Surprise! There’s hope for meaningful H-1B reform

February 17, 2017 brianradio2016

If you thought the backlash on immigration was powerful, wait until you see the reaction to H-1B reform.

The H-1B visa was originally designed to give companies—especially tech companies—a way to hire highly skilled foreign workers. Each year, 65,000 H-1Bs are issued, and U.S. companies strongly favor raising that cap. According to a Harris Poll, 75 percent of employers surveyed late last year said increasing the cap for H-1Bs is very or extremely important for the United States. Fifty-five percent of those companies said they plan to hire foreign workers in 2017. 

“The continued ability of employers to acquire and develop global talent is vital and plays a crucial role in helping our country remain competitive in today’s economy,” said Dick Burke, president and CEO of immigration law firm Envoy.

Others argue the H-1B cap needs to be raised because there is a shortage of American workers qualified to fill STEM jobs. GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving this month issued a strongly worded warning against “clamping down on H-1B ‘genius’ visas” when there is “so much technical illiteracy in the U.S.” In his blog, Irving quotes theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, who said, “If you remove the H-1B visa, you collapse the [U.S.] economy. There are no Americans to take these jobs. These visas aren’t taking away jobs, they are creating industries.”