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Stimulus contains visa restrictions

Just when you thought the quota, the lottery system, the very expensive application costs, and the uber-confusing legal procedures made getting an H-1B visa difficult enough—now there’s more. The recently-passed economic stimulus bill now contains restrictions aimed at deterring companies that receive bailout money from hiring H-1B workers.  Bottom line: it’s going to take a hell of a lot more luck for non-Americans to get a job here.

As the country’s unemployment rate steadily increases, the government is becoming more and more protective of its national workforce, and, as a result, more wary of foreign workers.  In fact, the initial proposal, by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), planned to bar companies that receive bailout funds from hiring any H-1B workers.  The current amendment is a little softer—it just makes it very difficult to hire them.  Supporters of the bill insist that, with the current plethora of laid-off workers, companies should be able to easily find the kind of talent they’d find in foreign workers.  Opponents, however, like the American Immigration Lawyers Association argue that the restrictions “would prove to be counterproductive as it prevents the US companies to hire the best available global talent.”

What do you think?  Does this bill affect you?

For more reading:

Op-ed: Remove the H-1B cap, writes LinkedIn CEO [Washington Post]
Editorial: Immigration crackdown will hurt New York’s financial sector [Daily News]

7 Comments

  1. Visas are the bane of a TCK’s existence, because what you are on your immigration paperwork is often not what you identify with in real life. For a country to really grow in this globalized society, it’s going to have to have world-class talent and a marketplace of ideas. Otherwise, the smart, innovative international students and workers will just go elsewhere, and develop new blockbuster companies outside of the U.S. This is a good read from the NYTimes, “Scientists Fear Visa Trouble Will Drive Foreign Students Away.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/science/03visa.html?_r=2&ref=technology

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  2. Do they not know how hard it is to get an H1B already? Kind of ridiculous.

    And I wonder how this is going to affect our universities as international students realize that its now pretty much impossible to get a job here… will the US be sacrificing the talent and diversity of our higher education institutions?

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  3. Jasper says

    i think it’s normal for some within the u.s. govt to react by wanting to tighten restirctions around the h1-b quota, and when i say normal, i mean it’s seen too many times that they just look for “immediate” solutions for “problems”.. for example, the economy’s failing? ok, we’ll inject money. what are the root causes? i don’t know?? with this h1-b thing in particular
    what’s causing companies to want to out-source in the first place? do we really not have enough americans who are specialised enough in some aspects that they need to look elsewhere? another way to look at it is that people keep complaining about illegal immigrants stealing their jobs, but aren’t willing to work $5/hr for some s**t work, while illegal immigrants, (un)fortunately are willing to. so my take is, get better at the very thing that you’re complaining about, before opening your stupid mouth every single time
    stop blaming others for your problems
    self-strengthening is the key.

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  4. Sunny says

    At first it struct me funny, its nice to have an open gate policy but I can understand that America is “America” because of its Independence and its structuce and ideologies. Either they move with the times or they become over run and adapt. I say they that they close the doors. America is going through a repression and needs to use thier own workers if this forces them to, do what they gotta do. People need to stop running to America for “help” and “freedom” The world is a better place when people help each other, I agree. Lets start by helping America become self sufficient again before they lose all indepence and freedom.

    I think Obama is doing alot of things that are “shocking” and differnet. That are changing the way we have thought about things and done things. Its interesting to see what we have valued and prioritized and the toxic thoughts we have allowed ourselves to swallow, lets see what good changes will happen before we spit it out. Maybe its a good shift in the economy.

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  5. Sunny says

    On another note, I do understand the legetimacy of sponsership and working legitmately, overseas, education and humanitarian work however, there is just so much abbuse here, it hard to say what will happen.

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  6. Jon Charnas says

    While I can understand the frustration of a lot of TCKs who would like to work in the US, but have a non-US passport, the issue is not about you. It never was, TCKs were always, and always will be, a welcome addition to what America stands for, no matter which side of the isle passes what kind of bill.

    The real issue here, is to cut off abuses. It may seem puny and irrelevant, but I know this for a fact: after getting a BA in math and computer science, I couldn’t get a job. Why? Because I was actually expecting to get paid a reasonable amount of money. Microsoft, and other huge software companies, such as IBM and Sun have been hiring programmers with degrees from foreign nations, a lot from India, to come to the US and work, while being paid less than what a US graduate would expect.

    That, my friends, is the harsh reality of capitalism, and there are too few solutions to the problem. Either we abolish borders altogether and make it a completely global market, with every currency being the same and degrees costing the same, or we protect those who spent a LOT of money on getting a formation near where they expected to work.

    As Sunny mentioned above, it’s not meant to prevent foreign students from coming in and getting the PhDs, working in Academia and other research areas, it’s to protect the vast majority of Americans who feel cheated by the HR of major companies. I haven’t seen the statistics yet, but of all the employees that Microsoft and Intel are letting go, what percentage are H1-B holders? Then ask yourself – if they’re in that much money trouble, why don’t they ask Americans to work for less money? The country prides itself on it’s “superior” education system, after all. Well I have a feeling it’s because they are just afraid of having people work for them that they just can’t drive as slaves.

    The standards here are different, and the laws protect the worker. Only by hiring workers that are unaware of the laws and culture of this workplace can managers entice their employees to work 10 hours days with no overtime. It’s common in the IT and software industries, and that, I’m afraid, comes down to the greed of the American executives.

    So ultimately, while it does punish the TCK community for the short term, in the LONG term it’s meant to punish the greed that has consumed American companies and force them to act reasonably again.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is something well worth doing, in my humble opinion.

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