W Nonimmigrant Workers
The legislation creates a new category of nonimmigrant workers who come to perform work in
the U.S. in occupations that require little to medium on-the-job training. The visas have a term
of three years, and are renewable for three years. Employers seeking these workers must
participate in a national registry, where jobs are listed and certified. Overseeing the system will
be a new Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, which will be housed at U.S.Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS). The annual number of visas allocated will start
off at 20,000 for the first year, and rise to 75,000 in the fourth year, after which the new Bureau
will determine the annual number of W visas to be allocated. Visas will not be issued for jobs in
areas where the unemployment rate is greater than 8.5 percent, though there are exceptions.
Special caps apply for construction industries. W applicants would register with an embassy orconsulate
for a registered job to apply for a visa. Once in the United States, a visa holder may
leave his or her job and begin work for another employer in a job that is in the registry. The W
workers and employers would be kept track of via a system similar to the one used currently to
keep track of foreign students in the United States.