There has been considerable debate regarding immigration laws and immigration reform for decades. The following column explores the impact of immigration law and reform on talent gaps, particularly in IT staffing.
The H-1B Visa Program: What Is It?
H-1B temporary visa programs provide an important pathway for thousands of foreign workers to work in the United States in order to fill specialized talent gaps. An H-1B visa allows American employers to hire foreign workers, providing a competitive advantage for companies in some industries, such as technology and green energy.
Issues affecting H-1B visa holders
There have been numerous changes in the H-1B visa program over the years, along with various court decisions, as well as public opinions.
Following are a few ways employers have abused the current program:
l An influx of applications floods the program
The federal H-1B program has historically been inconsistent in its enforcement and monitoring. Due to this, offshore firms are filing thousands of applications.
- Work conditions for immigrants are unfair
Numerous violations of U.S. laws and regulations have taken place, especially about employee treatment. The IRS reports that offshore companies are earning much more than they are paying their employees.
Foreign employees are sometimes not paid until the company receives money from clients. Currently, this practice is prohibited under federal labor laws.
l Abuse of the turn-and-burn strategy
The inconsistent oversight of regulations can also result in abuses such as turn-and-burn. A company intentionally hires employees with weak qualifications and skills. To accomplish this, they create fake resumes, recommendations, and employment histories.
The firm often forces them to move into its housing complexes. These workers face not only poor living conditions, but they also have to pay more than half of their salaries back to their employers as rent.
Immigration Law Reforms for the H-1B Visa
The current administration plans to address regulatory oversight failures hindering curbing abuses associated with H-1B visas, even though there are strong arguments against tighter immigration laws. Although an executive order may not hold the legal authority to change existing laws, it is still important to note that it does not bind the government.
Lottery systems are perceived as outdated and lacking oversight in particular. The renewal options along with them are an area of contention. For an H-1B visa, three years of extension is possible. The policy allows one-year extension. In effect, the three-year program becomes a seven-year program.
The impact of immigration reform on IT recruitment
The majority of the workforce in this sector is highly qualified and highly compensated, skills that are hard to find in the United States. Indians and Chinese workers are mostly involved since these are foreign tech hubs. As a world leader in technology, the U.S. has greatly benefited from skilled immigrant workers.
By instituting these reforms, the United States may discourage some of the world’s most talented information technology specialists from moving here. As immigration laws become more restrictive, IT companies may have difficulty sourcing qualified candidates.
For companies engaged in the IT sector, it will accentuate the current gap in supply as well as increase the cost of doing business in the U.S. As a result, many of these companies will outsource their activities to other countries, thus causing a reduction in employment in the United States.
If you are interested in sourcing candidates quickly and efficiently, you might consider partnering with the best IT staffing company to solve all these issues.