Today Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) along with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) , Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (R-DE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) re-introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015, also known as I-Squared. As it was last Congress, this bill is a strong push for high-skilled immigration reforms. It increases the H-1B cap, which is met most years in the first week applications are accepted. The cap is tied to market forces and decreases if the demand for visas is not as robust as anticipated. In addition, the legislation allows for H-1B spousal work authorizations, the use of previously unused green cards, eliminates per-country limits, and exempts U.S. STEM degree holders from the green card cap, among other significant changes.
Of particular interest to the NAM is the initiative to promote domestic education in STEM fields. Manufacturers have long advocated for an increased focus on STEM education and skills and this legislation promotes that effort. Manufacturers are continually faced with a skills gap from the production line to the research lab and are in need of people with the right education to fills those roles.
The NAM applauds all of the Senators involved in this effort for continuing to take a leadership role in encouraging US innovation today and in the future though meaningful immigration reform. We hope to work with the Senators to pass this bill as well as other immigration reforms to fix the horribly broken immigration system.
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