US

Under Obama, guest-worker visa policy creates left-right conflict

On the opposite end of the policy spectrum is the argument that reforming America’s “guest worker” program would prevent the U.S. economy from falling even further behind.

The guest worker program, overseen by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services inside the Department of Homeland Security, includes the “H-1B” guest worker visas, “L” visas for foreign employees of U.S. companies, and “O” visas for those the government considers “extraordinarily” talented.

Johnson worries that it has been more than a decade since business immigration visa law was last brought up to date.

“Nowadays, with outsourcing so common,” he told TheDC, “those jobs can primarily be lost to other nations, or the U.S. company can operates overseas.”

Allowing the immigration of more skilled managers who already work for technology employers like Microsoft or IBM, says the American Immigration Lawyers Association, would also be good for the American economy.

“Individuals are coming to establish a new entity related to their employer abroad, thus planting a seed of opportunity for U.S. workers,” AILA president Eleanor Pelta said.

Johnson claimed that rather than seeing this shortcoming as an economic development issue, the Obama administration and liberals in Congress are postponing change in order to make it part of “comprehensive immigration reform,” a strategy that would include an amnesty proposal for illegal aliens.

“When there are enough qualified U.S. applicants, the government can reduce the number of visas available,” he explained. “But if we ignore the shortages — in engineering, IT and medicine — a U.S. company will set up operations outside the U.S., or outsource the job, and we will have lost another taxpayer.”