Help Wanted: Foreign Professionals Back In Demand
Perhaps as a sign of the recovering economy, more U.S. employers are again looking to add highly educated, professional foreign workers to their payrolls.
Just four years ago, companies seeking to hire knowledgeable information technology workers from overseas reached the hiring cap the first day the government began taking H-1B visa applications.
Then the economic recession changed things drastically.
“Back in 2007, 2008, 2009, the numbers filled up very quickly,” said Tim Counts, spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security Department’s immigration benefits branch.
“But then starting in 2010 it took well over 200 days for the cap to be reached,” Counts said.
Now the trend is once again toward the H-1B visa cap being filled quickly.
Applications are up significantly this year when compared to this point last year — from 5,900 to more than 17,000.
“There are a considerable number of people not just moving from one company to another but also brand-new H-1Bs for the very first time,” said Peter Asaad, managing partner of Immigration Solutions Group, an immigration law firm in Washington, D.C., that specializes in business visas.
Many H-1B visa holders are in the information technology industry. Others include lawyers and executives. A separate, smaller cap is set for those with advanced degrees — such as a master’s or doctorate.