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NFTC Leads Call for Changes in Visa Policy
Date: 4/1/2005

Current Policies Hinder U.S. Competitiveness

Washington DC – In a letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, the National Foreign Trade Council, joined by major international trade and business associations, urged the implementation of specific changes in visa policies to improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies in the global marketplace.

"This represents an on-going effort to work with the Bush Administration to develop a visa policy that balances our security concerns with the needs of U.S. businesses to be competitive in the global economy," said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. "We believe that the recommendations set forth in this letter strike that balance and we look forward to working with the Administration to implement them," added Reinsch.
 

The letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated that while changes made after September 11 have improved security, they have had an adverse impact on U.S. companies. Specifically, the letter cited that increased security checks of certain individuals added uncertainty to the visa process, making it difficult for U.S. companies that need a predictable movement of personnel, supplies and customers to be competitive in the global economy.
 

The letter laid out specific improvements including:

-Reinstituting visa revalidation by waving the interview requirement for low risk applications and permitting those working in the United State to renew visas without leaving the country

-Establishing specific criteria for 214(b) visa denials, thereby reducing the arbitrary use of it as a catch-all category and building accountability into the system

-Undertaking a regular review of the Technology Alert List every two years to remove non-critical technologies and make the list simpler to use.


NFTC was joined on the letter by major Washington, DC based international trade and business organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. China Business Council and the Information Technology Industry Council.

A copy of the letter is available on the NFTC website, http://www.nftc.org/default/visa/lricechertoffvisas1%20305.pdf


The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.