FFY 2011 H-1B Visa Numbers Show Employers Do Not Abuse Program

Numbers released by the US government suggest that US Employers are shying away from employing highly skilled foreign workers in the H-1B Visa Category. This statistical fact is indicative that US employers do not use the H-1B Visa Program to emply “cheaper labor.” It follows that the H-1B Visa Cap limitation is an arbitrary intervention in the market force. Congress must leave market forces to determine how many H-1B visas are issued each year.

Yesterday, the USCIS posted on its website an update for the H-1B visa cap count for federal fiscal year 2011. The H-1B visa cap count update is as of April 27, 2010. According to the USCIS website, only 6,900 petitions have been received out of the H-1B Master’s Degree Exemption category leaving 13,100 potentially available visas in exemption category. In addition, 16,500 petitions have been received by the USCIS against the “regular” cap leaving 48,500 available Visas in that particular category. These numbers are certainly indicative of a poor employment economy and underscores the proven fact that H-1B visa workers do not take away the job from US Workers.

Do We Need an H-1B Visa Cap?

With the dwindling numbers of H-1B visa petitions submitted towards the 2011 federal fiscal year, it is apparent that US employers are not too keen about hiring foreign workers in H-1B visa category in 2010. One cannot but be confirmed that the use of the H-1B visa program is directly tied to the economic employment trend in the US. When employers are looking for talent and cannot find it in the employment of US workers, they will look to augment their workforce with highly skilled US workers. If, as immigration restrictionists claim, US employers employ low paid foreign labors to the disadvantage of US workers, surely 2010 would be a year that employers would maximize the use of H-1B visa workers to save money. But the fact indicates that employers in 2010 are shying away from the H-1B visa program because they are able to find qualified US workers to fill positions.

The Danger of Arbitrary Market Limitations

It has been proven time and time again that arbitrary limitations placed on the market place have nothing but catastrophic consequences. Market intervention has consistently been held against the essence of free enterprise on which our nation was built. The same holds for arbitrary constraints on the resources that help our country grow and become more competitive globally. Harvard University has recently studied the economic contributions of H-1B visa workers on the US innovation. According to this study, there is a linear correlation between immigration policy and innovation in the US. More specifically, more innovation is fostered by an increase in H-1B visa workers present in the US. Based on this study, an arbitrary control over the admission of H-1B visa holders will have an adverse impact on US progress. The best H-1B visa limitation policy is one that is left to the market to decide.

Call on Congress to Remove the H-1B Visa Cap

The FFY 2010 and 2011 experience strongly suggest that US employers do not resort to the H-1B visa program to exclude US workers from jobs. Since in high unemployment years, US employers stayed away from using the H-1B visa program, it follows that the opposite should also be true: in low unemployment years, US employers should be allowed to use the H-1B visa program to the maximum extent without being constrained by the annual cap. The annual cap was implemented to assure that US workers are not deprived from employment opportunities. As clearly shown by the current experience, market forces should be left alone to control the number of H-1B visas used in any year. Hence the cap is nothing but an arbitrary limitation that has no place in our free entrepreneurial system. The forces of supply and demand of free markets must be the only limitations placed on the number of H-1B visas issued annually by the USCIS.

About the Writer

Gus M. Shihab is the founder of the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA a firm committed to providing high-quality legal services to corporations and institutions of higher education in the employment and retention of executives and highly skilled workers. Attorney Gus Shihab received honors and he enjoys AV rating, the highest rating an attorney can attain. If you have an immigration matter, contact Gus M. Shihab at (800) 625-3404.

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