Bucshon’s measure aims to improve immigration work visa process

Bipartisan legislation sponsored on March 10 by U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) would help minimize the nation’s immigration work visa backlog by preserving expiring employment-based visas and making them available for issuance during fiscal year 2024.

Rep. Bucshon said he was proud to support a bill to help ensure that visas allocated under existing federal immigration law can be properly used. “This will help support an immigration system that incentivizes and rewards legal applicants and boosts our economy.”

At the same time, Congress each year allows for a set number of foreign nationals with specific skills and training to come to the U.S. for work. Each nation is capped at receiving 7 percent of the allotted employment-based slots in any year, leaving thousands of visas unused. U.S. immigration officials did not utilize approximately 9,100 employment-based visas in FY 2020 and more than 66,000 in FY 2021, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Bucshon’s staff.

The Eliminating Backlogs Act of 2023, H.R. 1535, which Rep. Bucshon introduced with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), would provide greater flexibility in using existing allotted work visas that employers need and would not change the overall number of available visas, the summary says.

“Under current federal immigration law, there are a certain number of visas allocated annually for skilled workers, such as doctors and engineers, to ensure our workforce can meet the demands of our economy in Indiana and across the country,” said Rep. Bucshon. “Unfortunately, bureaucratic policies and delays have prevented hundreds of thousands of these visas from being used, despite a serious need for more skilled workers across our nation.”

Rep. Krishnamoorthi said H.R. 1535 would end “country-based discrimination in high-skilled immigration” and ensure the nation uses every allotted visa to draw skilled workers from across the globe to help strengthen the U.S. economy.