A bipartisan bill seeking to properly utilize the employment-based visas allocated each year under existing federal immigration law was on Friday tabled in the US House of Representatives.
Introduced by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from the Democratic Party and his GOP counterpart Larry Bucshon, the Eliminating Backlogs Act of 2023 would give greater flexibility to use existing allocated work visas that employers desperately need.
"Even as our country's high-skilled immigration system helps us draw top talent from around the world, current law caps the number of employment-based visas available based on workers' country of origin, leaving thousands of visas that would otherwise help our economy unused," Krishnamoorthi said as quoted by NDTV.
Krishnamoorthi said the legislation seeks to end country-based discrimination in high-skilled immigration to ensure that all allotted visas are utilized in order to draw skilled workers from across the globe to help strengthen the US economy and create jobs.
"Under current federal immigration law, there are a certain number of visas allocated annually for skilled workers, such as doctors and engineers, to ensure our workforce can meet the demands of our economy in Indiana and across the country," Bucshon said.
Bucshon said bureaucratic policies and delays have prevented “hundreds of thousands of these visas from being used, despite a serious need for more skilled workers across the country.”
He believes the bill will help eliminate this backlog and ensure that visas allocated under existing federal immigration law can be properly used.
"This will help support an immigration system that incentivizes and rewards legal applicants and boosts our economy," he added.
Every year, the Congress allows a set number of immigrants with specific skills and training to move to the US for work, which helps to ensure American businesses have access to the skilled labor force they need to succeed.
Each country is capped at receiving just seven percent of the allocated employment-based slots in any year.
US immigration officials did not utilize about 9,100 employment-based visas in FY2020 and over 66,000 in FY2021 owing to this per-country limitation and bureaucratic delays.