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House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on H-1B Visa Program

March 31, 2011

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on H-1B visa program.  The hearing is focussed on designing an H-1B visa program that meets the needs of U.S. economy and U.S. workers.  The hearing began with an opening statement by the Committee’s Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).  There were views and arguments presented by proponents and opponents of H-1B visa program.  In the Committee Chairman Rep. Smith’s words, “The H-1B visa program plays a vital role in our economy.  It allows American employers to hire talented foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields…The 65,000 base annual quota of H-1B visas is going to come under more and more pressure as the economy improves.  If Congress doesn’t act to increase the H-1B cap, then we may need to examine what sort of workers qualify for H-1B visas.” However, Rep. Smith’s comments did not come without words of caution.  He highlighted the fraud and abuse in the H-1B program as well as abuse in the L-1 and B-1 visa programs and that necessary checks should be in place and also highlighted the importance of not displacing the American workers.

This is a good start of a healthy debate surrounding the H-1B visa program to address issues such as disadvantages of having a numerical cap each year especially when the U.S. economy needs more qualified foreign professionals; addressing the fraud in the H-1B system; and more importantly ensuring that the H-1B adjudication process is fair and reasonable as opposed to being arbitrary and burdensome.  More updates on this will be posted as and when they become available.  Rep. Smith’s statement may be accessed by clicking http://judiciary.house.gov/news/03312011.html

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