A Decrease in Foreign Workers Has Left Many Jobs Unfilled

There has been a decrease in new temporary foreign workers in the United States, including workers with H-1B visas. This decrease has been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has not improved labor market outcomes for workers in the United States. Instead, it has caused many jobs to remain open.

A non-partisan research organization, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), conducted a study that showed a significant decline in the number of H-1B specialty occupation visas issued. The number of these visas issued dropped from 190,000 in the fiscal year 2019 to approximately 125,000 in the fiscal year 2020. This dropped even further in the fiscal year 2021 to less than 62,000. H-2B visas which are for low-skill, non-agricultural work, and J-1 exchange visitor visas also had considerable drops.

A Research Fellow from the National Foundation for American Policy, Madeline Zavodny, the author of this study, stated that “The ongoing shortages of workers in many labor markets reflect US employers’ need for additional workers from both domestic sources and abroad. The research also examines data on job postings, and the results point to jobs, particularly highly-skilled jobs, going unfilled when temporary foreign workers were unable to enter the country.”

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will soon allow employers to register for the H-1B cap lottery for 2023. Many US employers are preparing for this registration which will take place from March 1st through March 18th. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give sponsoring employers much time to register each of the beneficiaries for whom they plan to file an H-1B visa.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services reaches the quota it has set by March 18th, then the USCIS will carry out a random lottery in which it will select registrations and notify those selected by March 31st.

Immigration attorneys expect many employers to register to try and procure one of the 85,000 H-1B cap visas allotted. These 85,000 visas include the Master’s cap of 20,000.

This lottery should give a number of employers a chance to obtain much-needed employees. However, with the lottery occurring soon, employers will have little time to get everything ready since employers need to register each individual for whom they intend to file an H-1B visa.

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