Every April the federal government begins accepting applications for H-1B visas and, again this year, just days after filing opened, the cap was reached. These visas allow highly educated and skilled professionals to work temporarily in the United States, and clearly the supply does not meet the demand. The gap is holding us back as we look to build Buffalo’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and advanced manufacturing economy.
H-1B visas are capped at a total of 85,000 each year. Last year, more than 172,000 applications were received in less than a week. The International Institute of Buffalo, as part of the WE Global Network, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, in cooperation with the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, is advocating for the cap to be eased. Increasing the number of H-1B visas available to qualified applicants will help address a skills gap and produce measurable returns for the job market.