The Senators are framing laws to boost visas for high-tech workers and also to punish companies that train workers in US and them overseas. One of the leading figure in this talks is Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat). He is keen to punish outsourcing firms and wants higher wages for workers brought in on the H-1B visas.
According to media reports, there is overwhelming demand from companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google for the H-1B visas, which are now capped at 65,000 annually, plus 20,000 more that are reserved for foreign workers who have earned an advanced degree from a US university.
Faced with that kind of a demand, the senators have contemplated lifting the cap to around 100,000, with a possibility of as high as 150,000.
If the visa cap goes up, it is a clear win for the tech industry, which has been aggressively lobbying in recent years.
Last week, the Homeland Security Department announced that after less than a week of accepting applications, it already had received more requests than visas available for the current year.
The immigration bill will also allow permanent US residency to unlimited numbers of people with advanced degrees in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) from universities in US.
The Senate talks began today in Washington after a two-week spring break. There seems to be a broad agreement on the immigration bill, so dear to President Barack Obama, but the sticky point that is holding an agreement is the question of treatment of high tech visas. The bill is likely to be passed later this week or early next week.