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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

April 10, 2012 at 10:02 AM

With unemployment still high, H1-B visa requests rise again

Nearly every week, I get an email from a skilled American worker who can’t find work in the technology industries. Now comes a report, via the Wall Street Journal, that the government has received 25,600 petitions for H-1B skilled-worker visas since April 2. That’s a rate twice as high as that for all of April last year.

The Journal quotes Seattle business-immigration lawyer Steve Miller: “We’re the busiest we have been in four years.” The visa program is intended to fill positions where there may be a shortage of qualified citizens, especially in software, engineering and other tech fields.

It has also long been a flash point, with critics saying companies are after cheaper labor and Americans lose out.

It’s a complicated issue. All of America benefits by being a magnet for the world’s top talent. On the other hand, if Americans see themselves pushed aside by a less expensive foreign worker, tensions are bound to rise. This is especially true with the economy still millions of jobs short of recovering the losses of the Great Recession and overall wage-growth stagnant for years.

I’d be interested in your take, especially if you’re affected by the program. The comments field awaits. Trolls go elsewhere.

And Don’t Miss: Why Obama’s JOBS Act couldn’t suck worse || Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Europe’s still not fixed

Will the ‘zone end in a bang

Or just whimper on?

Comments | More in H1-B skilled foreign worker visas, Jobs/Unemployment, Tech economy

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