Friday, June 12, 2015

Terminate the H1-B Visa Program

The H1-B visa program allowing U.S. businesses to employ specialty workers on a temporary basis should be terminated. It has been abused by employers while offering little or no benefit to the U.S. economy even when used as intended.

The foreign workers employed are supposed to have skills in technology, science, business, or other areas that are not available from potential employees in the U.S.

In large, however, the skills are available from U.S. employees. The difference is the H1-B workers can be employed at low wages and threatened with deportation should they fail to meet employer demands.

In the cases where there are shortages of skilled workers in the U.S., these could be fixed by simply training Americans or providing specific education for them.

In theory only 65,000 H1-B visas are to be issued each year, but due to loopholes in reality almost 136,000 were issued in 2012. Each visa is good for up to six years.

The legal immigration quota for the U.S. currently is 700,000 per year. That does not include student visas and guest workers. That is a lot of new arrivals each year. If Congress wants to prioritize within that 700,000 those who have skills that would help the U.S. economy, I have no problem with that.

Work skills are already one of the criteria for determining who gets a regular immigration slot. The difference is that person does not come to the U.S. as a slave to a corporate sponsor, but may take any employment they like.

Comprehensive immigration reform is something every politician says they want, but different groups have different ideas of what changes they would like.

I favor comprehensive immigration reform, including allowing all North American citizens the freedom to travel, work, and do business anywhere in North America.

But the H1-B visa program has been abused to the point that it should be terminated. No exceptions. Businesses that abused the program should be investigated and sanctioned.

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