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President Obama Should Fix the H-1B Program on His Own

by Edward Alden
April 7, 2014

Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

With House Republicans increasingly looking like they will again block immigration reform this year, pressure is growing on President Obama to use his executive authority to block further deportations of most unauthorized immigrants. I have an additional suggestion: use that same executive authority to expand admission of highly-educated temporary migrants to help boost the U.S. economy.

It took just a week this year to reach the annual quota on skilled immigrants under the H-1B program, once again shutting the door until next April. While not without its flaws, the H-1B visa is the primary way in which highly-educated migrants are first able to work in the United States. Most applicants are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and special preference is given to foreign students who graduate from a U.S. university with a master’s degree or higher. The visa offers a temporary, three-year work permit which can be extended, but for many the goal is permanent migration to the United States.

But there aren’t very many of them handed out each year. The current quota set by Congress is just 65,000, with another 20,000 reserved for those with advanced U.S. degrees. That quota has been reached every year for the past decade, even during the depths of the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis. In the last two years, it has been reached within the first week, which requires that the U.S. government hold a lottery to select the winners.

It’s been obvious for years that the number of visas is too small, and numerous academic studies suggest that a larger H-1B program would be good for the U.S. economy. And there is widespread agreement in both the Senate and the House that having such a rigid quota on skilled migrants hurts the economy. The Democratic-led Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed last year, would raise that cap to as high as 180,000, depending on market conditions. The Republican House Judiciary Committee last year passed the Skills Act, which would raise the quota to 155,000, along with 40,000 for graduates with higher degrees. Both bills would also make important reforms to the program by enabling spouses to get work permits, making it easier for H-1B holders to change jobs, and cracking down on fraud.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama said that, while he would try to keep working with Congress, where Congress is stalled he would “take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” Expanding the H-1B program is a perfect opportunity to make good on that promise.

Critics of course would accuse him of trampling on the constitution. I am neither a constitutional nor an immigration lawyer, but what I have read suggests to me that both the constitution and various court rulings are at least unclear on the subject. While it is generally accepted that the federal government has complete authority over immigration laws, the division between the congressional and executive branches is less clear. Among the enumerated powers explicitly given to the Congress under the constitution is the power to establish a “uniform rule of naturalization.” But an H-1B visa does not grant citizenship, only a temporary right to live and work in the United States. The Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign nations” is also cited as authority for Congress to establish immigration quotas, though temporary migration is not obviously a form of “commerce.”

Such ambiguities are precisely what allowed the White House to halt deportation and offer work permits to the young immigrants who otherwise have no right to remain in the United States, the so-called DREAMers. President Obama is now said to be considering an even broader use of his “prosecutorial discretion” to halt removal and give working papers to most of the more than 11 million unauthorized migrants in the United States. There is no good reason that same power could not be stretched to give more temporary work permits to highly-educated immigrants who would help the U.S. economy.

A radical idea? Sure. And it would almost certainly invite a court challenge. But with Congress paralyzed, some new approaches are clearly needed. In an economy increasingly dependent on innovation, the economic cost of continuing to drive away tens of thousands of talented young would-be immigrants is enormous. If President Obama is finally prepared to flex his muscles on immigration, he could create a program far better suited to the needs of a modern economy. There is no question it would be preferable for Congress to act. But given the broad consensus among members of Congress on the need to expand high-skilled migration, the White House should take a serious look at finally doing for them what they have been unable to achieve themselves.

Post a Comment 32 Comments

  • Posted by Virgil Bierschwale

    is it the goal of CFR to force all Americans into destitution and living like this?

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/?cat=62

    Folks, many of us have the skills, the knowledge, and the wisdom to excel in all areas of our high tech industry, and we cannot buy a interview because of articles like this.

    How about just this once, we take care of Americans in America so that we can rebuild the American economy, and then maybe we can bring in additional help once we do our part to Keep America At Work.

    As for rebuilding the economy, it is apparent to me that you do not comprehend why this game of musical countries is ruining the economy of the world.

    Do your homework.
    Go to Keep America At Work and read the pages about musical countries.

