H-1B visa system is broken, needs to be fixed, claims top US business body

Washington: With the announcement that both the 65,000 and 20,000 H-1B visa caps for fiscal year 2016 have been reached, a top business body in the US has made a renewed call for Congress to fix the immigration system that keeps US companies from hiring the top world talent they need.

"Congress cannot claim it's too hard to allow top world talent to contribute to America when other countries have figured out how to do it for their own economies," said Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of CEOs of leading US companies which works to promote public policy and American economy.

"The problem is simply lack of action in Washington," said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, and Chair of the BRT Immigration Committee. "How many more H-1B caps do we have to reach before policymakers fix the system?" Brown said.

The outdated H-1B visa system was one of the factors in a new BRT analysis that put the US ninth out of 10 advanced economies in terms of employment-based immigration policies, a media statement said. "State of Immigration: How the United States Stacks Up in the Global Talent Competition" revealed that US employment-based immigration policies are "mostly unfavourable" to economic growth, while many of its competitor nations have adopted more favourable policies across the board.

In addition to insufficient H-1B visa numbers, the BRT report found other challenges for the US immigration system include low annual limits on employment-based green cards, high denial rates for intracompany transfers and a lack of visas for both immigrant entrepreneurs and year-round lower-skilled workers.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 1, started receiving H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2016 beginning October 1, 2015. It received more than the allocated quota of 65,000 H-IB visas in the first five days, and the successful applicants would be decided trough a draw of lots.

FWD.us, comprising a diverse group of leading innovators, entrepreneurs, job creators, and business owners from the tech community, have launched a petition urging the Congress to fix broken immigration system in particular the H-1B system. According to a Brookings research released this week, high-skilled foreign workers are concentrated in a small number of places.

Half of all approved H-1B petitions nationwide went to only nine metropolitan areas, and one-quarter went to just three: New York, Dallas, and San Jose¿home of Silicon Valley. New York, with over 29,000 approvals, had by far the highest number. Dallas and San Jose had almost 20,000 and 16,000 approvals, respectively.

Durham in North Carolina ranks first among metro areas for the ratio of H-1B approvals to its total employed population. The top 10 metro areas by this measure include large finance and technology hubs (eg. San Jose, Dallas, San Francisco, and Seattle), along with smaller metro areas that are home to large research-intensive universities (Durham, College Station, and Ann Arbor).

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  • jake leone09-Apr-2015

    We run out of H-1b visas each year is because Offshore Outsourcing companies stuff in an excess number of requests.Offshore Outsourcing companies take a chance in the H-1b visa lottery, because if candidate A or B doesn't make it into the lottery, H-1b candidate C will do just fine. Because they are all trainees anyway.In U.S. public court documents, top execs and VPs admit the Outsourcing companies never look for Americans for STEM jobs in the United States.

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