Only last year, all the H1B visa slots available to hire foreigners to work in the US were snapped up in a single day. We hired someone through the program a few years back when tech hiring was tight. It seemed ridiculous that more slots were not made available. The fear in Washington is that tech companies like us were hiring foreigners over US citizens. This could not be further from the truth.
We went looking for someone abroad because we could not find someone qualified here. We prefer to hire US citizens. There are no language or cultural barriers to overcome and it does not require an immigration lawyer.
Fast forward to today and we find out that the H1B program is now undersubscribed, according to the WSJ. Interesting, now that unemployment in the US is above 9% and there are good engineers looking for jobs, companies are once again hiring US citizens and passing over the non US citizens.
To me, this is just more evidence that there should be no limit on the number of H1B visas we allow. The cost to hire an H1B is lots of paperwork and at least $5000 in legal bills. That tax alone guarantees preference for US workers. Beyond that, limits only make US tech companies less competitive in boom times.
Truth be told, I am pretty pro free market. I think the market allocates resources somewhat efficiently and when we tinker, we always create some secondary effect that may or may not be desirable. Rather than prop up dying industries with stimulus money or try to pick winners in new industries, I would have sent the millions of unemployed workers back to school to retrain them in industries that are expanding. Ultimately, our prosperity will be related to our individual productivity multiplied by the number of people working.
Disclaimer: this is my blog and these are my opinions. They don’t necessarily represent the views of every Phanfare employee. I have been scolded by readers for talking politics on this blog before, but I have a right to my opinion just like everyone else. That is what makes this America.