According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), there were 195,000 slots available for H-1B visas in fiscal year 2001, representing an increase of 80,000 visas from the fiscal year 2000 limit of 115,000.
Yet in a recent TechRepublic poll, 81 percent of respondents said their organizations do not employ H-1B visa holders. Thirteen percent said that 10 percent or less of their IT staff included H-1B workers, while only 2 percent said that more than 25 percent of their organization’s workers held H-1Bs. (See Figure A.)
The H-1B program, passed by the 101st United States Congress as part of the 1990 Immigration Act, has its opponents. David Bacon of the Washington Free Press, even asserts that H-1Bs are “high-tech servants.”
Whatever the sentiments about H-1Bs, the bottom line is that these employees do fill a need for certain expertise in the IT community.
According to a special report by Rachel Konrad on News.com, the H-1B visa program started as a way to import people to work at U.S. hospitals, universities, and companies specializing in cancer research, plastics, computer programming, and other occupations. By the mid-1990s, during the Internet boom, the H-1B program provided more computer programmers and engineers, so many high-tech firms pushed for the higher limit on these visas so that they could fill their open positions.
Tell us what you think
We want to know if your company has taken advantage of the higher number of H-1B visas.
- Are you hiring H-1B visa holders at all?
- If you're hiring more H-1B visa holders, what types of jobs are they filling?
- Do you think the H-1B visa program helps or hurts America’s IT industry?
- What has your experience been with this program? Has it helped your organization?
Join the discussion
Let us know what you think by sending us an e-mail or by starting a discussion below.