Is a Visa Expansion the Answer to the Skills Gap?

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 2015-09-09
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    Is a Visa Expansion the Answer to the Skills Gap?

    Is a Visa Expansion the Answer to the Skills Gap?

    Due to increasing urgency over job vacancies, some managers support lifting the cap on H-1B visas, but far more employers oppose expanding these opportunities.

A significant number of companies are losing revenue due to a lack of available skilled candidates for open job positions, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. Computer programmers and employees in other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions are particularly in great demand. Due to increasing urgency over the job vacancies, some of the survey respondents support lifting the cap on H-1B visas. (These visas allow businesses to employ foreign workers who are highly skilled in specialized occupations, including computer programming and other high-tech jobs.) There is controversy over such a proposal, however, as far more employers oppose expanding these opportunities for foreign professionals, survey findings reveal. "There's continued debate around whether we should be importing workers to fill high-skill jobs or investing in educating the labor pool that already exists on our shores," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "The answer is both. We need to close the information gap in the U.S. and educate workers on which skill sets are in high demand, so they can pursue those career paths. … At the same time, we need to make sure we're bringing in experts from other countries to work side by side with our experts in the U.S., so we can continue to innovate and grow the U.S. economy." More than 2,320 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

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