Workers, Wages, and H-1B

October 30th, 2008
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H-1B visas were designed to bring into the U.S. specialists when companies cannot find an American citizen with equivalent skills.  Or they cannot find sufficient quantities of these specialized skills.  In a recent study, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services found that 13% of the requests for H-1B visas were fraudulent and 7% contain technical violations.  The study was based on 246 H-1B petitions. 

Critics of this entire process point out these issues and claim that these visas are used to higher  cheap labor from abroad instead of hiring Americans.  That is only partly true.

As with most government run programs, this one needs better oversight and investigative controls to be put in place.  If the H-1B employee does not have the academic credentials or experience to justify the visa, they should not receive one.  H-1B workers are supposed to be paid the prevailing wages for their positions and geographic location.  If they do not receive this wage, it is a violation of the rules. 

Balancing the issue of more visas being issued and raising the ceiling should be coupled with greater government spending on education, re-tooling displaced workers with other skills that help push down unemployment  and other government spending that sparks longer-term innovation.