On April 5, five days after the application process opened, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced they had received enough applications to exhaust the number of H1-B visas for FY 2014. As we noted last week, this means that any company that has not already applied for a visa to hire a highly-skilled foreign-born candidate will not be able to hire that talented individual this year. In addition, because the number of applications exceeded the limit, anyone who applied before April 5 will be subject to a random lottery for the available visas. This is a crisis. The economy is barely growing and the US will fall behind unless companies are allowed to hire and retain employees in the US under an expanded visa program.
Increased H1-B numbers and a reformed green card system will assist in growing the economy and creating jobs for Americans. Legislation, such as the bi-partisan “I-Squared Act,” introduced by Senators Hatch, Klobuchar, Rubio and Coons, positively addresses these problems by increasing the H1-B cap and reshaping the green card system. The NAM sent a letter in support of this legislation and also submitted a letter with nearly 60 companies and organizations that see the need for reform. The current system creates an uncertainty that is not functional for employers and will drive job creation out of the US. This mad dash to apply for visas needs to end and in its place should be a process that allows for thoughtful and dependable workforce planning. Congress should look to the I-Squared bill when drafting a comprehensive reform package.