Despite rising unemployment numbers and thousands of layoffs, several tech companies are preparing applications for more H-1B visas. The same companies that are laying off American Workers will now be asking the federal government permission to hire more high-skill foreign workers.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers expressed outrage in a report that the Department of Homeland Security will issue 65,000 H-1B visas to companies like Microsoft, IBM and Cisco this year.

"In this brutal economic climate, American workers should get first dibs at the jobs out there," said WashTech spokeswoman Priyanka Joshi in the report. "No more workers on H-1B visas should be invited into the country until Americans have had the opportunity to fill those jobs."

Companies insist that they need foreign workers to compete in a global economy regardless of the ongoing recession. Microsoft led American companies with 1,037 H-1B visas in 2008, but also announced in January plans to layoff more than 3,000 employees.

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Updated: Thu, Mar 19th 2009 @ 3:05pm EDT