CFGI Quoted – “Immigration Reform Bill More Than Doubles Temporary Visas for Skilled Workers”

2/1/2018
SHRM


“Running counter to proposals from President Donald Trump to limit legal immigration, recently introduced legislation would more than double the number of temporary H-1B visas available to skilled workers.

“The Immigration Innovation Act, sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., could be subsumed into the broader bipartisan compromise on immigration currently being hashed out in Congress, but the odds of that happening are not high.  

“Previous versions of the legislation, dubbed the ‘I-Squared Act,’ have not made much progress despite bipartisan support, and expanding the annual allotment of temporary work visas doesn't fit with Trump's ‘Hire American’ agenda.

“…Hatch has said his bill addresses White House concerns by ensuring that the visa program is not used to outsource jobs or undercut U.S. wages and highlights merit-based immigration, with its focus on high-skilled, in-demand technology workers, that the Trump administration often speaks about.

“‘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, specialized fields for which there is a shortage of American labor,’ Hatch said. The bill also provides hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for STEM education and worker training programs through increases in visa fees.

“The measure is supported by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), a SHRM affiliate; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as the tech sector, which says it needs access to more skilled workers.

“…‘Everyone agrees the H-1B system needs reform,’ said Rebecca Peters, director of government affairs at CFGI. ‘I-Squared provides a critical balance in reforming the H-1B by enhancing protections, education and training for U.S. workers, while providing a market-based cap that may increase or decrease with demand, responding in more real-time than today's cap and allowing for improved workforce planning.’

“…In addition to increasing the number of visas available, the latest iteration of the Immigration Innovation Act would:

  • “…Establish a voluntary trusted employer pre-certification program for those organizations that repeatedly file multiple petitions. ‘A voluntary trusted employer program will allow employers to register one time upfront with the government the information and documentation common to multiple petitions they have to file repeatedly today,’ Peters said. ‘Ultimately this will save government resources that can be directed to top agency priorities and save employer resources that can be directed back to innovation and job creation.’”

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