H1-B Visas – Blink and You’ll Miss Them

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.

Christine Scullion

Christine Scullion

Director of Human Resources Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Christine Scullion is the director of human resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Mrs. Scullion  oversees the NAM’s human resources policy work and has expertise on issues ranging from health care, immigration, workforce and education issues and the federal rulemaking process.  Mrs. Scullion’ s background includes policy and government relations experience on a range key health care, immigration and workforce issues. Mrs. Scullion received her MBA from the Rutgers and undergraduate degree from Penn State University.
Christine Scullion

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Jmdz says:

    Instead of bringing more people to compete for jobs, government and private sector should focus on increasing skills in low cost areas already in the country. There are companies doing what’s called “rural sourcing” (e.g. Ruralogic), where they re-train people who had different careers and provide skills that are relevant. If both the government and private sector were more supportive of these initiatives, they would get the skills without having to bring more people, and at the same time create jobs in low cost/impoverished areas

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    “Increased H1-B numbers and a reformed green card system will assist in growing the economy and creating jobs for Americans.”

    How do you calculate that? Increasing the number of imported workers decreases the number of citizen jobs and depresses wages to boot.

    In what fantasy scenario does glutting the labor market with more labor result in more jobs being available?

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