STEM Demand Exceeds Supply of Visas

An American Flag, Immigration Lawyer

Job openings in science and technology exceed the number of qualified domestic applicants and the number of H1B visas available. It is a problem that restrains American businesses from innovating and creating a 21st century economy.

STEM Graduates Declining in America

In 1985, 74% of American college graduates earned degrees in STEM fields. By 2006, that number had declined to 54%. As just one example of the problem, US schools bestow 52,000 bachelor’s degrees each year in computer science. However, the demand is more than 122,000. This is creating a significant disparity between the number of jobs businesses have, versus the number of people they have to fill these positions.

Caps Restrain Growth & Salaries

The number of H1B visas is capped at 85,000 per year. This means that American companies simply can’t hire qualified applicants. This makes them less competitive than their foreign counterparts who aren’t constrained by visa caps and bureaucratic red tape.

It is estimated that these caps cost the American economy more than $3 billion a year in aggregate earnings. Studies conducted in more than 200 metropolitan areas have shown that these losses have slowed economic growth and development in other sectors of the domestic economy. This is making it harder for communities to develop the strong and diverse economies they need to flourish within the increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Moreover, H1B visa caps restrict salary growth. From 2009-10, salaries for US workers in computer-related positions rose 1.7%. Economists estimate that without lotteries and caps, their salaries could have increased by as much as 4.9%.

Every 2016 American Nobel Laureates is an Immigrant

Chicago immigration lawyers are well aware that H1B visas have made it possible for American businesses and universities to bring some truly talented minds into the country. Each of the 2016 Nobel laureates are immigrants.

They include Sir J. Fraser Stoddart who was nominated for his work in chemistry and Duncan Haldane whose work at Princeton earned him the award in physics. Oliver Hart from Harvard and Bengt Holmstrom from MIT each earned awards for their work in economics.

The fact is that the American scientific community has benefited considerably due to the brilliant thoughts, ideas, and innovations that come from the talented minds of immigrants. It is facts like these that are leading many in Washington to consider raising the caps on H1B visas offered each year.