The H1B Visa Program has time and again proved that it is vital to the national prosperity of the US. Yet, the Program is in grave danger under the Trump Govt.
The H1B Visa is typically granted for about six years. But it gives a high skilled worker the required time to get established and apply for a Permanent Residence. Employers, too, get a chance to try these high-skilled professionals out. Without the H1B Visa Program, the US would have very few skilled immigrants.
The contribution of H1B workers towards a dynamic economy and innovation is immeasurable. Economists William Lincoln and William Kerr conducted a study in 2010. The study found that when H1B Visa places were increased in 1990 the number of patents attributed to Indian and Chinese workers increased. However, it did not cause a decline in the number of patents attributed to Anglo-Saxon workers.
Another study by Economists Jeikun Huang, Stephen Dimmock and Scott Weisbenner found that companies that won the H1B lottery got more funding from venture capitalists.
Studies conducted by Economists Kevin Shih, Giovanni Peri and Chad Sparber found that the H1B Program helped native workers. The study found that allowing more H1B workers raised the wages for native-born workers in the US. This happens due to the “clustering effect”. With more H1B workers in a particular city, tech companies want to set up their offices, research facilities and factories in that city. When more tech companies cluster together in a city, it raises local productivity. Also, it prevents the offshoring of high-value jobs to countries like India and China. Even if companies want to lower wages by hiring more H1B workers, the presence of a large number of H1B workers ends up increasing the wages overall.
As per latest data, Indians account for more than 75% of all H1B Visas. Bringing in more Indian H1B workers seems like a great move when the new business formation and productivity growth is low in the US.
The H1B Program is under attack under the Trump Govt. as rejection rates are at an all-time high. Why this hostility towards the program? The answer could be the race. Indian and Chinese workers account for more than 85% of all H1B Visas. Also, most H1B Visas are won by outsourcing companies. These companies add little to the dynamism and innovation of the US.
Another reason for the hostility towards the H1B program is wage competition. H1B workers are often paid lesser than their American counterparts. Hence, it is said that companies use H1B workers to hold down pay. Also, H1B workers are bound to one employer and cannot switch jobs for fear of having to leave the US.
However, the above criticism is greatly overblown. The US had made reforms to the H1B laws in 2000. The laws allow H1B workers to change employers and start working when their paperwork is approved. Even if an H1B worker loses their job, they can stay in the US for up to 60 days to look for a new job.
Even with its flaws, the H1B Visa program is a good program and must be expanded. Skilled foreign workers do not hurt American workers, instead, they are helpful.
Y-Axis offers a wide range of Visa and Immigration products as well as services for aspiring overseas students including Work Visa for the USA, Study Visa for the USA, and Business Visa for the USA.
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