On April 10, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it had completed the process of random selection of sufficient H-1B specialized knowledge work visa petitions for professionals to exhaust the 85,000 cap.
For the seventh year in a row, the demand for visas far outstripped supply, with petitions for over 201,000 positions received within five days of the start of the filing period on April 1st, up from the more than 190,000 visas requested last year.
The current cap of 65,000 bachelors degree level and 20,000 masters degree level H-1B visas is clearly inadequate. The over 116,000 positions that were not selected in the lottery represent talent that U.S. companies were counting on to succeed.
It is past time that Congress acted to remove or substantially raise the H-1B cap. Until a law change in 1990, there was no cap, and the number of H-1B visas rose and fell with the market. H-1Bs reflect the economy, and demand for them dropped in response to the 2007 recession. The market, not a cap, is the best regulator of the number of H-1B visas to be issued.
In the current economy, with employers scrambling to find the talent they need due to persistent low unemployment is low, the H-1B cap is an anachronism that hinders economic growth.