While President Barack Obama continues to work toward comprehensive immigration reform, many in the technology and engineering sectors are calling on the executive branch to work instead to fix the current system of work permits and green cards for engineers, programmers and other skilled technical workers. Executives from companies including GE, Boeing and DuPont, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are asking for quick action to resolve an issue that immediately affects the U.S.’ ability to stay competitive in the challenging global market.
Even though the U.S. is facing a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, there are still thousands of job openings in the U.S. manufacturing sector. These openings are for positions for which U.S. workers don’t have the necessary skills. Leaders of industry are now asking the President to look for quick fixes to programs such as the H-1B visa program and to the permanent residency process based on employment. Currently, only 15 percent of all green cards are given for economic reasons.