"The United States provides 65,000 temporary H-1B visas each year to make up this shortfall — not nearly enough to fill open technical positions."[How to Keep America Competitive< /a> February 25, 2007]
In the wake of Mr. Gates' one-man Congressional testimony staged by Teddy Kennedy, hundreds of news organizations published this 65,000 figure for the number of H-1B visas.
Unfortunately, the 65,000 it is simply wrong. According to the latest figures from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the number of new H-1B visas approved has been:
FY 2002: 103,584 (Before the "cut") FY 2003: 105,314 (Before the "cut") FY 2004: 130,497 (Current Law) FY 2005: 116,927 (Current Law)
During the promotion of the SKIL BILL in 2006, industry lobbyists and politicians claimed the legislation would increase the number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000. Just this week Investors Business Daily laments Congress's failure to pass that legislation and gives those same bogus figures.[Brain Barrier March 9, 2007]
As you can see, the actual visa numbers are not in accord with the claim that the SKIL BILL would increase H-1B visas TO 115,000 a year.
USCIS contributed to this deception (and continues to do so). After the law governing the limits on H-1B visas changed in 2004, USCIS kept the number of H-1B visas being approved under wraps. While the law requires USCIS to produce an annual report on the H-1B program, it waited until November 2006 to do so for 2004 and 2005. Adding to the confusion, USCIS appears to have only produced hard copies of the report distributed to Congress and did not post the report to its web site. The only versions of the report available to the public are those that have been scanned in by Congressional staff members.