Strong innovation economies (everywhere) require immigrants. In the coming months and weeks, Congress and the Administration will consider multiple proposals to alter the VISA programs that are most frequently used by immigrant entrepreneurs and highly skilled technology professionals.
Some of these proposals have positive components, while others would hurt the innovation economy. They are all complex. Your leadership and advocacy are essential to protecting Pittsburgh's interests. Two ways that you can help are:
The Pittsburgh Technology Council has made it easy for you to contact your Members of Congress. Use this communications tool to express your views, concerns and soltuions to this pressing issue.
Potential Positive Reforms:
- Creating a Rapid Path to Work Status and A Green Card for Immigrants who Earned Advanced STEM Degrees from U.S. Colleges and Universities.
- Allocating a Special Pool of H-1B Visas for Small Businesses and Start-Ups
- Increasing the Cap for H1-B Visas from 65,000 to 85,000 (and allowing the cap to rise as economic demand increases)
- Remove Per-Country Caps on Green Cards (which often force immigrants from certain countries to wait for years to receive permanent residency)
- Requiring DHS to provide work status to Spouses of H-1 B Visa Holders
- Prioritizing Visa Allocation Based Upon the Highest Salaries (Without regional adjustments for cost-of-living, this could place cities like Pittsburgh at a significant disadvantage to San Francisco and New York)
- De-Authorizing Work Status for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders
- Eliminating Key Technology Occupations (programmers, developers, etc) for Eligibility for H-1 B Status
- Denying Visa Extensions/ Shortening the Duration of the Visa