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H-1B Visas in Minnesota: Demand for Specialized Skills is Strong

 There are many different types of visas. To someone not well versed in immigration law, it can seem like alphabet soup sometimes.

One of the most well-known visas, however, is the H-1B. This is a type of visa is a form of work authorization. It is designed for people from other countries who seek to use their science, engineering or computer skills in American jobs.

The demand for these workers is lively. And the Twin Cities is one of the areas around the country where that demand is strongest.

Among more than 100 metro areas analyzed in a new report by the Brookings Institution, a respected think tank, the Minneapolis – St. Paul area ranked 16th in the number of H-1B visa requests made by employers. The report covered the time period from 2010 to 2011.

An H-1B visa is not a permanent work authorization. It is a temporary visa designed to be used by foreign nationals with special knowledge or skills. The duration is usually three years.

The Brookings report showed that Twin Cities employers made nearly 4200 requests under the H-1B program from 2010 to 2011. Most of these were for computer-related jobs. But there were also requests for engineers, healthcare workers and others.

Jill Wilson, one of the authors of the report, noted that demand from employers continues to exceed the number of H-1B visas that are available from the federal government. “One of the surprises is that this is a program used very widely across the country,” she said.

In Minnesota, it isn’t only the Twin Cities area where H-1B visas are sought after. Rochester and its celebrated Mayo Clinic are also strong participants in the program.

Source: “Twin Cities a hot spot for specialist visa program,” Star Tribune, Allie Shah, 7-18-12

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