Many consider the H-1B visa to be the pipeline that helped America build the world’s biggest tech hub in Silicon Valley. Others believe the visa’s success has come at the expense of American jobs.
How did the visa become such a painful touchpoint in the debate over US immigration reform?
The goal of the H-1B visa program, created by president George H.W. Bush in 1990, was to transform how American companies hired top talent. The temporary, non-immigrant visa category allows highly skilled foreign workers to live and work in the US for up to six years, after which they can apply for a green card. It has become an extremely sought-after program, attracting talented workers in fast-growing specialized fields such as research, engineering, and computer programming.