WASHINGTON (29 October 2020) – IEEE-USA, which represents nearly 180,000 technology professionals across the United States, applauds the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for taking another bold step to reform the H-1B program. Allocating scarce H-1B visas based on a worker’s value to our economy, as measured by the competitiveness of their wages, is a common-sense way to improve the deeply flawed program.
Supporters of the H-1B program argue that the visa allows companies to hire the “best and brightest” workers from around the world, but typically fail to note that most of those workers are paid far less than Americans with equivalent skills and experience.
The reforms proposed today by the USCIS prioritize the distribution of visas to those companies who pay their H-1B workers above-average wages, which helps ensure that their specialty skills are truly in short supply, and helps level the field for American workers competing for those jobs. At the same time, the reforms will make it harder for those companies whose business models are based on exploiting below-market wages.
“Ranking H-1B visa application by quartile is a simple, sensible way to ensure that the visa is only used to fill jobs when no American workers can be found, and with the highest caliber candidates,” says IEEE-USA President Jim Conrad. “If the H-1B visa is for filling jobs with exceptional candidates when no American is available, what’s wrong with expecting companies to pay good wages?”
The USCIS reforms have another benefit – they will help identify uniquely talented and innovative individuals, many of whom will want to stay in the United States permanently. IEEE-USA believes it is in the best interest of American technology workers, as well as the nation’s security and economy to give those workers a path to citizenship.
IEEE-USA strongly urges Congress to expand the EB green card program to allow the best and brightest workers from around the world to become American citizens, not merely temporary workers. A high-skill visa program built around prioritized H-1B visas and more EB green cards is a winning combination for America and Americans.
IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 180,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization.
Director of Government Relations, IEEE-USA
Director of Communications & IT, IEEE-USA