On April 30, 2015, the Council sent a letter to New England Senators urging them to support the bipartisan Immigration Innovation Act (S.153), referred to as “I-Squared.” This bill, introduced in January 2015, would address the shortage of highly skilled workers in the STEM fields with both a short-term and a long-term solution. In the short term, I-Squared would increase the cap on H-1B visas, allowing more foreign-born STEM workers to remain in the U.S. to fill jobs in high tech industries. In the longer term, the legislation would allocate a portion of the fees collected from H-1B visas to support enhanced STEM education at the state level. Several New Englanders already co-sponsor the legislation, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Angus King (I-ME).
The New England Council has long supported an increase in H-1B visas to address demand for highly skilled workers in New England’s innovation economy. The Council endorsed similar legislation in the 113th Congress, and measures very similar to those put forth in the I-Squared bill were ultimately included in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate in 2013. For more information on the Council’s advocacy on this issue, please visit the Technology page of our website.