  • Posted by DrGeneNelson

    Free-market advocate and Nobel Economics laureate Milton Friedman summed up the problems with the H-1B Visa well in a 2002 article. Friedman characterized the program as a “government subsidy” – as it allowed employers to obtain higher-skilled workers for below-market wages. Google the two phrases “Norm Matloff” and “ITAA” to read academic and governmental studies that show that employers legally underpay the H-1B Visa holder relative to a comparably-qualified American citizen. The H-1B Visa program has such wide loopholes that employers are free to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, national origin, and disability status. Political corruption has a large role in this program. Search by title for the PDF version of “The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit.” To understand the huge employer-interest benefit of this program, search for the PDF version of , “How Record Immigration Levels Robbed American High-Tech Workers of $10 Trillion”

  • Posted by Bing

    I do feel the goal of CONgress is to destroy the American way of life and put all citizens in shackles sucking on the government’s teat. That’s the way the Feds can control America. In a time when wages are going down, and jobs are scarce, what does corp America want? They want even cheaper labor. They’ll gladly pay off our Congress to get it…and Congress will gladly take their bribery money to pass the visa debacle under the guise of “amnesty”.

  • Posted by Ron G.

    God, I hope that people DO read this. Look at the amazing admission that is made here:

    “… That {H1-B} quota has been reached every year for the past decade, even during the depths of the recession…”

    !!!

    So, the tech industry was *STILL* gobbling up low wage cheap labor (under the H1-B program) *EVEN* during the very height of the Great Recession, when U.S. citizen workers, legal immigrants, and people who already had green cards were cheap and plentiful. This fact proves beyond any reasonably doubt that the H1-B program, and all of the industry claims made about its “necessity” are all one big sham, and that the only real purpose of the program is to bring in cheap labor from abroad to underut American citizen’s wages.

    Hey! Congress! Just how stupid do you think we are? It doesn’t take a lot of brains to tell that you are getting screwed when you are laid off, but only AFTER you have trained your cheaper H1-B replacement. You guys in congress are just sellouts to the highest bidder.

  • Posted by Casey Crews

    Why would anyone take a chance and invest so much of their life in getting a high tech education knowing that they are going to be undermined by cheap foreign labor? There are not enough good paying high skill jobs to go around now and these CEOs want to import more cheap labor. These multinational corporations have absolutely no interest in the American workers. They only want to pay the lowest wages to get the job done to put more money in their greedy pockets. They want a constant oversupply of labor so they don’t have to pay anything for labor. Purely evil greed is all they are. They are completely devoid of any good morals or values. They would be happy to watch more people starving in the street if it means more money in their pocket. Why the media cannot see this is incomprehensible. Why are there no mainstream news stories of how cheap foreign labor is displacing American workers. Maybe we need to start outsourcing the news anchors and reporters.

  • Posted by bob

    PLENTY of unemployed amerikans need jobs…why the hell would we let in MORE NON CITIZENS to steal out jobs? I dont want any lies about NOT QUALIFIED EITHER. I’m an engineer and WAY overqualified and know scores of unemployed engineers in same boat. We have way more tech folks and engineers than we need…its just corporations want CHEAP workers….thus the h1b visa program. Also, if corps claim they need more masters/phd tech folks..then PAY to send your own emps back to school. Also if we didnt flood american univs with foreign students getting masters/phds, thus driving wages down, then americans WOULD go back to get masters and phds…right now….it gets you nothing so very few citizens bother. Wages have been stagnant for years. I have a masters in engineering nad make less now than I did in 2009. I have handful of close friends that have had NO raises in 4 years..none…nothing…0%….does that sound like an economy that needs workers? No its not. We are stagnating cuz the parasite called the federal gubmint is draining too much blood from the host, we the people.

  • Posted by Brent

    The sole purpose of H1Bs is to provide indentured servants to enrich corporate executives.

    There is no tech skills shortage, in fact, there is actually an excess of native Americans with tech skills.

    In fact, do the people who claim that there are skills shortages even have the most basic grasp of economics? In a free labor market–and America is fairly close to that–there can never ever be a shortage of any skill. No, the only thing that there can be a shortage of is people with the skill who will work at the low wages many employers want to pay.

    I say

    1) cut the H1B program back to no more than 10,000 people a year to get just the true geniuses

    2) make the sponsoring firm pay a big fee that they cannot hold the candidate to pay back in any way, even if they leave the sponsor

    3) allow people to leave their sponsor immediately, with zero restrictions

    Steps 2) and 3) above will ensure that no slave labor ever comes in, just candidates who US firms really need as shown by what they will pay to keep and retain them.

    For those who advocate H1B expansion, why don’t we start with bringing in more foreign executives, who will work at the compensation levels of their home countries?

    Why, just think of the shareholder value that could be added by firing all those American CEO Prima Donnas and replacing them with 3rd World CEOs who would be grateful to run a US company for a few 100K a year!

