Democrats plan revamp for green cards in possible win for tech sector, as Republicans object

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A provision in the House of Representatives’ version of the Build Back Better Act would boost the tech industry’s efforts to hire foreign-origin workers amid labor shortages, as it would increase green card availability.

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But it is drawing criticism from some Republicans, who argue that the Democratic-run House’s legislation would harm American workers.

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calls for provision “Recapturing” Hundreds of Thousands of Unused Green Cards for the past four decades and making them available to green-card applicants. If applicants pay an additional fee, there will also be an exemption from annual and per-country limits, which enables those who have waited two years or more to become permanent US residents more quickly. A green card, officially called a “permanent resident card”, allows a person to live and work in the country permanently.

TechNet — a lobbying group whose members Join Amazon AMZN,
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apple aapl,
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facebook fb,
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and Google GOOG,
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Google,
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– Connected with 94 organizations this month to send letters to MPs in support of the provision.

The provision would “add $4 trillion to US GDP over ten years” and “add hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to state, local, and federal government,” November 2 letter citing one Analysis from the Niscanon Center, a think tank,

The think tank’s analysis said unused green cards are “a permanent drag on the US economy”, as the labor force is “consistently smaller than Congress intended” and employers “leave key positions vacant.” The analysis also said that unused cards have come up “due to administrative challenges and the recent COVID-19 pandemic”.

By one estimate, the proposed provision will lead to an estimated 400,000 green cards being withdrawn, more than half of which will go to households and the rest to employers. Wall Street Journal report Quoting a congressional aide familiar with the launch.

Republican criticism has come from Sen. Bill Haggerty of Tennessee and Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, who Tweet your objections and wrote an addition Op-Ed in the Hill Describing the provision as “cheapering big tech” that “would hurt American workers.”

“At a time when we are actively encouraging students in our home states to work harder, seek STEM skills, and aspire to the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, this law is designed to make use of the Silicon Valley giants. will create an endless, permanent pipeline of foreign labor for the US. In place of willing American youth,” two GOP lawmakers wrote in their November 5 op-ed referring to Science & Technology XLK,
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Engineering and math skills. “And American workers currently employed by these companies will be much less likely to see wage benefits because they can be replaced at a lower cost with workers imported from overseas.”

A spokesperson for Haggerty noted that Facebook had reached a settlement last month to resolve Justice Department allegations that the social media giant discriminated against American workers.

A spokesman for the Republican senator also blasted the Nisken Center’s economic justification for reclaiming unused permanent resident cards.

“The question is not whether individuals filling new employment opportunities will contribute to GDP, but who will receive new job opportunities that contribute to GDP: American or foreign workers?” The spokesperson told Businesshala in an email.

“It is our belief that we should prepare Americans for the STEM jobs of today and tomorrow, rather than flagging unlimited, permanent foreign labor competition that will harm the opportunities and wages of American workers in the short and long term, only Because it is in the financial interests of Big Tech.”

TechNet, for its part, said the focus on green cards and other immigration-related measures in the House’s social-spending and climate law would not hurt American workers.

“If this is not taken into account, the talent shortage for post-secondary degree workers in the US will result in more than 9 million job vacancies and $1.2 trillion in output lost over the next decade. The innovation economy has a large number of jobs. U.S. vacancies reflect that immigrants do not take jobs from American workers. On the contrary,” Peter Chandler, the trade association’s vice president of federal policy and government relations, said in a statement.

“Data shows that immigrants increase opportunities for American workers and create more jobs in every state in this country. Nearly half of America’s Fortune 500 companies are founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, including There are companies employing over 14 million people.

Here’s what’s in and out of the Democrats’ big social-spending plan — for now

Chandler also said that while her group supports efforts to promote Americans’ STEM skills, it is not the only solution to the labor shortage.

“TechNet has long supported immigration reform as part of a two-pronged approach to growing the talent needed to compete globally. While we need to invest more in STEM education at a young age, this is an investment of two decades. Vacancies exist now, and we must not leave out talented individuals who want to come to America and put their talents to work for the American economy,” he said.

Read more: US workers still leaving jobs at record levels worsening labor crisis

View: Simple way to reduce labor shortage is to increase limits on legal immigration

With a bipartisan infrastructure of $1 trillion, PAVE,
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President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats are turning their attention to their $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate package. Biden has said he is confident the House of Representatives will approve his “Build Back Better” plan this week, although the Senate is expected to move more slowly as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia, raises concerns. What any additional spending could mean is inflation.

Democrats have small majorities in the House and Senate, meaning that individual lawmakers and smaller factions have the power to change or block provisions in the “human infrastructure” bill.

“The scale and scope of the final package will be changed in the coming weeks due to ongoing negotiations and widespread fears about inflation, but we continue to believe that a $1T+ social infrastructure package by the end of the year Isaac Boltonsky, director of policy research at BTIG, said in a note Friday.

This is an updated version of a report first published on November 12, 2021.

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