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Immigration Reform for Highly-Skilled Tech Workers

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced new legislation to help reform the immigration system for highly-skilled tech workers. If passed, the act may have a major impact on Silicon Valley firms and other hubs for technology throughout the country.

This new act, entitled the Immigration Innovation Act, provides a “commonsense approach” that will ensure that individuals who come to the United States in order to receive an education in high-tech areas can use that education and help the American economy by remaining in the country.

Current law regarding the H1-B specialty occupations allows only 65,000 visas to be obtained each year from individuals who are considered “high-skilled”. However, tech companies have attempted to lobby for a higher number of visas of this nature to be made available to qualified individuals. If the bill is passed, the tech companies will have their wish – the new bill proposes an increase of visas to 115,000 per year. Additionally, the cap could be raised even higher if demand required more, up to 195,000.

Spouses of high-skilled workers would also be provided with employment authorization. If the bill is passed in accordance with its current structure, more individuals who have advanced degrees and who work as researchers would be permitted to enter the country, something that the current temporary employment immigration laws do not provide.

While the President has reacted by passing independent executive orders, comprehensive immigration reform has not received support in Congress for the last few years. Despite this, tech lobbyists continue to push for this bill as it is targeted at their industry. A group of seven democratic and republican Congressmen and women have also co-sponsored the bill; some of the group known to be part of a previous failed attempt at immigration reform.

Many industry groups also publicly announced their content with the new bill, including political network TechNet. Its head said that the bill addresses important components that would make workers more competitive and would make more jobs. Another company stated that the act was long overdue to address the workforce shortage that the industry suffers from.

For more information about obtaining skilled work visas for your San Diego business or corporation, reach out to Kazmi and Sakata and work with our immigration attorneys. With more than a decade of experience, we can help you find the proper work visas for you and can help you bring in the workforce needed to be a more efficient business. Call us at 858-874-0711 and schedule a free consultation with our San Diego Immigration law firm.

June 2017
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