SIA supports bill to aid high-tech industries facing engineer shortage

SAN JOSE, Calif., 3 May 2006. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has expressed support for S. 2691, legislation known as the "SKIL Bill" (Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership). According to George Scalise, SIA president, America is not graduating a sufficient number of scientists and engineers to fill the need of high-tech industries.

May 3rd, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif., 3 May 2006. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has expressed support for S. 2691, legislation known as the "SKIL Bill" (Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership).

"America is simply not graduating enough scientists and engineers to keep our country in the forefront of innovation and technology," says SIA president George Scalise. "The provisions in Senator Cornyn's 'SKIL bill,' as well as similar provisions in the two versions of comprehensive immigration reform, address our critical shortage of scientists and engineers. The Congress must quickly pass legislation to keep foreign-born, U.S. educated talent working for U.S. companies."

The legislation has four main provisions supported by technology companies:

-- It reforms the H-1B visa and employment-based (EB) green card processes by exempting U.S.-educated foreign workers with advanced degrees from the H-1B and EB quotas.

-- It creates a market-based H-1B cap. The current limits on such visas were reached in August 2005, preventing U.S. employers from utilizing H-1B visas to hire workers with advanced skills until October of 2006.

-- It extends the optional post-curricular training program for foreign students to 24 months from the current 12 months. This provision would make it easier for skilled individuals to go from student to green card status.

-- It exempts immigrant spouses and children of EB and green card workers from the annual cap, thus making more visas available for highly skilled workers.

The SIA has represented U.S. semiconductor companies since 1977. Collectively, the chip industry employs a domestic workforce of 225,000 people.

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