Study Indicates H-1B Reform is Critical for Solving America’s Talent Shortage


According to a recent study, one out of every four employers is struggling to fill its empty positions right now due to a shortage of talented workers, and almost two-thirds of employers have indicated that the US workforce lacks the skills they need. As a result, this study indicates that unless the situation improves, an imminent slowdown could result in a halving of American productivity.

The authors of this study state that reform of the country’s existing framework for foreign national workers, such as the H-1B visa guidelines, is critical for solving the talent shortage. The H-1B visa guidelines have not changed in 14 years, and yet this hiring tool is critical for industries such as the tech sector that rely on highly skilled workers, particularly those in STEM fields.

The study performed assessments on the economic impact on each state’s economy, from reforming the system to introducing more highly-skilled foreign national workers outlining the positive impacts. According to the authors, this serves to show that such a reform would have as important an effect on areas outside of the traditional technology hubs of California and Texas as it would on these talent-hungry states.

This measure would introduce highly-skilled foreign national workers to bolster the short supply of high-tech workers needed for technically advanced positions. Additionally, the authors argue that this would have a further benefit as many of these workers may end up creating their own businesses resulting in even more job openings.

The report found that at any given moment, there are approximately a quarter of a million job openings for computer science positions and about five times the number of open positions for software developers as there are individuals in the field looking for work.

The United States Department of Labor currently estimates that there will soon be 1.4 million open jobs for those in computer specialist fields. However, based on current projections, the study indicates that American universities will only be able to produce less than a third of the workers needed to fill these open positions.

Already of the 85,000 H-1B visas permitted every year under current standards, about three-fourths of them go to workers for computer science fields. Without growing this number to account for expanding needs, this could result in catastrophic shortages.

Of course, hiring foreign national workers requires considerably more paperwork for employers, including additional challenges in completing the Form I-9. Documentation and re-verification requirements can prove confusing, and failure to comply may result in sizable penalties. The easiest and most effective way to ensure compliance is to make use of an electronic I-9 management tool. With this hiring tool, personnel will be guided every step of the way in completing the form’s requirements, and documentation will be stored properly for re-verification or inspection whenever it is needed.