One of the next targets under consideration for modification or deletion under the Trump regime’s fascination with immigration is the H-1B visa. These visas allow companies to import talented employees from overseas. They are not considered to be immigrants and the visas have time limits. These employees are frequently IT professionals, medical/research professionals or engineers that provide needed skills for American businesses.
Many of the big tech companies that we are familiar with might not exist or might not exist in their current forms if not for H-1B visas. As the video below describes, these foreign professionals have contributed billions to the American economy over the years.
Now, there are two primary knocks on these visa from those on the right. I don’t quite understand this since many of their benefactors probably benefit from these very visas. But the visas are often credited with taking jobs away from Americans and holding down wages because visa holders will work for less.
From here on in this post is all my observation and personal opinion.
There are certain financial restrictions on these visas. It is unlikely they are being underpaid so dramatically that they are depressing wages for their American peers. But they may be underpaid for their experience level…many of them hold master’s degrees while the American professionals in similar positions often only have a bachelors. So yes they are being underpaid in that sense. And overall there aren’t enough of them to have a big enough impact financially on an individual company that their wage levels could have a significant impact.
And taking away American jobs? I call baloney on that. The American educational system just isn’t turning out enough science, technology, engineering, math or medical professionals to keep pace with America’s needs in those areas. We just aren’t getting the job done. And with the continued assault on education, both at the local and at the university level, if that were all reversed tomorrow it will take years to catch up again.
Ok, this next item has a bit of fact in it because I am already seeing this trend. If President Trump blows up the H-1B visa program, it isn’t going to create American jobs (until we get the skilled workforce we need). And it will be a boon for Latin America as American firms and offshore firms set up shop in Central and South America (nearshore as it is now called) so the employees who would have been H-1B workers can work in the same time zones as their US colleages. Quite frankly other than hands on medicine it is to the that technical people can work anywhere.
So the vitality of the American economy right now relies on pulling in the best and brightest from around the world. Their value to our economy can be measured in billions of dollars. There are no American jobs be taken…but there are hundreds of thousands of American jobs at stake if we can’t maintain the growth and vitality of the American economy.
SO, let’s watch the video!