The most debated programs are the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, OPT, J-1, and B-1 visas, under which a U.S. company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years. Each visa designation addresses a different need, with the H-2B visa allowing a company to bring in a foreign worker who lacks the qualification for a specific job but can be trained within a reasonable time.
During good economic times these programs helped people come to the Unites States, but over the years, and especially during the recent economic downturn, these programs stop Americans from getting jobs because they are lost to foreign workers that entered the country on the above foreign worker programs, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The 2011 GAO report suggested that lax oversight and statutory changes are undermining the original intent and value of the foreign guest worker program. Besides, it has become easy to perpetrate fraud.
"A recent Department of Homeland Security study reported that 21 percent of the H-1B petitions they examined involved fraud or technical violations," said the GAO report.
Over the past years, the programs have been watered down significantly and it gives an unintended competitive advantage to companies that outsource well-paying and high-tech jobs to foreign shores.
"For at least the past five years the employers receiving the most H-1B and L-1 visas are using them to offshore tens of thousands of high-wage, high-skilled American jobs," testified Hira.