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Experts Agree: Exempt Skilled Labor From Visa Limits

Bill Gates declared in a Washington Post op-ed piece that, "We must...make it easier for foreign-born scientists and engineers to work for U.S. companies." And that's where the "Power Lunch" discussion of immigration reform and fears of a U.S. "brain drain" began.

The Microsoft founder and global philanthropist warned Americans that "Our status as the world's center for new ideas cannot be taken for granted. Other governments are waking up to the vital role innovation plays in competitiveness" -- and perhaps becoming friendlier for such intellectual capital.

Robert Hoffman agrees. He's Oracle's vice president for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, and the VP told CNBC's Sue Herera he is all for reforming the U.S. immigration system -- providing that includes the solution to the "enormous backlog" in green card applications. He says that highly-skilled workers are currently trapped in the citizenship-application queue for "five, six years" -- and as a result, cannot feel secure enough to map out their careers or start families in the States.

Laura Reiff is a business-immigration attorney at Greenberg, Traurig -- and she sided with Hoffman. She slammed the quotas established by the Immigration Reform Act of 1986 as "not logical" for present-day realities. She warns that the Act has left America with an "economic security issue" by limiting the H1-B visas -- reserved for highly-trained foreign nationals -- to a "woefully inadequate" 65,000 per year.

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • "Power Lunch" & “Nightly Business Report” Co-Anchor

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