Last year, nearly 700,000 people were issued temporary visas to work in the United States, either for several years or indefinitely. About two-thirds are in categories requiring skills and/or education and one-third were given visas to work in unskilled jobs. Over the weekend, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce had agreed on a proposal to increase the number of unskilled guestworker visas above and beyond the number already being issued, and despite lingering high unemployment rates for U.S. workers affected by these visa programs.
The table below summarizes temporary visa issuances for 2012.
|Visa Category||Type of Worker||Skilled or Unskilled|| Number|
|E||Treaty Worker||Skilled|| 11,000|
|F||Student Worker||Skilled|| 70,000*|
|J||Exchange Worker||Both|| 175,000*|
|L||Company Transfer||Skilled|| 62,000|
|O||Special Ability||Skilled|| 16,000|
|Q||Exchange Workers||Skilled|| 2,000|
|R||Religious Workers||Both|| 4,000|
|TN||Nafta Professionals||Skilled|| 75,000*|
| Source: State Department Non-Immigrant Visa Issuance Report, 2012.
Notes * Estimates based on official records rather than actual 2012 issuance.
These figures do not include additional visas issued by USCIS.