Despite their positive reactions to Congress’ raising of the cap on H-1B visas for high-technology immigrant employees, Atlanta immigration attorneys are saying “our work is not over” and would prefer President Clinton sign the legislation without raising current application fees.
Atlanta companies must now push the White House to sign the legislation into law so firms can take advantage of the three-year increase in H-1B visas and the elimination of backlog applications, Darryl Buffenstein, general counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and immigration attorney, told GlobalFax in an interview at his law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker.
Other Atlanta immigration attorneys besides Mr. Buffenstein who contacted GlobalFax last week, including Robert Banta of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowry and Dan White of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, agree that the passage of H-1B legislation is a victory for high-technology companies and other area firms who hire immigrants for specialty jobs. The legislation limits Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) application approval time to 180 days, providing relief for employers who have traditionally had to wait months and even years for such approval.
The new H-1B legislation is a “terrific benefit to many Atlanta companies,” Mr. Banta said, because it enables immigrant nationality categories that reach their quota numbers to borrow unused green cards from other nationalities, a measure that most greatly affects Indian and Chinese immigrants. The legislation also permits extensions to the 6-year H-1B visa in some cases.
Mr. Buffenstein said the passage of the H-1B legislation is a means to “invigorate the business community to build a national consensus for business immigration” to address the permanent immigrant labor certification system and other INS processing issues.
For more information, contact Mr. Banta at (404) 249-9300, Mr. Buffen-stein at (404) 815-2232 or Mr. White at (404) 815-3733. To see the full story, go to www.globalatlanta.com