New Program Aimed at Slowing U.S.’s Brain Drain

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 Some believe the United States isn’t gaining enough brains to stay competitive.

In the United States, the H1B visa allowed U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, as defined by the regulations. At the beginning of each fiscal year in October, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins making visas available, though it starts accepting applications from employers six months prior.

There are only 85,000 ‘cap-subject’ H1B visas available each fiscal year (though there are ‘cap-exempt’ visas available for those working at universities or nonprofit research facilities, for example). Visas are given on a first-come, first-served basis. As of Sept. 23, about 54,000 applications for H1B visas had already been filed. Typically, these visas get scooped up fast. In years past, it was a matter of two months before the cap was reached.

Each year, many American employers, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, lobby Congress to lift the H1B cap, stating that it is too restrictive and companies cannot hire the workers they need. Read more here.