Foreign worker cap falls to pre-dot-com levels

FRAMINGHAM (10/03/2003) - A congressional cap on the number of foreign workers allowed into the U.S. on H-1B visas has fallen to pre-dot-com boom levels after Congress failed to reauthorize a higher limit before this week's deadline. But debate on the program is not over. Congress still could act to increase the number of H-1B visas even though the 2004 fiscal year has started with a cap of 65,000, some supporters and opponents of a higher cap say. Intel Corp. will continue to press for a higher cap and to have advanced-degreed engineers exempted from the cap, says Tracy Koon, a company spokeswoman. "It's clear when you look at U.S. graduation numbers, there's a shortage there." Even opponents of a higher H-1B cap acknowledge the fight isn't over although the congressional deadline passed. H-1B critic Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis, says he expects the issue to resurface early next year.

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