US Chambers of Commerce launches new campaign to double H-1B visa quota
A NEW campaign ‘America Works Agenda’ has been launched by the US Chambers of Commerce demanding an increase in the H-1B visa quota.
Through the initiative, launched early this month, the trade body has urged the Biden administration and Congress to double the number of H-1B visas and eliminate the per-country quota for the Green Card, reported the PTI.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Currently, the H-1B quota is at 65,000 and another 20,000 for those who have higher studies from the US.
“As we stand on the cusp of what could be a great American resurgence, a worker shortage is holding back job creators across the country,” said Suzanne Clark, president and CEO, US Chamber of Commerce.
“We must arm workers with the skills they need, we must remove barriers that are keeping too many Americans on the sidelines, and we must recruit the very best from around the world to help fill high-demand jobs.”
The US Chamber is calling for doubling the cap on employment-based visas from 140,000 to 280,000 a year and the quota on H-1B and H-2B visas. It also demands the implementation of other reforms to the legal immigration system to help employers meet the demand for high-demand jobs in labor-strapped sectors.
The chambers urged to stop counting spouses and minor children under the annual Green Card quota as it would practically double the amount of employment-based immigrant workers the US admits every year.
Clark said: “Eliminate the per-country caps that punish individuals from certain countries with arbitrarily longer wait times, and when done in combination with expanding the annual quota, will avoid the creation of several new backlogs within the system.”
The body urged the Biden administration to provide international students who graduate from US universities with more opportunities to obtain employment-based green cards upon graduation and enhance and expand the opportunities for entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residency so they can build their businesses in the country.
Besides, it also wanted to reinstate routine visa processing at consulates around the world, so companies can obtain and retain the workers they need without significant operation disruptions to their businesses.
“Create a new, geographically targeted visa programme, along the lines of the Heartland Visa proposal, that will drive economic and population growth into American communities struggling with the serious economic and social problems caused by significant population loss,” said the US Chambers of Commerce.
It also seeks to expand access to H-2A agricultural worker visas for non-seasonal agricultural businesses, such as dairies and livestock producers, and ensure that the programme meets the future needs of the agriculture sector in the country.