Governors Send Letter Urging Congress To Raise H-1B Visa Cap
A bipartisan group of 13 governors told Congress that more visas for foreign workers are needed to ensure economic growth and innovation.
Just when it seemed that the prospect of raising the H-1B visa cap looked improbable this year, a bipartisan group of 13 governors is urging Congress to resume those discussions now.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Senate and House of Representatives minority and majority leaders, the 13 governors urge Congress to act this year on raising the cap, despite "wholesale immigration reform" not being possible in the current Congress.
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Proposals for raising the visa cap from a current total of 85,000 to 115,000 annually appeared to be a causality of Congress' failed comprehensive immigration reform bill this summer. In the letter, the governors -- many from states with large tech-related industries -- remind Congress that the H-1B "supply ran out on the first day of the filing period" this year. The United States begins accepting applications for H-1B visas on April 1 for issuance in the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1. This year, within two days, the United States received nearly double the requests for H-1B visas than can be issued. H-1B visa is the most popular visa used to allow foreign technologists to work in the United States.
"If states like ours are to remain world leaders in innovation and intend to continue to see the job growth that is so vital to our economies, we must keep our employers in our states and ensure there is a skilled workforce in this country to fill their immediate needs," says the letter signed by governors including Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Rick Perry of Texas, Chris Gregoire of Washington, and Eliot Spitzer of New York.
The other governors signing the letter are Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Bill Ritter of Colorado, Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.
Until now, members of Congress have been pressured to raise the H-1B cap primarily by tech companies and industry lobbyists. The organized push by a group of governors is new.