Firms that wish to give temporary US work visas to potential hires from overseas yesterday began submitting their applications to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The demand for the 85,000 available slots is expected to be very high, given the pace at which these slots have disappeared in recent years.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services says that it expects the number of requests to reach this figure within just five days. Advocates for the technology industry continue to be frustrated by the number of US visas available and the lack of progress with regard to immigration reform. The chief executive officer of Affirm, Max Levchin, who is also the co-founder of PayPal, has written an opinion piece for TechCrunch in which he urges Congress to pass the new I-Squared bill from Senator Orrin Hatch, which would increase the number of visas available to 115,000.
“The H-1B visa lottery leaves to chance what we should want to guarantee for our economy: that the best and the brightest innovators contribute to our country’s success, instead of being forced out and likely given little choice but to go create jobs for our global competitors,” Levchin writes. “At nearly every company I’ve been a part of there has been at least one heartbreaking story of a hardworking immigrant being sent back to his or her home country.” Critics contend that increasing the number of the US visas is against the interests of American workers, however, claiming that firms have already laid off US employees to hire foreign contract labor.