Congress Proposes Legislation to Expand Foreign Technology Worker Visas

By Tracey E. Schelmetic January 29, 2013

It’s ironic that during a time of relatively high and stagnant unemployment, many companies are reporting difficulties in hiring certain types of employees, but in recent years, this has been the case. The nation has experienced a particularly acute shortage of skilled high-tech workers. Traditionally, companies have filled in the gap using what’s known as H-1B workers.

An H-1B is a non-immigrant visa created under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in certain specialty occupations, including high technology. If an H-1B worker quits or is dismissed from his or her sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer willing to sponsor another H-1B or leave the U.S.


Image via Shutterstock

The problem with H-1B visas is that they are not unlimited, and many companies are having difficulty obtaining them to fill in their high-tech employment gaps. Congress hopes to address this shortage this week with the introduction of new legislation.

The bill, called the Immigration Innovation Act, or I-Squared, proposes to significantly increase the H-1B visa cap for skilled foreign workers and allow foreign graduates with advanced technical degrees from U.S. universities to stay in the U.S., The Hill is reporting today

The measure may ultimately fall under the umbrella of larger immigration reform legislation currently being drafted by a bipartisan group of eight senators. The eight members unveiled a set of principles for the comprehensive framework on Monday. It included a measure calling for "attracting and keeping the world's best and brightest."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), one of the co-sponsors of the H1-B legislation, said it "could easily be" included in the working group's comprehensive legislation.

"That's something to work on going forward, but we thought this issue is so important to moving the economy forward [that] we wanted to get started on this right away and put some meat on the bone of what they're talking about," Klobuchar told The Hill.

Technology companies, such as Microsoft, have already expressed their approval of the bill.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Looking For The Next iPod/Echo

By: Rob Enderle    4/29/2016

The Amazon Echo, not the Apple Watch, became the last iPod-like product largely because of a far more accessible price point, a more compelling name, …

Read More

Apple Needs Reset, Not Elon Musk

By: Doug Mohney    4/29/2016

Apple's 13 percent sales decline and subsequent stock price drop this week has lead to the usual crazy talk about how to "fix" the company. Vivek Wadh…

Read More

Is the Apple Bubble Finally Bursting?

By: Andrew Bindelglass    4/28/2016

Over the past 13 years, Apple has been one of the most successful companies in the world of tech, posting sales growths in 51 straight quarters. That …

Read More

Shared-Space Providers (Airbnb) Poised to Beat Ride-Sharers (Uber)

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

Travel may be starting to make a bit of a comeback, as a new report suggests that shared-space providers like Airbnb and WeWork are on the rise.

Read More

Facebook Wants More Sharing, Building New Camera App to Drive It

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

One of the great downsides to having a lot of content in any one place is that, after a while, it starts looking downright pointless to add more.

Read More