Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Proposals made for retaining highly-skilled immigrant workers

Rules are being proposed concerning the employment of highly-skilled immigrants in our country. One provision would allow for spouses of such individuals to also be employed as an incentive to keep these talented individuals in the U.S. These spouses would be allowed to work here while the green card for the skilled immigrant is being processed.

A concern for Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is that we will lose many of these skilled workers to other nations that are competing for their talents. She feels that too many immigrants trained in engineering, technology and science are left waiting for green cards and thus are reconsidering their options.

H-1B visas are provided to workers in high-tech areas. However under current law the spouses of these individuals are not permitted to work in our country.

The new provisions could affect as many as 97,000 individuals during the first year of implementation. Another 30,000 would be affected are a yearly basis after that.

It's important to remember that immigrants are responsible for starting 28 percent of new businesses in the U.S. It has also been estimated that immigrants started 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.

Ms. Pritzker spoke of the need for immigration reform in that it would allow officials "to staple a green card to the degrees of graduate students instead of forcing potential innovators and job creators to leave after being trained at our universities."

It's yet to be seen if such provisions will actually become law. The political process for such changes has been slow. Yet as attorneys whose practice is in the employment-based immigration law area, we understand how the need for such immigrant workers is essential to the success of many businesses.

Source: InterAksyon.com, "US proposes immigration rules to help high-skilled workers," Bill Trott, May 7, 2014

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