The Brookings Institute has completed and released an interesting report (PDF document, accompanied by interactive charts) on the H-1B program. The report aims to provide a deeper analysis of the H-1B program and to understand the issues and the competitive advantages (or lack thereof) of one of the H-1B work visa which is the most common U.S. temporary foreign worker program.
The Report’s Findings
The report concludes that although the demand for H-1B visas has fluctuated widely over the last decade, in almost all years, the annual H-1B cap has been fully used. The report points that there seems to be discrepancy between the actual demand of foreign skilled workers and the availability of H-1B visa numbers and suggests that an independent (non-political entity) should be tasked with evaluating demand of H-1B visas and adjusting the H-1B cap on the basis of actual local employer needs.
The report goes on to analyze H-1B demand by geographical area, over period of time and over types of workers (STEM v. non-STEM) to create a better understanding of how H-1B work visa demand fluctuates over time/geographical area and to also be able to create H-1B profiles for a number of geographical areas.
Also, the government has distributed over $1 billion from H-1B fees to fund programs seeking to address skills shortages. However, the report notes that those fees have not been proportionately distributed to metropolitan areas requesting the highest number of H-1B workers. According to the report, metropolitan areas with high demand of H-1B workers are only receiving $3.09 on average per working age person compared to $15.26 for metropolitan areas that have a lower demand level for 2010-2011.