Lesser Skilled Work Visa Reform

Presently, U.S. immigration law does not provide a means to ensure that lesser-skilled workers may lawfully enter the U.S. in a systematic way to fill jobs when employers can’t locate sufficient numbers of qualified Americans, other than those working in temporary need or seasonal jobs (and even those have unworkable or cumbersome programs).  In order to protect our national security, we must create a systematic and legal flow of lesser-skilled workers.

A Visa Program Made for Success - April 7, 2013

by Randel Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce SVP of Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits

The April 3 editorial “Mr. Rubio on the fence” called the bureau that would be part of a new worker visa program “a new government agency” and “a system that smacks of centralized planning.” Nothing could be further from the construct agreed upon by the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

The new bureau would be located within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency charged with adjudicating immigration benefits, and it would have limited authority. Specifically, the bureau would be responsible for analyzing and reporting on immigration. It would engage in rulemaking to allow employers seeking workers in designated occupations with shortages to get priority if the annual visa cap is met, and it would apply a formula set by Congress to raise and lower the cap between 20,000 and 200,000 visas.

Employers would not be limited to seeking foreign workers solely in occupations where shortages have been identified. In fact, employers across industries, sectors and geographies would be able to register any job opening where they have completed rigorous recruitment but have been unable to locate sufficient numbers of qualified and interested Americans.

Add your voice to the fight by signing our petition or adding your company/organization to our industry sign-on letter.

U.S. Chamber Statement Supporting Lesser-Skilled Visa Program - April 3, 2013

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson issued the following statement expressing support for the new lesser-skilled visa program that has been negotiated by the Senate Gang of 8 as a part of comprehensive immigration reform:

"To eliminate any confusion on the matter, the U.S. Chamber believes the construct for a new lesser-skilled visa category that the Senate Gang of 8 has developed is the blueprint for a sound and workable program for the business community. The new W-visa classification features a streamlined process for employers to register job openings that can be filled by temporary foreign workers, while still ensuring that American workers get first crack at every job and that wages paid are the greater of actual or prevailing wage levels. Importantly, this new visa structure sets the groundwork for moving forward with other important parts of immigration reform."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Add your voice to the fight by signing our petition or adding your company/organization to our industry sign-on letter.

Chamber Resources

Letters to the Hill

Congressional Testimonies


  • EWIC: The Chamber is a member of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a coalition of national trade associations, and a few large businesses, representing a cross-section of industries concerned with the shortage of both semi-skilled and unskilled labor ("essential workers"). EWIC supports policies that facilitate the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies that are unable to find sufficient numbers of American workers, such as, for example, health care and related caregiver occupations.
  • H-2B Workforce: The Chamber is a member of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, a consortium of various industry associations throughout the United States that have joined together to protect American workers by ensuring American small and seasonal employers have access to legal short-term temporary workers during peak business periods.
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