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New US Immigration Bill can help Foreign Tech Workers

A proposal to create a dual green-card system that favors high-tech talent has bipartisan support in the Senate.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators next week is expected to introduce to the immigration reform bill an amendment that proposes to retain a pool of 140,000 employer-sponsored green cards for foreign workers seeking permanent residency in the United States.

Amendment S.1249 -- being co-sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Orrin Hatch, R-Pa.; and Robert Bennett, R-Utah -- proposes that the United States create a dual green-card system that, in addition to a new merit-point green card system that's proposed in the main bill, would also keep an annual pool of 140,000 employer-sponsored green cards for foreign workers.

The revised legislation also proposes the United States establish no limit on H-1B visas for foreign professionals with master's or doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields.

"This would set up a complementary and parallel employer-sponsored system to the merit system," said Robert Hoffman, Oracle's VP of government affairs and co-chair of Compete America, a coalition of technology companies. "This system would be more like Australia's," where immigration is granted in dual programs that includes employer-based sponsorship and merit points.

By the United States retaining a system allowing employer-based green cards to be issued each year, businesses would have better control over the talent they'd like to keep in the country, say tech employers.

Read full article at InformationWeek
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