US and Canadian Immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: This piece in the Economic Times caught my eye:
President Barack Obama has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will look into India’s concerns on the H-1B visa issue as part of his comprehensive immigration reform, US officials said today.
Obama told Prime Minister Modi that his administration would be in touch with the Indian government on issues related to H-1B visas, popular among Indian techies.
There is a need for the U.S. government to reform the H-1B visa process. It not only needs to be simplified, but the number of people who receive an H-1B needs to be increased.
Currently, H-1B visas are available for 65,000 people holding bachelor’s degree, and 20,000 holding master’s degrees, worldwide. Each year in April, there is a scramble for these limited number of visas as well over 85,000 people apply. The result each year is a visa lottery for this coveted visa, and disappointment for the many people seeking high-level work in the United States.
This doesn’t tie in with the low skilled worker discussions currently in play, as the visa is only open to those with at least a bachelor’s degree who will be working in a specialized, mainly technical area. As well, a person with a bachelor of arts doesn’t qualify, but people with an engineering, computer, or finance degree do.
In the past, there has been talk about raising the quota for the H-1B, but nothing concrete has been done. The Indian initiative is welcome and timely.
Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with immigration law firm Pace Immigration. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.