Fix H1-B Visa Program
The Dec. 11 story "Immigrants wait years for green cards" accurately describes a tragic situation compounded by anfractuous immigration laws and bad public policy.
The U.S. turns away many highly-skilled potential immigrants who seek to gain H-1B visas to work in the United States because of an outmoded visa and immigration bureaucracy. This needs to change.
H-1B visas are for companies to gain skilled foreign workers temporarily. Limited to only 65,000 each year, the number is wholly inadequate to supply U.S. companies with the skilled workers they need.
In April 2007, on the first day companies could apply for these visas, the government was swamped with 133,000 applications!
Clearly the system is broken and we need to fix it. If U.S. companies cannot attract large amounts of skilled foreign labor to augment the skilled laborers here, U.S. companies may begin to lose their competitive edge. This pain stings most urgently in the technology sector, a field in which American companies lead the world.
Foreign skilled workers will find a way to improve their lives. Whether it is immigrating to Canada, Britain, the U.S., or China, skilled labor will go where employers value it most highly, if the laws permit.
A disproportionately great number would prefer to come to this country to work. For the sake of our economy, we should be encouraging that, not discouraging it.