ACIP quoted in article - "Senate's High-Tech Visa Expansion Has Both Sides Suggesting Tweaks"

5/2/2013
Council in the News

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CQ News, 05/01/2013 –

“The high-skilled-worker provisions in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill have achieved the dubious distinction of leaving both sides of the debate wanting more.

“Business groups are worried the bill goes too far in its attempts to protect American workers from foreign competition. Advocates for limiting foreign recruiting, including some GOP senators, say the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

“Temporary visas for high-skilled workers, known as H-1Bs, have been hugely popular with employers…who say there aren’t enough skilled U.S. workers available to fill all the open positions.

“…The top concern for both sides is the wage rate that employers must pay foreign workers hired under these visas.

“…Immigrant advocates say the current system has allowed employers to pay foreign workers less than they would pay comparable American workers, driving wages down across the board.

“…But those who want to restrict employers’ access to foreign labor contend that paying a premium for foreign workers should be considered a cost of doing business.

“…Meanwhile, the bill attempts to crack down on employers who rely on H-1B visas to hire foreign workers, train them in the United States, and then ship the workers and their jobs overseas.

“…The bill also requires employers to first look for American workers before hiring a foreign worker on an H-1B visa. The Labor Department would be empowered to boost its auditing of companies hiring H-1B workers and could penalize those employers who chose a foreign worker over an American one.

“…Rebecca Peters, legislative affairs director for the American Council on International Personnel, said her group is 'working with policymakers to ensure that some of the new additional requirements that would be imposed on employers who have less than 15 percent of their workforce on H-1B visas will not make the system so arduous as to render it unusable.'

“'As countless studies have shown, H-1B visa holders benefit the U.S. economy and help create jobs, so we need a system that allows them to work and contribute to America,' she said.”​