Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Real Reason for the H-1B Visa

The author of a report in "The Economist" criticizes the plan by Donald Trump to suspend the program that issues H-1B visas to foreigners. Are H-1B visas really necessary?

The H-1B visa is not necessary. There is not a need for importing foreign labor into the United States to maintain its high technology. Indeed, Japanese technology is as sophisticated as American technology, yet Tokyo prohibits the massive importation of foreign labor.

The typical false narrative about the H-1B visa is the following horse manure. There is supposedly an awesome XYZ technology that needs to be commercialized. There are supposedly an insufficient number of American engineers to hire to develop the product based on this technology. Without its commercialization, the American economy will be damaged permanently.

Technologies come and go. That XYZ technology is not commercialized in the USA will not permanently damage the American economy. If such technology were commercialized in China, then QRS technology will come along to utilize the talents of American engineers. (In the 1990s, the hot technology was microprocessors and their interconnects. In the 2010s, the hot technology is search and artificial intelligence.)

There are plenty of American engineers. According to a report in a prominent engineering journal, 75% of Americans with college degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) have jobs that are outside STEM. The reason that a typical company may not hire technically capable Americans is that it does not want to train them in the QRS technology. To avoid the cost of training an American, the company hires the foreign engineer who already knows QRS technology. Yet, even for the sake of cost, there is not a need to import foreign engineers. The company and its entire management can simply relocate to the country -- e.g., India -- which has the cheap engineers with the right skill set, including knowledge of QRS technology.

When you understand the above facts, you soon realize the real reason for the H-1B visas. Some wealthy elites like starting or running companies, ignore the well-being of Americans (like American engineers), but insist on living in the USA (instead of moving themselves and their companies to a barn like India). So, these elites then clamor for H-1B visas to bring the cheap foreign engineers to the USA in order to populate the elites' companies.

Such elites deserve to be pummeled by the fist of Donald Trump.

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