Fascinating Reading on Immigration

There are always numerous studies and articles that provide fascinating insights into immigration. However, one that may be particularly interesting to our audience was published just in June 2014 by The Partnership for a New American Economy. The Partnership states that it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support sensible immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today.” Their study titled “Closing Economic Windows: How H-1B Visa Denials Cost US-Born Tech Workers Jobs and Wages During the Great Recession” makes several key findings, inter alia:
*The high number of H-1B visa applications that were eliminated in the 2007-2008 visa lotteries represented a major lost opportunity for US-born workers and the American economy overall;
*The US tech industry would have grown substantially faster in the years immediately after the recession if not for the large number of visas that didn’t make it through the 2007 and 2008 visa lotteries;
* U.S. Born workers without bachelor’s degrees were disproportionately hurt by the H-1B visa lotteries in 2007-2008;

In contradiction of oft-repeated anti-immigration rhetoric, the report goes on to state that “Contrary to what some believe, high-skilled immigrants don’t displace U.S.-born workers in computer fields. Instead, their presence spurs growth and creates more jobs -and higher wages -for native-born workers in the local tech industry.”

It’s a fascinating analysis that provides a lot of food for thought. You may want to consider on your summer reading list. Read it in full at:

Partnership for a New American Economy – H-1B Report

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A Recap of Spring Immigration News – Employment

H-1B CAP REACHED IN FIRST WEEK

Once again this year, the supply of H-1B visa numbers was severely unable to meet demand. The US Immigration Service (“USCIS”) received a total of 172,500 petitions to fill the cap of 85,000 H-1B visa numbers. USCIS returned cases that were not selected in the quota by June. Processing on “selected” cases will continue, likely through September, for non-expedited (premium processed) cases.

If you or your employee were not selected in this year’s very limited quota, we would be happy to consult with you about whether there are other options. Our office particularly has done some challenging O-1 petitions with great success, and this category has no quota. Likewise, there are creative options if your company has offices overseas wherein the foreign national could be placed for a year, the employee has a spouse in valid US immigration status for which they could gain “derivative” status, or they are willing to consider going back to school.

POTENTIAL LEGISLATION WOULD GRANT WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR SOME H-1B SPOUSES

While it’s a change that would have limited applicability, the USCIS proposed rule of 5/12/2014 on employment authorization for the spouses of some H-1B workers is still very good news.

Spouses of H-1B visa holders in H-4 status have never before been granted the ability to work, unless or until a supplemental work permit was granted as part of the final green card application (“Adjustment of Status” or “I-485”). Because of long-standing visa backlogs (most notably affecting professional workers from India and China), this has meant that spouses in H-4 status, even themselves often degreed professionals, had to put their careers on hold for several years. The proposed rule would allow H-4 spouses to work at an earlier point in the process. The bad news is that it’s not “very” early in the process, and thus it applies to only a small group of H-4 spouses. Nonetheless, any expansion of work permission is welcome news to clients who have long been negatively impacted by this employment restriction.

Likewise greatly beneficial, for US companies this expansion of work permission to H-4 spouses would open up a sizeable pool of new employees. Many companies that were shut out of hiring due to the H-1B shortages in recent years may in fact find this pool of H-4’s to provide a welcome source of highly skilled employees.