H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012 - InformationWeek
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04:39 PM

H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012

U.S. immigration authorities say annual limit of 85,000 visas has already been exhausted.

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The U.S. is no longer accepting applications for H-1B visas for the government's current fiscal year, meaning that foreign tech workers will not be able submit applications for the temporary work permits until October of next year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it had received enough applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B visa cap as of Nov. 22, two months earlier than last year. The agency said applications received after that date will be rejected.

USCIS said it's also received enough applications to fill the additional 20,000 H-1B visas that are available to foreign graduates who studied in advanced degree programs at U.S. universities. Current H-1B visa holders can still file to change the terms of their employment.

[ Congress may change the H-1B process. Read House Approves Faster Green Cards For Foreign IT Workers. ]

H-1B visas allow foreign workers, mostly in the tech industry, to work in the U.S. for three years. The visas can be renewed for one, additional three-year term.

That the H-1B cap was reached well ahead of last year's pace indicates that the program is not allowing skilled IT workers to move to the U.S. in sufficient numbers, according to proponents of a more open immigration system.

A recent study by The Partnership for a New American Economy, which is backed by a number of tech and business giants, including Microsoft, Boeing, and News Corp., found that 18% of the companies on the 2010 Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants. "The findings are clear, immigrants drive our economy," said the group.

The study noted that eBay, Yahoo, Sun, and Qualcomm were all founded by immigrants.

Not everyone is in favor of looser immigration rules for tech workers. Groups that represent American IT workers, such as WashTec and Alliance At IBM, have noted that a number of tech companies, including Microsoft and IBM, have laid off thousands of U.S.-born employees in the past several years even as they have brought in H-1B workers from India, China, and other offshore locations.

Critics also point to a recent study by the General Accountability Office, which found that 54% of H-1B visa recipients were entry-level caliber workers, even though the program was designed for highly skilled professionals.

On Thursday, The Partnership for A New Economy and The American Enterprise Institute will hold a briefing in Washington, D.C., where they plan to argue for loosening the caps on the H-1B and other visa programs. U.S. Rep Tim Griffin (R-Ariz.) plans to speak at the event.

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User Rank: Strategist
12/14/2011 | 5:18:12 AM
re: H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012
It is not clear that immigrants drive our economy. All unbiased studies indicate that immigrants start new business enterprises at the same rate as native born Americans. Thus increasing immigration will not drive new companies or new jobs.

Saying that eBay, Yahoo, Sun, and Qualcomm were started by immigrants is a stretch. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar born in Paris France but raised in Washington DC since age 6 and educated at Tufts University. Yahoo was started by David Filo born in Wisconsin, educated at Stanford and Jerry Yang born in Taipei, raised in San Jose California since age 8 and educated in the at Stanford. Sun Microsystems was founded by Scott McNealy, Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla, and Andy Bechtolsheim of whom only Vinod Khosla and Andy Bechtosheim were foreign born. Of QualcommG«÷s many founders it appears that only Andrew Viterbi was foreign born and he immigrated to the US at age 4 as a refugee. None of the foreign born founders came here on a work visa so using them to justify increased work visas is suspect. Moreover foreigners here on H-1B visas have never started a business. The visa does not allow it. It is a temporary work visa that requires an existing business for sponsorship. The H-1B is for cheap labor.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/14/2011 | 2:10:41 AM
re: H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012
This H-1b visas should have been stopped a long time ago as they are simply cheap and often fraudulent (many have fake degrees and experiences ) substitutes for well qualified American workers. Even though it is bit too late, I am glad to see that someone in our government has finally got the brain to propose this law. Similarly, student visas issued per year should also be limited/decreased to a greater extend as many of the student (particularly from south asian countries) are merely here for work and have no intention of completing any degree. In other words, by these foreign students working more the regulated amount of 20 hours, there hampering the scope of an American getting hired for the same job.
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