Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A sane jobs policy - end foreigner work visas

Good article in the Epoch Times about the details of visa programs that bring in foreign workers to take domestic jobs.    In this time of super-high unemployment, why is this still going on? 
Of course, the answer to that question is obvious: it lowers costs for corporations. 
Read up on the details of the programs.   It is quite amazing that there are no provisions within these programs to protect American workers, or even requiring that corporations prove that domestic workers are unavailable.  The programs are simply blank checks for corporations to undermine domestic wages   
Will Obama's eagerly awaited new jobs policy include this basic step?    We shall see, but his established preferential treatment of corporate interests leaves scant basis for optimism. 
quoting from the article:
The unemployment rate in the United States still hovers around 9.1 percent, yet the U.S. federal government still allows companies to bring in foreign workers under its foreign worker programs with the excuse that local talent is not available.

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).
"Loopholes in these programs have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers with ordinary skills, who directly substitute for, rather than complement, workers already in America. They are clearly displacing American workers and denying them both current and future opportunities," testified Ronil Hira, professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, before a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in July.

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.

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