Society

H-1B Visa Policy Change Is A Step In The Right Direction

| by Shani Shahmoon

The time has come for America's employers look within our borders to hire computer programmers.

Let's make matters clear: I do not condone the use of "alternative facts,"  the travel ban was atrocious, President Donald Trump's inauguration was embarrassingly lacking in attendees and Trump desperately needs to hire someone to write his tweets.

But the administration does have a point when it comes to exploiting the use of outsourcing employees in the technology industry.

On March 31, a memorandum was issued in regards to the current visa policy, H-1B. The policy, in its previous form, allowed for employers to issue visas for outsourcing employees under a "specialty occupation," which is not clearly defined, according to the new guidelines issued to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Previously, the policy was meant for a transitional period, while Americans begin to educate people in these new and progressive fields. But it has now been modified for the sake of low-cost workers.

The newly-issued policy says that any company seeking to outsource must provide strong evidence that employees in America are not available.

According to a study at the Economic Policy Institute done by Goldman Sachs and published in February, 900,000 to 1 million individuals work under the H-1B visa today. And while they occupy less than 1 percent of total jobs in the country, they make up 12 to 13 percent of the jobs in the tech industry.

Employers seek to hire outside of the U.S. for mainly one reason: Money.

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Michael S. Solomon, co-founder and managing partner of 10x Management, the world's first talent agency directed at recruiting the best freelance technologists, issued an article picked up by The Huffington Post that gives readers an inside look at the perspective of technologist employers.

"One of the biggest problems with the current system is that the $60,000 minimum salary threshold for H1B visa holders is too low. Paying low wages allows companies to bring in specialized help as a cost-savings measure rather than because there are no options here," Solomon wrote.

The transition is over. America is filled with college-educated persons desperately searching for careers in the fields they studied.

The H-1B policy change is a necessary step in the fight to stop the terrible cycle that is:

First, a college education costs thousands of dollars, and even when a student studies something practical (and within a STEM field), the graduated student still struggles to find a job in the field that they studied, so they settle for a minimum wage-paying job for the time being.

Then, the minimum wage paid employee gets frustrated that they cannot support themselves nor pay off their student loans, so in turn, minimum wage is raised.

And lastly, to balance the pay, tech companies are then expected to raise salaries, which in turn forces tech companies to hire foreigners who don't require such high salaries.

The old policy guidelines held America back from making progress, improving the economy and regaining what it once meant to have a bachelor's degree.

I wouldn't give the president and his administration a confident round of applause, but a somewhat reluctant pat on the back may be due.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: The Huffington Post, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Economic Policy Institute / Photo credit: Pavel Kuznetsov via International Business Times

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