Sens. Warner, Kaine sign onto legislation to create high-skill Korean visas

congressToday, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine signed onto bipartisan legislation to provide up to 15,000 visas annually for Koreans with specialized skills that are lacking in the U.S. labor market.

“Smart reforms in the high-skill visa program will help Virginia businesses struggling to find qualified individuals to fill open positions. This bipartisan approach will help Virginia businesses fill this labor gap, and it also will strengthen existing strong, bilateral ties between the United States and Korea,” said Sen. Warner.

“Expanding the number of visas for highly skilled Korean professionals will provide direct, valuable contributions to Virginia’s high-tech economy,” said Sen. Kaine. “With continued inaction from the House on comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes much-needed visa provisions, we must take alternative steps to attract skilled workers from around the globe. There is no resource more valuable than talent, and this commonsense, bipartisan bill will help grow our talented workforce to meet the needs of Virginia businesses.”

To meet workforce needs, the United States will need approximately one million more stem professionals over the next decade than our country currently produces.  The bipartisan legislation, S. 2663, The Partner with Korea Act, was introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). It would give Virginia and American businesses improved access to highly skilled Korean workers, while also increasing Virginia’s access to the $1 trillion Korean economy.

Virginia exports to Korea increased 17.5% in 2013, and highly skilled Korean professionals currently contribute to the U.S. economy in key sectors, including engineering, technology, accounting, health care, financial services and higher education.

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