Employment immigration — how the H-1B visa is changing

Want to work in the United States? Individuals who hold advanced degrees from institutions in the United States will likely have a leg up when applying for the H-1B visa program. The shifting focus toward individuals with more advanced degrees could change current trends in employment immigration, potentially affecting those who are hoping to travel to Louisiana for work in a specialty occupation.

H-1B visas are currently capped at 65,000 per year. However, an additional 20,000 visas are allocated every year for foreign workers who earned advanced degrees at U.S. educational institutions. However, generally most H-1B visa recipients have advanced degrees and are qualified to work in extremely specialized occupations. The current presidential administration wants to change this by bringing in more workers who studied in America.

The proposed change could shift allocations for those who studied in the United States by as much as 16 percent. This would also reduce the number of visas available to workers who got their educations in their home country or elsewhere. The H-1B visa is already highly sought as a means of entry into this country, especially with tech companies frequently looking for the best possible employees. It is also lottery-based, and spots usually fill up within days of opening the application process.

Although the switch to what some call a more meritocratic system, the change has some people worried. Employment immigration is a popular choice for foreign workers who hold advanced degrees and hope to put their skills to work in Louisiana. However, many of these worries can likely be addressed through careful and strategic preparation of the application documents.