Skip to comments.Companies flood U.S. government with visa requests
Posted on 04/02/2008 3:17:51 AM PDT by kipita
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. companies flooded the government with visa applications for highly skilled foreign workers on Tuesday in what has become an annual lottery for just 65,000 visas.
The government did not release any figures, but experts said they expected about 200,000 applications, more than three times the number available, on the first day the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting the petitions for the fiscal year starting October 1.
The U.S. government was overwhelmed last year with about 120,000 applications on the first day that applications were accepted for H-1B visas, leaving many candidates out of luck.
The competition is for H-1B visas, which allow U.S. companies to employ foreign guest workers in highly skilled jobs for three years. The visas can be extended for an additional three years.
"The people we've offered jobs to are really subject to the whims of a lottery," said Jack Krumholtz, managing director of federal government affairs for Microsoft Corp.
The USCIS closed the application window after two days and pooled the petitions, granting the visas by a computerized lottery system.
But tech companies say the demand shows the need for the industry to tap into foreign resources.
"This leaves Cisco and other U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage if we cannot access the best and the brightest workers," said Heather Dickinson, a spokeswoman for network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc.
Companies who specialize in science, engineering and technology say the current system is a Catch 22: the United States is not producing enough homegrown job candidates and bars companies from bringing them in.
"Getting this right is important for the U.S. to maintain competitiveness," Krumholtz said. "It goes to our economic well-being."
The National Association of Manufacturers called for "a permanent fix" to address the need for highly skilled employees in manufacturing and other sectors.
There wasn't always such a mismatch in supply and demand. In 2000, the quota for H-1B visas was raised to 195,000 per year and was rarely reached, but when the tech boom collapsed, the quota was reduced to 65,000.
Technology companies have lobbied Congress to raise the quota but labor groups oppose a change, arguing that doing so would hurt U.S. employees' job prospects.
Krumholtz said roughly one-third of Microsoft's U.S.-based employees have required some form of visa assistance. Last year, Microsoft submitted about 1,200 applications for H-1B visas and was granted about 900, he said.
This year Microsoft is trying to improve its chances in the lottery by filing about 1,600 applications. "We've got between 3,000 and 4,000 core openings at Microsoft we're trying to find people for," Krumholtz said.
Microsoft's internal immigration staff expects it will "at best" get about 40 percent, or 640 visas, approved.
Bob Gaynor, a Boston-based attorney from specializes in immigration law, said his clients applying for H-1B visas this year are worried about their chances.
Gaynor, who represents dentists, intellectual property experts, engineers and accountants from India, Australia and Germany, among other countries, said he expected about 200,000 applications to flood the system on Tuesday.
"It's sad," Gaynor said. "These people really contribute to the business climate of the country."
..by doing work that many Americans can do at 30% of the wages with no long term benefits.
Given this and many similar actions by many "Americans", those who serve in the military, teach our children, protect our citizens, etc, for altruism have little to no value in 21st century American society based on "Global values".
These heroic “Captains of Industry” understand the laws of supply and demand except when it comes to prevailing wages, then they “cheat” and undercut the American middle class by importing H1b wage slaves. Some system we got here. Only in America(And I mean that, this CAN ONLY HAPPEN in America).
US companies are at a disadvantage to whom?
If the foreign citizens are so superior to Americans, when why don't these companies open up more offices overseas?
My personal story was a career change from being an analytical environmental chemist to MCSE, MCDBA and CCNA due to schools set-up with federal matching funds based on industry's demand based on the H1B program. After graduating, 15 students were given opportunities to work at circuit city and similar 10 per hour jobs. After being in Europe for about 5 years, I can tell you that this CAN HAPPEN ONLY IN AMERICA!
“why don’t these companies open up more offices overseas?”
They do not want to go BOOM!
Well, things are back to normal. Both my immigration links work again, and I picked up some posts that weren't available yesterday...
OMGLOL--I can't believe you just said that on this thread.
Don't know about the 30% thing, that sounds rather dramatic, but I'd call getting a green card a long term benefit.
... and if you are American, you have no chance at one of these jobs, even at 30% of the “standard” wage.
Hint: who owne or operates 8/10 of the top IT placement firms in the U.S.?
Why are certain jobs reserved for H1B visa holders? (source: U.S. DOL and The Programmer’s Guild)
Lets hope the Clinton (D-Punjab) doesn’t get elected.
You have that right. I am forced to work overseas (for a good Japanese company) because I was unwilling to change my career field (15 years programming, training and other IT experience).
Every recruiter I talked to - and I did play the Asian card (I’m the wrong type of Asian) - was not American (OK for except one in Milwaukee for a position in Fondulac). They wanted H1Bs and it was pretty much stated in the Position Announcements. I thought wrongly as an native-born American that they can’t discriminate. Was I wrong.
From a business perspective, I'd say the IT engineers from India and China are better at US market value based on their skills. But if business decisions are made purely based on market forces, then let the loyal patriotic Americans know and get rid of the flag and replace it with a global symbol. My personal opinion is that America is headed where old Europe was (with the Dow replacing gold and intelligence replacing Aristocracy) and Old Europe is headed where America was many years ago.
I like both of your comments in response to this article as you have much more relevant experience than I do about the IT market. I'd also like to know the answer to the questions you proposed because I really don't know and I'm sure many FRiends would like to know.
I’m just saying, from a cultural perspective, we should encourage skilled workers who want to be here and are here legally to remain here. And I’m not talking about opening the floodgates, either. Maybe, in a slowing economy, 65,000 is too high. But in a growing economy it is not.
There’s always the military. They’re not outsourcing the dying, just the way of life it’s meant to protect.
Having worked within the MIC for 11 years, I tend to strongly agree with the statement "Im just saying, from a cultural perspective, we should encourage skilled workers who want to be here and are here legally to remain here" as this strategy has been America's success. The brilliant "unwanted, disrespected, troublesome" minds from around the world has made America a great country. But the driving forces of the Dow and a "purely intellectual/"powers that be" based society" leads to an old European based society.
That may have been yesterday's military but today's military is "cost plus contracts" and "green card soliders" and "lower the standard to get soliders at market value".
Why bother when you can just sneak in illegally and not worry about running the risk of being deported for not following the absurdly restrictive rules?
Since when is following the law been a requirement for entering the United States??? Ask 20 million illegals that don’t obey laws, and don’t have to.
But with amnesty looming over the horizon, they could just wait.
It was really just a rhetorical question.