And that’s hardly a surprise– there are hundreds of foreign based multinational companies operating in our region including Embraer, Telefonica, Bacardi and Komatsu.
The primary mechanism by which foreign workers are hired by these companies is through the H-1B temporary visas. These visas are typically the only practical way for a skilled foreign national to work long-term in the United States.
That’s why I was disappointed to learn that companies in Florida–or anywhere in the U.S.– won’t be able to hire anyone on a new H-1B visa until April, 2013.
This is because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services just announced that it reached the statutory cap for Hi-B visas for the current fiscal year.
While it will still be possible for those already in H-1B status to change jobs to another employer or for someone to obtain a new H-1B visa to work at a university or nonprofit research institute (and other limited exceptions) all new H1-B applications will be rejected for the next 15 months.
The moratorium on issuing H1-B visas could not have come at a worse time. America is struggling to get back on its feet after suffering through the most severe fiscal crisis since the Great Depression.
Eliminating multinational companies from hiring highly skilled labor will only make the U.S. less competitive and prolong an already glacially paced recovery.
As one Forbes Capital Flows commenter noted in the article H1-B Visa Quotas Greatly Restrain Small Business Expansion:
Global competition requires access to the world’s best talent. Yet during this same period, Congress has allowed the H-1B quota for high-skilled workers to drop in half—from 195,000 in 2001 to 85,000 today. In 2006, the quota was tapped in less than two months. In 2008, it vanished in less than a day—nearly 125,000 applications were received in just two days.
The article further notes that:
A 2009 National Foundation for American Policy study found that every H-1B request is correlated with five new jobs at major firms and more than seven jobs at firms with less than 5,000 employees. H-1B restrictions slow this expansion and hurt economic growth.
As the article makes clear, immigration quotas and restrictions are fundamentally unfair and stand in the way of America’s future prosperity.
The only fair thing to do is to abolish the H-1B quota.
Doing so would benefit all Americans and result increased innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation.
What do you think?