Apr 14, 2015 - 11:45am

This Chart Shows the Record Demand for H-1B Visas

Senior Editor, Digital Content

Not only did the demand for H-1B visas outstrip supply this year, but did so by a record amount:

Applications for H-1B visas allowing U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers in science, engineering and computer programming totaled a record 233,000 for fiscal 2016, according to government figures released on Monday.

A maximum of 85,000 of the work visas, including 20,000 for holders of master's degrees, are available each year under limits set by Congress, despite years of heavy lobbying by tech companies to raise the cap.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday used a computer-generated lottery process to dole out the visas, and will start processing them by May 11, the agency said on its website.

Demand for higher-skilled workers has been on the rise. For fiscal 2014, 124,000 applications were filed, and fiscal 2015 had 172,500 applications. All the while, the H-1B cap has stayed at 85,000 (20,000 for graduate degree holders).

As a result, the chance of getting a visa has fallen nearly in half, from 69% to 36%.

This inability for companies to get the talent they need is hurting U.S. workers. Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih, and Chad Sparber found that  over 200,000 tech jobs for native workers haven’t been created because there aren’t enough H-1B visas available.

American companies need higher-skilled workers. Congress must pass the bipartisan Immigration Innovation (I-Squared) Act.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.