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Poll: Jobs that require top skills satisfied through immigration reform

A greater pool of qualified teachers may come through immigration reform.

Evidenced by rising home values, greater availability of jobs and a steadily declining unemployment rate, the economy is slowly but surely recovering in the U.S. However, a considerable number of Americans believe it could be improving at a more robust pace by enabling businesses to better attract the best employees the world has to offer.

In a recent survey conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the technology firm TechNet, nearly two-thirds of individuals polled said that by reforming certain components of the immigration system, business owners will be able to entice more people who come from overseas to work for them, many of whom may send money to their families back in their native country.

Respondents were particularly receptive to reform for business owners who are in a line of work that requires highly skilled or specially trained workers, such as in the sciences, technology, education or mathematical fields, otherwise known as STEM. In fact, nearly eight in 10 Americans – 77 percent – said that the government needs to commit more invest toward STEM education. More specifically, approximately 60 percent of people in the poll said that the government does not spend what it needs to in providing workers with the resources they need to better take on jobs in the sciences and technological fields.

Rey Ramsey president and CEO of TechNet, noted that American consumers today recognize that there's an abundance of people who live overseas who are more than qualified to fulfill these jobs and one of the best ways of enabling these individuals to access them is by addressing the ease which they can come to the country.

"Americans strongly support smart policies to reform our high skilled immigration system and address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math skill," said Ramsey. "Most importantly, our citizens are eager for reform and urge Congress to act now."

Delayed immigration reform risks falling behind global competition
Many are worried that failure to reform the immigration system may wind up costing Americans in the long run when it comes to staying ahead of other countries as they make their own economic improvements. For example, the poll found that approximately 43 percent of respondents believe that the country is losing its "innovation edge," saying that the next big invention will likely come from someplace other than the U.S, such as China.

John Zogby, who owns and operates his own polling firm, added that he's witnessed an overwhelming consensus from the public tying innovation to sound immigration policies.

"Americans have adapted to new technologies, see them as the path to growth and prosperity for our future, and favor a wide of policies that support more flexibility in immigration, more focus on technology in our education system, and spending on research that leads to even more innovation," he said.

Currently, people who wish to work in the sciences, or who have specialized skills and expertise, typically turn to H-1B visas in order to come to the country. Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it has begun accepting petitions from foreign residents for the 2014 fiscal year. There is a 65,000 cap on how many people will be able to come to the country with this via. However, the first 20,000 people who file a H-1B petition and who have a master's degree or higher will not count against the cap. This behooves prospective workers to file the necessary paperwork as soon as possible.

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