Pierre Georges Bonnefil Interviewed by Crain’s New York Business on H-1B Visas

Attorney Highlight

In early April, after a large influx of applications for H-1B visas, which allow educated foreign professionals work in the US for up to six years, the business community realized that each request has a slim chance of getting approved. H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 annually, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received nearly three times that many on April 2. The uncertainty has wreaked havoc on managers' staff planning.

"You can't be asked to run a business that way," said Pierre Georges Bonnefil, a shareholder in law firm Epstein Becker & Green, which represents some of New York's largest financial firms and universities. Bonnefil said he filed almost 100 H-1B applications during the previous week and that 80% were for new graduates of U.S. universities who were offered jobs through corporate recruiting programs.

"Companies are looking for the best and the brightest, for those people that bring something into the mix that the typical person might not have," Bonnefil said. "Sometimes, they happen to be foreign nationals."

Comprehensive immigration legislation, including recommendations for a proposed increase in the H-1B cap, is slated to reach Congress during the summer.