5/10/16 Laying off Americans

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There’s a bipartisan group of senators who are pushing a bill [Senate Bill 153] that would triple the number of visas for immigrants with special skills.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Three Democrats and 3 Republicans want to triple the number of H-1B visas.  From an annual cap of 65,000.  To 195,000.

[These senators are Republicans Orrin Hatch (Utah); Marco Rubio (Florida); and Jeff Flakes (Arizona) and Democrats Chris Coons (Delaware); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); and Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut).]

Generally, this visa is issued to workers with bachelors or advanced degrees.   It’s intended to fill highly-skilled positions not met by the current U.S. labor force.

Several Silicon Valley high tech companies have heavily lobbied Congress to increase these special visas.

[As with other visas, the H-1B visa is ripe for abuse.  For years, a group brought in an untold number of immigrants to serve as medical instructors by claiming their skills were required a “Adam University.” No such university exists.]

[In fact, it appears U.S. authorities are conducting very little, if any, due diligence to determine how many schools that are admitting immigrants are fake.]

However, claims there aren’t enough Americans to fill these jobs ring hollow.  Many of these same firms are laying-off American workers at an alarming rate. 

Intel Corporation is one of the biggest users of H-1B visas.  It just announced its letting go 12,000 employees in the U.S. and abroad.  This is more than 11 percent of its workforce.

In the past year, tens of thousands of US workers have been laid off at Microsoft [here], Cisco, Symantec, HP, Qualcomm and elsewhere [here, here].  Most of these companies have pushed for more H-1B visas.

[Part of Microsoft’s lay-off of 18,000 workers included the closure of it’s R&D facility in Silicon Valley.  It’s this very type of facility that requires advanced degrees.]

So why are American workers being let-go by companies claiming there’s a shortage of qualified workers?

Critics claim these technology companies are laying off older Americans in favor of younger immigrants who would draw smaller salaries.

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