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Bad News for U.S.—Number of H-1B Visa Requests Remains the Same

Ara Trembly
Insurance Experts' Forum, December 14, 2009

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), U.S. companies are still requesting H-1B visas at about the same rate as last year, allowing these companies to hire lower-paid foreign workers, despite the fact that many U.S.-based workers could fill those same jobs. Incredibly, this is happening at the same time when many of these same companies are actually laying off their current employees.

How can this be, you ask? Shouldn’t we fill jobs here with our own citizens before asking the government to okay importation of foreign workers to fill them? Well, yes, we should, but obviously we don’t. The H-1B visa program, USCIS notes, is used by some U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field and a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors. Of course, it’s the technical folks that concern us here, and if we are to believe the unemployed or underemployed U.S.-based tech workers who have contacted me, our people are being ignored in favor of the H-1B workers—often because the foreign workers can be had for lower salaries. 

Despite the rhetoric of President Obama’s recent job summit, U.S. firms seem just as hungry as ever for less-expensive foreign labor while paying only lip service to the need to employ our own citizens. In fact, the president noted that, “One of the great things about this country is we get the best and the brightest talent to study here, and once they study here, they start enjoying the intellectual freedom and the entrepreneurship, they decide to stay, and they start new businesses." Or, they stay here in the jobs they get via H-1B. 

You know, I would much prefer to have heard something like: “One of the great things about this country is that we are dedicated to developing the best and the brightest talent here in order to keep our nation’s workforce strong and vital.” I suppose I am dreaming to think that our own leaders would put our country’s needs first, but what’s wrong with a little bit of common sense? 

Adding insult to injury, many of the companies requesting these visas are among the most prominent players on the insurance and financial services technology and consulting stages—names you would recognize, but which I will not list here in order to save them the embarrassment. I must confess that I am old enough to remember the days when it really meant something for a company to be a “good corporate citizen.” Today, however, throats are so easily cut, especially when they belong to U.S.-born workers who might actually want to be paid a decent wage. 

Now don’t get me wrong by thinking that I have something against H-1B workers. I have met several such individuals, and have always found them to be bright, articulate and hard-working. I do not question their qualifications, and I wish them only the best, but I cannot sanction hiring them for U.S.-based jobs when our own equally qualified citizens remain out of work. 

I wonder, too, about those who actually make the decisions to request H-1B workers rather than hire homegrown talent. Do they ever think to themselves: “By hiring these 400 foreign workers, I am taking jobs away from 400 of my fellow citizens?” Probably not. How could they sleep at night if they did? 

Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ara using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

Comments (3)

H1-B are atleast legally coming into US. What about illegal immigrants. H1Bs are paying taxes which they do not get benefit for. Illegal immigrants are given not only illegaly taking American jobs but, burden on all American tax payers and also get citizenship when they protest!
Microsoft maybe at fault; what about small businesses who employ illegal immigrants? I think, smaller Americans also behave illegally by depriving American a job!
America is great country. Hope it will stay that way.

Posted by: Nimish M | December 16, 2009 2:36 PM

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Let's face it, the H-1B Mafia (greedy corporations, corrupt government officials in the US and India) have their own agenda and laid off American tech workers are annoying mosquitoes in their way. The Mafia doesn't give a hoot about laid off Americans, discrimination, or the constitution.

Paid off politicians honor their benefactors, not the people who elected them. Is it any coincidence that the first state dinner was for INDIA? I wouldn't be surprised if the party crashers were a deliberate plan to distract Americans and the media while the H-1B Mafia cemented plans to eradicate American knowledge workers and eliminate American middle class.

Sadly, the H-1B Mafia's deadly cocktail of corporate greed and bottomless funding of corrupt politicians has resulted in taxation without representation and robbed Americans of truth, justice, and the American Way.

Forget for the people, by the people. Reality, for corporate greed, BUY greedy corporations.

Fortunately, America has a silver bullet to stop the H-1B Mafia dead in its tracks, a simple, powerful solution that won't cost a dime - and it is us, the American Consumer.

How can America defeat the H-1B Mafia?

BOYCOTT Microsoft. NOW.

What better time to hit the enemy where it hurts but Christmas? Start with Microsoft, the founder, and largest abuser of the H-1b/L-1 visas. The rest will fall like dominos.

Say NO to Windows 7. Say YES to giving Americans a fair chance to compete for jobs in our own country.

Say NO to Windows Mobile. Say YES to job creation

Say NO to XBOX. Say YES to giving your kid a chance for a future job (recent college grad unemployment 25% )

Shockingly, thanks to the H-1B Mafia, today it is LEGAL for employers to bypass qualified Americans and exclusively current US laws Boycott Microsoft.

Spread the word, please. Unless Main Street Consumers screams with our wallets NOTHING will happen to end this corruption.

Employ Americans. The Job You Save May Be Your Own.

Posted by: BFJ D | December 15, 2009 1:34 PM

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Ara,

Thank you for understanding the job destruction aspects of the H1B guest worker program. Industry in both America and India likes to market this program by using catch phrases such as "best and brightest", but H1B is not really about that, its more about lowering employment opportunities for US citizens. We have lost our way as a Nation when we prefer to lower wages of citizens using guest worker programs. Our politicians need to get back to the basics of representing the people and not just corporations.

Best Regards,
Jim

Posted by: Jim B | December 15, 2009 11:36 AM

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