Demand Down for High Skill Visas

Monday, November 02, 2009

Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and executive in residence at Duke University, says immigrants are staying away from the US because of anti-immigrant rhetoric, while Peter Goodman, national economic correspondent for the New York Times and author of PAST DUE: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy discusses how the recession has dampened demand for foreign workers.


Peter Goodman and Vivek Wadhwa

Comments [6]

Brad Hessel from Raleigh, NC

It is a key founding principle of the USA that what matters is not who you are but what you do. With the major exception of the slaves, virtually everyone in the USA is here because he - or an ancestor - made a conscious decision to uproot from everything familiar and seek better opportunity here. We are a self-made nation of entrepreneurs: we have succeeded in large measure because we have consistently attracted the best and the brightest on the planet.

Demand for the best and brightest is down already due to our mismanagement of our own economy, and the concomitant awakening of Brazil-China-India and others. Anything we do to further discourage smart and ambitious people from seeking their fortunes here is not only unAmerican, it is self-defeating and our children - if they stay in the USA - will not be thanking us for it in years to come.

Brad Hessel

Nov. 03 2009 09:07 AM
Chuck from NJ

Nobody made the point about why H1B workers' wages are held artificially low. Foreign born citizens can compete fairly with natural born citizens. But that's not the case for H1B workers. They also have to compete for the visas. Sponsors can take away a visa to give it to someone else. So the H1B workers are willing to accept a lower wage just to keep the visa. If they could compete without the risk of losing their visa, then they would ask for more and that would lessen the downward wage pressure. So while some people argue for fewer H1Bs to maintain US wages, it has exactly the opposite effect.

Nov. 02 2009 12:18 PM
Kira from Brooklyn

I have a friend (New Yorker born and bred) who worked in IT for over 10 years. He left for London, sponsoring himself, and is doing very well. He got sick of not being hired at competitive rates and being passed over for foreign-born talent despite being, by all accounts, a talented programer. He believes the US tech and banking companies have a mission to “throw away” US tech talent for foreign-born. He knows many other talented programmers that have left the field or taken an early retirement due to afforementioned difficulties. It's sad the US is losing talented people.

Nov. 02 2009 12:04 PM
Shana from Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, Brooklyn

I'll start by saying my father is a Trinidadian engineer (a U.S. citizen), and my husband is a Swede in IT (grew up here, but only has a greencard).

I do not think abolishing H1-B visa will result in what Jake desires. One and three would involve actual changes in the way society views older people and the sciences. And changing number two would involve changing the government, something I highly doubt self interested lobbyist would allow to happen. American companies should be able to higher the best qualified candidates and not be hampered by people's fears of foreigners stealing jobs many do not want and are not even qualified for in some instances.

Nov. 02 2009 12:03 PM
jt from Long Island

Although there are problems with education in this country I think a big problem is that our best and brightest are going to Wall Street instead of science.

Nov. 02 2009 11:45 AM
Jake Moskowitz from NYC

3 reasons to abolish H1-B:

(1) force companies to hire back skilled older engineers & IT people

(2) stop feeding cheap labor to the Wall st derivatives casino 'industry'

(3) encourage US students to enter technical fields by sletting them see engineers & tech people having long prosperous careers

Nov. 02 2009 11:41 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.