The Center for Immigration Studies put out an unusual list yesterday, one which details the worst offenders for abusing H-1B visas. As CIS explains it:
The H-1B program is one that allows, in general terms, U.S. employers to hire nonimmigrant foreign workers, usually (but not always) into high-tech positions, at wages lower than those that would be paid otherwise. Thus all users of the program are at least nibbling away at labor standards, and are involved with denying jobs to available professionals who are citizens or green card holders.
Naturally I looked on the list for any local companies, but did not find any in the immediate area. Four different companies, two of which I suspect are the same entity, are listed from Newark, Delaware. There is also the Prince George’s County school district as well, for which CIS notes:
Prince George’s County, MD public school system qualified for the list by their extensive and controversial use of the H-1B program to hire foreign schoolteachers.
That should help the learning process out.
It should be noted this program is a little bit different than the J-1 student visas often used by foreign students, mainly from Eastern Europe, who annually descend on Ocean City and the other beach resorts each summer to work. The H-1B program operates under the notion that there aren’t enough qualified Americans to do these jobs, when opponents argue that there’s simply not enough Americans who want to work under the pitiful wage scale allowed.
Yet the process for an employer to secure H-1B visas is mind-boggling, so it’s hard to believe anyone is abusing the system unless there is a huge difference in wages that makes the various application fees all worth it. Perhaps that’s why there are comparatively few scofflaws.
But I suppose the real enforcement needs to come on the end of verifying these H-1B workers are making an appropriate wage. If a company would have to pay an entry-level engineer $60,000 a year but gets away with paying a foreigner $20,000 because they’re here under an H-1B visa, that is an issue and should be prosecuted under law. It’s the problem with the lack of scruples in our society that some employers look to take advantage of the system like this.