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US engineers' body seeks curb on H-1B visas

Press Trust of India
Mar 30, 2013 at 08:32am IST

Washington: Claiming that H-1B visas lead to outsourcing of US jobs, an American professional body of engineers has opposed the move of expanding the most popular working visa among IT professionals. "The H-1B programme shouldn't be used to facilitate the transfer of high-paying jobs to other countries. If Congress wants a full US economic recovery, it shouldn't even think about expanding it," IEEE-USA President Marc Apter said.

Beginning Monday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services will start accepting applications for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 starting October. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)-USA is the largest body of electrical and electronics engineers in the US.

In a statement, the body alleged that most of these visas are being grabbed by those companies which outsource American jobs overseas. "Starting next week, proponents of an H-1B visa increase will bemoan the fact that the H-1B cap is already used up. But it was outsourcing companies -- businesses who use the visas to take American jobs -- who used nearly two-thirds of them" Apter said.

US engineers' body seeks curb on H-1B visas

Beginning Monday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services will start accepting applications for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 starting October.

Referring to data compiled by the US Department of Labour Office of Foreign Labor Certification, the body said the top 10 companies applying for H-1B visas in the first three months of fiscal 2013 are all offshore outsourcing companies. These 10 organisations collectively had 1,12,739 positions -- representing 73.4 per cent more than the base annual H-1B cap of 65,000 -- certified to be filled by an H-1B worker.

Many of these work visas are issued to scientists and engineers, it said. Moreover, 64.1 per cent of the 1,75,806 certified H-1B applications from just 1 October to 31 December 2012 went to these 10 companies, and there are many more than 10 outsourcers, IEEE-USA said.

The engineers' body has sought a legislation providing employment-based green cards for skilled immigrants earning advanced STEM degrees from US colleges and universities, and their dependents. Green cards, unlike H-1B visas, allow immigrants to start their own companies, many of which will create jobs in the United States, it said.

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