US Economy Demands an Expansion of the H-1B Visa

In order to attract and retain the best and the brightest young people from other countries and employ them here in the United States, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issues the H-1B visa. Those that qualify for this visa must have “specialized knowledge” which usually equates to a baccalaureate degree. The degree must directly be applicable to the tasks required in the job, so it best fits jobs in IT, science, engineering, mathematics, or other technical areas.. The number of H-1B visas is capped with each fiscal year limited to an arbitrary 65,000 plus an additional 20,000 for those who obtained an advanced degree in the United States. With the economic recovery now in full swing and the US dollar at an all-time high, the demand for foreign workers is skyrocketing as is the demand for the H-1B visa.

Last year, over 175,000 people applied for the 65,000 H-1B visas. This year, as the economy expanded by 2.4% in 2014, which is the strongest year since the recession began in 2008-09, the number will be even higher. USCIS announced yesterday that the H-1B cap has been reached but no data has been released.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services can only promote fairness by holding a lottery to select amongst the many foreign applicants to work for US companies. It cannot increase the cap – only an act of Congress can do that. Leaders of the high-tech sector, including the heads of industry heavyweights such as Google and Facebook, are calling for an expansion of the maximum number of H-1B visas to be issued. Representatives of the high-tech sector believe that there is a need to expand the number of visas issued by at least 50,000 to a total of 115,000 per year, to allow for the increased demand from high-tech business as the economy recovers and then expands. According to Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, “The tech sector is once again asking Congress to raise this arbitrary and outdated cap on highly skilled individuals so that we can tap the talent we need to continue our country’s innovation and progress.” In fact, during the 1990s, Congress had the cap set at 195,000.

Unfortunately since the first proposal to increase the number of H-1B visas was put before Congress in 2013, there has been little or no progress in resolving this issue. While voters must continue to put pressure on Congressional representatives to advocate to increasing the cap, potential applicants may have to enter the US on a different type of visa.

The Law Office of Catherine Brown can assist you with obtaining an H-1B visa or other types of visas. In terms of the H-1B, we handle everything from assisting you with wage issues, obligations, obtaining and posting the Labor Condition Application, filing the H-1B with USCIS and providing advice on how to maintain your H-1B status. Please call 303-322-2117 to schedule a consultation.