Temp US Work Visas Go to Unskilled Foreigners

Friday, 01 Apr 2011 02:59 PM

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An immigration expert says a visa program designed to help American companies recruit highly skilled workers from abroad has instead become a favorite tool of Indian outsourcing companies, The New York Times reports.

temporary work visasLoopholes in the H-1b temporary worker visa program are allowing India-based outsourcers “to bring in cheaper foreign workers, with ordinary skills, who directly substitute for, rather than complement, workers in America,” Ronil Hara, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, told the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on Thursday.

From 2007 to 2009, during the economic recession, the only U.S.-headquartered company among the top five users of H-1b visas was Microsoft. Four other companies, all Indian, sent 22,766 workers to the United States in that period.

Studies have found numerous cases of less-skilled American workers being replaced at U.S. job sites by workers sent here from India, often at lower wages.

American companies want an increase in the annual national limit of 65,000 temporary visas so they can hire more engineers and scientists. Some want to just bypass the H-1b program in some cases and have permanent-resident green cards issued to foreign students who receive advanced degrees in math and science from U.S. universities.


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