CFGI Quoted – “H1-B reform bill in US seeks to expand annual quota from 65,000 to 85,000”

Business Standard

“Two Republican Senators today introduced legislation in the Senate that seeks to increase the annual H-1B visa limit with an aim to bring in the world's ‘best and brightest’ to the US.

“Introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake, the Immigration Innovation (I-Squared) Act of 2018 provides work authorisation for spouses and dependent children of H1B visa holders and establishes a grace period during which H1B visa holders can change jobs without losing legal status.

“It also exempts spouses and children of employment-based green card holders from the cap.

“The legislation is supported by top American IT companies…and top trade bodies…

“In a joint statement Hatch and Flake said the bill focuses on areas vital to maintaining US' competitiveness in the global economy -- the availability of employment-based non-immigrant visas…for industries in which there is a shortage of American labour, reforms to the H-1B programme to reduce fraud and help protect workers, increased access to green cards for high-skilled workers and directing fees collected for H-1B visas and green cards to promote STEM worker training and education.

“…‘Now more than ever, we need highly qualified workers with the skills employers need to succeed in the information economy,’ Hatch said.

“…‘The Immigration Innovation Act will help ensure that our companies have access to the world's best and brightest and are able to fill jobs in highly technical, specialised fields for which there is a shortage of American labor,’ he said.

“…The reforms included in the I-Squared Act are critical to fixing a broken US immigration system that has been unable to keep up with the needs of American employers, Flake said.

“‘Taking these steps to foster a vibrant economy for homegrown and foreign entrepreneurs, increase access to the high-skilled talent that US businesses depend on, and attract the best students in the world to US universities will help ensure the United States remains a leader in innovation and global competition,’ he said.

“…‘The Senators' proposed I-Squared Act is an important step in protecting US workers, investing in STEM education, and ensuring that we can recruit people to fill jobs here in the US,’ said Brad Smith, president, Microsoft.

“…Lynn Shotwell, executive director, Council for Global Immigration said that the legislation would ensure that employers acting in good faith have access to the top global talent they need to compete, while providing additional investments to train and educate US workers in high-demand STEM fields, while also reforming the H-1B programme with enhanced protections for US workers.

“‘This bill will greatly enable continued US innovation, job creation, and economic expansion, while preventing abuses of the H-1B programme that could harm US workers,’ said Mark MacCarthy, senior vice president for Public Policy of the Software & Information Industry Association.”

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