H-1B Visas: The Bottleneck Stalling the Global Flow of Skilled Talent

The United States, known around the world for its commitment to market economics, has become a major bottleneck in the global ow of talent. The problem: a non-immigrant visa program that has been swamped by applicants and is under erce attack by contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

Currently the US has 65,000 H-1B visas a year for non-immigrant workers. The first 20,000 advanced degree graduates that le each year are exempt from that cap, as are people who work at non-prot institutions, such as universities. Candidates do not le for themselves; their companies le on their behalf. The visa enables non-immigrant workers to stay three years in the US, and that period may be extended to up to six years. At the same time, H-1B workers may also apply for a green card if they marry a US citizen, have a child in the US, or otherwise qualify for immigrant status. Additionally, foreign students in the US on F-1 visas are allowed to work 12 months after graduation; and STEM graduates may have a total of 24 months of training and employment in the US.

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