Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) this week introduced S. 2344, the Immigration Innovation Act (I-Squared Act), legislation that would make needed reforms to America’s broken high-skilled immigration system. SIA supports the I-Squared Act and urges Congress to approve it.
U.S. semiconductor companies must be able to recruit and retain the best and brightest, regardless of where they were born, to remain the global leaders in semiconductor innovation, and our industry needs more skilled workers than can be filled by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Our companies are investing in the education and training of the next generation here in the U.S., something the I-Squared Act will increase by creating the largest science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) training and education fund in our nation’s history. In the near term, our immigration system must be updated so the tens of thousands of students who come to U.S. universities for world-class training have more opportunities to stay in the U.S. to contribute to the American economy.
Passage of the I-Squared Act would mark an important step toward fixing our broken high-skilled immigration system and strengthening the U.S. semiconductor industry and our economy. The bill would improve the immigration process for highly skilled immigrants seeking to become Americans by creating conditional green cards for foreign professionals hired for permanent positions and increasing the availability of employment-based green cards, especially for those with U.S. graduate-level STEM degrees, while doing away with discriminatory per-country caps. The bill increases the annual cap on H-1B visas based on market needs and enables visa holders’ spouses and dependent children to work, while increasing enforcement efforts and wage requirements that protect U.S. workers, among other provisions.
SIA commends the introduction of the I-Squared Act and looks forward to working with leaders in Congress to ensure its swift enactment.