H1-B Visa Panic

Flash back five years to the 2012 presidential campaign. Barack Obama and Joe Biden sounded like a broken record when they continually accused Mitt Romney of shipping American jobs overseas. They painted Romney as some cruel tyrant who spent his entire life trying to put Americans out of work.

Sadly, Romney and other Republican candidates running for office in 2012 failed to point out Obama’s hypocrisy. They should have told the American people how Obama’s administration awarded a military contract worth $345 million to a Brazilian company when Kansas based Beechcraft Corp was blocked from entering a bid for the contract. Had an American company been awarded the contract it would have created about 1,400 new jobs.

GOP candidates should have told the American people how $20 million of the infamous Stimulus money went to a friend of Biden’s so he could open a luxury car dealership in the Ukraine. US taxpayers were on the hook for $750 billion to help spur the US economy and create jobs for Americans not Ukrainians or others overseas.

So rather than being accused of shipping jobs overseas, Obama took a different approach to put more Americans out of work. He pushed hard to raise the number of H1-B work visas from 65,000 a year to 195,000. An H1-B visa is supposed to be awarded only to foreign nationals who have special skills that cannot be readily found in the American workforce.

However, a growing number of companies have been using H1-B visa workers to replace American workers already doing the job. The H1-B visa workers generally will work for less pay, hence undercutting Americans for the very same jobs. One example was Southern California Edison who had been laying off hundreds of American workers and replacing them with H1-B visa workers. A number of companies in Silicon Valley have also being accused of the same thing.

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen numerous reports similar to this where companies, many in the electronics and technology industry have been replacing American workers with H1-B visa workers. To add insult to injury, in a number of these cases, the American workers were tasked with training the foreign nationals who were taking their jobs, before being laid off.

However, some abusers of the H1-B visa programs are entering a panic mode as they are about to lose their cheaper labor force. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they were instituting new measures to seek out cases of H1-B visa fraud and prosecute violators. Among the new regulations for the H1-B visa program, entry level computer programming was removed as an occupation that had previously automatically qualified for the work visa.

Tom Wheeler, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division explained:

“The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers. U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims.”

Ted Ruthizer, of the business immigration group in the law firm Kramer Levin, say that about 15% of the workers for companies they represent will be directly affected by the new changes. He commented about the changes, saying:

“It’s a bit strange to have this so-called guidance go out as people have already prepared papers. It’s set off a panic among employers and foreign nationals around the country.”

Experts claim that the recent changes were made too late to affect the H1-B visa application process for 2018, but the reasons given sounded more like bureaucratic bullpucky.

Mark Koestler, also with Kramer Levin, offered this explanation:

“Even if you wanted to redo anything because of this memo, you don’t have time to because the Department of Labor piece of the application, which has to be done prior to submission, takes seven days.”

He’s blaming the Department of Labor for preventing the changes to affect 2018 applications because of a 7-day process? That’s like a college student telling a professor he couldn’t get his midterm paper done in time because he was delayed 20 minutes in a traffic jam the day the paper was assigned.

It’s about time someone in the government took action to put American workers first. Now, if the federal government will make it a felony with huge fines and/or jail time for employers caught hiring illegal aliens, perhaps tens of thousands or even millions of Americans could find work and once again begin to support their families.



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