Speed Reads

Immigration

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch wants to more than double the visas available to high-skilled workers

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) is poised to introduce legislation that would more than double the number of temporary high-skilled visas available to foreign workers, Bloomberg Politics reports. Tech companies such as Google and Facebook argue that the legislation is necessary to keep American companies competitive because there are not enough U.S. graduates in the desired fields to keep up with demand. "High-skilled immigration reform has received strong bipartisan support in the past and Sen. Hatch believes it would be an asset to any larger immigration deal," said Hatch's spokesman, Matt Whitlock.

The proposal is expected to allow for as many as 195,000 H1-B visas, an increase of 110,000. And while the bill could find the support of Democrats — an earlier version of the legislation was co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) — it could nevertheless face opposition by President Trump, who has slammed the H1-B system as being a "cheap labor program."

Hatch's to-be-proposed legislation is also expected to do away with caps on the number of permanent residents that can come from any one country, "a provision that has often stymied workers from India and China," Bloomberg Politics writes. Additionally, it would loosen restrictions on others authorized to live and work in the U.S. permanently, like family members or people with advanced STEM degrees.

The bill could potentially be rolled into a larger immigration package, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation that has a deadline for being brought to a vote by Feb. 8. Read more about the legislation at Bloomberg Politics.