H-1B Visas, Creating More Jobs for Americans

By March 11, 2008Human Resources, Innovation

From PC World:

For every H-1B position requested, tech companies listed on the S&P 500 stock index increased their employment by five workers in an analysis of 2002 to 2005, according to astudyby the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

For tech firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, each H-1B request corresponded with an average increase of 7.5 workers, the group said.

Few topics on the blog elicit more heated reaction than support for increasing the H-1B visa cap. (It’s generally well-spoken reaction, we add.) Employees argue that the visa program is just the way for employers to avoid hiring capable Americans for the jobs and for them to keep their labor costs down.

That may well be true in individual cases. But we’ve talked to enough manufacturers to know that they’d gladly hire and pay well a qualified, available American first. They’d gladly hire and pay ANYBODY.

Unfortunately, given the growth of their operations — and the U.S. high-tech economy more broadly — the demand for skilled employees is outstripping the supply. There just aren’t enough of the right people with the right skills available, period. More from the PC World article:

NFAP looked at the number of job openings at tech firms and defense contractors and found 140,000 job openings at S&P 500 firms in January, including more than 4,000 job openings at Microsoft, more than 1,600 openings at both IBM and CSC, and more than 1,500 openings at Cisco Systems. After Microsoft, the company with the most job openings, were defense contractors Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin, each with more than 3,900 job openings, according to a second study by NFAP. More from PC World:

You exhaust the 65,000 cap on H1-B visas pretty quickly given this kind of demand.

These shortages of skilled employees crimp a company’s ability to meet the demands of the marketplace. So get the right people by hiring domestically as well through the H1-B visa program, and you can expand your business and spur economic growth. You create more jobs, more good jobs, for everybody.

The larger point is that the United States now competes in a global economy, with its competive advantage resting on innovation — new products, new processes. Integral to this economy is the global competition for the talented individuals, those who can keep driving innovation, and in great demand are graduates of U.S. universities. Better they contribute to the American economy — and as aspiring, talented individuals, to American society — than make our competitors even more successful.

  • NFAP Policy Brief: H1-B Visas and Job Creation.
  • NFAP Policy Brief: Talent Search: Job Openings and the Need for Skilled Labor in the U.S. Economy.
  • Workforce Management: Microsoft’s Canadian Move a Swipe at Stiff U.S. Visa Policies
  • CNET News: Study: H-1Bs prompt more, not fewer, American hires
  • Join the discussion 4 Comments

    • weaver says:

      The NFAP study on, “30 top companies with unfilled postions,” shows a vancy rate of 2.27% or 53,636 vacancies.

      (BLS) Unemployed College Graduates

      December 2007 = 2.2% (972,000)

      (Is it the job of the U.S. government to provide a 0% vacancy rate for all companies?)

    • a says:

      “For every H-1B position requested, tech companies listed on the S&P 500 stock index increased their employment by five workers in an analysis of 2002 to 2005, according to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).”

      This just means that they hired more office workers, groundskeepers, and security guards. These people would have been hired no matter the if the technical workers were H1b or American workers, so the fact that were H1B’s as opposed to other workers MADE NO DIFFERENCE TO THOSE OTHER JOBS.

    • Bart says:

      If you believe these numbers, I have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. What kind of jobs get created? They don’t say. And they also left out the top H-1B sponsors, many of whom are foreign firms. No thank you.

    • bob says:

      i guess you have to claim that, when you’re glutting the job market in a recession

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