How to Save U.S. IT Jobs

By Stephanie Overby, CIO |  Career, IT jobs

"The H-1B visa is centrally about cheap labor, obtained legally through loopholes involving the definition of prevailing wage. The government should auction off the visas to the highest bidders--those employers who pay the highest premium above prevailing wage. Since the employers claim the foreign workers are 'the best and the brightest,' they should be willing to pay a premium wage, just as they would for high-quality Americans.

"The current administration should also reverse the previous administration's extension from 12 to 29 months of Optional Practical Training, which allows a new foreign graduate from a U.S. university carte blanche access to the U.S. job market.

"Fixing the employer-sponsored Green Card fiasco is equally important. The labor certification process, which ostensibly requires employers to seek qualified Americans before resorting to hiring a foreign worker, is full of loopholes. Under the current system, an employer can first sponsor a foreign worker for an H-1B visa with no requirement that it seek out American workers first. That visa holder works for the employer for a while and is then sponsored for a Green Card on the grounds that no American has the on-the-job experience to fill the position. The Department of Labor should disallow employers from using experience in the position as a criterion. They also should require employers who wish to sponsor a foreign worker for a Green Card to advertise the position on a Website maintained by the DOL [Department of Labor]."

--Dr. Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis

Multi-Pronged Approaches

"There's only so much the federal government can do to create or 'save' IT jobs. But if I had to suggest some options, I would say invest in improving the U.S. education system, especially in urban areas; provide incentives to expand broadband nationally so homesourcing can thrive in the hinterlands; focus on incentives to spur the growth of IT businesses; provide training on the application of a broad range of occupations, rather than just churning out more software developers or database administrators; expand immigration of foreign IT workers, which recognizes the importance of having the most skilled people to perform work; tax trial lawyer revenues to fund high-tech centers in low cost U.S. markets; and invest in efforts to improve network and data security. Or we can just annex Brazil or India or Vietnam so the U.S. can take credit for all the jobs being created there."

--Stan Lepeak, managing director of research for outsourcing consultancy EquaTerra

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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