US government is urged to increase the annual cap for H1-B visas

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A recent report released by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program recommends that the United States should increase the cap on H-1B visas. Such a move will allow US employers to hire highly-skilled foreign nationals for a lot of positions hard to fill. The current limit for graduate-level H-1B visas in only 65 000 per year. The H1-B visa is usually issued to high-qualified foreign citizens who work in areas in which a labour shortage exists, such as computer science and engineering.

In addition to that, there are 20 000 H1-B visas available for a master or doctoral graduates, who have studied in the USA. The employer demand for people with H1-B visas changes according to the economic conditions in the country. Every year there is more demand than supply of H-1B visa workers. The only exception is the period between 2001 and 2003 when the annual cap was raised from 65 000 to 195 000. During the last year, for example, there were more than 300 000 H1-B visa request made by US employers.

This year the immigration authorities announced that the limit for H1-B visas is met on 11th June. Furthermore, the additional cap for people with an advanced degree has been met on 7th June.

According to Neil Ruiz who is a senior analyst at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program the government should be more flexible when it comes to the H-1B visa demand. The United States urgently needs more graduates from fields such as natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The reason for this is that there are not enough US students enrolled in those fields. Nearly 65% of all H1-B visas are granted to people who have graduated from STEM fields.

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