WASHINGTON (12 October 2020) – IEEE-USA supports H-1B reforms made last week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) to the H-1B visa program. But while applauding these changes, IEEE-USA remains opposed to restrictions on green cards, which will reduce the number of high-skill immigrants admitted to the United States.
The new rule will limit the H-1B visa to jobs that require “specialized knowledge,” which is consistent with the text of the law and Congress’ intent when they created the H-1B program originally. The rule will also change how “prevailing wage” is calculated to better ensure that H-1B workers are paid the appropriate typical American salary for their work.
While supporting these changes to a non-immigrant visa, IEEE-USA remains concerned about restrictions to the EB green card system put in place earlier this year which make it harder for skilled workers to immigrate to the United States. IEEE-USA has long believed that adding skilled workers – as American citizens – to our economy is good for both companies and American engineers.
The H-1B visa is not an immigration visa, should not be treated like one, and cannot replace a robust immigration visa system.
“IEEE-USA supports reforms to make it easier for skilled immigrants to become Americans, which requires a green card, not an H-1B,” said 2020 IEEE-USA President Jim Conrad. “Temporary visas are far too often misused, harming our country by replacing American workers and taking advantage of easily exploited temporary workers. Innovative immigrants should be welcomed into our economy, but as full American citizens, not just short-term laborers.”
IEEE-USA believes that the United States needs a high-skill visa system that allows international students who earn advanced STEM degrees in this country to get a green card, and thereby a clear path to citizenship, within one year of graduating.
The changes announced this week by DHS and DOL are welcome and necessary, but only address half of the visa system. More needs to be done, including relieving the crippling backlog in our EB green card system. We place some of the world’s most entrepreneurial people on hold for many of their most productive years – to our nation’s detriment – while they wait patiently for a green card. We can and must do better.
IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 180,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization.
Media Relations Associate, IEEE-USA
Director of Government Relations, IEEE-USA