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Computer chip makers seek relaxed rules on high-skilled immigrants

Nine semiconductor makers are asking Congress to ease immigration restrictions for highly skilled foreign workers after the House and Senate agreed to fund a $52 billion incentive to boost US chip manufacturing.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders last week, human resources executives from companies including GlobalFoundries, Intel and Texas Instruments said their industry faces “immediate shortages of qualified workers” to fill research-and-design and manufacturing jobs as they look to scale. increasing chip production in the US.

“While all of the undersigned companies are committed to investing in workforce development at the federal, state, and local levels to grow our U.S.-based STEM workforce pipeline, soon, the system in US education cannot produce enough Americans with the necessary qualifications to meet the needs of companies,” the executives wrote.

The letter was obtained by Punchbowl News.

In their letter, the executives called for more long-term investment in technical education in the US. They also said Congress should act in the short term to enable companies to retain foreign talent by exempting foreign-born people with advanced technical degrees from green card caps and allowing companies to to “reclaim” unused green cards to reduce employee-sponsored backlogs.

Semiconductor chips manage the flow of electricity in electronic devices, and are also key components of computers.

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The House and Senate last week approved the $280 billion Chips and Science Act, which includes provisions for $52 billion in incentives for semiconductor manufacturers. The legislation resulted from negotiations on larger bills in the House and Senate.

However, in negotiating the differences between the laws, lawmakers have removed items such as a House-approved measure to exempt foreigners with advanced degrees from the green card caps.

HR executives who signed the letter said immigration reforms can’t wait and called on lawmakers to include the provision in “any must-pass” legislation this year.

“The US and its close democratic allies believe in the importance of growing our strategic industries for economic and national security reasons,” the executives wrote. “We believe that the US must do its part to remain a leader in global change.”

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