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New York technology sector leaders call for business immigration reform

Immigration reform is a hot topic in 2014, both at the federal level and within individual states. Leaders in the technology industry in New York have joined the discussion about immigration, calling for expanded options for skilled workers to enter the U.S. to fill open technology jobs.

Tech sector growing in New York

Many in the technology sector in New York believe that delays on immigration reform hurt U.S. competitiveness by not letting enough skilled workers into the country to fill open jobs. Business immigration reform advocates are particularly vocal about allowing more workers in the science, technology, engineering and math, or so-called STEM, fields.

New York's technology sector is growing, creating a demand for skilled workers. According to the New York Technology Council, technology is the second largest industry in New York, following finance/real estate. The Council reports that between 2007 and 2012 the number of jobs in the technology and information sector in New York City grew by 11 percent, representing about 26,000 jobs which added $5 billion in wages to the state's economy.

Need for skilled workers

The Council is advancing several ideas to help reform business immigration laws in the U.S. The Council noted that by 2018 experts predict that there will be a shortfall of 200,000 workers for open jobs in STEM fields. One way to prevent that shortfall, according to the Council, is to allow more skilled workers with advanced degrees from overseas into the U.S. on H1-B visas, the type of employment visa specifically set aside for skilled workers with advanced degrees. The Council also supports offering more visas to foreign-born students educated in the U.S. who graduate with advanced degrees in STEM fields. The Council argues that current immigration laws make it nearly impossible for these students to obtain employment visas after they graduate.

The Council also advocates allowing more visas for immigrants looking to start businesses. Entrepreneurs make the economy grow, and immigrants are more likely to start businesses than U.S. citizens, statistics show. According to the Council, immigrants started 28 percent of the new businesses opened in 2011, even though immigrants comprise only 13 percent of the population.

H1-B visas

While politicians and business leaders debate immigration reform, employers in the U.S. and skilled overseas workers need to navigate the labyrinthine immigration laws that are currently in place. Employers looking to bring in workers from overseas should seek the assistance of a seasoned business immigration attorney who can help them successfully complete all aspects of the H1-B visa application process. If you have questions about business immigration, talk to a business immigration attorney who can address your specific concerns.

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