On the Need for Reform of the H-1B Non-Immigrant Work Visa in Computer-Related Occupations

The H-1B program authorizes non-immigrant visas under which skilled foreign workers may be employed in the U.S., typically in computer-related positions. Congress greatly expanded the program in 1998 and then again in 2000, in response to heavy pressure from industry, which claimed a desperate software labor shortage. After presenting an overview of the H-1B program in Parts II and III, the Article will show in Part IV that these shortage claims are not supported by the data. Part V will then show that the industry’s motivation for hiring H-lBs is primarily a desire for cheap, compliant labor. The Article then discusses the adverse impacts of the H-1B program on various segments of the American computer-related labor force in Part VI, and presents proposals for reforms in Part VII.