Education and business leaders are emphasizing the increasing necessity of immigration reform in the United States, with visa restrictions causing many highly-skilled employees to be lost to other countries. Council for Global Immigration members spoke in Washington DC on Monday to express concerns about the amount of what they call ‘H-1B casualties’ – highly-skilled overseas workers who US employers cannot bring over to work for them because of the restrictions on the number of H-IB US visas.
The H-1B US visa program enables employers to hire non-immigrant overseas workers in specialty occupations that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and the application of highly-specialized knowledge. At their height these visas were issued in the hundreds of thousands; however, in recent times ‒ and with political wrangling over immigration policies in the headlines ‒ an ever-increasing number of potential employees are admissible only through the very limited amount of visas distributed by an international lottery system.
The director of US immigration for the software development company Oracle, Denise Rahmani, claims that her firm lost 200 overseas workers on the most recent H-1B cap draft, while Intel Corporation’s American immigration manager, Margie Jones, tells a similar story.
The Council for Global Immigration chairman Austin Fragomen says that the United States is rapidly losing its former status as the country of choice for immigration, with many US college graduates being forced to make careers in other countries due to the current restrictions.