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A bill considered to have the best chance in decades of overhauling the U.S. immigration system was introduced last week by a bipartisan group of eight senators. Of interest to scientific industries are several provisions that would help more highly educated workers come to the U.S. The bill would expand the number of H-1B visas from its current limit of 65,000 to 110,000 or more by creating a sliding scale based on U.S. demand for highly skilled workers. It would also transition the nation to a merit-based immigration system that includes education as one of the factors. The bill includes a controversial provision that would eliminate a “diversity visa” for people from countries having few immigrants to the U.S. Such a provision thwarted a science immigration bill last year. Hearings on the bill are expected to start soon.
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