Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Senators Finally Realize That Getting Smart Foreigners To Work For US Companies Beats Having Them Work Against US Companies

from the was-it-really-that-hard? dept

We've never really understood the hatred towards the H1-B visa program by a very vocal group of engineers. The H1-B program is designed to have smart, highly skilled foreign workers fill jobs in American companies. While it's true that some companies abuse the system, the best way to deal with that is to fight the abuses -- not kill the entire program. Companies that hire H1-Bs are supposed to pay them the prevailing wage for that job, so it shouldn't be possible to use it for "cheap" labor, as many imply. And, certainly, it looks like some politicians are looking to crack down on the abuses of the program. In the meantime, some other Senators have made a proposal that is sure to set off the folks who hate the H1-B program, especially because it makes a lot of sense. Rather than worry about the ridiculously low cap on such visas allowed each year, the Senators are proposing no cap at all on both H1-B visas and green cards for foreigners with graduate-level degrees from American universities or graduate-level degrees in certain key fields from foreign universities. In other words, it's about encouraging these highly trained, highly skilled people to come work in the US for American companies rather than having them go back to their home countries and work for companies that compete with American companies. Of course, for those who incorrectly view the world of tech jobs as a zero-sum game, they worry that jobs are being "taken away" from Americans. Of course, if they keep all these smart, skilled foreigners working at foreign companies, and those companies put the American companies out of business, it seems like there are a lot more jobs to lose. Instead, by realizing that a functioning tech industry tends to create more jobs, it's smart to encourage more skilled workers to work for American companies than to work against them.

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    Mike (profile), 16 May 2007 @ 5:34pm


    If their were insufficent skilled workers to fill all of the tech jobs available at fair-market wages, then the author would be correct.

    Hmmmmmm. Let's see, IT unemployment is at its lowest in ages and companies are having a difficult time hiring:

    Meanwhile, wages are up:

    Which would suggest (as you point out) that I'm correct. So why is the rest of your article saying I'm not? You've got me confused...

    The H1-B program's only practical affect is to unfairly shift the supply demand matrix in the technical arena to create a buyer's market for services, thus if not effectively lowering wages and benefits short term, preventing wages from adjusting upwards to their true, market driven, value long term while effectively reducing the tax base both long and short term, as well as removing significant revenue from the national economy

    I see. So you prefer it when these foreign workers work in their home countries, build up companies that knock US firms out of business, so that the US gets none of the benefits and loses many more jobs?

    You are extremely confused about how both capitalism and markets work. It is not a zero-sum game. Having a job for a smart foreigner does not mean a job is lost for an American. If the foreigner can create economic growth, that can create many more jobs. Having the smartest people working in your country for your companies is the best way to create that growth. Forcing them out is the best way to destroy value.

    Perhaps the US should heed the wishes of Thomas Paine, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and other great former leaders and return to an isolationist, America First, agenda.

    Yeah, because the history of protectionism is that it destroys economies. That's *just* what we want.

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