By Umesh Vaidyamath

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in June 2013. Though the House has not passed a bill, several immigration bills were reported by the House Judiciary Committee to the House floor. There is a dramatic difference between the visions of the Senate and the House for IT immigration.

The Senate is largely unfriendly to IT immigration as it exists today. It wants to destroy intermediaries for IT talent (“body shops”). If it has its way, the “H-1B dependent” employers will no longer exist. The Senate bill would compel large companies to hire IT personnel directly from India, instead of their current use of “body shops”. Smaller companies will be hit because they don’t have the ability to hire overseas. All this will cause turmoil in the current IT ecosystem, especially in Silicon Valley.

The House on the other hand regards the current IT industry as one of America’s success stories. The various bills reported by the House Judiciary Committee will make possible a massive expansion of the IT industry by increasing quotas, and reducing wait times, ushering in a golden age of American IT immigration giving America access to the best IT talent throughout the world.

The Senate and the House bills represent significantly different visions for IT immigration. It is difficult to tell which one will prevail—as in all politics, we can expect a combination of the visions to pass the Congress. What is common to both the Senate and the House visions is a massive increase in IT immigration—the difference will be in the structure of that expansion. But the costs will be high in terms of increased fees and increased regulations under either vision, the Senate’s or the House’s. Agencies like USCIS and DOS are not good at adjusting to change, and will struggle with handling the new law when it comes. The IT industry will also struggle as a result. Change in IT immigration is imminent even if there is no Comprehensive Immigration Reform since IT issues are so important that some IT legislation is to be expected regardless of how Comprehensive Immigration Reform fairs.

Law firms that use digital case management will be at a major advantage, because productivity in immigration processing, which has been competitive advantage so far will now become a survival requirement. INSZoom stands ready to help any law firm who wants to achieve these productivity increases and prepare for the changes coming to IT immigration in 2014.

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