The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (“CIR ASAP”) has been introduced by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D. Ill.). The bill proposes a broad array of changes to the visa system, some of which may place additional burdens on employers:
Included in the bill, introduced on December 15, 2009, are measures to reduce immigrant visa backlogs for highly-skilled workers and expansion of the EB-5 investor immigrant visa program. There also are provisions for a new lottery-based temporary visa for unskilled workers and a special six-year visa to allow currently undocumented aliens an opportunity to apply for permanent residence through a points system.
The bill includes proposals for enhanced border security, employer immigration enforcement and employment authorization verification. In addition, the bill modifies existing policies to increase employer obligations for companies who utilize the H-1B, H-2B and L-1 Visa programs. Particularly troubling is the proposal to require recruitment prior to filing H-1B visa petitions.
While CIR ASAP contains interesting proposals for resolving the problems employers face in finding low-skilled workers who are in the U.S. lawfully, the measure does not offer employers much to ensure that they will be able to access the highly-skilled workers required by the U.S. economy. The proposal for a Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets will be particularly problematic for employers, as such a body is unlikely to be able to predict the need for various types of workers or respond timely to market changes. A self-adjusting, demand-based visa allocation system would better meet the needs of the economy.