WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse and Kim Schrier signed on as two of more than 300 cosponsors of a visa-allocation bill that sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, offering more visa opportunities for skilled immigrants and their families.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would increase a per-country cap on the number of family-based immigrant visas, and widen opportunities for immigrants in high-skill occupations such as medicine and technology who hail from high-population countries such as India.
"In my district, many of these high-skilled professionals are world-class medical scientists, including oncologists and cardiologists," Newhouse said in a speech on the House floor Wednesday.
Under current immigration law, quotas for professional visas awarded on a by-country basis are not scaled to population, meaning immigrants from countries with larger populations receive a thinner share of visas than those from smaller countries. Professionals on a temporary work visa are also prohibited from some paths such as opening their own businesses, and wait times for a green card that allows such steps can be extreme.
Newhouse, a Republican representing Washington's 4th District, called the existing visa disparities "one small piece of our broken system, but a very important one." Schrier is an 8th District Democrat.
The bill had bipartisan support, with 311 consponsors, and passed 365-65.
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