The Senate passed a bill yesterday that would extend several key immigration programs for a period of 3 years until September 30, 2015. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.3245: The bill proposes 3-year extensions of the following:
- The EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor program which enables the pooling of capital by immigrant investors whose investments in the US will create at least 10 US worker jobs each.
- The government's E-Verify program, an online system which enables employers to instantly check the work authorization of newly hired employees during the employment verification process.
- The Special Nonimmigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program.
- The Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program which provides an opportunity for physician shortage areas to attract highly skilled foreign physicians.
The bill had been introduced in May, proposing permanent reauthorization of the programs, but was amended to limit the extensions to 3 years each before being passed by the Senate. The bill must also be passed by the House and signed by the President in order to become law.