H-1B guest worker visas are not a useful way to drive U.S. innovation, a new EPI paper finds. In Are foreign students the ‘best and brightest’? Data and implications for immigration policy, Norman Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, discusses the H-1B program, which allows employers to temporarily hire foreign STEM workers.
H-1B visas are often described as a way to attract the “best and brightest” to American shores, but many employers use the H-1B program as a source of cheap, compliant labor.
Contrary to the claims of industry lobbyists, H-1B workers are no more distinguished than their U.S. peers. Instead, employers prefer to hire foreign workers over similarly qualified U.S. workers, because legal loopholes in how the “prevailing wage” is calculated let them save on labor costs. The H-1B visa also ties workers to their employer, effectively rendering them captive for the duration of their visa. The H-1B program does not encourage U.S. employers to hire outstanding talent or the best and brightest workers.

By Norm Matloff --

American workers
Legal Immigration
H-1B visas

Updated: Tue, Apr 2nd 2013 @ 1:30pm EDT