H-1B visas may still harm U.S. workers

Article author: 
Thomas Elias
Article publisher: 
Hartford Sentinal
Article date: 
29 October 2013
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

No American immigration program draws as mixed reviews as the H-1B plan that allows U.S. companies to import foreign workers [purportedly] when there are no qualified Americans available to do the same jobs.

Large California high-tech companies like Cisco Systems and Intel love the program, often said to allow in 65,000 workers per year, all of whom must leave immediately if they lose their jobs. In actuality, the total imported often exceeds 90,000 and in 2010 came to 117,409.

The companies constantly pressure Congress to increase the number of visas available, claiming they need imported talent and have used it to fuel their well-publicized successes. They claim America does not have enough qualified, available (read: unemployed or newly graduated from college) workers to fill their demand.

But some U.S. workers, principally members of engineers' organizations, many of whose members lost jobs during the recession, say H-1Bs are used to drive salaries down at their expense...

“Do not confuse H-1B demand with labor demand – they’re not the same thing,” Jared Bernstein, author of a Brookings Institution report on H-1B use, told a reporter. “Lot of employers,” he suggested, seek visas despite “a climate with very high unemployment even among skilled workers. Below-market wages are a real concern here.”

... In short, American workers know that if their salary demands get too high, they can be replaced by workers from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and many other countries...

But the flaw remains. It is employers who must file initially for H-1Bs, and they are a far cry from hiring only persons with advanced degrees...

So it remains a lingering sore point for many highly trained, but unemployed American workers. The bottom-line fact is that neither the Departments of Labor nor Homeland Security ever makes sure the workers brought in on these visas are actually needed, rather than merely a convenient, exploitative money-saver for big corporations.


CAIRCO Research

"Have you ever had to train your H-1B replacement?  I have." - CAIRCO Director Fred Elbel


Background on the H-1B Program, NumbersUSA

More on the Innards of H1-B Program: Indenture Starts in OPT Period, by David North, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2012

History of H-1B Legislation Shows More Than Employer Abuses, by Charles Breiterman, NumbersUSA, October 2009

H-1B Visas: Harming American Workers, FAIR, 2008

H-1B Visa Numbers: No Relationship to Economic Need, by John Miano, Center for Immigration Studies, June 2008

There Is No High Tech Labor Shortage, by Wayne Lutton, The Social Contract, Spring, 2000

Pledge of Allegiance -- to India, Part II, by Rob Sanchez, The Social Contract, 2004

UC Davis Professor Norm Matloff's H-1B information

Job Destruction Directory

Immigration's Role in the U.S. Computer Industry, by Norm Matloff, The Social Contract, Spring 1997