AILA Anticipates Balanced Hearing on H-1B Visas

March 31, 2011

George Tzamaras / Jenny Werwa
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7628 /

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) looks forward to what is expected to be the first balanced hearing on immigration policy from the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. Titled, “H-1B Visas: Designing a Program to Meet the Needs of the U.S. Economy and U.S. Workers” this will be the fifth hearing this year from the committee, but the first with a promise of thoughtful discussion on an important matter relating to highly skilled foreign workers.

Today’s hearing will feature expert witnesses, two of whom will focus on how the H-1B visa program benefits and helps grow the American economy. A third expert is expected to offer testimony critical of the H-1B program.

“The H-1B visa works to enhance the American workforce in several critical areas. While the U.S. economy is recovering, the pace is still slow. It is no surprise that the demand by business for any new workers is currently less than it was five years ago. But once the economy picks up we will see increased demand for U.S. workers as well as H-1B visa workers,” said AILA President David Leopold.

“We hope to see a balanced hearing that sheds light on the importance of high skill visas to America’s continued economic recovery and future global competitiveness. A common sense approach to H-1B visa reform would make sure it remains available to legitimate employer needs in order to keep up with our dynamic economy instead of pinning the visa numbers to a static cap that was determined by Congress in the last decade,” concluded Leopold.

H-1B petitions are filed by U.S. employers seeking to hire a specific foreign national in a specialty occupation involving the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge (such as the sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology). The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2011 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 11033110.