‘Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act’ Bill Heads to House Floor for Consideration
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” (H.R. 3012, PDF) on September 22, 2011. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill with changes on October 27. It now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The bill would eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants over three years and increase it for family-based immigrants, from 7 percent per country to 15 percent per country. It also would amend the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 to eliminate the provision requiring the reduction of annual Chinese (PRC) immigrant visas to offset status adjustments under the Act.
In media releases, Rep. Chaffetz said, “Per-country limits make no sense in the context of employment-based visas. Companies view all highly skilled immigrants as the same regardless of where they are from—be it India or Brazil. By removing per-country limits, American companies will be able to access the best talent.” He noted that the current percentage cap “has created a backlog of qualified workers.” Rep. Chaffetz pointed out that the legislation will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed workers in the US. but will “encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and contribute to our economy, rather than taking the skills they learned and aiding our competitor nations.”
Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Tim Griffin (R-Ariz.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.), and Lamar Smith (R-Tex.). It is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Compete America, a coalition of high-tech companies including Microsoft, Google, and Oracle; various trade groups including the Business Software Alliance, the Semiconductor Industry Association, and the Information Technology Industry Council; and Immigration Voice, a leading coalition of highly skilled foreign professionals.