"H-1B visas allow specialty professional workers, generally with college degrees, to work in the U.S. for up to six years. The majority of these visas have been used for computer programmers, engineers and other high-tech workers, but recently they have gone to teachers and health-care workers as well. L-1 visas allow companies -- both small businesses and multinational corporations -- to transfer executives, managers and workers with 'specialized knowledge' of the company from overseas operations to U.S.-based divisions."
The annual cap for H-1B will be reduced from 195,000 (the limit since 2000) to 65,000. Similarly, the new annual L-1 limit will be 35,000, compared to 314,000 that were issued in 2002. The change will likely impact the technology sector the most, "In the federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2002, new H-1B visas issued for computer-related occupations fell nearly 77%, to 25,637, from 110,713 a year earlier, according to the Department of Homeland Security." Other major industries that will be affected include health care and teaching: in 2002, doctors, nurses and teachers received more than 20% of H-1B visas.