H-1B Visas: Silicon Valley’s Cash Cow

During the election and during President Trump’s first months as President, immigration has been a highly controversial topic. During his campaign, President-elect Trump expressed his distaste for the H-1B work Visa program, which ironically was how his wife Melaina Trump could come to the US along with the annual average of 200 Models that were granted the visa even though they don’t meet that education requirements (Huffington Post). Currently the President is in the middle of drafting an executive order that will effect the Visa program, although he needed to hurry before April 3rd deadline (when the applications are accepted) (Bloomberg). The program has been equated to indentured servitude (Huffington Post). This is since the recipients of this Visa are required to work to stay in the country. Although these workers can change employers it would mean they would have to restart the long process of acquiring a green card. Silicon Valley is the major participator in this program and the removal of this program would hurt business like Apple, Google and Facebook because it allows them to recruit foreign employees that they can pay at a lesser rate than Americans. The salaries of software engineers have fallen flat lately and are only rising by 2% per year for established workers (Huffington Post). Since the visa discourages the workers from changing job they are less likely to leave even if their income growth is stagnating. The program also favors younger immigrants since they will be able to work for a longer period (Huffington Post). This is a form of ageism. Encouraging immigration, especially intelligent and skilled immigrants, is necessary for economic growth. While I admire the fact that the program has brought these immigrants to America the program needed overhauling. I would like to see a more open immigration policy, but concerning the H-1B visa I believe that the minimum salary needs to be raised to discourage employers from using these immigrants as cheer labor. We need more skilled workers and that we should not limit it to the 65,000 that are awarded these visas (Forbes). While America needed these talented individual, we should not limit ourselves by what we consider “skilled”. The H-1B visa requires at least a bachelor’s degree, most recipients have a higher degree. This requirement means that millions of people who could bring wealth to this country and our culture are excluded, possibly because of a lack of income needed to acquire a degree on top of the slim chances of winning the H-1B Visa Lottery. This is similar to Candidate Marco Rubio’s idea for a merit based immigration reform, allowing only the affluent and privileged to enter this country. Even though we want the skilled, we also want “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

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