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Tech companies take new approach to securing work visas

Today, operations for nearly every business in the U.S. involves computer processes of some kind. Companies need internal computer applications to operate efficiently. And to thrive in today's world, many also need a Web presence in order to connect with potential clients. To make all of these things happen -- and ensure they function properly -- companies need coders.

The number of U.S. citizens trained in this kind of work, however, is not enough to meet current employer demand. Because of this, many employers look for talent abroad. But with a government-imposed cap on H-1B visas -- issued to skilled workers from other countries -- companies are having to be more strategic about how they approach hiring foreign workers.

This year, the government will issue 85,000 H-1B visas. With so many companies in need of so many tech experts, though, some are worried that they won't get the employees they need to fulfill operational needs. One approach some companies are taking is to open offices in other countries because transferring an employee within the company is easier and requires a different type of visa.

Other employers are considering other immigration visas that are not limited in the way that H-1B visas are. J1 and O1 visas can be awarded to applicants who stand out for their work in the sciences or as an educational exchange.

For employers, it is likely frustrating to be unable to hire the most qualified employees because they do not live in the United States. However, finding ways to get the talent your business needs is not impossible. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer may be beneficial for employers who are trying to determine the best approach to working within the bounds of U.S. immigration laws.

Source: The Financial Times, "Silicon Valley faces visa scramble for foreign workers," Sarah Mishkin, March 17, 2014

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