H1B Visas – So what is going to happen in April?

I read an interesting article on Informationweek.com regarding the Tech Skill shortage in the US. The fact is that we do have a shortage of qualified skilled tech workers whether you like it or not. How do I know that for a fact? Well maybe due to the fact that more than 300,000 skilled workers filed for H1B visas last year, competing for a mere 65,000 slots. Or maybe the numerous calls that we and thousands of other Immigration lawyers across the country get from worried employers concerned about what is going to happen this year.

Well last year the H1B quota was filled in the first day applications were received. In fact, so oversubscribed was it that the USCIS had a lottery to decide which of the almost 300,000 applicants will be fortunate enough to receive a Visa.

The unsuccessful applicants got their applications returned, together with their filing fees. We all expected that the visa numbers will be increased, but this never happened. Several large companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Dell have been lobbying hard for such an increase, but that has not produced any results so far.

InformationWeek reporter seem to think that the hunger for H1B workers is not really due to the market demand, they have a “better” theory:

But this self-serving explanation ignores the real reasons for the voracious appetite for foreign workers: their lower cost and the offshore outsourcing business model. With help from Congress, employers and university lobbyists have designed large loopholes into the H-1B program, letting employers legally pay below-market wages to those workers. Also, the H-1B and L-1 guest worker visa programs are vital to the offshore outsourcing business model, as U.S. companies rotate employees for knowledge transfer and to shift work overseas.

Read the article

The reality is that most employers that hire H1b workers do so for many good reasons. These workers are truly skilled, they provide an amazing push to any employer hiring such workers and as a whole benefit the companies that hire them as well as the US economy.

I can tell you that if the Government will not wake up before March 31, 2008 and pass some H1B relief, even a quick lottery will not help this time to deal with the crisis. Immigration Voice, please do something!