Does H-1B surge mean cap should be raised? – Via CNet News


By Anne Broache
VIA CNET News


This week’s record-setting avalanche of applications for H-1B visas is
undeniable. Now in dispute: what caused it and what should happen next.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government announced that this year’s limit on
H-1B visas had already been reached after only one day, the first time
in history the annual cap had been reached so quickly. Since 1990,
American employers have relied on the visas to hire skilled foreign
workers for up to six years, often in computer- or engineering-related
jobs.

The reason for the surge matters: Congress is expected to hold
hearings on raising the limit later this year, and will surely question
why the quota was reached so instantly. Technology companies argue the
surge is further proof that the quota must be increased, while
opponents say there are enough Americans to do those jobs already.

High-tech companies say the visas are critical to filling voids in
their workforces and have been lobbying for Congress to raise the cap,
which currently stands at 65,000 (but climbs just above 100,000 when a
number of exemptions are taken into account). Critics say the program
has depressed U.S. wages and put qualified Americans out of jobs.

For lawyers who counsel clients on how to apply for H-1Bs, the record-high 150,000 applications reportedly received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
by Monday afternoon–the first day it began accepting them–was a
natural response to what they said is an ever-narrowing window in which
visas remain available.

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