Change in immigration rules flayed

WHITE House sources indicate a department of labour (DOL) project to ease immigration rules for professionals in selected industries may be scrapped following objections that it would worsen the lot of unemployed Americans.

A host of industry groups led by the American Federation of Labour-Confederation of Industrial Organisations -- the largest union organisation in the country -- criticised the DOL project for listing shortages of computer scientists and programmers in some US states. A government spokesperson says the project will be reviewed in the next 60 days and "we are all in a wait-and-see mode."

The DOL project proposes bypassing some immigration procedures for professionals in 10 short-listed occupations.

But Texas congressperson John Bryant, a key member of the US subcommittee on immigration, warns, "It would be a slap in the face of unemployed Americans for our government to declare official shortages of American scientists and engineers, simply to allow some employers to import cheap foreign workers."