Today, the U.S. government will begin to accept applications for the skilled H-1B guest-worker visa. H-1Bs are employer-sponsored visas that run for three years and can be renewed once. In recent years, applications for the H-1B have been filled in a few days as there are only 85,000 available for employment in private companies. H-1B workers help enrich the U.S., but there are problems with the visa.
Migrants with H-1Bs are typically young, highly educated and earn high wages. In 2014, 94 percent of new H-1Bs were under the age of 40, while 99.8 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree and 54 percent at least a master’s degree. Almost 80 percent of these workers come from India or China. By all indications, they are almost uniformly fluent in English upon arrival.
Sixty-five percent of new H-1Bs work in computer occupations, while an additional 9 percent are engineers. The rest work in advanced fields as varied as entertainment and medicine. In 2014, the average starting wage for a new H-1B is $75,000 — ranging up to $144,000 for those who work in sales.