Washington, March 11
A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Friday to properly utilise the employment-based visas currently allocated each year under existing federal immigration law.
Introduced by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from the Democratic Party and Larry Bucshon from the GOP, the Eliminating Backlogs Act of 2023 would give greater flexibility to use existing allotted work visas that employers desperately need, its authors said.
"Even as our country's high-skilled immigration system helps us draw top talent from around the world, current law caps the number of employment-based visas available based on workers' country of origin, leaving thousands of visas that would otherwise help our economy unused," Krishnamoorthi said.
The legislation is aimed at ending country-based discrimination in high-skilled immigration to ensure use of all allotted visa to draw skilled workers from across the globe to help strengthen the American economy and create jobs while they also continue to invest in the domestic workforce, he said.
"Under current federal immigration law, there are a certain number of visas allocated annually for skilled workers, such as doctors and engineers, to ensure our workforce can meet the demands of our economy in Indiana and across the country," Bucshon said.
Unfortunately, bureaucratic policies and delays have prevented hundreds of thousands of these visas from being used, despite a serious need for more skilled workers across the country, he said.
The bill helps eliminate this backlog and ensure that visas allocated under existing federal immigration law can be properly used. "This will help support an immigration system that incentivizes and rewards legal applicants and boosts our economy," said Bucshon.
Every year, the Congress allows for a set number of foreign nationals with specific skills and training to come to the US for work. This helps ensure that American businesses have access to the skilled labour force they need to succeed.
Each nation is capped at receiving only seven per cent of the allotted employment-based slots in any year. Due to this per-country limitation and bureaucratic delays, US immigration officials failed to utilize approximately 9,100 employment-based visas in FY2020 and over 66,000 in FY2021, the media release said.
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