The demand and new legislation for skilled temporary workers (H-1BS) in the United States

2017-05-05T03:18:15Z (GMT) by Lowell, Lindsay
There has been a recent hubbub of concern about a lack of workers in the burgeoning information technology occupations in the United States and, indeed, around the globe. In this past Fall of 2000, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that will significantly increase the cap or number of permitted ‘H-1B’ visa holders. These are highly skilled temporary ‘specialty workers’ the majority of whom, as shall be shown below, work in computer-related occupations. Given U.S. pre-eminence in information technology, and a proven record of demand for skilled workers, it is likely that the new legislation will enhance U.S. access to foreign labor. This article lays out several critical pieces of the issues that surround that H-1B visa legislation. First, it briefly discusses the immediate geneses of the current visa and then goes on to lay out the major features of the new legislation. Second, it provides estimates of the H-1B workforce in the United States. Third, it describes the general characteristics of the H-1B population, in particular the number of visas issued over the past decade to nations that are leading suppliers of these visas. Finally, concluding comments entertain the nature of the shortage of information technology workers in the United States. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s