But this law, or the announcement about it, makes no mention of the H-1B's use as a job outsourcing vehicle. "This bill is a common sense approach to ensuring that those who have come here to be educated in high-tech fields have the ability to stay here with their families and contribute to the economy and our society," Hatch said in a statement.
Costa said his main problem with the I-squared bill is that it doesn't propose any wage or recruitment reforms that the H-1B program needs. Even the prior Senate's comprehensive immigration bill, which failed to get a vote in the House of Representatives, "at least pushed things in the right direction by slightly raising the prevailing wage level, having an H-1B job database, and phasing in the 50/50 rule." That rule limits a firm's use of H-1B workers to 50% of its workforce.
The IEEE-USA has favored green card immigration over an expansion of the H-1B program.
"There are simply no arguments for H-1B increases that aren't better made for green cards," said Russ Harrison, IEEE-USA government relations director, in a statement. "The primary, practical function of the H-1B program is to outsource American high-tech jobs. Do the bill's supporters really think that's the direction American immigration policy should go?"
The IEEE estimates that bill will actually increase the H-1B use to about 300,000. It includes non-profits, and believes as many as 50,000 H-1B users will be advanced degree holders.
An H-1B visa is good for six years, the IEEE estimates (assuming all the visas are used) that it represents at least an additional 1.8 million employees competing for jobs in a U.S. STEM workforce of about 5 million.
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