Immigration is a critical subject currently, as the white house pursues to reach a deal that satisfies all sides. One of the issues that has risen within the debate are high-tech visas. It appears it is now rising many concerns, as even senators make their responses to the visa topic.
Fox News reported yesterday that senators are debating over whether to increase visa accessibility to high-tech workers. Also, the dispute is over how to discipline companies that train these workers in the US, then send them back overseas to continue working. Senator Dick Durbin is one of the main senators involved. Senator Durbin has taken the lead on issues, such as firms that outsource overseas and wage increases for higher-skilled foreign workers with H-1B Visas. High-tech officials feel Senator Durbin's fight risks punishing companies that have nothing to do with the foreign worker abuse he is pursuing to end.
The immigration deal is almost to close, and senators are attempting to handle the visa dispute as best as possible. The new immigration legislation would secure the border, and most of all, will grant 11 million people currently in the US illegally, the citizenship they are looking for. It will also give thousands of skilled workers access into the US under the new visa programs.
A number of large high-tech companies have stake in the visa issue. Some of those companies include Google, Microsoft and Apple, which have a high demand for the high-tech visas. These tech giants, for example, have a cap of 65,000 allowed H-1B visas that they can offer. They also can issue another 20,000 annually for foreign workers that have graduated from a university in the US. The amount of applications received by Homeland Security has been overwhelming. In less than one week of accepting the H-1B visa applications, they have already reached capacity for the 2014 budget year.
There need to be some major reforms before expansion happens," said Daniel Costa, immigration policy analyst from the Economic Policy Institute. Costa stated the top 10 companies with the highest number of H-1B visas last year were firms that bring workers to the US and work for less money, after which, they are sent back to their home countries. Senators are debating whether to demand companies that operate with 30% of their workforce as such, to pay these workers higher wages. The US is considered increasing the annual cap from 65,000 to 100,000.
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References: 4.9.13, Fox News, Associated Press, Senators arguing over high-tech visas for foreign workers in immigration deal, aides say