The start of the H1-B visa season got underway today with the biggest surge of applicants in five years, reports the Mercury News.
This is the first day companies can sponsor foreign workers for a three year stay. H1-B visas are capped at 85,000 annually and federal officials say for the first time since 2008, the visas may have to be awarded through a random lottery.
Rep Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) says under the current system, US companies can hire temporary foreign workers cheaper than American workers, then these workers leave taking the knowledge they learned back to their home country. She says the US would be much better off offering more permanent residence visas known as green cards.
“If there is a demonstrated need for talent to come to America from outside the United States, we are way better off if that talent comes as permanent residents.” said Lofgren.
You can read more about where both the House and Senate are in proposing immigration reform in the Mercury News.