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
    Immigrant, 5 Apr 2007 @ 12:23pm

    Isn't it odd...

    that politicians want to crack down on LEGAL H1-B immigrants while working to grant amnesty to all the illegals?
    I am an immigrant myself, originally on an L1-B which means I was employed by a US company overseas who sponsored my visa. I am still employed by the same software company 10 years later and now have a green card, also sponsored by the company. My company also sponsors many H1-B visas and as far as I am aware pays them about the market rate.
    I have said many times in the past 10 years that the biggest problem this country faces is the failure of the education system to produce enough tech graduates. America needs to face the fact that it is no longer prmiarily a manufacturing country, manufacturing jobs are dwindling while tech workers are in short supply. We need to get the kids interested in technology and motivated to learn if we are to compete in the global workplace.

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