WASHINGTON (TIP):The US must find waysincluding granting moreH-1B visas to attractskilled immigrants toboost its ailing economy,top Indian-Americanexperts have toldlawmakers.
“If you look at all thedata, every single studythat’s been done, it showsthat when you bringskilled immigrants in theycreate jobs. Right now,we’re in an innovationeconomy. Skilledimmigrants are moreimportant than ever, notonly to create jobs, but tomake us innovative and help us solve major problems,”said Vivek Wadhwa, Director of Research, Pratt School ofEngineering, Duke University.
“So bring the right people in and you will make the piebigger for everyone, and we can bring in more unskilledas well because we will have a bigger economy. We needthem.
“The population of America will decline unless we, youknow, keep immigration going, at least at the pace that itis,” Wadhwa told US lawmakers during a Congressionalhearing on immigration convened by the House JudiciaryCommittee.Puneet Arora, vice president, Immigration Voice, saidit’s important to protect American workers and at thesame time have a robust immigration system whereskilled immigrants can come in and fill real needs.”One of the problems that we have today is that we’verestricted the mobility of the skilled workers that comeinto the country.
They are trapped in jobs for long periodswhere promotions can be denied, where they have no wayof going to another employer that’s willing to offer amarket wage or advancement based on the experiencethat they’ve gained over a period of time and towards theskills that are really required where the demand for jobsis,” Dr Arora said.Prominent among measures pushed by these Indian-American experts included substantial jump in H-1Bvisas, removing country specific caps for legal permanentresidency, automatic green card to those earning mastersand doctorate in science, technology, engineering andmathematics (STEM).
Arora said the benefits of removing per-country limitswill accrue to only one nation in this world — the US.”Ultimately, we do not care how you fix the system. Wejust want it fixed. Not in five years, not in ten years. Now,this year,” he argued.”We’re extremely encouraged by the introduction of theImmigration Innovation Act of 2013 in the Senate and wereally hope that a similar bipartisan bill will beintroduced in the House. This innovation economy isglobal and the ripe export markets and the foreignprofessionals in America creating products for thesemarkets will not wait forever,” Arora said.
Responding to a question, Wadhwa argued that the USwas not in a position to lose time on the skills because itseconomy is in a slump. “We’re in the middle of a majorreinvention. Our competitors are rising. Immigrants arefleeing. We have to fix the immediate problem of skilledimmigrants, the million skilled immigrants legally herewaiting for green cards. We don’t talk about them. Weneed to fix that ASAP, and we need to do the other thingsyou’re talking about, without doubt. But we can’t wait onthe million, because they’re leaving. And America isbleeding talent right now,” he said.