Category: H-1B


Why Inadequate Immigration Policy Costs Our Economy One Job Every 43 Seconds

April 22nd, 2014 — 8:57am

April 1 marked the start of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ annual acceptance period for new H-1B visa petitions.

These special visas allow American companies to create new jobs for highly educated foreigners.

This program accounts for nearly all of America’s skilled immigration, yet there is an annual cap of 85,000 imposed on new visas: 65,000 are reserved for applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree, and 20,000 for those with at least a master’s degree.

 The outdated annual caps on H-1B visas are always quickly reached. In 2013, the government received around 124,000 applications in just four days — and then abruptly stopped accepting applications on April 5. During the first week of April 2014 USCIS received 172,500 petitions. The Congressional cap is continuing to prove harmful to the nation’s recovering economy.

 Statistically, foreign workers make up about 20% of today’s U.S. STEM workers with bachelor’s degrees and 40% of those with advanced degrees. Since 1995, roughly one-quarter of high-tech firms established in the U.S. have had at least one foreign-born founder. Today, these companies employ 450,000 people and generate more than $50 billion in sales.

 The cost of jobs lost is much larger than subtracting the 85,000 visas allowed from the overall number of petitions filed. Starting with the estimated 100,000 jobs lost directly this year from H-1B visa applications that weren’t filed or not approved beyond the current 85,000 cap. Then, add 400,000, a ballpark estimate from research of additional jobs not created at companies that hire immigrants and at these companies’ suppliers.

We’re now looking at 500,000 jobs lost thanks to restrictive U.S. immigration policy. Spread across 50, five-day workweeks, this translates into 2,000 U.S. jobs not created per day, meaning a new job is lost every 43 seconds.

Clearly, restrictive immigration policy has a real, tangible cost to the U.S. economy. More broadly, the cost is a little greater — forgone ideas, innovation and connections to the world.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more. 

Comment » | H-1B, Immigration reform

How Inadequate Immigration Policy Is Hurting Our Economy

April 15th, 2014 — 8:37am

Left to their devices, several of the nation’s top political pundits would have the world believing that immigrants come to America with the primary goal of pushing existing workers out of the job market. Not only does this rhetoric breed prejudice, it’s also categorically untrue.

According to the job loss calculator from Compete America, an association of high-tech companies advocating for immigration reform, 500,000 new U.S. jobs could have been created in the past year if it wasn’t for outdated H-1B visa restrictions. The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. And foreign-born students are earning degrees in STEM fields at a rate that far outpaces their American counterparts.

Compete America also highlights how immigrants really affect the job market — they grow the economy, drive cutting-edge innovation and create more jobs for everyone. Research from the National Foundation for American Policy states that for every H-1B worker hired in small- to mid-sized technology companies, 7.5 jobs are created.

Except for a few years of temporary increases, the cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers with bachelor’s degrees has been set at 65,000 per year and 20,000 for U.S. advanced degree holders. Because demand has constantly exceeded supply, the cap is reached quickly every year. Last week, during the annual filing window, USCIS received 172,500 H-1B petitions. Like the other components of our immigration system, the insufficient number of H1-B visas demonstrates how deeply flawed our current immigrations system is. Our current approach isn’t flexible enough to keep pace with our ever-changing economy — a reality that threatens to hamper America’s admirable economic progress.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more. 

Comment » | H-1B, Immigration reform

The Real Immigration Problem in the U.S.

December 9th, 2012 — 1:07pm

Photo by: takomabibelot | Flickr.com

The United States is letting one of its most valuable resources slip through its borders: highly skilled immigrants. And rather than fighting to hold on to the people who could help turn the economy around, the current trend in immigration policy is rather misguided.

While undocumented immigration has long been a contentious issue in the United States, not enough attention is paid to business immigration. And business immigration could be the key to turning the U.S. economy around.

In recent years, more and more Indian and Chinese students have been coming to the U.S. to pursue higher education. But rather than staying to join the workforce in the U.S., they are then returning home to seek employment. And, following suit, the number of high-tech startups started by immigrants to Silicon Valley from those countries has dropped by 8% over the past seven years. That represents a significant loss of capital and opportunity that is only compounded by the fact that these skilled individuals are taking their ideas overseas.

And the ingenuity that immigrants bring to the nation is undeniable. A study by researcher Vivek Wadhwa, author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, found that 25% of U.S. all patent applications filed in 2006 listed foreign nationals living in the U.S. as inventors or co-inventors. In addition, a quarter of American science and technology companies founded between 1995 and 2005, which employed 450,000 employees, had a foreign-born lead technologist or chief economist.

Another study, Then and Now: America’s New Entrepreneurs, Part VII, co-authored by Vivek Wadhwa, Francis Daniel Siciliano II, and AnnaLee Saxinean concludes that the period of unprecedented expansion of immigrant-led entrepreneurship that characterized the 1980s and 1990s has come to a close. Today, the growth rate of immigrant-founded companies nationwide, at 24.3 percent, has plateaued. In the high-tech hub of Silicon Valley, the proportion of immigrant-founded companies has dropped from 52.4 percent during 1995-2005 to 43.9 percent during 2006-2012.

