Manufacturing companies in the United States are frustrated with the shortage of skilled U.S. factory workers, and are seeking more skilled foreign nationals from abroad to fill these empty factory positions though H-1B visas. This is the result of a recent surge in demand for skilled factory workers including machinists, tool and die makers, computer controlled machine operators, architecture, and engineering. These jobs are essential to the manufacturing industry, and the number of available talented workers in these areas in the U.S. is dwindling.
Information technology companies employ the majority of H-1B visa workers, and manufacturers account for only 10% of H-1B visa petitions. But due to the increase in U.S. manufacturing, these numbers are increasing as more manufacturers rely on foreign workers to fill these positions through the H-1B program.
The H-1B program grants 65,000 visas per year to high-skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States. This number would be higher, but the number is capped at 65,000 by law as an annual quota. Industries are forced to compete against each other to get their H-1B petitions approved before the cap is reached each year.
There is a shortage in the U.S. skilled production workforce, which is not growing fast enough through career and technical institutes in numbers high enough to fill the void.
The H-1B visa permits a foreign national to work temporarily in the U.S. for a maximum of six years, at which time the worker must depart from the U.S. unless the worker is able to adjust status to permanent residency.