The actions, which still are several steps from becoming law, are less a statement of job growth in the tech sector than a pragmatic solution to two problems.
First, the current annual allotment of H-1B visas reverted dramatically two years ago to 65,000 from a temporary level three times higher set during the dot-com boom, leaving far too few visas for the demand.
And second, the federal budget deficit has left Congress scrambling for ways to increase revenue. So when lawmakers began considering an increase in visa fees, the high-tech industry demanded an increase in the numbers of the controversial visas as well.
“Any increase in fees . . . without an appropriate increase in the number of available visas will equate to a tax on competitiveness and we will oppose it,” Rhett Dawson, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, wrote last week to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter, R-Pa.