CFGI Quoted – “RAISE Act Reduces Employer Role in Employment-Based Immigration”


“Employers would have much less control over the selection of foreign workers who immigrate to the United States under a Senate bill that creates a ‘merit-based’ points system for awarding employment-based green cards.

“…The legislation makes major cuts to family-sponsored immigration, eliminates the diversity visa program and caps refugee admissions, but the proposed overhaul of the way employment-based visas are allocated would impact workforce planners the most.

“…Prospects for the bill's passage are slim as Democrats and some Republicans are expected to oppose it, but a merit-based points framework is likely to be included in future immigration reform efforts from both political parties.

“Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), an Alexandria, Va.-based advocacy group for employers that sponsor high-skilled foreign workers, said she recognizes that the U.S. employment-based immigration system needs to be reformed, but that the RAISE Act is the wrong approach.

“‘Congress and the [Trump] administration must recognize that employers are best able to determine their skills and workforce needs, not bureaucrats driving a points-based system,’ she said. ‘The current employment-based green card preference system is an effective framework for identifying and prioritizing the best qualified talent for employers. What it does not do is provide employers with enough green cards to access and retain that talent.’

“…The most significant change for employers under the proposal would be removing them from a critical part of the process…and transferring to the government the responsibility of selecting the most qualified applicants.  

“‘The RAISE Act would greatly diminish the employer's role in a way that will hurt the American economy,’ said Andrew Greenfield, managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of immigration law firm Fragomen. ‘It would deprive employers of their ability to determine what skill sets are needed within their organizations and to test the labor market for those skills and choose the worker that best meets their needs.’

“…‘These provisions would tie employers’ hands in a number of ways,’ said Rebecca Peters, director of government affairs for CFGI. ‘This bill's points system ultimately favors those aged 26 to 30 with STEM…master's or higher degrees, MBAs, JDs and MDs. For example, a 24-year-old with a bachelor's degree from Stanford in a STEM field who meets the bill's base requirement for highly compensated employment and has qualifying English assessment scores could not apply for a green card because he doesn't accrue enough points. A 46-year-old senior manager with a foreign master's degree, with extensive work experience leading product development, that meets the bill's requirement for highly compensated employment and has top English assessment scores could not apply for a green card because she doesn't accrue enough points.’

“In addition, if the applicant has a spouse who is accompanying or following to join him or her and the spouse accrues lower points than the applicant, the spouse brings down the applicant's total accrued points, Peters added.”

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