Tech companies in the U.S. are especially interested in President Barack Obama’s plans for immigration reform in the near future. These companies have long desired access to overseas talent who have training in the science, technology and math industries. Companies centered around technological research and manufacturing are pushing for an increase in the amount of H1B visas qualified candidates from other countries can receive. They are also asking for an expedited process in the U.S. to allow immigrant employees to stay and work in the country.
H1B visas are non-immigrant visas that allow U.S. companies to employ immigrant workers in specific, specialty occupations that require advanced training and technical or theoretical expertise. Different industries that commonly employ workers under this kind of visa are engineering, architecture, science, medicine and mathematics. Immigrants who are eligible for H1B visas are able to live in the U.S. for up to six years, and the application process is generally faster than applying for a green card. Companies utilize this documentation so they can bring workers to this country for long-term assignments.
Advocates of this push for more H1B visas include powerful players in the tech world like Microsoft, Google, IBM and Accenture. Facebook and Salesforce’s CEOs have both pledged their support, and executives from technology companies have composed a letter asking Congress to reform immigration standards and allow more highly skilled workers to come to the U.S. and contribute to the global economy. Even smaller startup companies are in support of inviting more immigrants to work for them because they want to advance their global market competitiveness. Technology companies believe that by encouraging innovation with a diverse workforce of skilled employees, they can provide better products and benefit the entire global economy.