26 January 2007
Bush raises H-1B visa concerns again
President Bush has again applied pressure on Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap to help America's technology companies recruit skilled workers from overseas.
Bush pushed for H-1B visa reforms last year but the Immigration Reform bill, that included provision to raise the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 annually, failed to make it through Congress before the end of the last session after stalling over the issue of what to do with illegal immigrants in the country.
Speaking yesterday to workers at Du Pont de Nemours and Co in Delaware, the President said he wants to work with Congress to push through reforms that would help companies like Du Pont attract the most highly qualified staff from abroad.
"We've got to expand what's called H-1B visas," said Bush.
"I feel strongly about what I'm telling you. It makes no sense to say to a young scientist from India, 'You can't come to America to help this company develop technologies that help us deal with our problems.' So we've got to change that..., change that mind-set in Washington, D.C. I know we can work together on that.
"And so one way to deal with this problem, and probably the most effective way, is to recognize that there's a lot of bright engineers and chemists and physicists from other lands that are either educated here, or received an education elsewhere but want to work here. And they come here under a program called H-1B visas," added Bush.
A pressure group set up by America's largest technology companies, including Microsoft and Intel, have been pushing Congress since last year to raise the H-1B cap and have threatened to outsource more jobs abroad if a solution is not found.
The H-1B visa programme is one of the most sought after temporary non-immigrant visas, allowing highly qualified foreign workers entry into America for an initial 3-years to work in a specialty occupation.
They must have a job offer and the applicant must be educate to degree level and have the relevant work experience directly related to the specialty occupation.
If you are interested in working in America as a specialty H-1B worker, you should complete an American Visa Bureau H-1B online assessment in the first place.