H-1B Visa Limit Shows Urgent Need for Immigration Reform

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015, 3:00pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association

When it comes to America’s high-skilled immigration system, demand for talent far exceeds supply.

That unfortunate fact will be reinforced this week as the U.S. government begins accepting applications from employers for H-1B visas for highly educated workers who are needed to fill open jobs in the U.S.

Since U.S. businesses demand far more skilled workers than are provided by U.S. citizens or permanent residents, we need to fill this gap with highly educated immigrant workers, many of whom have been educated in America’s colleges and universities. Since this demand for immigrant workers exceeds the current statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B visas (plus an additional 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities), the limit likely will be reached in a matter of days.


For years, SIA has advocated for reforming our high-skilled immigration system so the best and brightest minds from around the world can stay in the U.S., create jobs, spur innovation and drive economic growth. Many of America’s most innovative companies – including several SIA members – were founded and led by immigrants. Unfortunately, the overall immigration reform debate in Washington has been deadlocked for years, effectively blocking high-skilled immigration reform and inhibiting growth in the U.S. semiconductor industry.

Part of the reason for the immigration stalemate in Washington is that too often the facts get lost in the rhetoric. SIA and a group of 18 other industry leaders recently developed a document titled Debunking the Myth that Immigration Harms America to set the record straight on immigration. Among the document’s key points: a study by the American Enterprise Institute found that for every approved H-1B immigrant worker, nearly two additional jobs are created for U.S.-born workers.

Economists, researchers, and experts at top universities – as well as the majority of Americans – overwhelmingly agree that legal immigration boosts America’s economic strength and global competitiveness. Some policymakers have taken steps to advance high-skilled immigration reform, including the introduction of Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) I-Squared Act (S.153), but legislation has not yet been considered in this Congress.

SIA strongly urges Congress to work with the White House to enact meaningful immigration reform legislation in short order. Doing so will boost U.S. competitiveness, spur innovation and grow our economy.