On the first business day in April, the U.S. opened the rounds of petitions for highly-skilled foreign born workers to obtain an HB-1 visa for 2013. Only 85,000 of these are awarded each year, and the cap was reached Monday, leaving some to insist that Congress take action to raise the cap.
The tech industry often depends on foreign-born workers, but there are other options for this industry to get the workers needed. An immigration attorney can offer alternatives to an HB-1 visa, such as a green card or other temporary work visa.
In an election year, it is unlikely that the tech industry or others that depend on skilled immigrant workers will get Congress to lift the cap, especially considering the country’s unemployment rate.
Expansion of the green card program could offer a viable solution. A green card allows a person to work and live in the U.S. on a permanent basis, but there is also an annual cap place on green cards as well. An immigration lawyer can inform you of when applications must be submitted and whether you qualify.
On a positive note, reaching the cap quickly means the economy is improving. In previous years, since the great recession began, it took longer for the HB-1 cap to be met. In 2009, it took eight months to reach the cap.
The visa and immigration process is complicated, there are a variety of visas available but in order to know which one you qualify for, you should consult with an immigration attorney to outline your options.