Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may be sending letters to Microsoft (MSFT) saying the company has “a moral obligation” to put the jobs of US citizens ahead of H-1B immigrant workers amidst layoffs, but the wind in Washington is still blowing in favour of the H-1B program, which brings skilled workers (mostly in tech) to the US.
The latest: Barack Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), stood out in the Senate for strongly favouring expanding the cap on H-1B visas. (Last year 163,000 immigrant workers applied for 65,000 slots.)
Here’s Gregg speaking to the libertarian Cato Institute on H-1Bs, saying each H-1B worker brought to the US actually creates five American jobs:
Grassley is unlikely to give up his H-1B opposition. But at least inside Obama’s cabinet, any move to scale back program seems likely to encounter strong opposition.
The winners? Virtually every large corporation, who will find it easier — and yes, cheaper — to staff up their IT departments (a cost centre) and do internal development. The losers: Laid off tech workers, facing continued competition from foreign workers.