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Solutions: The H1-B Visa Problem

Is there still anyone out there who doesn’t know what the H1-B visa problem is?

H1-B visas are a special type of work visa granted to foreigners with advanced job skills, such as doctors, engineers, scientists, and so forth. They were originally created as a means for allowing employers to fill necessary jobs for which qualified American workers couldn’t be found, because people with the necessary job skills were in short supply. Of course it took no time at all for this program to come under major abuse. Massive numbers of H1-B visas have been granted, in order to fill jobs for which we have an abundance of qualified natives. This has three major advantages for employers:

1. Just as with imported low-skilled workers, imported high-skilled workers can be paid much less.

2. Flooding the market with imported high-skilled workers keeps salaries for native high-skilled workers artificially low.

3. H1-B visas have to be applied for and maintained by the employer. This encourages tractability among imported employees, because if they ever become a problem then the employer can simply not renew the visa, and the imported employee has to go home. Unscrupulous employers can take advantage of this to abuse H1-B visa-holders with little fear of negative repercussions.

Of course this has a disastrous effect on the American economy. Specifically:

1. Large numbers of high-skilled Americans are now under- or un-employed.

2. Most American college students will no longer go into advanced fields of study, because the artificially low salaries will never pay back the student loan debt that they’ll incur.

3. Similarly, the low salaries will never make up for the extra years of difficult study, and the delay in being able to start a family, that tend to be involved in getting advanced degrees.

4. Americans are becoming less educated.

5. America is becoming more dependent on foreign sources of advanced job skills.

6. The idea that America is better off because it now has more brainy people in residence, has no merit. Simply put, one hundred thousand high-tech people with ten thousand high-tech jobs doesn’t mean one hundred thousand high-tech people innovating. It means ten thousand high-tech people innovating in their high-tech jobs, and ninety thousand high-tech people not innovating while working at Starbucks. And the number of high-tech jobs isn’t increasing just because of all the extra high-tech labor available.

The reason that this state of affairs continues is because the employers of high-skilled imported labor, which tend to be large corporations, donate huge amounts of money to their pet congressmen in order to keep the scam going, and the number of H1-B visa holders eternally increasing.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Particularly if we get a President who’s serious about ending the abuses of the H1-B system (*cough* maybe Trump *cough*). Here’s a simple way that the next President can solve the H1-B visa problem almost immediately, without needing even the approval of Congress.

Compute the average amount of money that a company saves yearly by hiring a non-citizen by way of an H1-B visa. Then sign an Executive Order instructing the relevant government department to raise the current yearly application and renewal fee for an H1-B visa to 5k per-year more than that. Companies that really need the imported employees, and really can’t find Americans to do the jobs, will pay the higher fee, even though it means a smaller profit. All other companies will hire Americans instead.

Don’t think my solution is a good one? Got a better idea? Tell me in a response below.

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