Hatch wants White House to seek H-1B expansion
Treasury secretary says he agrees with Hatch on need to increase H-1B visa program
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) berated the White House on Wednesday for failing to urge expansion of the H-1B program.
Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, raised his concern at a committee hearing on President Obama's proposed 2012 federal budget. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was its sole witness.
One of the things that would "help our country a great deal is to expand the H-1B and allow these Ph.D.s who are educated here who want to stay here, who are brilliant, who can help us in the high-tech world and other worlds, to stay here," Hatch told Geithner.
"It's ridiculous that the administration doesn't weigh in on [H-1B], and I know why they don't -- but it's ridiculous not to," Hatch said, "And we've now created real competitors in India and China, just to mention two places, but others as well. "
In China, but especially in India, the H-1B visa is critical to offshore outsourcing companies in providing overseas services. These companies were critical of the Senate last year for approving a $2,000 visa fee increase specifically aimed at them. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sought the fee increase, said the H-1B program has created "multinational temp agencies."
"We are not doing things that we really ought to do to get competitive," Hatch said. "Weigh in on this H-1B thing. That would help us a great deal."
In response, Geithner said, "I agree with you on H-1B, by the way. It's just a question about how best to do it."
Hatch quickly answered, "Expand it."
The U.S. issues 85,000 H-1B visas each year, of which 20,000 are reserved for advanced-degree graduates of U.S. universities.
The Obama administration has said little about the H-1B program specifically, but in his State of the Union address last month, he urged an easier path to immigration for foreign students who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.
Legislation to accomplish that may soon emerge from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). Lofgren drafted a proposal that would create a new employment-based permanent residency, or green card, category for advanced-degree graduates. It would bypass the need for an H-1B visa.
Two other senators, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), want to limit the number of H-1B or L-1 visas to 50% of a company's U.S. workforce, the so-called 50/50 rule.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- H-1B loophole may help California utility offshore IT jobs
- H-1B applications surge to 172,500, twice the cap
- U.S. hits H-1B cap with 'high number' of petitions
- Durbin warns Republicans standalone H-1B hike plan will fail
- Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013
- H-1B visas produce net IT job boost, trade group says
- Gates sees software replacing people; Greenspan calls for more H-1Bs
- Use of H-1B alternative skyrockets
- GOP presses ahead on H-1B, green cards with vague, muddy statement
- 5 reasons why your IT job search is getting harder
Read more about IT Outsourcing in Computerworld's IT Outsourcing Topic Center.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Logicalis eBook: SAP HANA: The Need for Speed Without timely business insights, organizations today can suffer logistical, manufacturing, and even financial disaster in a matter of minutes
- Neustar 2014 DDoS Attacks and Impact Report For the third consecutive year, Neustar surveyed hundreds of companies on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The survey reveals evidence that the...
- Acxiom Case Study This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control. All IT Outsourcing White Papers | Webcasts