The most recent unemployment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that while unemployment remains steady at 7.6 percent, there continues to be a shortage of skilled labor. According to BLS data, those that have a bachelor’s degree or higher have a 76 percent participation in the work force with an unemployment rate of just 3.8 percent. Job creation is extremely strong for these workers who have a higher degree.
This is further evidenced by the fact that H-1B visa applications filled up in just five days this year. Employers apply for these visas to sponsor high-skilled temporary workers. In fact, every year since 2003, despite the economic downturn, H-1B visa applications have far exceeded the government’s limit. This means that the demand for skilled workers is so high that companies are looking outside the U.S. to fill this shortage.
As comprehensive immigration reform moves through the process of congressional approval, expanding the H-1B visa cap makes economic sense. Easing the restrictions on foreign-born skilled workers will lead to job creation and overall economic growth for the entire nation. Two leading business organizations agree. In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, Long Island Association (LIA) and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) urged congressional members to ensure that highly skilled immigrants are able to legally enter the U.S., stay here and help drive the country’s innovation economy.