May 3, 2006 – The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is throwing its weight behind a US Senate bill that aims to help support domestic industries with foreign-born, US-educated skilled workers — ironically, at the same time that a foreign technology institute is recruiting US workers for its own programs.
The “SKIL Bill” (Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership), legislation S. 2691, has four main provisions aimed at supporting technology companies: exempting US-educated foreign workers with advanced degrees from H-1B visa and employment-based green card quotas; expanding the current H-1B cap, which was reached in August and now prevents hiring foreign workers through Oct. 2006; doubling the optional post-curricular training program for foreign students to 24 months; and exempting immigrant spouses and children of EB and green card workers from the annual cap.
The bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Sens. George Allen (R-VA), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Trent Lott (R-MS).
he SKIL bill, as well as similar recently proposed immigration reform legislation, address a critical shortage of scientists and engineers, stated SIA president George Scalise. “America is simply not graduating enough scientists and engineers to keep our country in the forefront of innovation and technology,” he said. The Congress must quickly pass legislation to keep foreign-born, US educated talent working for US companies. Leadership in technology has been critical to driving economic growth, enhancing productivity, improving our standard of living, and ensuring national security.”
Meanwhile, a report from Asian newspapers indicates Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is currently visiting several US cities in order to recruit researchers for hundreds of job openings. According to the Asia Pulse Businesswire, sources in the ITRI indicate the institute needs to expand its recruitment efforts outside of Taiwan to help support its five new research centers opened last year, focusing on technologies such as photovoltaics, displays, medical electronics and devices, radio frequency identification (RFID), and systems-on-chip. The ITRI reportedly is also offering internships to 40 Taiwan citizens in the US, hoping to draw them back to Taiwan after they have finished studies.