Immigration reform to boost US economy: Senators

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Immigration reform to boost US economy: Senators
Key authors of the comprehensive US immigration reform bill on Saturday reached out to the American businesses on their path-breaking legislative venture, saying that the bill addresses their concerns on skill shortage and would boost the country's economic growth.

Listing out the key-business friendly provisions of the immigration bill, the Senators told the corporate sector that this not only increases the number of H-1B visas, but also retains and attracts talents from across the world, which the US needs the most.

Addressing members of the powerful US Chambers of Commerce, Senator John McCain urged the business community to lobby and support the bill, which was introduced in the US Senate by the bipartisan group of eight Senator dubbed as the Gang of Eight, of which he is a key member.

"High tech companies will be able to bring in and keep more highly skilled workers through the H-1B visa program. The bill would raise the cap on H-1Bs to 110,000 a year with an absolute ceiling of 180,000. American workers will always be given the first opportunity for a job," McCain said.

Under the new bill, he said, if a student graduates from a US college with a science technology engineering math degree and have an offer of employment that would be eligible to receive a green card to stay in this country.

"I'm sure you are aware that over half of the students in the USA, that are receiving advanced degrees, are not citizens of the USA. If they want to stay in this country and they have a job, then we should be able to accommodate for that, it's obviously important for our economy," the top Republican Senator said.

Senator Lindsay Graham, another important member of the Gang of Eight, told the US business community that family based immigration is going to be replaced by merit based immigration like those in Western European countries or those in countries like Canada and Australia.

"Their kind of system, like Canada has, you earn points towards citizenship. To me that is a stunning achievement that will break chain migration and will allow us to be competitive," he said.

We're going to free 138,000 visas, every year, coming soon, that would've gone to family members. There was a family component of merit based immigration but, all of these visas that would've gone to second and third level effect of families will go into the pot for merit based immigration purposes so they can be hired by our economy," he said.

Meanwhile, the White House said, the US President, Barack Obama, has made it clear for quite some time that the US needs to reform its immigration system in a comprehensive way, and that includes enhanced border enforcement.

"It includes improving our legal immigration system. It includes holding businesses accountable. And it includes a clear path to citizenship. Those are sort of the four corners of what a comprehensive immigration reform bill would look like," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Addressing the same conference, Congressman Ted Poe said that fixing the immigration system across the board, will help the American economy, if done the right way.

"Jobs will be filled that aren't being filled. Businesses will have access to talented workers in a streamlined system. Immigration businesses will also flourish, and we'll keep the best and brightest here. And more people will pay taxes," he said.


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