H-1B Overhaul Increases US Dependence On Skilled Foreign Workers - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
Commentary
2/17/2015
12:30 PM
Nicole Lewis
Nicole Lewis
Commentary
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H-1B Overhaul Increases US Dependence On Skilled Foreign Workers

High tech OEMs are looking for skilled workers from all over the world. New H-1B visa guidelines offer an opportunity to bring in a wealth of new talent.

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Many high-tech supply chain managers looking for qualified talent to fill jobs across their supply chain network will be thrilled with recently introduced immigration legislation. New guidelines triple the cap on the number of skilled foreign workers allowed in under the H-1B visa program.

While some are happy with the announcement, however, my concern is that the proposed changes don't go far enough to shorten the length of time it will take for an H-1B visa holder to become a U.S. citizen, a process that currently can take more than ten years. That said, the bill will effectively increase U.S. dependence on skilled foreign workers tasked with applying their skills toward improving American innovation and job creation. 

(Image: Morenus via Wikimedia Commons)
(Image: Morenus via Wikimedia Commons)

Dubbed the Immigration Innovation ("I-Squared") Act of 2015, the bill is designed to attract qualified workers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Introduced by Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Jan. 13, the proposed bill raises the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000, and can go as high as 195,000 in years when the need arises.

Read the rest of the article on EBN.

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SaneIT
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2/18/2015 | 8:49:49 AM
Re: H-1B Overhaul Increases US Dependence On Skilled Foreign Workers
@zerox203, I agree that this is not a black and white issue nor is there an easy fix for it that will make everyone happy.  I also agree that everyone should have the chance to make a good living in a position that they enjoy but the question is who should the burden of supplying those jobs fall on?  Do US companies have a responsibility to make sure that the rest of the world has equal access to jobs inside the US?  Does the US government have a responsibility to make it easy for US companies to hire anyone that they choose?  Personally I think that companies should hire the best people for the job no matter how many borders they need to cross to do it and that any government involvement needs to be from a protection standpoint for both the employer and employee.  We're in an odd time where the world is shrinking and it is only getting easier for people to relocate across oceans without the fears that they had 100 years ago.  We should be working to keep it that way.
zerox203
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zerox203,
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2/18/2015 | 12:31:48 AM
Re: H-1B Overhaul Increases US Dependence On Skilled Foreign Workers
This is certainly a very complex issue with few objective answers. At the end of the day, nobody should be denied the right to have a good job and make a good living. That isn't the reality, though, and the lawmakers in this space have the difficult job of deciding where to draw the line. The terrifying trend in US politics of making all issues sound black and white obviously doesn't help. As you point out in the full article, many of these workers go on to found startups and create more jobs in the US. The general idea that a strong economy benefits everyone should not be overlooked. Moreover, the difficulty companies are having filling these jobs is a failing of the US education system. These are all aspects of the issue you may or may not hear tuning into the nightly news.


Still, I have to wonder if increasing the cap so dramatically is really the answer. As was discussed in the article and comments on EBN, this system is far from invulnerable to exploitation. Those mass outsourcing companies seem to evoke the idea of violating the spirit of the law while skirting the letter. I've also heard of fake companies being registered just to bring immigrants here illegally using H-1B Visas - and exploiting them further once they get here. Moreover, the continued need for more foreign skilled workers suggests that the current system may not be succesfully shoring up the US base in the long haul the way it was intended to. Will we just continually raise the cap every few years indefinitely? We can't use H-1B to avoid fixing our schools. I personally feel I have no more right to American citizenship than these people do simply because I was born here, but there are negatives to consider.
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