Summary of the I‐Squared Act of 2015
By Greg Siskind
Title I – Employment‐Based Nonimmigrant Visas
Section 101. Market‐Based H‐1B Visa Limits
The language creates a new concept of having a base H‐1B allocation for each fiscal year and then a
possible addition to that base number depending on how strong demand is for H‐1Bs. The cap will float
between 115,000 and 195,000 depending on market conditions. [Note: The 195,000 cap is a reduction
from the 300,000 that the 2013 version of this bill contained]. The base cap is 115,000. The cap can rise
based on the following formula:
‐ If the cap is hit before day 45 then 20,000 more numbers will be made available beginning on
‐ If the cap is hit between day 46 and 60, then 15,000 more numbers will be made available on
‐ If the cap is hit between days 61 and day 90, then 10,000 more numbers will be made available
on day 91
‐ If the cap is hit between day 91 and day 275, then 5,000 more numbers will be made available
on day 276
The cap can also be lowered based on the following formula:
‐ If the number of approved petitions is at between 5,000 and 9,999 fewer than the base
allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 5,000
‐ If the number of approved petitions is at between 10,000 and 14,999 fewer than the base
allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 10,000
‐ If the number of approved petitions is at between 55,000 and 19,999 fewer than the base
allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 15,000
‐ If the number of approved petitions is more than 20,000 fewer than the base allocation for that
fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 20,000
DHS has to post online a summary of data regarding H‐1B adjudications and must make the above
adjustments in a timely manner.
The cap of 20,000 on those with advanced degrees from US universities is eliminated and there will be
no cap on such individuals.
H‐1B1 numbers for Chileans and Singapore nationals will no longer be subtracted from the H‐1B cap and
extensions of H‐1B1s will not reduce the annual cap on H‐1B1s.
Section 102. Employment Authorization for Dependents of H‐1B Nonimmigrants
H‐4 spouses (not children) will be permitted to seek employment authorization documents.
Section 103. Eliminating Impediments to Worker Mobility
With respect to H‐1Bs and L‐1s previously approved by USCIS or DOS, neither USCIS nor the State
Department will be able to deny subsequent petitions, visas or applications for involving the same
petitioner and alien unless there is a material error with regard to the previous petition approval, a
material change in circumstances has occurred or new material has been discovered which adversely
affects the eligibility of the employer or the worker. A written finding must be provided the applicant
explaining the basis for the government’s negative determination.
H‐1Bs who are terminated before their I‐94s expire will be granted a grace period of 60 days during
which time a new employer can file a petition to change/extend the status of the H‐1B worker.
Visa revalidation by the DOS inside the US will be authorized for E, H, L, O and Ps to renew their visas
domestically as long as the applicant remains eligible in the category.
Title II – Student Visas
Section 201. Authorization of Dual Intent
F‐1 students will no longer be required to demonstrate having a residence which he or she does not
wish to abandon. Also adds the concept of dual intent to F‐1s, something which currently applies to H‐
1Bs and L‐1s.
Title III – Employment‐Based Immigrant Visas
Section 301. Elimination of Per‐Country Numerical Limitations
Raises per country family category limit to 15% from the current 7% beginning in FY 2013.
Eliminates per country employment quotas as of FY 2013. This section takes effect on 1 October 2015
and shall apply to FY 2016 and beyond.
Section 302. Ensuring All Preference Employment‐Based Immigrant Visas are Issued
Provides for all unused employment‐based green card numbers from 1992 through the current fiscal
year to be recaptured and numbers to roll over to future years if unused in the year allocated. If
numbers not used, they can roll over to the family categories and increase those preference categories.
Important new language has been added in this section requiring DHS and DOS to ensure that all visas
authorized are actually issued and DOS is to consider a category current if any visa number in a
particular employment‐based preference category have not yet been issued for a particular fiscal year.
Section 303. Aliens Not Subject to Direct Numerical Limitation
Several new categories of individuals are removed from the employment‐based green card quotas.
1. Spouses and children will no longer be counted against the cap.
2. Individuals who have earned a master’s or higher degree in a STEM field from a school qualified
under section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965
3. Extraordinary ability and outstanding researchers/scientists
Separately, the bill eliminates the cap on EB‐1 visas (which is somewhat redundant given the above
regarding extraordinary and outstanding immigrants).
The EB‐2 category will now receive 42.9% of the 140,000 annual quota instead of 28.6% and will draw
leftover numbers from the EB‐4 and EB‐5 categories.
The EB‐3 category will now receive 42.9% of the 140,000 annual quota instead of 28.6% and will draw
leftover numbers from EB‐2. The 10,000 cap on “other workers” in the EB‐3 category is eliminated and
other workers will be included in the general EB‐3 cap.
Title IV – STEM Education Funding
Section 401. Funding for STEM Education and Training.
The $750 H‐1B fee for employers with under 25 employees would increase to $1250.
The $1500 H‐1B fee for employers with 25 employees and over would increase to $2500.
Employment‐based green cards will now be subject to an additional $1000 fee.
Section 402. Promoting American Ingenuity Account.
The new fees noted above will go to a new fund which shall be used to strengthen STEM education.
Section 403. STEM Education Grant Application Process.
States can apply for grants from the Department of Education to use the fee revenue for STEM
Section 404. Approved Activities
States and other entities getting funds may use the money to
1. Strengthen the state’s standards in STEM
2. Implement strategies for recruiting and retaining STEM teachers
3. Carrying out initiatives designed to help students graduate from postsecondary STEM programs
4. Improving access to STEM‐related worker training programs; and
5. Help in other activities approved to improve STEM education.
Section 405. National Evaluation.
The Department of Education shall conduct an annual evaluation of the activities funded by the new
account and shall issue an annual report to the President and Congress.