June 19, 2012
Last week was an interesting week for those who practice immigration law. The week started out with the unfortunate, but expected news that the ”cap” of 65,000 visas had been reached for the H-1B program. H-1B visas are temporary working visas given to those who have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. These are given for work in ”specialty occupations” that require someone with those credentials.
Even though every H-1B employee is responsible for the creation of an average of five new jobs for American workers, our immigration system only allows for 65,000 H-1B visas each fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The earliest application date for this program is six months prior to the start of the next fiscal year, so this means that an employer now has to wait until April 1, 2013, to apply for the H-1B worker, who cannot even start employment until Oct. 1, 2013.
For our U.S. businesses and industries who need these employees, that is unacceptable. For the foreign national employees, many of whom were educated in the United States, it is unfair. Add to this the backlog of employment-based green card applications, and well, it will just be easier for these educated, skilled workers to take their talent, creativity and energy elsewhere, like Canada, Australia or a host of other countries that are openly seeking such valued employees.