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Politicians and business leaders agree on H1-B visa reform

Many Georgia residents will likely be familiar with immigration issues such as border security and undocumented workers, but many business leaders are more concerned about programs designed to allow them to hire foreign workers with specialized skills. The H1-B visa program exists to fill this gap, but many executives and government officials feel that it does not go far enough. They believe that immigration restrictions are hurting American companies as they try to compete in highly specialized and competitive markets.

A particular bone of contention is the denial of H1-B visas to foreign students who have attended American colleges and universities. These individuals are often highly qualified in fields such as engineering and computer science, but U.S. companies are often prevented from hiring them. Current law allows only 85,000 H1-B visas to be issued each year, which many experts say is not enough. They point to the 172,000 H1-B visa applications in 2013 as an indication of the demand for workers with these skills.

While business leaders are calling for change, lawmakers are divided on how to tackle the issue. Republicans accept that the number of H1-B visas issued each year needs to be increased, and they support legislation that focuses purely on this issue. Democrats also see the need for more H1-B visas, but they want a more comprehensive immigration package that also tackles the wider issue of the nation's 11 million undocumented workers.

The debate over H1-B visas indicates that progress on immigration issues can be a challenge even when all sides appear to be in agreement. The laws in this area are complex and unyielding, and the process often seems daunting for those hoping to enter the United States legally. An attorney with immigration law experience may be able to offer guidance regarding the path to U.S. citizenship and provide representation in USCIS proceedings.

Source: Voice of America, "US Business Leaders Argue for Immigration Reform", Greg Flakus, August 21, 2014

Source: Voice of America, "US Business Leaders Argue for Immigration Reform", Greg Flakus, August 21, 2014

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