The Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC has sent a letter to governmental leaders calling for an increase in H-1B visas for international students because having too few skilled workers could harm the economy in the long-term. When the H-1B visa cap was set at 85,000 per year, large tech companies said that it was too low. In spite of that, the total number of H-1B visas that are awarded through a lottery system was reduced in 2004. GMAC members from the 50 leading business and management schools signed the letter that was sent to members of the Trump Administration and Congress calling for more H-1B visas to be approved each other to help to increase innovation and the increase of jobs.
Effect of H-1B Visas
Researchers from Harvard have found a correlation between innovation, job creation, and higher wages with the provision of higher numbers of H-1B visas. The researchers found a higher number of patents and increased demand from the innovation of H-1B visa workers, leading to higher wages in local economies. The signatories of the letter stated that there is a shortage of the types of highly skilled workers that businesses need to be able to continue their growth and innovation without H-1B visas. The GMAC members want changes in policy to lift the caps on H-1B visas so U.S. businesses can get the skilled workers they need to fill their positions. The dean of the business school at Duke University stated that a decrease in the talent coming into the U.S. could have long-term negative impacts on the economy.
While the GMAC members who sent the letter argue that there is a shortage of skilled workers and that more H-1B visas help to increase wages overall, some universities disagree. For example, Howard University says the shortage of highly skilled workers has been overstated. The spokesperson stated that the H-1B visa system has been exploited by some tech companies that outsource nearly all of their jobs to other countries while paying their workers lower wages. He pointed to the increased numbers of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics graduates in the U.S. in recent years and the fact that STEM wages have not increased in a way that should correspond to a shortage. He calls for lifting the caps in some areas and allowing more H-1B visas in the heartland where worker shortages exist.