Washington, DC- The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) hailed both Houses of the U.S. Congress for passing S. 2045, the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act. The Senate passed S. 2045 by a vote of 96-1 on Tuesday morning and the House of Representatives followed suit in the evening, sending the bill to the President on a voice vote.
“This bipartisan, consensus legislation offers America’s high-technology employers much needed access to the finest technology workers in the world,” said CCIA President and CEO Ed Black. “By allowing U.S. high-tech companies to retain access to the best and brightest students graduating from our universities and graduate schools, S. 2045 will ensure that American industry has the talent to lead innovation and to continue our unprecedented growth.”
The statutory cap for H1-B visas was reached in mid-March of this year, and as a result thousands of positions in the high-tech industry have remained unfilled. Industry and INS estimates predict that unless it is raised, the cap will almost certainly be reached within the first few months of the next fiscal year. S. 2045 would raise annual admissions under the H1-B program to a level sufficient to meet current and future industry demands, make necessary changes to the per-country limits on permanent admissions for employment-based immigrants, and provide additional funding for education and training programs and projects to provide technology training for American workers.
“Given the sustained growth of the high-technology industry coupled with record low unemployment rates, it was critical for Congress to take action to ensure that America’s high-tech companies can find the highly skilled workers it needs to compete in the global economy. We believe that S. 2045 will address this critical matter and we congratulate the bipartisan Members of Congress who have been instrumental in advancing this legislation, including Senators Hatch, Abraham, and Daschle, and House Majority Leader Armey, Democratic Leader Gephardt, Congressman Dreier, and Congresswoman Lofgren. We are hopeful that President Clinton will sign the bill once it reaches his desk.”