H 1b and Xenophobia Thesis

Pages: 5 (1542 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

H-1B and Xenophobia

Reforming Current H1B Visa Caps: Don't Let Unfounded Xenophobia Strangle American Innovation

The United States is a nation built on the work and contributions of immigrants from around the world. Yet, in the current heated debate on immigration, many opponents for more open policies are forgetting that very fact. When looking specifically at the H1B visa program, which is a temporary work visa for skilled professionals and students, one would wonder why Americans would let their unfounded xenophobia debilitate the country from moving forward with further technological advances and innovations. Many believe that the programs is taking away from American jobs, and that the cap currently placed on the number of H1B visa holders is a necessary element to curb abusing American immigration practices. However, this is unfounded. The reality is that the H1B program allows American enterprise to recruit the best in the business from all areas of the globe to contribute to American innovation. Therefore, current caps on H1B immigrants within the United States should be eradicated or in the least increased as to allow more specialized workers to make their contributions here in the United States, rather than for our competitors abroad.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on H 1b and Xenophobia Assignment

Although the United States does not have a direct open door policy when it comes to immigration, it does have programs which offer visas for skilled professionals and students. This program is known as the H1B Visa, and is "the primary method for employers to recruit and hire international professionals and international students to work in the U.S.," (H1 Base 1). Skilled professionals and students are allowed entry into the United States to work for a given period of time, totaling out at a maximum of six years under their H1B Visa status. These professionals must work in what is considered specialty occupations, or occupations which are of a high skilled and knowledgeable area and therefore are looked on as assets to the United States for the duration of their stay. Such professions include IT, computer related jobs, accounting, finance, banking, marketing, public relations, sales, recruiting, engineering, teaching, medical professions, legal professions, telecoms, management, and scientific research, (H1 Base 1). Appropriate credentials and licensing is a necessary requirement for H1B status. And employers must compensate individuals the average wage for that type of specialty work. Along with the individual brought in to perform specialty work duties, the individual's family is also allowed entry into the United States under a H4 visa for the duration of time that individual is scheduled to work with his or her American employer.

However beneficial these immigrants might be to the American workplace, there has been a cap placed on the number of immigrants granted H1B visas. Currently, the U.S. gives 65,000 H1b visas to immigrants annually. This number is then augmented with an additional 20,000 international students that hold a MBA or higher degree from an accredited American university. The cap is meant to curb the flow of specialized immigrants into the United States as to protect American jobs from being completely flooded with H1B holders, while still reaping the benefits of recruiting international minds to help build American business within their specialized fields. However, the cap des not include H1B holders from transferring their existing visas into a new employer context, nor does it include new applicants who plan to work with non-profit organizations, Government research teams and organizations, and students enrolled in Masters programs or higher, (H1 Base 1). Cap-exempt positions and transfers are available at anytime, and are unlimited in their acceptance rate.

Yet, this cap proves to incite very different reactions from within the United States. Many within the U.S. view the H1B visa as a potential threat to American jobs. As xenophobia takes center stage, some critics say that not only do many of the exempt H1B visas go way beyond the limitations of the current cap, the practice is encouraging the mechanization of specialized jobs. As a variety of IT and other technological field employers have begun hiring H1B visa holders as temporary or for-project work, more and more Americans find potential jobs compromised, "Not only are technology jobs shipped overseas as commonly as manufacturing work is, but domestic programmers also are loosing ground to cheaper H1B immigrants with visas that normally last six years," (Kennedy 1). This is a common argument made by critics of the H1B who would be in favor of maintaining immigration caps. The argument is mainly based on the idea that H1B visa holders are much cheaper to employ, and because of their temporary status, much cheaper to care for by employers. This means more maximized profits, in comparison with native American workers who prove more costly.

However, despite such arguments, the H1B visa program does have countless benefits. The majority of technical and specialized employers favor the H1B program for it allows them to continually hire the best minds, "The idea is that companies like Microsoft, Google, or IBM can use them to hire software programmers or computer scientists with rare skills, fostering innovation and improving competitiveness," (Herbst 1). The recruitment of individuals with specialized skills has increased the competitiveness of U.S. employers. As Japanese and Chinese companies gain a continual foothold in the technological and IT fields, importing skilled workers into the United States will definitely help brace the country to deal with such stiff competition. The H1B programs also help maintain jobs in the United States, rather than directly deporting certain positions oversees. With many of these immigrants receiving degrees from American universities, the program helps bulk up the expertise of American business. American enterprise, if not offered anything domestically, has the power to look abroad to recruit and train the most skilled workers in their particular field.

Due to the overwhelming benefits seen in areas such as the tech world, several major U.S. employers are now advocating a huge increase in the number of individuals allowed entry into the United States under the immigration cap. Some tech companies want the cap to increase from 65,000 annually to over 115,000 annually, which would cover only new visas handed out and not extended visas which would remain unlimited (Herbst 1). Potential reform would benefit the larger American society. Currently, senators are proposing stricter conditions on U.S. employers which would "tighten the program's criteria, by requiring participating companies to try to hire American workers first and to pledge that visa workers will not displace American workers," as a potential requirement for increasing cap limitations. Raising cap limitations would help increase the expertise seen in American business, "Tech companies say more visas are necessary so the U.S. can attract top talent," (Herbst 2).

The current limitations deny many entrance into the U.S. who could potentially make a huge impact within their specialized fields. Denying them that opportunity hurts more than the individual immigrant, but also the United States as a whole. Major players within the tech industry have begun to speak up against caps as a debilitating xenophobic practice which only leads to crippled American innovation. Famed Microsoft head, Bill Gates testified in a Congress hearing regarding the nature of H1B immigration caps, and just how destructive they are to the American people, "It makes no sense to tell well-trained, highly skilled individuals -- many of whom are educated at our top colleges and universities -- that the U.S. does not welcome or value them," (Herbst 2). Of course the United States values the talents of these individuals, along with the numerous contributions thus far to American business and innovation. It is for this very reason that the H1B visa cap should be lifted, or in the least bit increased, as to continue to wave of creativity and innovation coming out of the United States. Keeping the current cap in place would only hinder ourselves,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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