Foreign workers fill a critical need in the U.S. labor market—particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals submit their petitions for the pool of H-1B visa numbers for which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) controls the allocation. 1 With a low statutory limit of visa numbers available, demand for H-1B visa numbers has outstripped the supply in recent years, and the cap has been reached quickly. Research shows that H-1B workers complement U.S. workers, fill employment gaps in many STEM occupations, and expand job opportunities for all. This fact sheet provides an overview of the H-1B visa category and petition process, addresses the myths perpetuated about the H-1B visa category, and highlights the key contributions H-1B workers make to the U.S. economy.
Highlights of the study include:
- Research indicates that an increase in H-1B visas could create an estimated 1.3million new jobs and add around $158 billion to gross domestic product in the United States by 2045.
- Conversely, research shows that the United States has missed out on the opportunity to create new jobs by limiting the number of H-1B visas to 65,000 per year. For example, estimates show that, had the U.S. government not rejected 178,000 H-1B visa petitions in computer-related fields in the 2007 and 2008 visa lotteries, U.S. metropolitan areas could have created as many as 231,224 tech jobs for U.S.-born workers in the two years that followed.
- One study found that U.S.-based multinational corporations responded to restrictions on H-1B visas (such as rising denial rates) by increasing employment at their existing foreign affiliates and by opening new foreign affiliates—particularly in India, China, and Canada.
- Nearly two-thirds of requests for H-1B workers are for STEM occupations. There is also high demand for workers in healthcare, business, finance, and life sciences industries.
- From FY2010 to FY2016, the largest numbers of H-1Brecipients were in the NewYork City metropolitan area (247,900 H-1B visa petition approvals, or 29 percent of all H-1B visa petition approvals in the country); followed by Dallas (74,000); Washington, DC (64,800); and Boston (38,300).
Click here for access to the full report.