Congress AWOL in the Global Competition for Talent

The Daily Caller
June 15, 2012

Nero at least fiddled while Rome burned. The U.S. Congress is doing almost nothing while American companies struggle in the global competition for talent. Americans companies’ inability to hire talented foreigners makes it hard for them to grow, invest and innovate inside this country and encourages them to expand outside of the U.S.

Two recent developments illustrate the problem. First, this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had reached the statutory limit of 85,000 on H-1B visas (20,000 reserved for advanced degree holders from U.S. universities). That means, with the exception of employment at universities or nonprofit research institutes, no foreign national can start working in the U.S. on a new H-1B visa until October 1, 2013, more than 15 months from now. While it’s possible for graduates of U.S. universities to be eligible to work on Optional Practical Training (OPT), that option is not available for many potential hires and in any case, given the difficulty of obtaining either H-1B temporary status or permanent residence, the OPT program leaves participants uncertain about their long-term future in the United States.

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