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Volume 91 Issue 35 | p. 8 | Letters
Issue Date: September 2, 2013

Off The Chart

Department: Letters

The pie chart in “Arguing over Science Visas” is misleading (C&EN, July 8, page 11). It breaks up the STEM H-1B visa applicants by degree.

But the focus of the article is about foreign workers competing with U.S. citizens for scarce jobs, in which case, only the number of issued visas matters. Also, the number of issued visas per field matters more than by degree; H-1B visas issued to physicists have relatively little impact on chemists, for example. Finally, the number of issued visas only matters when compared with the number of U.S. STEM job seekers and the number of STEM job openings.

With this information, we can make the following calculation: If there are really not enough U.S. STEM workers, then fill those jobs with H-1B visa holders or expedited citizenship. However, if there is a large excess of U.S. workers compared with available jobs, then visas need to be issued only in special cases.

The goal is to produce just enough homegrown STEM workers that most of the jobs can be filled by U.S. workers. That is fair: The H-1B visa is not a welfare program for foreign nationals—or for corporations that prefer workers who will accept less than market salary.

Bob Butler
Passaic, N.J.

 
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Comments
NoGig  (September 4, 2013 1:21 PM)
Thank you, well stated. These temporary "guest worker" visa programs are indeed corporate welfare -- at a high-cost to our nation and citizens.

This nation has NO SHORTAGE of citizens with the skills, education and intelligence for all available positions. These programs MUST be abolished and labor markets i.e. supply and demand -- not government intervention -- allowed to work.

The mass importation of foreign workers (currently 700,000) on temporary visa is causing gross distortion of US labor markets. And large number of citizens are consequently being forced out of these professions by frequent job displacement, poor career prospects and falling wages. One professional has described being replaced fifteen times by H-1B workers -- FIFTEEN TIMES!!!
NoGig  (September 4, 2013 2:41 PM)
Thank you, well stated. These temporary "guest worker" visa programs are indeed corporate welfare -- at a high-cost to our nation and citizens.

This nation has NO SHORTAGE of citizens with the skills, education and intelligence for all available positions. These programs MUST be abolished and labor markets i.e. supply and demand -- not government intervention -- allowed to work.

The mass importation of foreign workers (currently 700,000) on temporary visa is causing gross distortion of US labor markets. And large number of citizens are consequently being forced out of these professions by frequent job displacement, poor career prospects and falling wages. One professional has described being replaced fifteen times by H-1B workers -- FIFTEEN TIMES!!!
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