Visas tied to a job are one way in which an immigrant might be able to make his or her way into the United States. Arguably the most popular type currently are H-1B visas. The application for these visas--which are specifically for high skilled foreign workers--are due in early April of each year. The number of such visas available each year is capped at 85,000. Of that number, 20,000 of the visas are specifically for individuals who hold master's degrees.
Limited Number of Visas Available
The number of available visas is nothing compared to the demand. Over the course of the last few years the number of interested applicants has been well above the amount of available visas. The number of applicants has risen from 172,000 in 2014, to 236,000 this year.
Distribution Via Lottery
Because of the high number of applicants for the H-1B visa, to decide who will receive them, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services uses a lottery system. This approach makes this route to obtaining a visa uncertain for not only applicants, but their employers as well. To circumvent this issue, in some parts of the country programs have been put into place that help highly-skilled workers secure the visa without worrying about the quota. These programs are run in conjunction with universities.
Alternatives to H-1B
There are many options available to immigrants seeking to live in the United States. Whether another approach could be worth pursuing depends upon the specifics of each person's circumstance. Because the average person is unfamiliar with these options, many find it beneficial to work with an immigration lawyer.