H-1Bs And How Changing The System Will Help Startups

Opinion

In order for the American economy to thrive, we must rely on our ability to innovate. The U.S. government now estimates that job growth is almost three times faster in the innovation-rich fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics than the rest of the economy. Yet despite the explosion in demand, the steady supply of workers in these fields lags far behind. Even with the United States’ high unemployment levels, more than a quarter of technological employers report difficulty in filling open positions. Foreign high-skilled workers can help fill this gap, and provide U.S. companies with the kind of know-how necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

The best way to fill these gaps is by increasing the controversial H-1Bs. Given today’s deadline for H-1Bs in the U.S., we must acknowledge that they are simply too difficult to get. The 65,000 annual allotment of H-1B visas is depressingly inadequate, and it has been exhausted every year since 2004, often within days. In 2013, the gap was reached in less than four days! As a result, the American economy is losing out on technical geniuses who could launch new companies and product lines, creating thousands of jobs for Americans.

Increasing the number of H-1Bs is only the first step to improving the current system. After seeing other startups struggle to obtain H-1Bs, and my own role as a founder of a startup, change needs to be implemented and the entire process needs to be easier and simplified. As of now, the larger companies with more resources and money are able to obtain far more H-1Bs than ever while startups are left in the dust. How is the little company supposed to grow and flourish if the larger and more experienced companies continue to gobble up all the prospects?

H-1B Visa Challenges for Startup Employees

For startups, the challenges of obtaining an H-1B visa begin long before finally filing a H-1B. Before even filing an initial petition, every company must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA is a series of statements that attest to the fact that hiring the H-1B employee will not adversely affect any U.S. citizen workers. Because the company isn’t as well known as some of the larger companies, they must go through hoops to establish that they are properly established, such as by showing they have the cash flow necessary to provide the employee with the prevailing wage as established in the LCA.

While this is normally not a problem for large corporation, it can be a huge time and resource drainer for companies trying to hurry to file an H-1B, especially … Next Page »

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Matt Faustman is the co-founder of UpCounsel, an online marketplace for attorneys, and serves as its chief executive officer. Follow @matthewfaustman

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2 responses to “H-1Bs And How Changing The System Will Help Startups”

  1. American Worker says:

    Correction: there aren’t enough developers, programmers and engineers, that will work for pennies on the dollar, 80 hours a week with threat of deportation.

  2. StopTheLies says:

    Matt, where do you get your “facts”? From the Chamber of Commerce?

    Perhaps you’re unaware that 60% of H-1B visa go to foreign-owned, offshore outsourcers? A highly profitable — and corrupt — business model causing large-scale harm to both this nation and citizens — even as they abuse low cost foreign workers.

    One more piece of trivial. Do you know which nation had the largest preponderance of modern day slavery? No doubt you should be little surprised to learn this is India. A nation that also has widespread occurrences of bribery and corruption.