With more than 15 million jobless Americans, the federal government has closer scrutinized foreign worker visa requests. Tech companies have relied less on high skilled workers from abroad, and instead, have tried to hire Americans to fill open jobs.
Companies that have received federal assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) have also had to prove that they can't find American workers to fill jobs before making visa requests. That, combined with greater attention to fraud prevention and a public outcry to hire unemployed Americans over foreign workers has scared off companies that typically prefer H-1Bs to American workers. The federal government allots 65,000 visas per year, but only 46,700 petitions have been filed this year.
"This shows that the American people can have some effect in reducing unnecessary labor importation just by creating a negative public climate," NumbersUSA President Roy Beck said. "I especially congratulate all the citizens whose protests of H-1B have added an element of shame for companies that prefer foreign employees over home-grown ones."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Services has stepped up enforcement of the H-1B program. They've been conducting more surprise visits to audit the program's use and expect to visit 20,000 employers in the coming months.
Costs have also been a deterrent in hard economic times. It can cost companies up to $5,000 per applicant in fees to obtain an H-1B visa.
For more information, see the Wall Street Journal.