AILA: Despite Avalanche of H-1B Petitions, Outdated Cap Means American Economy is Still Missing Out

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - Victor Nieblas Pradis, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commented on today's announcement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the agency has once again received more than enough H-1B petitions within the first five business days of the fiscal year 2017 filing period to reach the annual cap of 85,000 new visas, with the following statement:

"The H-1B program is designed to ensure that employers can fill temporary specialty occupation needs in our workforce, making companies more competitive, boosting economic growth, and creating jobs. However, artificial limits established more than a generation ago are again hobbling the economic potential of this great nation. The avalanche of petitions for H-1B visas mean that USCIS will once again randomly determine which of those petitions will actually be considered for one of the 85,000 available visas. Each petition not selected is a business need unfulfilled and a growth opportunity that is delayed or thwarted.

"Why do we continue to artificially limit this program? In a reasonable system, market demand should factor into how many business visas are granted, and indeed, demand for H-1B visas slowed when the economy took a downturn. But each year that we cap these visas when demand outweighs supply, all we're doing is creating obstacles to economic growth. We're losing out on shared prosperity for no good reason.

"The United States is one of the most important economies in the world, but its full potential is going unrealized. We live in a wireless world, but our visa system is a relic from the days of the dial-up modem. It's long past time for Congress to lead on this issue and reform the H-1B program in a way that addresses the needs of American businesses, U.S. workers and our economy. Congress must bring our immigration system out of the last century and into this one."


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. 16040731.