US considers a 'chip visa' to solve skills shortage
The US semiconductor industry is lobbying the government to create a new type of visa that will make to easier for firms to hire overseas talent.
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the bipartisan public policy organisation Economic Innovation Group (EIG) have joined together to press for a Chipmaker's Visa. It would allow for 10,000 new visas per year with an expedited process for recipients to get a green card. The proposal is in response to what SEMI projects as a potential shortfall of 67,000 employees by 2030.
At present the US's H-1B Visa system is designed to support tech recruitment, but the semiconductor industry clearly thinks it needs a more bespoke system. There is a 65,000 annual cap on H-1B visas, which are typically valid for three years and extendable to six. The government limits the number of visas allocated to a particular country to 7%.
"The government recognises there is a talent shortage specific to our industry, and that it is going to take a combination of both efficient immigration policy, as well as investing in STEM programs and other programs, to help grow a workforce," Royal Kastens, director of public policy and advocacy at SEMI, told Semiconductor Engineering. "I do not think it is one or the other."