Immigrant founders of engineering and technology companies have employed roughly 560,000 workers and generated an estimated $63 billion dollars in sales during this time. While the rate of growth of immigrant entrepreneurship has stagnated, these numbers nonetheless underscore the continuing importance of high-skilled immigrants to the maintenance and expansion of the national economy. These findings are interestingly complex, since the two major skilled-immigrant groups — Indian and Chinese — are starting companies at higher rates than they did previously. Historically and today, the United States continues to benefit directly from the contributions of such immigrants. Far from expendable, high-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

A copy of this paper can be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2159875

 

What is the Solution?

An article by Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek has a few creative suggestions. First, he proposes the U.S. remove its current caps on H-1B visas. These 85,000 visas, which are released on a first-come, first-served basis at the beginning of April every year, allow American companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, including fields such as engineering and mathematics, without granting them the status of a legal immigrant.

He also finds fault in the EB-5 program, which was instituted in 1990 and gives visas to those who invest at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs. The specifics of the program led to only 3,127 people (just under 23% of all applicants) being approved in the first 10 years of its implementation.

As far as new legislation on immigration goes, Kenny is in support of passing the DREAM Act and the Schumer-Lee Bill, which would grant residency to anyone spending over $500,000 on a house, as well as giving green cards to graduate students in U.S. universities.

All in all, the U.S. needs to do something to fix its current problem with immigration. And the solution is not to keep all immigrants out—it is to strategically let them in. For more information on business immigration law, consult Zulkie Partners LLC.

http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/78202-why-more-immigration-not-less-is-key-to-u-dot-s-dot-economic-growth

Comment » | H-1B, Immigration reform

H-1B Cap Reached

June 22nd, 2012 — 10:13am

On June 11, 2012, USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the statutory H-1B cap for FY 2013. On June 7, 2012, it received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will now reject petitions subject to the cap for H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2013. Employers wishing to hire first-time, cap subject H-1B workers will have to wait until April 1, 2013 to file their cases for work that will begin no earlier than October 1, 2013, the first day of FY 2014. USCIS continues to accept petitions exempted from the cap and DOD cooperative research worker H-1B petitions as well as Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, H-1B

New Study Finds Dramatically Increased Rates of Denials and Requests for Evidence for H-1B Professionals, L-1 Intracompany Transferees, and O-1 Extraordinary Ability Nonimmigrants

February 24th, 2012 — 6:00pm

With its analysis of new data from the government, the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) makes crystal clear:  Over the past four years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has dramatically increased its denials of L-1 and H-1B petitions and much of the increase in denials involves Indian-born professionals and researchers. NFAP also reports a dramatic increase in denials of O-1 “extraordinary ability” petitions, and an across-the-board increase in requests for additional evidence (RFEs) for all of these categories. The data suggests that USCIS has changed the standards for these petitions, beginning in 2008–09, despite no change in the law or relevant regulations and, as a result, has demonstrated its capacity to keep skilled foreign nationals out of the United States. Here are some of the statistics from the report:

  • Denial rates for L-1B “specialized knowledge” petitions rose from 7 percent in FY07 to 27 percent in FY11. In FY11, 63 percent of L-1B petitions were delayed due to RFEs; in FY04, only 2 percent received RFEs.
  • Denial rates for L-1A executives and managers petitions increased from 8 percent in FY07 to 14 percent in FY11. RFEs increased from 4 percent in FY04 to 51 percent in FY11.
  • Denial rates for H-1B petitions increased from 11 percent in FY07 to 17 percent in FY11. (In FY09, the denial rate was 29 percent.) RFEs rose from 4 percent in FY04 to 26 percent by FY11.  (In FY09, the RFE rate was 35 percent.)
  • Denial rates for O-1A extraordinary ability petitions rose from 4 percent in FY08 to 8 percent in FY11. For O-1As, RFEs increased from 1 percent in FY04 to 27 percent in FY11,
  • Country-specific data on new (initial) L-1B petitions indicate USCIS is more likely to deny a petition from an Indian-born professional than from a national of another country. The denial rate for Indian-born applicants for new L-1B petitions rose from 2.8 percent FY08 to 13.4 percent in FY11. (In FY09, the rate was 22.5 percent.)  The drop in FY11 Indian denials can be attributed to a 40 percent decline in the number of receipts for new L-1B petitions for Indian professionals between FY10 and FY11.

Employers already are selective about who they sponsor and thus petition for those who they believe meet the standard for approval. They complain, rightly so, that the time lost due to the increase in denials and RFEs are costing them millions of dollars in project delays and contract penalties, while aiding competitors that operate exclusively outside the United States. Denying these businesses the ability to transfer these key personnel harms innovation and job creation in the U.S. and encourages employers to keep more resources outside the country to ensure predictability.

As noted by NFAP, the dramatic increase in denial and RFE rates for employment petitions raises serious questions about the training, supervision, and procedures of adjudicators and of the government’s commitment to maintaining a stable business climate for companies competing in the global economy.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, H-1B, L-1

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