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July 21, 2006

Letter to Congress re H-1B "blackout"

Dear all,

Here is a sample letter to the U.S. Congress that you can send to support the Skil Bill;

American businesses are once again facing a serious crisis: the now annual H-1B "blackout." I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 5744, the "Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership Act of 2006," also known as the SKIL Bill. The SKIL Bill was introduced by Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) on June 29, and is a positive sign that Congress is serious about correcting a growing competitiveness crisis for the United States.

As you may know, USCIS announced on June 1, 2006, that the FY 2007 numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for temporary professional workers has been exhausted, four full months before the start of the fiscal year. This means that U.S. companies will lose access for over a year to highly educated foreign professionals vital to their businesses. This is the fourth year in a row that the cap has been reached, and the eighth time since 1997.

The H-1B visa is a vital tool necessary to keep the U.S. economy competitive in the world market and to keep jobs in America. Far from harming U.S. workers and the U.S. economy, highly educated foreign professionals benefit our country by allowing U.S. employers to develop new products, undertake groundbreaking research, implement new projects, expand operations, create additional new jobs, and compete in the global marketplace. As President Bush remarked recently, if these professionals are not permitted to come to the U.S. to share their expertise, they will go to other countries and benefit companies abroad instead. The end result will be American jobs lost and American projects losing out to foreign competition, with devastating long-term consequences for the U.S. economy.

But this need not be the case. The SKIL Bill offers a solution to this perennial problem. The bill addresses the H-1B cap problem by:

* increasing the H-1B cap from 65,000 to a more realistic 115,000 per fiscal year
* providing for a market-based cap escalator that takes effect in years when U.S. employers have an increased need for more H-1B professionals
* creating an exemption from the overall H-1B cap for those foreign professionals who have earned a medical specialty certification through post-doctoral U.S. training and experience
* creating an exemption from the overall H-1B cap for those foreign professionals who have earned a U.S. master's or higher degree

The provisions contained in H.R. 5744 have already been debated and passed in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform proposal, S. 261l. By cosponsoring H.R. 5744, you will be showing your support for enabling the best and brightest from around the globe to contribute their skills and knowledge to the U.S. economy, which is good for American workers, American businesses, and our long-term economic health.

Posted by VisaLawyer at July 21, 2006 07:57 AM

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