It’s no secret the Tech industry depends highly on international labor. Silicon Valley leaders will tell you that. But Friday, they passed a law that could hurt the IT service labor force. It’s about the H-1B visas: The affect on international tech workers. So, what will it be?
The government stops rushed processing of H-1B visas. So, why are H-1B visas important? They let international workers with high skills work in the US. Furthermore, US companies sponsor these workers. Also, the workers can stay for up to six years. The stop of expedited visas will last at least six months, but it will affect 2017-18 academic year applicants.
So what does this have to do with tech? A lot. Many companies in the tech industry depend on international workers with high skills. Many Boston IT support companies do. And rushed H-1B visas help get these workers over here quicker. There’s an annual 85,000 maximum for profit companies. But they get several times as many applications in just a few weeks. Furthermore, it takes several months to process these applications. Can you imagine what a suspension will do? Some visas depend on a lottery. Do you know what that means?
So here is an example. Five skilled engineers apply for an H-1B visa. The applicant pool is full. So luck determines who comes over here and who stays behind. This suspension will make it worse. Hence, I know I sound like a contradiction. A couple of days ago, I wrote a blog criticizing U-San Francisco about giving American jobs to foreign workers. But it’s not. Maybe tech companies will hire more American workers in place of this potential loss. I hope so. But I don’t see that happening. How quick can you train them, when you have thousands of already trained workers. But they can’t cross the border because of red tape. Look, I know many are concerned about immigration these days. But is blocking H-1B visas going to solve anything?
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