  • Posted by KaryKarpes

    With companies like Tata bringing over high school kids to do jobs under these visas, why can’t we Americans train our high schoolers to do the same? We are NOT importing the “best and brightest”. If anyone thinks that they are fools. Half the college degreed Indians coming over don’t even have a 4 year degree. There, they get 3 year degrees from schools similar to tech schools here. What needs to happen is line up Congress outside the DC mall and start hanging. Congress is selling our nation out.

  • Posted by Jack

    Employers advocate for more H-1B visas because they provide indentured workers at low starting salaries. There is no requirement for testing the market for qualified US workers before hiring foreign workers. If that were made a condition for hiring an H-1B worker – as it is for immigrant workers – there would be no shortage of visas available. The fact is that the H-1b visa is used as a precursor for an immigrant visa, and the same protections for US workers should apply.

  • Posted by WG Berger

    Here we go again. Crying wolf about at STEM shortage even as PhD candidates languish in post-doc positions unable to get full time positions; even as wages are flat which disprove the notion of shortage.

    The White House should not be a hiring hall for techno-braceros. It should be vigilant in advancing the careers of Americans.

  • Posted by Harrison Picot

    When you have billionaires like Zuckerberg paying millions to get more green cards provided by the “immigration” bill, you realize that both democracy and capitalism have vanished. Zuckerberg expects the taxpayers to pick up the costs educating the children of his immigrants, and providing HUD housing, SSI payments, and Medicare for the aged parents of his low wage engineers, thus socializing the true cost of his labour. And it is not just Face book, the electronic hula hoop, it is Wal Mart asking for 130 visas to cut their cost of labour and add more costs to society.

  • Posted by Shlomo Mizrahi

    Several years ago, Israel’s high-tech business community tried to get its government to create a foreign worker visa program similar to our H-1B, to offset a claimed worker “shortage”. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vetoed the proposal because he feared it would lower the wages paid to Israeli STEM workers and thus discourage young Israelis from entering those fields.

    Look at Israel today! Per capita, they have more startups, more NASDAQ listings, more innovation, and more patents than we do in America. STEM fields are the most popular for young people to enter, and wages therein are steadily rising, encouraging more entrants in future years. And all this without an H-1B program!

    Is there something here that American policymakers should learn from?

  • Posted by JRStern

    Here’s the equation: replace one American STEM worker at $X salary with two H-1Bs at $X/3 salaries, and push the American into unemployment or into work as a greeter at Walmart.

    Why doesn’t the American stay in the field and accept $X/3 as well? Would you? Anyway too many employers won’t even offer, at least thinking the American would not be happy.

    So are these really the policies that CFR wants to endorse?

    Does the Republican party really think they will increase their ELECTORAL results, by putting more Americans out of work?

  • Posted by Steve Landess

    Between one-third and one-half of the H-1B visas issued in the year 2012 went to Indian information technology “bodyshops” such as TATA, Infosys, Wipro, and Cognizant, or to “American” companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle.

    Americans had virtually no chance at landing any of these positions – these companies are after CHEAP, not highly qualified labor.

    They use these cheap foreign workers to either directly displace American workers onshore or utilize them as enablers here for offshoring even more jobs to India or other offshore locations.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/03/30/visa-program-has-been-hijacked-outsourcers/VAg6o9KgS2tuoZ3WbmaqeK/story.html

  • Posted by Cee

    Analysis of the government’s own data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Center for Educational Statistics does not support the assertion that there is a shortage of workers in the STEM fields.

    Many Americans are forced out of the fields they trained for by guest workers and from advanced educational programs by international students.

    Add to those problems the lack of post doctoral positions made available to US citizens and other graduates of US institutions. I just completed a review of the 2013 travel of a faculty member at a major state research institution. On his travels – an 82 day trip funded by the university – he specifically reports interviewing postdoc candidates at six universities in Asia. He visited numerous other institutions for collaborations. He did not report interviewing any post doc candidates at any US institutions during the year.

  • Posted by Harry

    Excuse me, but I am a highly qualified, willing and able American worker having trouble getting a job because although I am happy to work at 15-20% below the prevailing wage offered to H-1B, I cannot offer the single most important reason companies clamor for more H-1Bs through shill remarks such as those posted here. That of course is I cannot be a defacto indentured servant for six years while awaiting sponsorship for LC (Labor Certification) which is the critical step to a “green-card”. How do we know the H-1B is an indentured servant? Because (1) studies show that after 6 or 7 years the attrition rate is over 30% for green-card holders as they are “free at last” to go after any job for any company… and (2) the average tenure of a non-H-1B American worker is 2 to 2.5 years.

