NAFSA Issues Statement on H-1B Visas; Calls on Congress to Act

March 31, 2009

By Jordan Wait

With the H-1B visa filing period for fiscal year 2010 beginning tomorrow, we can expect a lot of discussion about the role of international talent and foreign skilled workers in supporting economic growth and innovation for the United States. This discussion is rightly focused on today’s reality of a global economy and global job market in which talent is both scarce and highly mobile

Today, NAFSA released a statement urging Congress to “enact comprehensive immigration reform. Such reform should include the removal or adjustment of unrealistic caps on temporary and permanent employment-based visa categories, which include H-1B visas and green cards.”

The fact is that some of our country’s greatest innovation success stories, from eBay to Google, were led by skilled immigrants. The foreign students and scholars who graduate from our universities are a key part of the pipeline of talent that fuels our economy, and giving them opportunities to put their skills and knowledge to use in our companies is a win for America.

In a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post, researcher and former technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa argues that “when smart young foreigners leave these shores, they take with them the seeds of tomorrow's innovation.” Addressing limits on employment-based visas is critical to our ability to remain competitive for the best and brightest from around the world.


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