As the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to work through debate on S. 744, The NAM, leading a coalition of national and state organizations, sent a letter to Capitol Hill articulating the strong support for provisions in the bill that would deliver significant reforms to the high-skilled immigration program as part of a comprehensive solution.
As the letter notes, “Skilled immigration reform is long overdue. The U.S. economy is struggling to reach its full potential in large part because the demand for highly skilled professionals exceeds the supply; a knowledge gap which will only continue to grow… However, as with any ambitious legislation that would create a new set of requirements for U.S. employers, it is essential to closely examine the new mechanisms proposed for the H-1b and L-1 visa programs and ensure that unintended consequences are anticipated and avoided. Essentially, it should enable U.S. employers to use these visa programs to complement and grow their permanent U.S. workforce, maximizing business and investment activity in the U.S.”
While the NAM and the other organizations are pleased with the initial framework of the bill and have lauded the Gang of 8′s effort to lead on such a critical issue, we are aware that it is not perfect and that improvements are needed. A few specific areas of interest were pointed out, including recruitment, non-displacement and the H-1b Cap Escalator to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform does not interfere with necessary business decisions and that new laws will keep up with the economic times and demand.
Manufacturers are committed to seeing immigration reform through and look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that this landmark bill accomplishes what all interested parties have set out to do – implement a comprehensive solution that provides the workforce manufacturers in the U.S. need to compete and succeed.