Industry Pushes for More Realistic H-1B Rules
Largely ignored in the national news, but nonetheless crucial to the debate regarding immigration and immigrant employment in the United States, is the Congressional system for determining the number of specialty H-1B visas available each year. While news of heated debates over the immigration policy as it relates to lower-wage workers has stolen headlines, “knowledge” employees are perhaps even more crucial for the functioning of corporations in need of highly qualified workers. Especially relevant is the fact that most IT employees who are foreign nationals enter the U.S. under H-1B visas.
During the dot-com boom, too few H-1B visas were granted, while during the downturn in the aftermath of the bust, too many remained available. Currently, with a resurgence in the IT industry, there are 65,000 visas available and the entire quota was met on October 1, 2005, the first day of the fiscal year. As a result, many in the industry are clamoring for a variable cap that can be adjusted each year without congressional approval.
The National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB) is pushing for legislation that will tie the annual visa cap to the market for IT professionals. In the interim, staffing agencies seeking H-1B employees will continue to plan well in advance to meet their needs.