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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Compete America, a coalition dedicated to ensuring that the United States has the highly educated and innovative workforce necessary to grow the economy and create American jobs, today announced its support of “The Immigration Innovation Act” (I-Squared). This comprehensive legislation recognizes that the continued success of the American innovation economy depends on access to qualified U.S. and foreign-born STEM workers, as well as investments in STEM education and training.
“Over the last year, we have been working closely with Senators Hatch and other members of Congress to develop and refine highly skilled immigration reforms that ensure STEM employers in America can recruit and retain the native and foreign born talent needed to remain competitive globally, while also protecting, educating, and promoting the skills of our American STEM workforce here in the United States,” said Scott Corley, Executive Director of Compete America. “U.S. STEM employers have become the most successful innovators in the world because they seek the most qualified workers for their open positions regardless of where these workers are born. Most of the time, these are U.S. workers, but sometimes they are highly qualified foreign professionals – many educated in our top universities.”
“Our immigration system can help fund efforts to keep the American workforce updated with the latest and most relevant skills while also helping to educate the next generation of American STEM talent,” Corley added. “Our immigration system should also protect our U.S. workforce from displacement by nonimmigrant visa holders. I-Squared proves we can do all of this while also ensuring U.S. employers can hire the qualified workforce they need to continue our nation’s unprecedented success as the global leader in innovation. I-Squared is a smart and balanced approach to continued job creation and prosperity in America.”
The I-Squared legislation implements important measures to reform nonimmigrant visas, like H-1B, and employment based green cards, including the following highlights:
- STEM Training and Education Fund
- Creates the largest U.S. workforce education and training fund in our nation’s history, providing approximately $1 billion in direct funding and scholarships, 100% paid for by the employers who use our highly skilled immigration system.
- Conditional green cards
- Moves foreign professionals hired for permanent positions directly onto permanent visas, helping raise wages while also increasing H-1B enforcement and effectiveness.
- Strengthened H-1B wage requirements for all employers
- Strengthens requirements that employers pay wages better aligned with the natural wages different education and experience levels earn in each “Metropolitan Statistical Area.”
- Restricts H-1B Dependent and Super Dependent Employers
- U.S. employers with high percentages of H-1Bs will be required to adhere to stronger protections for U.S. workers, or pay much higher salaries to prevent H-1B abuse.
- Increased green card availability
- Recognizes the need for a smarter green card system by eliminating discriminatory per country limits and clearing back-log of highly skilled professionals.
To learn more about Compete America and the benefits of highly educated foreign-born professionals to the U.S. economy, visit www.competeamerica.org.