[FoRK] Re: what IT shortage?
Tue Aug 16 05:37:40 PDT 2005
I'm referring to a shortage within the US. H1B visas are where foreign tech
workers are given permission to work in the US. Here's an example:
Many employers say they need visas to bring in high-tech workers from
abroad. But critics contend the process has been abused.
The way Manoj Prasad sees it, he came to the United States from his native
India to fill a void.
When he came to the United States in 1995, he was one of 65,000 specialized
workers who got an H-1B visa that year to work at a specific job.
Like all H-1Bs, he was not considered an immigrant. His stay had a time
limit - three years, with the likely promise of a three-year extension.
Filling voids, supplementing the American work force. That was the intent of
H-1B legislation in the United States where, some industry leaders contend,
there is a dearth of workers capable of filling cutting-edge positions in
technology, science and engineering.
He smiled and sat back in the Edison office of his company, NexGen Infosys,
which devises and delivers information-technology solutions for other
businesses. "That's why people call America the Land of Opportunity," he
Prasad has settled in domestically, having gone through the green-card
process and become an American citizen. He lives in Holmdel, where he raises
his family, and a corner of his pristine office in a typical suburban office
park in Edison features a low red and gold table, a daily reminder of the
Hindu goddess Tulja.
Unlike Prasad, most H1-B visa workers do not stay in America. "About 60
percent of the people will have plans to go back to their countries after
working here for some time," he said. "These people want to be close to
their family. They are very, very emotional sort of people."
NexGen has 75 employees - 45 in New Jersey and California and 30 in his
hometown of Hyderabad. Half of his U.S.-based workers are H-1B visa workers.
It's a tough, competitive business. If given the choice between a seasoned
IT veteran laid off from a position in which he worked for 10 years and who
has not updated his skills, and a recent H-1B tech graduate from Bangalore,
New Delhi, Bombay or Calcutta, Prasad said, he would go for the latter.
Many people agree with Prasad. Congress sets the caps for the number of H-1B
visas that can be issued each year in the United States. A high was reached
from 2001 through 2003, when 195,000 H-1Bs were approved. Starting last
year, the cap went back down to 65,000 again, although it was just raised by
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