Chicago technology executives petition for immigration reform

US flagOver 100 executives from Chicago’s technology sector have urged members of Congress and President Barack Obama to approve legislation for comprehensive immigration reform as early as possible. The technology community remains concerned by the lack of H-IB visas, which are given to high skilled workers from overseas countries.

At the moment there is a yearly limit of just 65,000 immigrants with specialty occupations who are able to come to the United States and remain for as long as six years; a figure has almost been reached already for 2014. The whole point of the H-1B US visa is to give employers in the United States the opportunity to hire professional immigrants from the architectural, engineering, mathematical and other highly skilled industries who possess advanced university degrees.

The entrepreneurs who run tech companies within the city of Chicago have been petitioning Congress in order to get the number of H- IB US visas increased to 115,000 per annum so that business leaders do not have to resort to outsourcing their workloads. The bill, which proposes raising the H-IB US visa cap, has come to a standstill together with other changes to immigration laws proposed by business leaders all over the country.

Technology firms believe that the existing cap on H-1B US visas is acting as a discouragement to highly skilled workers who might be considering coming to the United States. The 2000 census suggests that over one in five scientists and engineers in the US were born in a foreign country.