TechNet: I-Squared Legislation Will Boost Innovation, Growth & Job Creation In U.S.
Washington, D.C. — TechNet, the national, bipartisan network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives, welcomed today’s introduction of the Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2018, which is sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The bill would create the largest workforce education and training fund in our nation’s history to boost science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) investments for U.S. students and workers, while reforming the high-skilled immigration system to improve protections for American workers and help fill critical labor shortages in the U.S.
The following statement can be attributed to Linda Moore, President and CEO of TechNet:
“The U.S. faces a growing skills gap that is leaving too many Americans unable to secure well-paying jobs in high-skilled sectors. For example, in 2016, there were approximately 3.3 million STEM job openings posted online, but that same year U.S. universities graduated just 568,000 students with STEM degrees. We need a two-prong policy approach of boosting STEM education and training for Americans, while fixing our high-skilled immigration system so that businesses can recruit the best people for these jobs without harming U.S. workers.
“For years, high-skilled immigration programs have helped U.S. employers address critical labor shortages and inject new ideas, energy, and dynamism into our economy. They have allowed high-skilled immigrants to come work alongside native-born Americans and create world-changing innovations, millions of jobs, and trillions of dollars worth of economic activity here in the United States. In fact, immigrants and their children have started more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, employing more than 10 million people.
“I Squared will fund new investments in STEM education for Americans, make important reforms to our high-skilled immigration system that will help U.S. companies innovate and grow, and ensure companies are using the programs the way Congress intended. We thank Senator Hatch for his continued leadership and look forward to working with him to make this bill a reality and add to his already impressive legacy.
“Throughout America’s history, immigrants have been a source of strength for our country and helped drive economic growth that has made us the most prosperous and innovative country on the planet. As the immigration debate continues, this is an important moment to remind Congress, the Administration, and the broader American public of the positive contributions talented immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs have made to our economy and our country — and why we should continue along this path.”
The I-Squared legislation implements important measures to reform nonimmigrant visas, such as 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 percent paid for by the employers who use our high-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 the backlog of highly skilled professionals.
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of technology CEOs and senior executives that promotes the growth of the innovation economy by advocating a targeted policy agenda at the federal and 50-state level. TechNet’s diverse membership includes dynamic startups and the most iconic companies on the planet and represents three million employees and countless customers in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, the sharing and gig economies, advanced energy, cybersecurity, venture capital, and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Austin, Boston, Olympia, Albany, and Tallahassee.