Each year, US businesses file over 200,000 H-1B visa applications with the government in order to fill the gaps in elite-level workers from science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields (STEM).

On the one hand, there’s no doubt that the shortage of high-level STEM graduates exists in the US, which makes it a necessity for countries to search abroad for the talent they need.

For example, China produces almost 5 million STEM graduates per year, India produces over 2.6 million, while America produces a measly 568,000–of which half are foreign nationals hailing from China and India.

On the other hand, older tech workers state that major US companies looking for STEM-related talents are replacing them for young Indian and Chinese workers because they are willing to work for lower pay and will work overtime for free.

According to Joe Leeds, a US immigration lawyer, despite the desire for highly-skilled workers, less than half of the applications will be given the green light.

Why? Well, Leeds said that rather than focus on making changes that promote drawing STEM students from around the world or drafting policies that would boost the US’ own STEM student production, politicians are much more focused on the problem of illegal immigration.

“It sucks up all the air in the room and leaves no time to discuss effective changes to legal immigration visas”, said Leeds.

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