Tags: senate | technology | guest workers | H-1B visas | I-squared

New Senate Bill Expands Guest Worker Tech Visa Program

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 01:55 PM

A new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would expand the number of guest worker visas extended to the tech industry and allow companies to hire an "unlimited number" of advanced degree-holders from U.S. universities, The Hill reported.

Three Democrats — Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, Delaware's Chris Coons and Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal — joined Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona to sponsor the proposed legislation, called the Immigration Innovation Act, which was first introduced in 2013 but stymied in the previous Congress, The Hill noted.

"I’m calling on everyone — the president, members of both parties, and stakeholders in the tech community — to support this bill and help make it the first step towards real immigration reform," Hatch said in a statement on the "I-Squared" bill, according to Breitbart.

"We must find make concrete progress to solve some of the many critical problems facing our nation. I-Squared is an obvious solution to an undeniable need, and I want to work with everyone to get it done now."

The degree opens the door for potential highly skilled H-1B visa seekers who hold master's degrees or higher in math, science, engineering or technology, increasing an annual cap on such visas from 65,000 to 115,000, Breitbart noted.

It would also "reform student visas, authorize employment for the dependent spouses of H-1B visas holders, and allow a grace period for foreign workers to change jobs and not be out of status," as well as allow the government to "recapture" unused green cards that had been previously approved by Congress, Breitbart said.

A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House soon.

A second bill, introduced by Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, along with four other lawmakers, allows for an "entrepreneur's visa." It would help foreign students with advanced degrees who are educated in the U.S. to stay here if they want to start their own companies, The Wall Street Journal said.

"There’s broad based support for the concepts that are included," Moran told the Journal. "I think there’s a strong opportunity for us to have success in the new Congress."

Some members of Congress have expressed concern that foreign-born tech workers could displace similarly qualified U.S. workers, said the Journal, as immigration legislation enters an expected heated debate in the new Congress.

"Not only is there no shortage of qualified Americans ready, able and eager to fill these jobs, there is a huge surplus of Americans trained in these fields who are unable to find employment," said Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama in a publication he released Tuesday intended to encourage GOP members to oppose some current immigration proposals, the Journal reported.

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A new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would expand the number guest worker visas extended to the tech industry along with allowing those companies to hire "unlimited number" of advanced degree-holders from U.S. universities, The Hill reported.
senate, technology, guest workers, H-1B visas, I-squared
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2015-55-14
Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 01:55 PM
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