THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 16, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
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.