42% of Fortune 500 Companies were founded by an immigrant or their children. These 211 companies produced $5 trillion of revenue (the U.S. GDP is $16 trillion). In Silicon Valley, 44% of startups have an immigrant founder.
Immigrants are often educated at American universities and make up a significant part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) faculties. They generally have to stay in America through an H-1B visa, which allows a U.S. employer to temporarily employ a foreign worker in a specialty occupation. H-1B status is only available to 65,000 workers per year, plus 20,000 for those holding a graduate degree from a U.S. university. This year, the H-1B cap was reached in just five days.
Without an H-1B visa, the same immigrants that could have generated American jobs are forced to go home. Meanwhile, there are 3.7M unfilled U.S. based jobs creating a shortage of skilled workers for American companies. In many cases, these talented people leave America to start companies and create jobs in their homeland.
“[Companies cannot maintain their] international leadership if they are unable to hire and retain highly educated foreign talent. We also cannot hope to grow our economy and create more jobs if we are ceding leadership in innovation to other nations.”