Industry Market Trends

U.S. Demand for Skilled Worker Visas Set to Pass Quota

Apr 03, 2013

The demand for H-1B visa applications is so great among U.S. companies that a lottery may go into effect, an indication that more American businesses are turning to immigrants to fill vacant positions, and prompting worker advocacy groups to criticize businesses looking for cheap labor.

Credit: twobee at Credit: twobee at

A recent report by Reuters underscores how there is a strong demand for far more than 65,000 visas, the official quota. The record amount of applications is set to activate a lottery among companies looking to hire, including many tech businesses. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will announce next week if a lottery will be necessary, a measure that was last initiated in 2008 before the recession hit businesses.

This is the first year since 2008 that H-1B visa requests will surpass the cap in such a short time frame. While the application process started Monday, applications could exceed the quota by the end of the week, whereas in 2012, the quota was met by June, Reuters explains.

"It will be a frenzy, because the nowhere near high enough to meet demand," Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of Software Alliance, a tech trade group, told the Associated Press.

The high demand may call for immigration reform to raise the quota.

As IMT Career Journal's sister publication Industry Market Trends previously reported, while immigration reform has the potential to boost high-skilled manufacturing, some workers rights groups contend businesses' true intentions are to hire cheaper labor into the U.S.

What do you think? Is reform to raise the H-1B quota necessary?