Claiming that H-1B visas lead to outsourcing of US jobs, an American professional body of engineers has opposed the move of expanding the most popular working visa among IT professionals.
"The H-1B programme shouldn't be used to facilitate the transfer of high-paying jobs to other countries. If Congress wants a full US economic recovery, it shouldn't even think about expanding it," IEEE-USA President Marc Apter said.
Beginning Monday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services will start accepting applications for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 starting October. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)-USA is the largest body of electrical and electronics engineers in the US.
In a statement, the body alleged that most of these visas are being grabbed by those companies which outsource American jobs overseas.
"Starting next week, proponents of an H-1B visa increase will bemoan the fact that the H-1B cap is already used up. But it was outsourcing companies -- businesses who use the visas to take American jobs -- who used nearly two-thirds of them" Apter said.
Referring to data compiled by the US Department of Labour Office of Foreign Labor Certification, the body said the top 10 companies applying for H-1B visas in the first three months of fiscal 2013 are all offshore outsourcing companies.
These 10 organisations collectively had 1,12,739 positions — representing 73.4 per cent more than the base annual H-1B cap of 65,000 — certified to be filled by an H-1B worker. Many of these work visas are issued to scientists and engineers, it said. Moreover, 64.1 per cent of the 1,75,806 certified H-1B applications from just 1 October to 31 December 2012 went to these 10 companies, and there are many more than 10 outsourcers, IEEE-USA said.
The engineers' body has sought a legislation providing employment-based green cards for skilled immigrants earning advanced STEM degrees from US colleges and universities, and their dependents.
Green cards, unlike H-1B visas, allow immigrants to start their own companies, many of which will create jobs in the United States, it said.