Senator John Cornyn has proposed expanding the number of US visas available to foreign workers who can fill high-tech positions.
16 May 2012
Senator proposes expanding US visa programme
Republican Senator John Cornyn has proposed legislation which would see US visa numbers for skilled technical workers expanded.
Senator Cornyn, the junior senator for Texas, has introduced a bill to the Senate which would add an additional 55,000 to the current US visa allocation for students who have graduated from American universities with either Master's degrees or PhDs.
An aide for the senator said the 55,000 would not increase the total number of visas available however, instead the number would be deducted from the allocation of diversity visas available as part of the Green Card lottery for countries with low rates of US immigration.
The senator said the bill would "bolster American competitiveness and provide a stronger foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation".
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has supported Senator Cornyn's proposal, claiming that there are as many as two million jobs in high-tech positions currently unfilled.
"We have to remember how this country was built," said Boeing's co-chief executive, Jim McNerney. "All of us are sons and daughters of immigrants that showed up here and made our way. We've cut off that flow."
President Obama has made significant changes to tourist visa processes in recent months but the president and the Democratic Party have largely concentrated on proposing whole scale reform to the US immigration system.
The Republicans however, have largely opposed the Democrats' proposals and instead concentrate on smaller increments of change; a move a senior Democratic aide said was 'cherry picking certain workers' rather than addressing the issues at hand.
Senator Cornyn's bill must make it through the Senate if it is to become law yet with a Democratic majority in the upper house of American Congress, many doubt its potential during an election year.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.