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Another perspective on H-1B reform

As is widely know, the White House is considering making sweeping changes to the H-1B visa program. These changes could make it far more difficult for companies to bring foreign workers over to the US, perhaps by making it too costly to do so.

There’s no question about it. The H-1B program is quite controversial. Those opposed to it say it takes American jobs away; those in favor feel it helps deal with a shortage of American workers in particular fields, including software development.

Several weeks ago I wrote a story that suggested any changes to the H-1B program really aren’t the problem but that automation might be the much bigger issue.

Now a new survey is out from Spiceworks showing that a majority are in favor of changes to the H-1B law. A total of 429 IT professionals participated and a sizeable majority — 67% — said they favor changing the H-1B law. Their reasons? The current rules favor large employers, respondents said, and the way the law is written makes it too easy for employers to abuse the rules. And there was certainly a concern that bringing relatively lower-paid workers in had the potential to get in the way of American-born employees seeking those same opportunities.

But this was most interesting…71% of those surveyed said the H-1B visa situation didn’t affect their organizations at all.

So it’s a little hard to know what to think about all of this. Will tightening the rules really help Americans? But what about the very real software developer’s shortage? As our story suggested, it can be hard for many companies to find skilled IT professionals today.

Where do you stand? Let me know.

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