03/19/2013 09:11 am ET

Visas For Highly Skilled Immigrants Are Given Out Mostly To Men

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — As Congress negotiates its biggest immigration overhaul in decades, new numbers obtained by the Contra Costa Times reveal a stunning imbalance in the program that admits highly skilled immigrants to the United States, often for Silicon Valley jobs: More than 70 percent of those special visa holders who entered the country in 2011 were men.

The long-overlooked disparity is beginning to attract attention on Capitol Hill, where activists demanded Monday that the federal government take a closer look at whether U.S. visa policy discriminates against women.

The numbers are especially striking because women now outnumber men in America’s professional workforce, although they continue to lag in the engineering professions that make up a large number of the H-1B program for temporary immigrants.

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