I came from India in 2007 on a F-1 student visa to pursue Industrial Engineering at Wichita State University. I did undergraduate research, internships and summer jobs all four years of my college education to improve my skills and be a retainable source for any organization. Despite of all the hard work and the extra effort, I was still not sure about my future in United States of America.
After graduation, I worked on OPT visa, which allowed me to work in USA legally for 1 year. After the one- year period, a company has to sponsor you on H-1B work visa in order to continue. Many International students after graduation, in spite of having a job, were unable to stay with the company due to fixed number of H-1b Visas issued every year. I consider myself lucky to obtain H-1B visa as there is high demand and few H-1b visas available. The green card process is even more complicated as it takes anywhere from 3 to 20 years (varies for profession and nationality) to obtain a green card.
It is very intricate for small and mid-size companies to hire employees on H-1b due to complicated processes which take a lot of time. I believe preventing U.S employers from hiring skilled foreign workers encourages them to open offices and expand resources outside of the United States. It also leads to less growth for small employers within U.S due to lack of high skilled employees.
I also started a company with two other business partners recently. I quickly found out about the limitations of being a company owner as a H-1b visa holder. Immigrants are not allowed to be self employed and there are other restrictions which slows down the growth of the company. Considering immigrant owned U.S companies generate the majority of the revenue towards U.S economy, I think it is time to reform immigration laws to help this country get back on track and to be the most favorable destination for entrepreneurs.