Following a request from Robert Stark, I’ve decided to write about H-1B visas. Obviously, I’m naturally appalled when foreigners take American jobs. I also know employers are full of shit when they contend that there’s a dearth of skilled workers; that’s why we should prevent them from using an imaginary STEM shortage as a pretext to import cheap foreigners.
Fortunately, at least a few politicians are attempting to reform the H-1B system. As outlined in a recent bill proposed by Silicon Valley Democrat, Zoe Lofgren, the H-1B’s current lottery process would be discarded in favor of granting H-1Bs to employers who offer the highest salaries. Other proposals entail eliminating visa quotas for specific countries, instead awarding H-1Bs on a first-come first-served basis.
Regarding the first proposal, I wholeheartedly support forcing employers to pay higher salaries in order to access H-1Bs; it just might reduce (somewhat) the business community’s insatiable thirst for cheap labor. As far as eliminating quotas is concerned, I’m not too keen on a first-come first-served policy that allows “market forces” to dictate the direction of H-1Bs. Needless to say, we should generally be skeptical of proposals emanating from Silicon Valley.
Ultimately, people should not attack H-1Bs, specifically. They should instead challenge an economic system where Americans are increasingly expendable. We should use the H-1B controversy as an opportunity to jump-start a long overdue conversation about American employers’ obligations to their employees. Well, when they’re actually hiring employees, and not armies of temps and “independent contractors.” To reverse this horrifying course, we need to remind business leaders that they actually live in a society.
Jokes aside, once we reform our political economy for the better, computer programmer Paul will have no more cause to fear Pajeet. Otherwise, narrowly focusing on H-1Bs will just result in more selective protectionism.