This year, all H1-B visa quotas were filled in less than a week, with more applicants than ever before. The 2012 round had about 123,000 applicants, and this year that number jumped to about 172,500. Meanwhile, the cap remained steady, at 85,000.
“As the economy improves there will be a greater number of applicants,” said the lawyer, who is chairman of the executive board of global immigration law firm Fragomen. “Unless congress amends the law, there will be an ever-shrinking opportunity as more and more petitioners compete.”
Therefore, the most effective move an employer could make is to lobby politicians for change.
“They should, among other things, first and foremost get involved in employer organizations that have active immigration programs and are out there supporting an increase in the cap,” Fragomen said. “In other words, they should start joining other companies in lobbying efforts, because without more numbers there aren’t good alternatives.”
However, even if the general population pushed hard for reform this year, it’s unlikely that change will occur before next year’s round of petitions. While both parties support an extended H1-B cap, the overall immigration reform that encompasses high-skilled visas is more controversial.
“Congress could theoretically pass a bill that would be effective on numbers for next year; it’s possible,” said Fragomen. “But is it probable? No.”
Disclaimer: Fragomen is an advertiser with HRM America's Australian partner publication.
Unless the federal government passes immigration reform, H1-B visas are only going to be harder and harder to get, immigration lawyer Austin Fragomen has warned. That’s part of the reason employers need to lobby the government for reform if they want access to a wider range of talent, he says.