The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation last week that would raise the cap on H-1B visas. However, a competitive resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives is making the fate of the H-1B visa “more complex and dangerous,” said Daryl Buffenstein, a top Atlanta immigration attorney.

Mr. Buffenstein, who is general counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told GlobalFax that the Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), will likely “sail” through the upper chamber, but have problems getting through the House.

Legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the U.S. House Immigration Subcommittee, would dilute the goals of the Senate bill by raising the cap on H-1B’s moderately this year and lowering it next year.

The House bill would also make distributing added H-1B’s this year conditional on worker protection provisions not yet drafted by the U.S. Labor Department, said Mr. Buffenstein. That would give total control to the department, which is opposed to letting more immigrant workers in to the U.S., he said.

An anti-fraud provision in Mr. Smith’s legislation would disqualify technology companies with less than $5 million in assets from obtaining the visas for employees and this would hurt many start-up firms and new foreign company offices, Mr. Buffenstein added.

He may be reached by e-mail at or call (404) 815-2232.

To view the Smith bill, H.R. 3814, and the Abraham bill,

S. 2045, go to