Top H-1B visa approvals Q1-Q2 FY2013
Approvals for new H-1B visas from Oct. 2012 through March 2013. Source: Computerworld analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service data. Some company divisions were combined, such as IBM Corp. and IBM India, Tata consulting and engineering groups, etc.
"I think it's crazy not to require that all employers do good faith recruiting," said Costa. "If the tech companies are truly recruiting U.S. workers like crazy as they say they are -- then why do they object to proving that they're already doing what they say they're doing?"
In an amendment filed Thursday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is seeking "good faith" recruiting for all employers.
Costa believes the government's hiring database will improve prospects for U.S. workers, "because they can at least see where the jobs are."
But Costa also cites the enforcement issue as a sticking point. How will the Labor Dept. ensure that employers have followed the law? "Will US workers be able to file lawsuits? That's not clear yet," said Costa. "It also has to be enforced in a way that doesn't dictate who an employer should hire, but that also protects U.S. workers from clear discrimination and preference for hiring an H-1B worker."
An intent of the H-1B program is enable employers to quickly hire someone, and 30-day window "will push up the timing of your recruitment," said Jorge Lopez, co-chair of littler Mendelson's Global Mobility and Immigration practice.
Employers applying for a green card are required to advertise for the job and interview qualified U.S. candidates under a good faith process. That green card process is also subject to an audit by the Labor Dept. It is a longer process, but firms seeking to hire an H-1B worker typically want someone quickly, said Lopez.
The proposed rules in the immigration bill are "logistically creating a bottleneck in the system," said Lopez.
Susan Cohen, chairwoman of Mintz Levin's Immigration Practic, said, "The H-1B visa is designed to be as nimble as possible" for filling positions.
Both Cohen and Lopez said the employers they deal with would rather hire U.S. workers because the H-1B process is already complicated, but they do so to fill certain job needs.
In the case where an H-1B worker is making a lateral move from one company to another, the process may be completed in as fast as two weeks. With the 30-day posting period, the hiring could take six weeks, said Cohen.