TechNet Statement on H-1B High Skilled Immigration Cap Being Reached

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April 8, 2013

TechNet Statement on H-1B High Skilled Immigration Cap Being Reached

Washington, D.C. – TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today released a statement in response to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcement that the fiscal year 2014 H-1B cap has been reached.

On April 1, the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for the coveted 65,000 H-1B visas that allow foreign students with a bachelor’s degree to work in the US, in their area of specialty, for up to six years. The program includes an additional 20,000 visas for foreign students with advanced degrees from US schools. Both quotas were, as widely expected, quickly oversubscribed. The USCIS closed the application process after only a few days, on April 5th, and will now chose the lucky 85,000 applicants through a computer-generated lottery.

“Once again, the arbitrary cap on H-1B visas will stunt U.S. competitiveness by needlessly penalizing some of our highest-growth, most innovative industries,” said Rey Ramsey, president and chief executive officer of TechNet. “Our country’s current immigration policy has created a classic lose-lose situation for our economy. Tens of thousands of talented graduates from all over the world have been ‘capped out’ of the opportunity to work in the US, while American employers are denied access to legions of bright and motivated candidates for employment. It would be difficult to imagine a less rational system.

“It is a tribute to the US that so many of the world’s smartest, most motivated people choose to study here or wish to bring their high-skilled talents to our shores. They work hard, succeed and when they receive their advanced degrees in engineering, science or mathematics, they become among the most highly prized recruits in business and academia worldwide. Yet our visa policies compel many of them to leave the county and seek employment elsewhere or not come at all.

“TechNet supports immigration reform legislation that will address green card reforms and substantially increase the number of H-1B visas to allow US employers to get access to the talent they need. This will not only encourage these talented workers to remain, but it will help further alleviate some pressures on the H-1B system by allowing these workers to skip temporary visas altogether. It is our hope that this latest H-1B problem will compel policymakers in Washington to continue to work diligently to reform our broken immigration system this year.”

High skilled immigration reform is TechNet’s top policy priority for 2013. Recently, TechNet unveiled a new survey from Zogby Analytics that shows Americans strongly support an open and flexible immigration system to embrace highly skilled workers. The study found that 64 percent of likely voters believe that the U.S. faces a shortage of high skilled workers and that immigration policy should encourage highly skilled workers to stay in the country. Sixty-three also say that U.S. immigration policy should encourage highly skilled workers to stay in the country. At the same time, an overwhelming majority of Americans (77%) expressed their support for increased spending STEM education, while a majority of those polled (56%) strongly support using visa related fees to fund more STEM education. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58%) do not believe the federal government spends enough on promoting STEM education.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by TechNet to conduct an online survey of 1000 U.S. adults. The survey was conducted from March 4-5, 2013 with a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. More details about the survey can be found at www.technet.org.

About TechNet:
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. TechNet’s members represent more than one million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, D.C., Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston and Austin. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @technetupdate.

For more information, please contact Jim Hock at 202-463-0013 ext. 202 or moc.364null@kcoh.mij

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