Immigration Norms: The US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) has called on the US government to double the number of H-1B visas and employment-based green cards issued every year and get rid of country caps for green cards to help address the shortage of skilled labor in the country. This is essential for another campaign, America Works, launched by the USCC recently.
The US immigration agency USCIS last week said it had gotten more than 300,000 petitions for the 85,000 H-1B visas it issues every year. Pointing to the tremendous interest for high-skilled foreign workers in the country. Indians receive about 70% of these and face the longest wait times for green cards because of country caps.
As part of the new campaign, the USCC recommended four policy changes to address the job gaps in the US. Including immigration reform, removing barriers to entering the workplace. Helping Americans improve their skills, and improve education and training opportunities for jobs of tomorrow.
“We should arm workers with the skills they need, we should eliminate barriers. That is keeping an excessive number of Americans uninvolved. And we should hire the very best from around the world to help fill high-demand jobs,” said Suzanne Clark, President, and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber also called upon the government to make it simpler for foreign students who graduate from foreign universities. To get employment-based green cards and for entrepreneurs to get permanent residency in the country. Indians are the second-largest nationality of foreign students in the US.
USCC calls for easing immigration norms to address the labor gap in the US
Most of the H-1B visa recipients in recent years have been US technology organizations, who have been hiring individuals on the work grant gave to high tech workers, to support their workforce in the US. Almost twenty years ago – between – 2001-03, the US had temporarily given 195,000 visas every year before they restricted the number of visas to 65,000.
A few organizations sponsor the green card application of their H-1B visa holders to retain them by enabling them to stay in the country. As of now, the US issues 140,000 employment-based green cards every year, which the USCC suggests being doubled to 280,000. Further, it calls to eliminate the practice of counting dependents towards the green card quota. Which would free up more visas and do away with the country caps which will help clear the backlog.
The green card backlog for employment-based immigrants in 2020 crossed 1.2 million candidates, the highest ever. Indians include about 68% of this, or around 800,000, as per data from the USCIS. An enormous number of individuals have begun moving out of the US. Either to Canada or back to India on account of these delays.
“The worker shortage is genuine—and it’s getting worse by the day,” Clark said. “American businesses of each size, across each industry, in each state are reporting unprecedented challenges filling open jobs. The worker shortage is a national economic emergency, and it poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America’s great resurgence.”