A Broken Visa System



        A recent article in The Economist argues that our current visa system is in desperate need of reform. Year after year, the government receives far more applications for H1B visas than the 65,000 that are allotted to American business. As The Economist notes, in 2007 the government exceeded the limit in one day and a year later it only took two days. This year, the government is expected to exceed it’s limit on April 5th, five days after the start of the new fiscal year.
The author argues that the cap on visas is potentially hurting the economy since U.S. corporations are not able to fill jobs if their potential new employees are denied visas. Although those who oppose raising the cap on visas claim these foreign workers are stealing American jobs, Michael Clemens, who is an economist and currently works at the Centre for Global Development, notes that given the high cost and time consuming process of acquiring a visa, most companies would prefer to hire a U.S. citizen but often cannot find one that has the necessary job skills.
        Thus, the visa system must be reformed in order to accommodate U.S. businesses. Among the possible proposals, raising the cap from 65,000 H1B visas to 195,000 could help boost the economy. The government should also make reforms to the visa system that enable college students graduating with degrees pertaining to the sciences, engineering field, or mathematics to remain in the United States to work. And lastly, similar to programs already introduced in Canada, the United States should extend more visas to foreign entrepreneurs who have the necessary funds to start a business here in America. Perhaps such a program could combat the 10% decline in new businesses started in Silicon Valley.
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