H-1B visas – The Real Story

Is the H-1B Visa program good or bad? Does it hurt US workers and depress wages? Do Google and Silicon Valley firms really need the H1B visa program for their talent needs?

Overall, the H-1b Visa programs effects are generally positive and the program helps to bring in a lot of great people and talent to the U.S. However, about 25% of approved applications are fraudulent. A recent study by USC and University of Michigan researches estimated that the H-1B program has caused IT wages to be 5.1% lower than they would be without the H-1B visa program. WSJ article covering this study: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-look-at-the-h-1b-visa-programs-impact-on-american-workers-1489483811

Many IT outsourcing firms (Infosys, Tata, Wipro, Cognizant, Accenture and others) use the program as a source of cheaper labor that allows them to make additional profits. These firms do this by paying below market wages to H-1B visa holders. Many of these H-1B holders are treated almost as indentured servants with their firms refusing to allow an application for a Green Card and onerous restrictions to keep the H-1B employee from seeking other employers.

On the other hand, Google and other Silicon Valley employers appear to be using the program to bring in top talent. The below graph shows a big difference between wages paid by outsourcing firms (Tata, Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, etc.) compared to wages paid by Technology firms (Google, Apple, Microsoft).

Here is a link to a more thorough article on this topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-h-1b_us_5890d86ce4b0522c7d3d84af