By Chris Fuchs, for NBC News

Most think of April as the end of tax filing season, but the beginning of the month also marks the start of a period when the federal government accepts petitions for a limited number of temporary visas granted to foreign specialty workers, the majority from India, in such fields as information technology and engineering.

The H-1B, as it is called, has become the primary method by which employers in the United States hire high-skilled overseas talent, according to the Pew Research Center. Amazon and Microsoft led the way with the most initial H-1B approvals for fiscal year 2018, figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show.

While supporters of the program argue that it brings in foreign professionals to fill a job gap and even helps the nation’s economy by creating positions for people born in the U.S., critics say it promotes outsourcing and gives away American jobs to lower-paid workers.

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Chris Fuchs is a freelance journalist based in New York. Twitter: @Chris_Taiwan.

Graphic: U.S. Government Accountability Office

What Is the H-1B Visa?