H1-B visas: innovation driver or job killer?
As seen in USA Today: A perspective on Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order
Is the H1-B visa system finally headed for reform?
On Tuesday, the White House issued an Executive Order directing federal agencies to offer improvements to the annual H1-B lottery, favoring an approach that allocates these guest-worker visas to the “most skilled or highest-paid applicants.”
The H-1B visa was designed to attract the world’s best talent – people with rare skills needed to help the U.S. economy. But critics on the right and the left have long complained the program is abused by global outsourcing firms.
Those critics are right, but to fix the problem, we have to look a bit deeper. It’s not just that H1-B visas often go to guest workers with common skills, displacing higher-paid American technology professionals in the process.
The bigger issue is how they accelerate the offshoring of U.S. jobs. At the same time, certain tech jobs are already coming back to America.
Unless we understand these two deeper trends, visa reform could be useless at best and harmful at worst.