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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM

WashTech’s take on H1-B visas

Marcus Courtney, the president of the Washington Alliance for Technology Workers (WashTech), attended a conference in Washington D.C. this month and takes the opportunity to talk H1-B visas on his organization’s Web site.

One thing we learned is that this is really a debate that isn’t dealing with facts. When you raise the H1-B issue with people, they have no understanding of what is really true or not about the program, how the program works, or the true labor conditions for high-tech workers.

Is there really a worker shortage? That argument works because the high-tech industry, in the person of Bill Gates, runs around saying it. So Congress now thinks this is true. But they don’t have any basis for this, no numbers, no facts.

The H1-B visa program is one way that American companies and universities can hire foreigners to work in the United States, but the number of these visas is capped every year. Tech companies in particular have pushed Congress to increase the quota.

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