Record number of H-1B applicants sparks immigration debate

PALO ALTO — Companies are seeking more foreign workers than ever before to fill highly skilled jobs in technology and other industries, but the United States will grant visas to just a fraction of them in a lottery that began this week.

Anxious to bump up those visa limits, a bipartisan campaign is seeking to make an exemplar of one of the record 233,000 people vying for 85,000 H-1B temporary visas: Belgian entrepreneur Pierre-Jean “PJ” Cobut. If Cobut cannot obtain a work visa before his student visa expires in June, the co-founder of Palo Alto’s Echo Labs said he planned to move his health care device startup to Canada.

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…