TechNet Encouraged by Immigration Reform Conversations, Supports New High Skilled Immigration Bill

Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:12pm EST

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WASHINGTON,  Jan. 29, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- TechNet, the bipartisan
policy and political network of technology CEOs that promotes the growth of the
innovation economy, today hailed the U.S. Senate introduction of the Immigration
Innovation Act, offered by Senators  Orrin Hatch  (R-Utah),  Amy Klobuchar 
(D-Minnesota),  Marco Rubio  (R-Florida),  Chris Coons  (D-Delaware),  Jeff
Flake  (R-AZ),  Jeanne Shaheen  (D-NH),  Dean Heller  (R-NV),  Richard
Blumenthal  (D-CT),  John Hoeven  (R-ND) and  Mark Warner  (D-VA).

The measure, dubbed "I-Squared," would nearly double the number of H-1B visas
for high-skilled foreign workers, raising the maximum from 65,000 visas to
115,000. Furthermore, the number of visas available would be adjustable based on
economic demand. Foreign students at U.S. institutions would be allowed to apply
for green cards while on their student visas. The plan would also allow Congress
to roll over unused green cards from year to year, with certain types of
immigrants exempt from the limit on green cards. Finally, the bill would promote
education and retraining in STEM fields. The money generated by fees for H-1B
visas and employment-based green cards would be used to promote education and
worker retraining in the STEM fields.  

The following are quotes from TechNet's executive members in support of the
legislation:

"It's critical that America address the shortage of workers with science,
technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.  There are high-skilled,
high-paying jobs being created by American businesses across the country that
are being left unfilled because of this gap. The country's economic and
technology leadership are dependent on improving STEM education and implementing
broader immigration reform," said  Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice
President  Brad Smith. "Today's introduction in the Senate of the bi-partisan
Immigration Innovation Act is a major step forward. Microsoft strongly supports
this legislation and urges Congress to send broader immigration reform that
includes these critical solutions to the President's desk this year."

"This legislation includes bold and innovative proposals to secure U.S.
competitiveness through high-skilled immigration reform and investments to
strengthen the U.S. education system," said  Oracle President and Chief
Financial Officer  Safra Catz. "It encourages innovators to work permanently in
the U.S. rather than overseas for our foreign competitors."

"The positive impact that immigrant entrepreneurs and engineers have had on our
economy is profound," said  Kleiner Perkins Caufield  &  Byers Partner John
Doerr. "They establish one quarter of U.S. technology start-up companies and the
jobs that come with this growth. They are critical for U.S. competitiveness in
the global economy. We urgently need to improve our STEM pipeline and change our
immigration laws.  I-Squared is a positive step toward these reforms."

"America's success has been based upon its ability to attract the best,
brightest and most ambitious individuals. Our country needs a modern immigration
policy that further fosters this culture to help spur continued technological
innovation and economic growth," said  Cisco Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer  John Chambers. "This agreement represents a big step in the right
direction.  We will continue to work with members of Congress and the
Administration to ensure that we can fix our broken immigration system."

"Our STEM pipeline and immigrant entrepreneurs are essential ingredients in
America's innovation economy," said  SV Angel Founder and General Partner Ron
Conway. "This bill represents a reasonable approach to ensuring that we have a
strong STEM funding mechanism and that we don't turn away talented people just
because they are born somewhere else.  America's history has always been to
welcome the best ideas and people from around the world to make our country even
greater. That's what this measure recognizes and will make our economy
stronger." 

"The Immigration Innovation Act represents an important step forward in
immigration reform by addressing one of the major challenges our country faces:
the need for immigration laws to help  United States  companies attract and
retain the best innovators from around the world, while also creating a new and
sustainable funding stream to enhance the United States STEM education
pipeline," said  President and CEO of TechNet Rey Ramsey.

About TechNet:

TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of
technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships
between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy
agenda. TechNet's members represent more than one million employees in the
fields of information technology, biotechnology, e-commerce and finance. TechNet
has offices in  Washington, D.C.,  Palo Alto,  Sacramento,  Seattle,  Boston 
and  Austin. Web address:  www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Facebook
and Twitter at @technetupdate.  

SOURCE  TechNet


Jim Hock, +1-202-463-0013 ext. 202, jim.hock@463.com

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