Exploring the Relationship Between Immigration and Trade

A continuing series of takeaways from World Trade Day 2018

At World Trade Day, on April 10, we were joined by Christl Glier to explore the relationship between immigration and trade. Ms. Glier is an immigration attorney and partner at Ice Miller.

Workers come to the Indy region through a variety of visa channels. Understanding the nuances of immigration is essential to recognizing its positive effects on the rapidly changing economy.

Individuals who come to the US for work endure a rigorous vetting process to ensure their skills meet the needs of the workforce. They often fill gaps in technical and STEM-related fields such as tech and life sciences.

H1B visas
The H1B is the most widely utilized of the work visas and is for specialized jobs that require a bachelor’s degree in that specific field and "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge." These visas are available across all disciplines and have an annual cap of 65,000 for those with a bachelor's degree and 20,000 for those with a master's degree. Last year, 199,000 people applied for an H1B visa. These visas require sponsorship from an employer, which can be difficult to obtain and are expensive.

Free trade professionals
Free trade visas impact our ability to innovate. Professionals can come to the region on visas for residents of countries with which the US has a free trade agreement. These are often used by scientists, researchers, and designers. Such visas include TN visas for Canadian and Mexican professionals under NAFTA, E-3 visas for Australian professionals, H1B1 for Chilean and Singaporean professionals.

Additional work and business visas
Other visas impact short-term business meetings and human capital within a company. Short term business visits for meetings and conferences are often covered by B1 business visas. Companies needing to bring in executives, managers, and specialized knowledge workers from inside their corporate can do so via L-1 Intracompany Transfers.

Visas related to work and trade have a broader impact on the economy and workforce of our region. They impact our ability to innovate across borders and expand our workforce. The United States remains an attractive place to work and earn a living, which is why every year hundreds of thousands of people apply for the opportunity.


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