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Room for the best, the brightest and the hardest-working: Our view

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Amid all the debate over illegal immigration, we shouldn't lose focus on the great contributions that legal immigrants make to our communities and businesses each day.

One recent example is Dani Fessler, an immigrant from Israel who was tapped to be the new director of the York Jewish Community Center. He is working in Central Pennsylvania under the aegis of the so-called “Einstein Visa.” Technically known as the EB-1 Visa, the document clears a path into the United States for people who excel in their fields.

While we understand there are concerns about immigrants taking jobs that could go to Americans, the country has a long history of opening its doors to people willing to out-hustle the competition. It is a history that has made this country great and made its corporations household names around the world.

So it is important that we have visas for those with special talents. The Einstein visa is a prime example, but there are others, including the H-1B visa for those in specialized fields where demand for workers in the United States outweighs by supply. The H-1B has been a vital pipeline for the technology and health care industries

But we also need to ensure there are enough visas for people who are willing to work hard and create a foundation for their family’s future, regardless of their current skills.

In the 19th century, those strivers came from places like Germany and Ireland. In the early 20th century, they came from places like Italy and Poland. In the later 20th century, they came from Vietnam and Korea. Today, they may be coming from places like Haiti and Syria, Nigeria and Sudan, Mexico and Venezuela.

We want immigrants to follow the rules, and we want to ensure we bar terrorists and other threats to our security, but we need a system that ensures the U.S. continues to draw the best, the brightest and the hardest-working.

Businesses are counting on sensible immigration reform. But it is almost impossible to keep up with the changing debate in Washington, D.C. It seems there is more interest in talk than action.

It is a frustrating dynamic, especially knowing we can find immigration success stories in our own backyard.

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Martha April 9, 2018 6:03 am

But we also need to ensure there are enough visas for people who are willing to work hard and create a foundation for their family’s future, regardless of their current skills. For traveling purpose I bought a spacious suitcase using luggage superstore voucher code. Now I am happy that the hassle to pack and travel for the festival is not any more after this.

Peter_Puck April 8, 2018 11:18 am

Don't believe Perturbed Pundit.

When someone immigrates to the US, the IQ in both countries goes up.

Perturbed Pundit April 6, 2018 2:40 am

While lobbying Congress for more H-1B visas, industry claims H-1B workers are the "best and brightest" or, as the author of this piece would have you believe, "Einstein". Come payday, however, they're entry-level workers.

The GAO put out a report on the H-1B visa that discusses at some length the fact that the vast majority of H-1B workers are hired into entry-level positions. In fact, most are at "Level I", which is officially defined by the Dept. of Labor as those who have a “basic understanding of duties and perform routine tasks requiring limited judgment". Moreover, the GAO found that a mere 6% of H-1B workers are at "Level IV", which is officially defined by the Dept. of Labor as those who are "fully competent" [1]. This belies the industry lobbyists’ claims that H-1B workers are hired because they're experts that can’t be found among the U.S. workforce.

So this means one of two things: either employers are looking for entry-level workers (in which case, their rhetoric about needing "the best and brightest" is complete B.S.), or they're looking for more experienced workers but only paying them at the Level I, entry-level pay scale. In my opinion, employers are using the H-1B visa to engage in legalized age discrimination, as the vast majority of H-1B workers are under the age of 35 [2], especially those at the Level I and Level II categories.

Any way you slice it, it amounts to H-1B visa abuse, all facilitated by and with the blessings of the US government.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has never shown a sharp upward trend of Computer Science graduate starting salaries, which would indicate a labor shortage (remember - the vast majority of H-1B visas are granted for computer-related positions). In fact, according to their survey for Fall 2015, starting salaries for CS grads went down by 4% from the prior year. This is particularly interesting in that salaries overall rose 5.2% [3][4].

[1] GAO-11-26: H-1B VISA PROGRAM - Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program
[2] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report to Congress October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016
[3] NACE Fall 2015 Salary Survey
[4] NACE Salary Survey - September 2014 Executive Summary