The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (“AILA”) just issued a public call for US-CIS to increase the visa cap for H1B workers. This year was 85,000. This was not enough. Of the 85,000, 20,000 were reserved under the advanced degree exemption which earmarks those positions for persons with graduate degrees from US non-profit or state run schools. Thus a PhD from Oxford University would not count in this set-aside. Here is the statement from AILA’s President (Victor Neiblas Pradis):
WASHINGTON, DC – Victor Nieblas Pradis, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commented on today’s announcement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the agency has once again received more than enough H-1B petitions within the first five business days of the fiscal year 2017 filing period to reach the annual cap of 85,000 new visas, with the following statement:
“The H-1B program is designed to ensure that employers can fill temporary specialty occupation needs in our workforce, making companies more competitive, boosting economic growth, and creating jobs. However, artificial limits established more than a generation ago are again hobbling the economic potential of this great nation. The avalanche of petitions for H-1B visas mean that USCIS will once again randomly determine which of those petitions will actually be considered for one of the 85,000 available visas. Each petition not selected is a business need unfulfilled and a growth opportunity that is delayed or thwarted.
“Why do we continue to artificially limit this program? In a reasonable system, market demand should factor into how many business visas are granted, and indeed, demand for H-1B visas slowed when the economy took a downturn. But each year that we cap these visas when demand outweighs supply, all we’re doing is creating obstacles to economic growth. We’re losing out on shared prosperity for no good reason.
“The United States is one of the most important economies in the world, but its full potential is going unrealized. We live in a wireless world, but our visa system is a relic from the days of the dial-up modem. It’s long past time for Congress to lead on this issue and reform the H-1B program in a way that addresses the needs of American businesses, U.S. workers and our economy. Congress must bring our immigration system out of the last century and into this one.”