    If you disagree, you cannot be believed. The PERM laws for certification state that during Labor Certification I should get the job if I can learn any of the unique or specialized skills held by the H-1B in the same amount of time it took the H-1B to learn it.

    Let’s be honest. 15-20% savings in salary (if there is a shortage, why are there so many unemployed, underemployed, or discouraged *and skilled* American I/T workers?

    Do you doubt for a minute I can find you as many qualified American workers who are being subtly age discriminated against because of propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation you and other shills blather as though you really believe we are as dumb as we are qualified?

    Come on. I am ready to do the job you claim there are more H-1Bs. And I am outstanding in my field. But will you risk me leaving after an average retention of approx 2.5 years for an American worker? No, you’d rather train a defacto indentured servant (aka H-1B) and keep them for six to seven years and then toss perks and money at the remaining 66% who do not contribute to attrition.

    Regards,

    Dumb but not Stupid!

  • Posted by ComplexNumbers

    Zombie facts !

    Labor Shortage…..never existed.
    STEM shortage…. doesn’t exist.

    They have been telling these lies for so long that there is an entire generation of Techie spokesman that actually believe it.

    The sad part of this whole 25 year lie is that it may have actually killed innovation and creativeness in America for the next generation.

  • Posted by Harry (again)

    You said: “But an H-1B visa does not grant citizenship, only a temporary right to live and work in the United States. ” — this is misinformation. The H-1B is the first step to citizenship. Step #2 is the Labor Certification, the goal of most H-1Bs who desire to live in my country, USA, and steal my job so I cannot provide for my family. That step (#2) is known as Labor Certification. Step #3 is the setting of a priority date for obtainment of a “green card”. The green card is the de factor guaranteed right to citizenship, subject to passing an exam.

    I propose adding a new question to the citizenship test: “Q:Why were you able to work six years in one company, for lower wages and perhaps unbearable work conditions when an qualified American was available but unemployed?” Correct answer: because I was able to be one of just 65,000 people allowed to screw American workers this way” or “I paid for two years of graduate school to obtain my Masters degree so I could feed this big business at universities [after all, I understand that foreign nationals make up 55% of all graduate students -- or didn't you know that Mr. Alden?] and I paid for those two years so that I could be part of those 20,000 additional exemptions and reduce my tenure to obtain a defacto indentured servant from 6/7 years to something far less because even though I don’t understand or know how to troubleshoot operating system, network, and application development issues – *I DO HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE* — YAH BABY!!! I paid for my title as “defacto indentured servant” while Americans with Bachelors earned the same money or more while I fed those universities. I AM THE UNIVERSITY. I PAY THE PROFESSORS, THEY KNOW IT, MR. ALDEN KNOW IT and that is precisely why they are among the biggest advocates of more H-1Bs: IT’S GOOD FOR BUSINESS!!!!

    Yah Baby!

  • Posted by jobs4us

    Companies pay billions to keep a hidden loophole in US H-1b visa law a secret – and lie to Congress, the media and Americans by telling us they can’t find high skill talent.

    The dirty secret of H-1b visa law – companies are not legally required to consider US citizens for US jobs. It is legal for companies to exclusively recruit offshore, and worse, companies can legally replace Americans in their US jobs with citizens of other countries.

    Here is what the Labor Department says about the current law: “H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified US worker wants the job, and a US worker can be displaced from the job in favor of a foreign worker.”

    Get the facts about H-1b visa law http://www.brightfuturejobs.com

  • Posted by Jobs4 USA

    Companies pay billions to keep a hidden loophole in US H-1b visa law a secret – and lie to Congress, the media and Americans by telling us they can’t find high skill talent.

    The dirty secret of H-1b visa law – companies are not legally required to consider US citizens for US jobs. It is legal for companies to exclusively recruit offshore, and worse, companies can legally replace Americans in their US jobs with citizens of other countries.

    Here is what the Labor Department says about the current law: “H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified US worker wants the job, and a US worker can be displaced from the job in favor of a foreign worker.”

    Get the facts about H-1b visa law http://www.brightfuturejobs.com

  • Posted by PROUSA

    So at a time of high unemployment and wage stagnation many people think we should be giving what jobs we do have to foreign workers? Brilliant! After all the foreigners are soooo good that they actually create jobs for us. And it’s just a coincidence H-1B, L-1, OPT etc. have always come overwhelmingly from low wage countries such as India (forget Japan or Western Europe). It’s some labor and skills shortage we have where such critical workers can only be found in low wage countries huh?

