Culture

by Joseph Weisenthal




H-1B Visas Exhausted In Record Time; Think It's Time To Raise The Cap?

from the going-going-gone dept

Every year, the story is pretty much the same with H-1B visas, as tech companies quickly gobble them up, prompting the inevitable debate of whether more should be made available the following year. Everybody knew this year would be a mess, but in case there were any doubt that demand for these visas far exceeds their supply, the government has said that it's run out of them after only one day of availability. Employers now realize that there's no sense in waiting around and running the risk that they won't get alloted any, so they all apply on the first day. The fact that they're exhausted so quickly should make people realize that more should be made available, but there are some politicians who are completely opposed to the system, since they see it as just a way for companies to import cheap foreign labor. But their stance doesn't really hold up. For one thing, it's hard to imagine that companies would go through all of this trouble if it were just about saving money, as opposed to filling gaps in talent. Furthermore, if companies can't bring employees from abroad, then they'll just move more operations overseas, which is something these politicians would find even more troublesome. The real problem is that politicians see everything as a black or white, zero sum game. Some see it as foreign workers stealing American jobs, while others view it as greedy managers selling out American laborers to further line their own pockets. But these simple viewpoints don't capture the reality of the tech industry, which is far more dynamic. The US economy, and the tech industry in particular, benefits from from immigrant workers, while the traditional delineation between management and labor doesn't really apply in an industry where most workers have a large stake in the success of their firm.

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  1. identicon
    Max, 5 Apr 2007 @ 10:20am

    When someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. In the case of H-1B it is also about control. When I first got the complete description of the legal and work conditions of a person under H-1B the odl term "indentured servant" came to mind. This is a program that needs to end along with the perverse tax incentives that make it appealing.

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