Abraham Introduces Bill to
Address High Tech Labor Shortage

(March 6, 1998)  Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) just introduced "The American Competitiveness Act" to address the shortage of skilled professionals in high tech computer fields.  S 1723 would increase the cap on H1-B visas, reform the rules governing the granting of visas to foreign citizens, and create scholarships to study math, engineering, and computer science.

Sen. Abraham, who is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration of the Senate Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on this subject on February 25.  Computer company Presidents complained that they could not fill many positions with American born workers, and were faced with an arbitrarily low 65,000 per year cap on the H1-B visas used for hiring foreign born workers for these slots.  (See, Related Story.)

"The American Competitiveness Act will help U.S. companies to remain competitive in global markets and to expand educational and training opportunities for American students and workers," Abraham said. "The legislation will increase the number of skilled temporary workers we allow into the United States and create 20,000 new scholarships a year for low-income students to study math, engineering, and computer science in our colleges and universities. A key goal of the bill is to keep American companies in this country, saving -- and creating -- American jobs and contributing to the growth of the U.S. economy."

Related Pages Abraham Press Release Complete Text of S 1723 | H1-B section

"High tech firms view this as a crisis, with more than 70 percent identifying it as the leading barrier to their companies' growth and competitiveness in global markets," Abraham said.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Hatch, DeWine, Grams, McCain, Specter, and Brownback.

The Immigration Subcommittee has scheduled a business meeting for April 1, 1998 at 2:30 pm. in Room 226 Dirksen Bldg.