T his week, the workforce was buzzing with news about U.S. senators introducing a new bill – the Immigration Innovation Act – to increase the H1-B visa cap. We cover this story and more in this week’s Weekly Roundup!

New Bill Would Raise H-1B Cap (via Staffing Industry Analysts)

On January 13, U.S. senators introduced a bill to reform current immigration laws involving high-skilled workers. The proposed bill’s goal is to increase the H1-B visa cap from its current 65,000 to 115,000. Nicknamed the “I-Squared” Act of 2015, the Immigration Innovation Act focuses on the quantity of employment-based nonimmigrant visas. The bill also calls for uncapping the existing U.S. advanced degree exemption, which is currently limited to 20,000. It also touches on rules and regulations regarding student visas and green cards.

Freelancers Unite to get Sickness and Other Employment Benefits (via The Guardian)

Because the growth of freelancers has been overwhelming, with more than 15 percent of the European workforce choosing a self-employed career, independents are now coordinating to demand political action to improve their conditions. The European Freelancers Movement is building solutions for problems like lack of sick days and clients who refuse or delay payments. In the Netherlands, Broodfonds (translated to “bread funds”) is a system that works by creating small groups of 20-50 freelance individuals who pay into a mutual sickness fund. When someone falls ill, they receive money from this fund so they don’t fall behind with paychecks and bills. Started in 2006, there are now 123 Broodfond groups with almost 4,200 participants in the Netherlands.

Florida Signs Up with Feds to Fight IC Misclassification (via Staffing Industry Analysts)

Florida is the 17th state to sign a memorandum of understanding in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to crack down on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Alabama, California, Montana, and Connecticut are among the list of states that have also signed similar agreements. The DOL says working with states is a vital tool to end the blatant misclassification of workers and coordinate compliance with both federal and state laws. In 2013, a department investigation revealed that 108,050 workers in low-wage industries were misclassified. They also discovered $83 million in back wages tied to the investigated employers and their workers.

That’s what made the headlines this week. You can find us back here on the Beeline Blog next Friday for next week’s roundup. Have a great weekend, readers!

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