These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced
(no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
here to return to the Table of Contents.
Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
H1B Visas in 2004
With immigration (legal and illegal) issues all over the news these days, you might be interested in a few of
the 2004 statistics on H-1B visa holders. 1,990 new H-1B visas were issued to bring the current number to around
450,000 (down from 710,000 in 2003). The annual limit according to law is 85,000 (down from 195,000 in 2003). 92
occupations across 17 occupational sectors are eligible for H-1B visas. Prevailing wages are required (i.e., no
indentured servitude) to successful holders of the visas; however, many non-immigrant foreign H-1B workers are
paid minimum wage as their official salary, and the rest of their salary is paid as "U.S. Living Expenses" that
An application fee of $185 starts the process, and an addition $2,000 is required after
acceptance. To be considered for issuance of a H-1B visa, the prospect must have an employer attest to his or her
being needed to perform a unique job in a "tight American job market," and possess specialized knowledge that must
be proved, usually in the fields of engineering, science, and medicine (H-2A and H-2B are being used to import
blue collar and agricultural workers). 45% of the PhD holders employed in the U.S. are foreign nationals. H-1B
visas are valid for a maximum of 6 years. So, Congress and the President have listened (thanks largely to the IEEE
USA lobbying efforts).
Staunch anti-immigration and temporary worker antagonists will argue that as long as
there is one unemployed American engineer, there should be no H-1B visas issued. This attitude does not allow for
the fact that there are tens of thousands of American professionals working overseas on visas issued to them by
other countries. It also does not factor in the reality that there are bona fide instances where, truly, a foreign
national does possess a unique talent that can and should be exploited for the good of the H-1B holder, the
company that hires him or her, and the country as a whole. Not every motive is born out of greed, but, I will
concede, probably most are. Fortunately, we do seem to be moving toward an equitable middle ground.