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Caterpillar calls for immigration changes

Keywords: Tags  Caterpillar, Douglas Oberhelman, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, immigration reform, foreign students, visa, green card

CHICAGO — The United States needs an immigration policy that will help it stay globally competitive, Caterpillar Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Douglas R. Oberhelman said in a speech before the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition in Chicago.

"I really don’t care if an engineer was born in Chicago or India or England. I want that talent working for Caterpillar, not for our competitors," he said.

Caterpillar allows American-educated foreign students intern at the Peoria, Ill.-based company, but the process is "tedious," Oberhelman said, noting that some employees have waited eight years for a green card.

"We trained these individuals, and in return they are asked to kindly leave the United States," he said. "To make it worse, they sometimes go to work for our global competitors."

Increasing the number of H-1B, non-immigrant visas issued annually would help Caterpillar hire foreign nationals who receive advanced degrees in the United States, he said. The number is currently capped "without regard to current market demand," he noted.

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