Regarding Sebastian's recent letter, if we were importing 65,000 lawyers a year, you can bet the American Bar Association would be up in arms. As it is, we're importing large numbers of workers in a limited range of professions which has the effect of suppressing salaries in these professions. The relevant comparison is not with all workers in the U.S. but with the number of workers in the affected professions. Unemployment in IT, the most affected of these professions, is running around 7 percent, not including workers who have left the profession. Salary suppression also makes these professions less attractive to Americans who know that companies prefer to hire foreign workers whom they can control--ironic, given the pleas of Bill Gates for more American students to go into these professions. If we really need these imported workers, I would again suggest, as I have many times before, that we either make the program truly temporary (no path to a green card) or accept these workers as immigrants in the first place, enabling them to change jobs at will without being under the control of a company for six years. Either of these lets market forces work, without the artificial subsidy to employers that the H1-B currently creates. That is, of course, if one truly believes in "free trade".
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