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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 16, 1998


              Congressional Consideration of Legislation 
                to Increase the Number of H-1B Visas

The Clinton Administration supports sound and balanced legislative efforts to address shortages of skilled workers within certain sectors of our economy. We believe that the most important way to widen the availability of skilled workers must be to improve the skills of U.S. workers and ensure that employers seek U.S. workers first. While it may be necessary in the short term to increase the number of visas for temporary foreign workers, this must only be done in conjunction with additional efforts to increase the skill level of U.S. workers and meaningful reforms to the H-1B program. We look forward to working with the Congress to achieve a reasonable, balanced bill that both protects U.S. workers and respects the good-faith business judgments of employers.

If Congress sends the President a bill that increases the cap on H-1B visas but does not contain (1) a significant training component and (2) meaningful reform to the H-1B program that ensures that employers recruit U.S. workers before applying for an H-1B worker and not lay off a U.S. worker in order to hire an H-1B worker, the President's senior advisors will recommend that he veto the bill.