Today Politico reported that Senators Hatch and Schumer have reached a key point of compromise regarding high-skill, and thus high-technology related immigration reform. Details are somewhat sparse, but information has been released in a controlled fashion that indicates the deal is sewn.
According to Politico’s post, the agreement includes raising the number of H-1B visas based on market factors. A part of the original bill that forced companies to state that they were not removing domestic workers has been stripped.
For a look at the bill’s original text and policies regarding high-skill immigration reform, TNW has you covered; note, however, that certain provisions have changed, and thus that post is out of date. TNW will dig into the bill’s final format once it is written, and released. Unions are opposed to the bill’s tenets in this area. It appears that that’s just too bad.
The bill, in the view of TNW, does too little, too slowly regarding solving the H-1B visa system. For context, here a segment from TNW’s coverage of this year’s high-skill shortage:
Get ready to grimace: It wasn’t too surprising news that the H-1B visa cap was met in the first five days of open applications; interesting however was how far over the 85,000 ceiling applications managed to streak: all the way to 124,000, or 39,000 over the limit.
A lottery was held.
Given that fact, that the number of H-1B visas made available will rise is a good; but it is a lesser good than what could be accomplished with more slots. A short meditation: There is a common fear that allowing more foreign and high-skill workers will lead to a decline in hiring of citizens that would protract current high levels of unemployment. It’s an understandable concern.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that companies looking to hire workers that are highly skilled, and are willing to jump through the H-1B hoops cannot find that particular skill in the United States; thus, the choice isn’t between hiring a US citizen for the gig, or someone from abroad, but instead between companies investing money at home or away.
Helping companies based in the United States hire the workers they need is a way of reducing external friction on their operations; healthier companies at home are just what the doctor, and the unemployment rolls call for.
Steve Case, former CEO of AOL and now activist in the immigration debate released a statement on the news of compromise that manages to say exceptionally little despite being winded and slightly breathless:
I applaud Senators Hatch and Schumer for reaching a bipartisan agreement that moves us closer to passing comprehensive immigration reform. The Hatch-Schumer compromise is a major breakthrough in the Judiciary Committee’s markup, as it will help our country recruit and retain talented entrepreneurs and innovators, thus enabling us to win the global battle for talent. This legislation will help us create jobs, grow our economy, and remain the world’s most entrepreneurial nation.
I look forward to participating in tomorrow’s March For Innovation to be sure the voices of innovators from all over the country are heard as the Congress votes on immigration reform. Now’s the time for Republicans and Democrats to come together and pass this legislation with broad bipartisan support.
As more details become known, we’ll bring them to you.
Top Image Credit: guygzohar