H-1B Visa Quotas Negatively Affect U.S. Foreign Work Force

The United States is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers in the science, medicine and computer technology fields. Many companies and organizations wish to hire qualified international workers to fill these positions but are halted by the difficulty in maintaining proper paperwork and permission to bring foreign nationals into the United States.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services created the H-1B visa for foreign-born individuals who wish to work in a specialty occupation in the United States. To meet the criteria, a job must be so complex or unique that it can only be held by an individual with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the USCIS website explained. However, strict regulations often hinder qualified individuals from obtaining H-1B visas and making important contributions to the U.S. economy.

The U.S. government caps the number of H-1B visas issued annually at 65,000, as well as another 20,000 for foreign students who earned a master’s degree at an American university. In 2012, the government exhausted the quota by June, making U.S. companies unable to sponsor individuals for international work visas for the rest of the fiscal year, the Buffalo Law Journal reported.

“No matter who you talk to in the employment immigration field, they will tell you the main challenge in the employment immigration field is the H-1B quota,” Frank Novak, an immigration expert, told the Journal. “I consider the H-1B to really be the backbone when we think about how to bring people into the United States to work. But the quota has made it challenging for many foreign nationals to work here.”

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