September 28, 2023
H-1B Visa Holders: A Case Study for a Points-based Immigration System
The United States has more than 580,000 H-1B visa holders – highly skilled immigrants in in-demand fields – who are limited by the short duration of their visa and are not automatically converted to permanent residency once the visa expires. In a new insight, Labor Market and Immigration Policy Analyst Isabella Hindley walks through the challenges for H-1B visa holders to obtain permanent residence and makes the case for a points-based immigration system to prevent losing valuable immigrant labor.
The loss of H-1B workers to other countries, either through visa expiration or their pursuit for simpler permanent residency processes, is a pertinent reminder that the U.S. legal immigration system needs patching. Many of these visa holders work in the medical and STEM fields, making them an important labor resource to fill job openings. Implementing a points-based immigration system would ensure a legal pathway to citizenship for these workers, a significant step toward effective immigration reform.