Skilled Worker Immigration: The Need for More H-1B Visas

You can’t underestimate the impact talent brings an economy. Both homebred and international talent is critical to retaining the highest level of competitiveness for both Greater Boston, and the nation as a whole.

It’s for this reason the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce recently formed “Business for Skilled Worker Immigration,” a coalition of 25 Chambers of Commerce from across the U.S. bringing change to a major nationwide business issue: restricted access to top international talent.

One core proposal from the coalition will be the recommendation to increase the availability of temporary, skilled foreign worker (H-1B) visas. Current immigration laws place serious restraints on the number of these visas issued – falling well below the rate employers are demanding to retain adequate and competitive talent levels.

How do H1-B visa hold the keys to more innovation, more jobs, and a stronger economy? Some facts:

  • For every H-1B position requested, U.S technology companies increase their employment by five workers (National Foundation for American Policy). Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates found the company added four additional employees to support every H-1B visa hire.
  • Over the last decade the federal government has distributed about $1 billion from H1-B visa fees to fund programs to address skills shortages in the U.S. workforce. (Brookings Institute)
  • When adjusted for age, H1-B professionals in key fields earn generally the same or more than their U.S. counterparts. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)
  • Employers endure significant uncertainty, time, and expense (government and legal costs) in hiring skilled nationals, indicating that hiring the best candidate for the job, whether U.S.-born or foreign-born, is the primary consideration for employers. (National Foundation for American Policy)

The Coalition will work to bring positive change to this area – and ensure the world’s top talent comes to Greater Boston and beyond. For more information on the Coalition, please click here.