California employers like Southern California Edison and Walt Disney Company are coming under scrutiny for allegedly using the H-1B program to displace American technology workers. The H-1B program is a visa program that allows employers to hire qualified foreign workers for specialty occupations. Workers who qualify for H-1B visas usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and many hold advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
Proponents of the H-1B program see it as an important tool for attracting top engineers and scientists to work in Silicon Valley and other areas. Often, foreign H-1B workers are brought into the U.S. to fill positions at companies that cannot find enough qualified U.S. citizen workers. However, some people argue that the H-1B program is not used to attract ‘the best and brightest,” but to cut costs.
Some people have argued that the rules governing H-1B visas should be amended to prevent companies from abusing the program. In a speech before the Senate Judiciary Committee, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University said that the minimum wage for H-1B workers should be raised. A fellow at Stanford University’s Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, who supports high-skilled immigration, said that the H-1B program is flawed because it allows outsourcing companies to take the majority of the visas while start-ups in Silicon Valley get very few.
A business that is hoping to recruit some top talent from abroad may want to work with an immigration attorney. An attorney may be able to help a business to identify the best candidates for H-1B visas and complete the application process. If an H-1B worker wishes to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. later on, an attorney may be able to help to petition for a change of immigration status.