One of the major developments included in the comprehensive immigration reform package proposed by a bipartisan group of senators last month is the introduction of a new W Visa for low and lesser-skilled workers. The new program, which is slated to begin in April 2015, would allow pre-registered employers to hire a certain numbers of W Visa holders each year for a renewable period of three years. Such employers would first be required to advertise open positions on a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor for 30 days and could not advertise openings that required a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Furthermore, the total number of available W Visas would be capped at 20,000 during the first year and grow to 75,000 by the fourth year, with subsequent cap numbers based on demand and U.S. unemployment at the time.
The new temporary worker program represents a landmark compromise between lawmakers, business groups and labor unions, all of whom have collaborated to produce the comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. For additional information about the W Visa program, please click here.