US Presidential hopeful Romney for raising visa cap for skilled workers
Posted on September 16, 2011
Republican Presidential hopeful Mr Mitt Romney has favoured raising the visa caps for highly-skilled overseas workers, in his recently-unveiled plan for jobs and economic growth in the US.
The stance is likely to cheer thousands of techies and entrepreneurs in India who are chasing the American dream. It also comes at a time when the Indian IT industry has been battling increased H-1B visa fee and higher visa rejection rates. Many are, in fact, even bracing for tougher times in the run up to US elections next year.
“As President, a first step that Mr Mitt Romney will take is to raise the ceiling on the number of visas issued to holders of advanced degrees in Math, Science, and engineering who have job offers in those fields from US companies,” said the former Massachusetts Governor in his plan outlined in a 160-page book titled ‘Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth’.
50 POLICY PROPOSALS
In all, Mr Romney has aired 50 policy proposals to overhaul the current system of taxation, regulation, trade, energy, labour, human capital and fiscal policy. On raising visa caps for highly skilled workers, he says such workers would not displace unemployed Americans but will fill high skill job openings for which there is an acute shortage of labour.
“If he does deliver as promised, it will be advantageous for Indian companies as many of them recruit engineers, and maths and science graduates,” said Ms Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at LawQuest, which has a global immigration practice.
In addition, a Romney administration, if elected, has promised to press for an immigration policy designed to “maximise America’s economic potential”.
“The US needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate,” Mr Romney has argued.
The plan also talks about re-training American workers to ensure that skills “match” the jobs available in the market.
“Even in this tough unemployment climate, as of this past spring nearly 1.25 million high-skill jobs remained unfilled,” he has said adding that skills gap of such magnitude suppresses productivity of businesses and slows the overall economy. Highly educated immigrants, he said would fill that gap and get the US economy back on track.
While lawful immigrants comprise about eight per cent of the US population, they start 16 per cent of the top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 per cent of the high-tech firms, and produce over 25 per cent of all patent applications filed from the US, he noted.
“As President, Mr Mitt Romney will also work to establish a policy that staples a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from one of our universities with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering,” he said. Permanent residency would offer them the certainty required to start businesses and drive American innovation, he added.
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