Wednesday, April 2, 2014
High-Skilled Workers and Twenty-First Century Innovation: H-1B Program’s Impact on Wages, Jobs, and the Economy
Today, the American Immigration Council released, High-Skilled Workers and Twenty-First Century Innovation: H-1B Program’s Impact on Wages, Jobs, and the Economy. Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals have rolled the dice on April 1 and submitted their applications for the limited pool of H-1B visas available each fiscal year. With only 65,000 visas available for new hires - and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university - in recent years demand has far outstripped the supply and the cap has been quickly reached. In 2013, the H-1B visa cap was reached within a few days. Understanding the H-1B process is important to understanding the vital economic role that higher-skilled immigration plays in growing our economy and creating new opportunities for native and foreign-born workers alike.
The H-1B program highlights many of the flaws in our current immigration system, particularly the lack of flexibility in responding to fluctuations in the economy, changes in business models, and evolving business needs. Filling critical positions becomes nothing more than a roll of the dice, putting workers and their families, employers, and the country as a whole at risk of losing out on greater economic growth and prosperity. Multiply this problem many times over in the nation’s handling of other kinds of employment and family visas and the failure to fully utilize the skills and talents of currently undocumented workers, and it becomes clear how far we have to go before we can take full advantage of the opportunities a robust and functional immigration system presents. It also serves as a stark reminder of the need for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.