H-1B Visa Applications Start Today, But Reforms Desperately Needed

Washington, D.C., April 2, 2012 — Today the government will begin accepting applications for the H-1B visa, a highly coveted but overly regulated work visa for highly skilled workers.  Reforming the H-1B’s restrictions is desperately needed, say  Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier, Policy Analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a public policy nonprofit.

As Nowrasteh describes in the CEI report, H-1B Visas: A Case for Open Immigration of Highly Skilled Workers, the U.S. should allow foreign skilled workers to move here without restrictions.

“People are the ultimate source of economic growth,” said Nowrasteh. “Under current policy, firms have to pay thousands of dollars, endure high lawyer fees, and navigate a maze-like bureaucracy to get the skills they demand – and then they are often thwarted by a cap. The United States should remove the cap, lower the fees, deregulate the H-1B, and allow skilled foreigners to move here. The immigration laws are like the tax code: they make Americans poorer, less competitive, and unproductive.”

“Many high-skilled foreign workers directly create jobs for Americans,” added Bier. “Skilled immigrants complement and rarely compete against other skilled Americans.  Complementary synergy leads to more productive work environments, greater profits, and more opportunities for Americans up and down the chain of production.

“Last year, H-1B visa applications filled the quota in about 8 months,” Bier continued.  “The improving economy will make the current quota even more inadequate.  Before U.S. employers reach the cap again, Congress should eliminate it.”   

Interview Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier

► View the CEI report, H-1B Visas: A Case for Open Immigration of Highly Skilled Workers