NH tech businesses need immigration reform

New Hampshire has an immense economic stake in reforming our broken immigration system. Those who are seeking our nation’s highest office need to put forth concrete proposals for fixing our broken immigration system and expand much-needed access to high-skilled tech graduates from other countries.

New Hampshire’s high-tech business community would benefit greatly from an immigration system that would attract and retain the best and the brightest minds from across the globe. That is why I have added my name to a growing list of business and community leaders called Granite Staters for Common Sense Immigration Reform. We need action and we need solutions.

As the co-founder of a fast-growing international high-tech manufacturing company based in Manchester and Concord, I can tell you first hand the challenges our industry has faced as a result of our ability to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants with degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, as well as computer science.

With a lack of homegrown graduates to fill the jobs that are being rapidly produced within the high-tech industry, we need to welcome those from other countries and allow them to contribute to our economy.

Our business is a hands-on operation, so we can use skillsets of all levels, but we absolutely need the forward-thinking and creative energy that comes from a global economy; that means we frequently must look outside our borders for the best and brightest.

Under our current immigration system, only 85,000 visas for highly skilled foreign-born workers are made available each year. Typically, these H-1B visas are available for only one week before they are filled. Even more shocking is the fact that these visas are determined by a lottery system. This isn’t exactly the best practice for a country that is viewed by our neighbors oversees as a land of opportunity. We must do better.

Here in New Hampshire we have a unique opportunity as the first-in-the-nation primary state to ask each of the candidates seeking our nation’s highest office what their plans are to reform our broken immigration system.

We have a responsibility as voters here in the Granite State to make sure those candidates that campaign here are offering more than party line talking points. We need to know our next leader and the person who will be setting the agenda for our country has detailed plans to tackle this multifaceted problem.

Yes, we need to secure our border but the issue is deeper than that. We need to know where each of these candidates stand and what they will do about enacting real reforms that will revamp our outdated H-1B visa program and how they plan on addressing the estimated 11.5 million people who are here in our country illegally.

We need to know if they are willing to enact bold reforms that will make our country stronger and implement sound immigration policies that reflect the ideals our country was founded on.

Over the next several months we will see a number of presidential candidates visit our beautiful state. I hope you join me in attending events, talking to each of the candidates and asking them what they plan on doing to reform our broken immigration system. It’s time to hold our leaders accountable.

Ray Boissoneau is founder of Electropac and is a member of Granite Staters For Common Sense Immigration Reform.

Categories: Opinion