US Chamber pushes for immigration reform to include boost in high-skilled visas

In his address, the Chamber chief also discussed the threat that the national debt poses to the U.S., as well as the business lobby's push to reform the tax code and its other agenda items for the year.

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When speaking about immigration reform, Donohue noted that millions of jobs go unfilled each year despite high unemployment, and that sometimes companies take their businesses abroad in order to fill those positions.

Microsoft, in particular, warned earlier this year that tech companies are facing a shortage of qualified job applicants for engineering and research positions. The company unveiled a proposal this fall that would increase the number of visas for high-skilled foreign workers and inject millions of dollars in federal funding for education.

The Obama administration has made immigration reform a top policy priority this year, and Congress is expected to get to work on legislation in the early months of 2013.

Brendan Sasso and Kevin Bogardus contributed to this report.