NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Effects Of Quota On Hi-Tech Foreign Workers

April 20, 2000

The cap on the number of foreign workers with high technology skills who can receive H-1B visas threatens American prosperity and economic growth, warns the Employment Policy Foundation.

  • The current H-1B quota of 115,000 was reached in the middle of March -- less than halfway through this fiscal year.
  • Under current law the H-1B quota is scheduled to fall to 107,500 in 2001 and revert to 65,000 in 2002.
  • H-1B user companies submitted an average of 84 applications for H-1B visas in 1999, and hired an average of 48 new H-1B workers.
  • If there had been no cap, 62 percent of companies using H-1B workers would have hired an average of 13 more workers.

A recent EPF survey on companies using H-1B workers found that over one-third of companies would outsource jobs overseas if qualified workers are not available.

The Computing Technology Industry Association, a trade group, says that nearly 269,000 IT jobs are going unfilled already costing U.S. businesses $4.5 billion in lost productivity.

Universities and research institutions have also reported a shortage of qualified workers. Academia relies on the H-1B program to ensure that top scientists and experts in a range of academic fields are able to work in the U.S. Some estimate that 60 percent of H-1B visa applications for academics were denied last year due to quota limits.

Source: Krishna Kundu, "The H-1B Cap Will Move Jobs Overseas," Survey Findings, April 12, 2000, Employment Policy Foundation, 1015 Fifteenth Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 789-8685.


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