CFGI Quoted – “Sen. Grassley Proposes Limiting TN Visas Through NAFTA Negotiations”

10/31/2017
SHRM


“A Republican senator asked the Trump administration to take advantage of ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations to set limits on the currently uncapped TN guest worker visas available to Canadian and Mexican nationals.

“Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked…in a letter to consider renegotiating the guest worker provisions of NAFTA as part of any broader examination of the treaty, referring to the visa program as a vehicle for employers to import ‘cheap foreign labor’ into the United States.

“‘I write to express ongoing concerns regarding the uncapped TN classification … that permits Mexican and Canadian nationals to take high-paying professional jobs in the United States,’ he wrote. ‘I believe that it would be a mistake to essentially renew the TN temporary worker visa category, without considering the broader implications for the current U.S. economy.’

“…NAFTA's cross-border mobility provisions ‘benefit both U.S. employers by creating more timely pathways for mobility and U.S. workers by enabling them to pursue professional opportunities throughout North America,’ said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration…

“…The treaty's implementation of permissive temporary entry policies for workers and business travelers has boosted economic growth and expanded the talent pool available to employers in all three countries, agreed Stephen Cryne, president and CEO of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC)…

“…[Cryne] pointed out that TN visas go to people needed for highly skilled in-demand occupations.

“…Shotwell said that while she believes that the existing mobility provisions linked to the TN visa program should be retained, there are areas to improve. ‘We recognize that the TN professionals list is outdated and that the negotiations provide an opportunity to modernize it. We would like to see the list revamped, as our survey shows that 56 percent of employers have positions that are not reflected on the list.’

“CFGI has also advocated for additional provisions to increase the efficiency and predictability of cross-border mobility.

“But Shotwell reminded that ‘Over the past decade, Congress has been very clear that they do not want the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate provisions impacting our immigration laws in trade agreements.’” 

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