Swirling economic reforms have merely positioned corporations to reassess their budget constraints and also their gross profit margins. All of which come with a cost to the product or service of which they provide. In determining business strategies part of the direction is in the employee payrolls which are debts to the cost of doing business.
H-1B is one of the variables in the payroll account which corporations often look at when it comes to trimming their debt.
H-1B is a non-immigrant visa covered under the Immigration and Nationality Act in the United States. It involves temporary employment of foreign workers with specialty occupations.
From 1990 the maximum cap amount of H-1B visas in the United States rose from 65,000 to 195,000 In 2001 through 2003 due to the AC21 Act (American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first century act). Since, 2004 through 2011 the H-1B visa cap has been reached and rose significantly when the recession impact occurred in 2010.
The impact of the H-1B visa cap usage has declined since the economic downturn and reached during the first week of filings. Being this is an election year combined with continuing significant economic issues not leading to any reform and with immigration reform still a popular topic do not expect any legislative measures to address H-1B cap. Past history of legislation for H-1B cap has not faired too well with the SKIL Act and the High-Tech Worker Relief Act both designed for reforming visa programs for highly skilled foreign workers. Their provision of attempting to provide temporary relief to the H-1B cap failed in the committee sessions.
This election year the debates are already in progress and candidates are making their views on various subjects known, however, immigration reform and new bills for H-1B visa caps are not going to be a likely topic of the candidates political platforms. In the meantime corporations will be left with considering other visa categories of the L-1, J-1, E, O and P visas as options for skilled foreign workers.
What is the impact of H-1B visas in terms of Americans seeking high technology jobs? Every year 65,000 H1B visas are given to companies and 20,000 are given to foreign workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Therefore, 85,000 jobs are slated to immigrant foreign skilled workers. Even though the fees for H-1B visas has increased over the years, there is still a high demand for foreign workers.
With over 12 million Americans out of work in the U.S. it becomes even more challenging for college graduates to compete for technology positions when H-!B visa caps are at the levels they are. The response by companies that there is a shortage of highly skilled technology U.S. workers is also a myth.
There is also the factor in the technology world of an aging workforce and for corporations the fear in their payroll books is the cost of older employees. The difference being almost double in cost of the older employee over the college graduate with good skills being a determining factor in employee selection.
There is another problem for aging technology employees is that when they are currently located in certain parts of the world, and restrict themselves to locality they will have a harder time finding employment.
The U.S. government has not been in a position to discuss the H-1B visa immigrant highly skilled employee versus the highly skilled American citizen. However, being the cap numbers for H-1B visas are around 85,000 and an aging technology employee market exists combined with cost reductions by corporations, the skilled American citizen is up against difficult odds for employment.