bigstock-People-Visa-Sign-1751484Businesses throughout the United States are starting to assess their H-1B visa needs for fiscal year 2015. Greater competition than ever is expected for the limited number of available H-1B visas. Raising the number of available H-1B visas would help ever-growing U.S. business needs. The H-1B visa allows U.S.-based businesses to hire foreign nationals in specialty occupations and specialized fields such as architecture, engineering, science, medicine, and math. Workers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and may work in the U.S. for up to six years.

Since 2005, only 85,000 H-1B visas are available each year, and 20,000 of those are reserved for workers with advanced degrees from U.S.-based institutions. Employers, particularly those in the high-tech sector, are expressing a need for more H-1B visas to meet the demands of the U.S. labor market. The H-1B cap has been reached earlier every year since FY 2011, and it is expected to be reached rapidly once again for in FY 2015, demonstrating that the H-1B cap is set too low to meet the needs of U.S.-based employers.

Raising the H-1B cap will not cause a “flood” of foreign-born workers, as some opponents have feared. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were more than 31 million workers in professional and related occupations in the United States in 2012. The H-1B cap of 85,000 is less than three-tenths of one percent of this figure, so raising the H-1B cap would not negatively impact U.S. workers.

Employers or prospective employees with questions or concerns about seeking an H-1B visa should consult with an experienced immigration attorney as quickly as possible. A good immigration lawyer can assess your situation and provide the legal advice you need; he or she can also assist with forms, applications, and other immigration-related paperwork and procedures. If you’re an employer or worker trying to obtain an H-1B visa, or if you have any questions or issues pertaining to immigration-related employment, obtain the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney right away.