Bipartisan Legislation to Eliminate Per-Country Immigration Caps Would Help Strengthen U.S. Semiconductor Workforce

Friday, Jun 04, 2021, 10:30am

by Arrian Ebrahimi, Policy Assistant


Bipartisan legislation introduced this week in the House would eliminate the counterproductive per-country cap on employment-based visas in favor of a fair, “first come, first served” system, providing U.S. semiconductor companies with greater access to top talent from around the world needed to compete and innovate.

The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3648), introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and John Curtis (R-Utah), would phase out the 7 percent per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas and raise the 7 percent per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15 percent. This would create a “first come, first served” visa system for high-skilled immigrants who are already living, working, and paying taxes in the United States, rather than the current, country-based system that unfairly pushes certain workers to the back of the line based solely on their country of birth.

SIA supports this legislation and urges swift congressional consideration and passage.

For years, SIA has advocated for reforming our high-skilled immigration system so the best and brightest minds from around the world can stay in the U.S., create jobs, spur innovation, and drive economic growth. Many of America’s most innovative companies – including several SIA members – were founded and led by immigrants.

The EAGLE Act marks a small-but-important step toward fixing our broken high-skilled immigration system. Under the current system, countries are limited to no more than 7 percent of available green cards. This means India and China, which account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population, are allowed the same number of visas as Greenland, a country that accounts for 0.001 percent of the world’s population. The legislation would create a fairer system by granting permanent residence to immigrant workers based on their qualifications, not their country of birth.

The bill is currently co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 265 members. Similar legislation passed the House in 2019 with a bipartisan vote of 365-65 but stalled in the Senate.

SIA looks forward to working with lawmakers to approve this and other legislation to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system. Doing so will boost U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth.