Senators to add high-tech visas, dispute details

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Associated Press

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 4:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 5:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators writing a massive immigration bill plan to greatly increase the number of visas going to high-tech workers, but they're arguing over worker protections.

The dispute comes as lawmakers race to put the finishing touches on their sweeping legislation in time to release it this week or next.

At issue are H1B visas, which high-tech companies can use to bring specially skilled workers to the U.S. The current annual cap of 65,000 is too low to meet demand.

Senators are looking to raise the cap to as high as 150,000. But a dispute has arisen because Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is pushing for higher wages and trying to crack down on companies that use the visas to train workers in the U.S., then send them back overseas.

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