel around the US and study at the same time.

To prevent abuse and protect US workers, employers who wish to sponsor foreign workers will follow the strict requirements of W visa. Employers can only hire foreign workers if they first recruit and hire available American workers. Foreign workers are hired if no US workers available for the position or willing to work for the employer. Employers are also required to offer a W visa worker the “prevailing wage” rate offered to US workers including privileges. This can only be done with the intervention of the US Department of Labor.

Numerical Restrictions of W visa

Just like your H-1B visa, W visa is also subject to the annual limit. The Senators also estimated about 20,000 W visas will be available during the initial launching projected to occur by 2015. The number of workers will gradually increase to 35,000, 55,000, and 75,000 up to 200,000 workers in the fifth year of implementation as the maximum annual cap.

Also included as part of the major reform in the immigration industry is the creation of an a new government agency to fast track the implementation of W visa called the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Conditions (BILMC) which will operate under the supervision of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The BILMC will take charge of the W visa annual cap on the fifth year of operation. They will provide the qualifications for the annual cap requirements such as the current U.S. unemployment rate and the number of workers issued with visas in the previous year.


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