ITAA Calls on Congress to Raise Cap for Temporary Workers

Wednesday February 25, 11:09 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 25, 1998–Citing a severe shortage of skilled IT professionals, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) today told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Congress should raise or eliminate the ceiling on temporary foreign workers.

Last month, ITAA in conjunction with Virginia Tech, released initial results of a study finding 346,000 employment vacancies for computer programmers, systems analysts and computer engineers.

Testifying before the Committee, ITAA President Harris Miller said the nation’s competitive edge depends on unfettered access to highly skilled IT professionals. He said the U.S. must confront the issue from both ends of the problem, taking decisive steps to expand the pool of appropriately skilled U.S. workers while providing employers the flexibility necessary to utilize temporary foreign workers.

Citing ITAA’s recently concluded National IT Workforce Convocation and other measures, Miller said, “As an industry group, we are doing our part to broaden the pool of qualified IT professionals. Growing the domestic workforce is the critical element of solving the workforce equation. But an additional element is for the US to revamp its legal employment based immigration programs with an outlook that will insure the US a level playing field in a global economy.”

US immigration law limits the annual admission of foreign workers in the H-1B nonimmigrant category at 65,000. The limit was reached last year for the first time and is expected to be met in 1998 in just two quarters of the fiscal year. As of January 1998, approximately 27,333 such visas had been issued. In the face of a severe worker shortage, low overall US unemployment, and active recruitment and training programs for US born IT professionals, ITAA called on Congress to eliminate or increase substantially the H-1B visa ceiling.

Miller said that without action on the cap, companies face, “great business uncertainty for planning product and service cycles and risk our global competitiveness.”

ITAA consists of 11,000 direct and affiliate members throughout the U.S. which produce products and services in the IT industry. The Association plays a leading role in public policy issues of concern to the IT industry, including taxes, intellectual property, telecommunications law, encryption, securities litigation reform, and human resources policy. ITAA members range from the smallest IT start ups to industry leaders in the software, services, systems integration, telecommunications, Internet, and computer consulting fields. ITAA is Secretariat for the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and will host the 1998 World Congress on Information Technology XI in Fairfax, VA. Learn more about ITAA and its positions on the issues by connecting to its Web Site at http://www.itaa.org.

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Contact:

ITAABob Cohen, 703/284-5333 bcohen@itaa.org

 

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