IEEE-USA Supports Green Card Provisions in Immigration Bill, Questions Expanding H-1B Visa Program

Apr 16, 2013, 18:11 ET from IEEE-USA

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- IEEE-USA supports the employment-based green card provisions in the comprehensive immigration-reform bill expected to be introduced in the Senate today or tomorrow, but questions the significant increase in the H-1B temporary work visa program.

"We appreciate that the Gang of Eight recognizes that serious problems with the H-1B program can be resolved by more STEM green cards, delivered faster," IEEE-USA President Marc Apter said. "In fact, the proposed increases in green cards make H-1B increases unnecessary. We'd like to see increases in STEM green cards become law as part of comprehensive immigration reform."

IEEE-USA finds much to praise in the Senate summary of the legislation: unlimited green cards for STEM Ph.D.'s, deregulation that makes it possible for employers to get STEM graduates green cards as soon as they are hired, lifting the per-country caps, and much more. There is also room for improvement within this framework, e.g. green cards for all advanced STEM grads (master's as well as Ph.D.'s) should be unlimited. Some of the proposed H-1B reforms are excellent, such as finally requiring employers applying for H-1B visas to prove that they have sought American workers.

"Taken as a whole, the proposal creates a broad highway for STEM graduates to get green cards, which is good. But when you're mapping a direct route, why create a detour into the swamp of the H-1B program?" Apter said, noting that the last H-1B increases created a huge backlog for employment-based green cards.

"Making outsourcers ineligible for H-1Bs frees up more than half of the supply for American companies, and there is no need to increase the cap," Apter said." The bill substantially increases the numbers and streamlines the process of getting green cards for STEM workers and other skilled immigrants, so increasing H-1Bs is not only unwise, it's unnecessary."

Citing remarks by outsourcing companies themselves, Apter asked: "When did it become Congress' job to ensure the profits of foreign companies hiring foreign workers to undercut American wages in the United States?"

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