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Business leaders favor changes to immigration laws

In 2013, 172,000 applications for H-1B visas were filed. These visas allow for skilled workers to come to South Carolina and other states to work legally. Although such a high number of applications were filed in 2013, only 85,000 visas are handed out annually. Members of the business community are lobbying for that number to increase as they struggle to find qualified workers.

Many observers feel that the system should change to allow more skilled workers who are in the country on student visas to stay after they graduate. Currently, most who are in the country on a student visa must leave after they have finished their education. Proponents of such a strategy say that these skilled workers would benefit the economy with their skills and ability to potentially create more jobs. One potential roadblock overhauling the H-1B visa system is that comprehensive immigration reform is seen as amnesty in some circles.

While many pro-business Republicans are for such a change to the current visa system, others are hesitant to provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented people. However, those who approve of changes claim that opposition to reform is based mostly on rumors. Republicans have said that they may consider increasing the number of H-1B visas while addressing the rest of the reform issue later.

Those who have skills that are needed in the United States may be allowed entry and the legal right to work immediately upon entry with an H-1B visa. However, there are several rules and requirements such as having a degree or skills that would otherwise require a degree in the U.S. An employment immigration attorney may be able to work with those who wish to apply for such a visa.

Source: Voice of America, "US Business Leaders Argue for Immigration Reform", Greg Flakus, August 21, 2014

Source: Voice of America, "US Business Leaders Argue for Immigration Reform", Greg Flakus, August 21, 2014

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