More than 50 US business school deans and company CEOs have signed an open letter calling on President Donald Trump and Congress leaders to reform the current H-1B visa cap. They worry that their current immigration policies are hurting the economic growth of the country. More specifically, they believe the 85,000 cap on annually-issued H1-B visas is too low, and will not produce the necessary talent that the US economy needs to strive.

“We are needlessly capping our growth and can do better,” the letter, which was posted on the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), states.

According to a report released by GMAC, US business schools saw a 13% decrease in international applicants last year, which is in contrast to Canada and EU whose international application numbers spiked. The report also states that the H-1B visa cap has led to fewer job opportunities for international students and “greater uncertainty about a future in the United States.”

“Every year, we turn away hundreds of thousands of high-skilled immigrants for no other reason than that they failed to win the H-1B lottery,” the authors of the letter claim.

They add that while it is a positive development that the US economy has created around three million STEM jobs – speaking to the “vibrancy and opportunities available in a healthy, growing economy,” – the fact that the US is not producing enough eligible people to fill those positions is a “crisis”.

Using the words of President Ronald Reagan, the authors called the United States a “shining city upon a hill” which draws in the best and the brightest from around the world. This is something, the authors said, that will lead to America’s future economic success, but not if these students are robbed of their opportunity.

So, the leaders of some of the most prominent business schools in the country, including New York University, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, and Duke University, demand the following:

  • That the US government removes per-country visa caps and reforms the H-1B visa program so that foreign high-skilled talents have a reasonable chance of entering the United States; and
  • The creation of a “heartland visa”, which will encourage foreign talented individuals to come to the United States

In 2004, the US government lowered the number of annually available H-1B visas from 190,000 to 85,000. The demand for the visa is still high, however, and only in 2019 over 190,000 applications were submitted for only 85,000 available spots, reports GMAC.

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