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High-skilled workers seek H-1B work visas

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Many students come to the U.S. with high hopes of graduating from college and receiving a work visa. However, due to annual caps -- even those high-skilled workers -- find it difficult to be able to receive their visas.

When looking at what the issue is, many international students are finding it harder and harder to stay in the U.S. after graduation due to the demand for visas being greater than the supply.

One student from Nigeria recently shared his story. The 38-year-old came to the U.S. more than eight years ago. On a scholarship he earned a master's degree and a doctorate. His doctorate is in chemical and biochemical engineering. This high-skilled degree gives him an advantage as it is one of the areas in the U.S. that has been identified as a critical need.

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2018 there could be a 230,000 shortfall of students earning advanced degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

However, due to the visa demand outweighing the supply, this student has had a hard time getting an H-1Bs, which is a visa for highly-skilled workers.

Another issue that many of these types of former students face is that in order to get a green card, which workers with H-1B visas can apply for, they need to find an employer to sponsor them. Due to the added expense for companies, and the fact that the process can take several years, many companies chose to hire those who already have their green cards.

Demand, high costs and the fact that there is a cut off for each country to be awarded no more than 7 percent of the available green cards in the U.S., lead to many highly-skilled workers worrying about whether or not they will be forced to leave the country after graduation.

This is certainly an issue that hurts not only these international students, but also the U.S.

Looking to 2013, President Barack Obama and other leaders in congress have vowed that this year immigration policy will be addressed, which could mean big changes to students and high-skilled workers.

Source: USA Today, "Visa cap cuts off immigrants with advanced degrees," Jens Manuel Krogstad, Jan. 9, 2013

  • Our firm handles all types of immigration issues, including those seeking permanent residency through employment. To learn more, visit our employment-based green cards page.

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