    Face it, immigration today is often just about cheap indentured labor. As such it’s great for employers but terrible for everyone else. When you consider employment, education and health costs, population congestion, terrorism, disease, language issues etc. how can you come to any other conclusion?

  • Posted by Golden Glider (Alexandria, Virginia)

    I side with Mother Jones. The Best time to end immigration, all of it, H1-B visas, “family reunification”,, refugees, asylees and all of the Fraud,
    the Best Time to End Immigration is always right now.
    There have not been Indians to displace for a long time.
    Time to end the H1-B visa and All Immigration.

  • Posted by Alan

    Sure, we don’t have enough unemployed, highly-educated people in this country, so let’s bring in some more so businesses can lower salaries–that’s exactly what we need–more inequality.

  • Posted by Greg

    If we have a shortage of IT workers then why are my rates decreasing? Doesn’t the rule of supply and demand apply? We have plenty of IT workers they just want cheaper IT workers. If we are bringing over only the best and brighest to come here then I must be Einstein. Believe me I have seen many that couldn’t hold a job here but were still allowed to come over because there are no regulations being followed.

  • Posted by Gary

    There is no IT labor shortage. This is a myth created by the large tech firms – Microsoft in particular – to lobby Washington to green light cheap indentured workers and to lower wages to increase their profits. So far as “best and brightest” is concerned, I spend my days educating them and cleaning up their messes.

  • Posted by Alexis de Pleshcoy

    Ironically, this blog entry is posted under “Education and Human Capital”, in a blog called “Renewing America”. It is basically saying that although the societal collective debt for higher education has reached 1.3 trillion dollars we still need to import brainpower. There were almost immediately six comments, disagreeing with the post, comments justified in my opinion.
    An in depth deconstruction of the initial post will probably take a book, as it should start with the essence of our vision of what capitalism means. Several posts will follow.

  • Posted by Preston Addison

    There have been any number of studies (e.g. Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America, etc.) which demonstrate very clearly that there are plenty of high-skilled workers available.

    Corporate interests are trying to flood the market to suppress wages and they’re succeeding. Wages have stagnated for years as productivity and corporate profitability has skyrocketed.

    Economists Emmanuel Saez, of the University of California–Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman, of the London School of Economics, have shown that the wealth of the moneyed elite is growing at the expense of the middle class. This isn’t the inevitable result of globalization or technology, it’s a direct result of policies that have been pushed by corporate executives.

    In a nutshell, this is the face of class war.

  • Posted by Alexis de Pleshcoy

    This discussion, where 26 posts disagree at 180 degrees opposite with the article is a perfect illustration of the systemic crisis of our present form of societal organization.
    Every society is based on a social contract, which is well understood by any member of the society, even before it is crystalized in a constitution. Capitalism, in its ideal format (which unfortunately doesn’t exist), is based on individual freedom, free markets, rule of law, civil society (including a free press), democratic participation in the proposal, development, and the creation of laws.
    It is absolutely self-evident that a discussion like the one in this blog can’t happen in a functional capitalist system, as described above.
    It is clear, beyond any doubt, that in the most critical aspect of the live of any individual, i.e. his/her ability to find employment, there was no public debate whatsoever of the H1 Visa, therefore there was no democratic participation.
    The author of the article suggests the President take action, and fix the program, therefore the rule of law doesn’t apply. Even if the President will cancel the program for say a generation (30 years) it would still not apply.
    As mentioned by many posts in the blog, there was no major news network covering any topic related to H1 Visa (it is April, and it happens every year), no public discussion of any kind, therefore civil society doesn’t apply. Please note that this year it is the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, heralded as a major benefit for the people. Moreover, this is the year for TTIP and TTP, no discussion whatsoever.
    The initial article can be considered press, so the initial article qualifies as free press. The fact that CFR allows for posts is free press, so this check passes.
    The most complicated is the discussion about free markets, i.e. supply and demand. As always the consumer of labor (in this case corporations) would like the cheapest possible (free, why not); the supplier would settle for less and less, hoping eventually for a livable wage. In a global economy, where there are no barriers of any kind, (for IT please note that it can be done over the Internet) the wages will eventually converge in absolute value (please note there is no PPP adjustment). No economic system has ever survived with an infinite supply of labor; it eventually becomes unstable, regardless of the level of societal obedience developed by its participants.

