Associated Press 11.19.07, 4:35 PM ET
The Information Technology Association of America, whose more than 300 members include Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc. and Yahoo Inc., hired PLM Group LLC to lobby the federal government on immigration matters, according to a disclosure form.
The firm will lobby on issues related to the H-1B visa program, which allow companies to hire skilled foreign professionals for up to six years, according to the form posted online Nov. 13 by the Senate’s public records office.
Tech companies argue there aren’t enough visas to meet their needs for certain skilled positions and have long pushed to increase its cap from the current 65,000 per year – a number that has stayed relatively flat since 1990. Earlier this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 150,000 applications for the 2008 H-1B visas in a single day.
Congress also is questioning the use of the visa program by nine India-based companies, who collectively used nearly 20,000 of the H-1B visas available last year. Some lawmakers said the program has been subject to fraud and abuse.
Among those registered to lobby on behalf of ITAA are: Andrew Kauders, former senior adviser to Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Walter Pryor, who was legislative director for Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and John Scofield, former communications director for the House Appropriations Committee.
PLM Group is a joint venture between two lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and the Livingston Group.
Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.