  • Posted by Alexis de Pleshcoy

    I will now answer with an alternate analysis of the same topic.
    Title:
    President Obama Should Fix the H-1B Program on His Own
    Content
    After years of fine tuning our educational system has bounced back from its lows and is now capable of supplying our economy with all the needed skills, especially in the STEM fields. It is now time to cancel the H1B Visa program, and some similar ones (L1, Opt), and walk on our own feet.
    It’s been a decade since major corporations have emphasized the need for more STEM students, and now the numbers have proven that they are around, just waiting to be challenged to help us regaining our position as THE major scientific and industrial power.
    This will not stop in any way the influx of the best and brightest to our shores, as several similar programs are still in effect. TN 1 Visa will still be in place, and the upcoming TTIP will quickly allow for the EU best and brightest to apply to work in the US. This will mean the scientists who build in Europe the Large Hadron Collider (a serious blow to our scientific reputation) will be busy building the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) (also nicknamed the Desertron) (the project was cancelled in 1993 due to budget problems); high speed trains will crisscross our plains; space shuttles will replace the Soviet era Progress ships.
    IT deserves a separate analysis. For years this field has been plagued with serious issues, especially security related. The BlackPOS debacle (we will never know how many credit cards got actually compromised), has shown that after years of H1B Visa the results are subpar and we don’t have the expertise to handle the most critical aspect of large distributed systems: security. BlackPOS was developed by a hacker whose nickname is “Ree4″ and who is now about 17 years old and living in St. Petersburg, Russia, according to Los Angeles-based IntelCrawler.

  • Posted by JS

    I read through the comments that many of you have posted and I can relate to it. Premise: I am a H1b worker, not a ITechi, worked in the US for about 6 years now and am in the long line to get my green card.

    I have been through the grind on this and there are certain things that I see differently from my fellow observers here. I think statistics can be twisted to show what you want it to, so my comments are based on personal experience alone. They might sound biased but here they are.

    After getting a MS degree in the US, I have worked for 3 different employers in the last 7 years and not all of them have been the money hungry scums that corporate America is viewed as. My current employer for instance pays me what I believe atleast 10% over state average for the job and treats me with a lot of respect and kindness. So I guess it depends on your potential and your luck in finding the right employer.

    I have worked my way up in the last 7 years from being a designer to an Engineering Manager now and have 6 engineers reporting to me now (only Non- American in my company). I would like to believe all my engineers add a lot of value to my company and I try and do as much of the same as possible.Could one of those people with more experience than me be doing my job, potentially yes, but if my company wants me to do it, I guess there is a reason for it, beyond what they pay me. One has to realize that payroll cost is a small part of a company’s overheads and the potential turnover makes the money they save with hiring “cheap labor” as one puts it is typically pennies on the dollar. No CEO (good one) worries about the pennies.

    This country is based on a regulated capitalism. US wants free trade of its goods around the world and service is a healthy percentage of goods sold. In a free trade market one has to give what you want to get. So if one can get services at a price cheaper elsewhere then why not. Besides some investigation on cost to company to hire a H1b worker is often the offset that you will see in thier wages from national or state averages if that.

    Finally as a worker here who pays my taxes, makes salaries that are commensurate to market value, who takes home about twice of national median household income, why is that I cannot get the same representation that this country was found on over 250 years ago. Why is it that all the immigrants that form citizens of this country now were able to fight for independence and no taxation without representation and my only fault is I am asking for the same 250 years later.

    It is never easy to accept that you are competing in your own home, but such is the state of affairs in any country around the world today.
    Thank you
    JS

  • Posted by Diana Rosales

    Excellent article, I’m an international student and even though I’m not planning to stay in the US once I earn my master’s, I’ve seen how many friends struggle trying to find any job before they graduate to be able to work in this country. Many of them are in high skilled majors but all of us have the disadvantage of being foreigners. And yes, we are discriminated (in the labor market) because of our citizenship.

  • Posted by Darrell Parker

    The international Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers opposes it.

    http://www.ifpte.org/news/details/Obama-Administration-proposes-massive-increase-in-H-1B-visas

    “The H-1B visa was designed as a non-immigrant temporary work visa. Expanding H-1B visas to spouses represents a commitment well beyond temporary non-immigrant work. The appropriate place for working spouses is in a path to citizenship with full worker protections for the immigrant worker and spouse.”

    While remaining in support of a reasonable path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers living and working in the United States, IFPTE remains opposed to both S. 744 and HR 15 because both bills call for expanding, and not reforming, the H-1B visa program.

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