How the visa issue affects business; H-1B visa unavailability hurts Michigan employers.

Author:Nowlan, Michael P.

With an unemployment rate over 7 percent, employers in Michigan should be able to hire skilled talent for job vacancies with great ease. However, as Michigan experiences a dramatic exodus of both young and highly skilled professionals, the ability of employers to attract qualified professionals is not easy, and is expected to remain difficult for the foreseeable future. Our ability to transform our economy will hinge on finding the right talent in a myriad of industries. Michigan's inability to compete in the global marketplace for key talent will further slow the speed of our recovery. As we look for new industries, and the revival of our current companies, Michigan employers need to continue to put pressure on federally elected officials to increase the number of new H-1B visas available per year.


All employers around the U.S. compete for the pool of 65,000 H-lBs. Over the past two years, the H-1B cap has been reached during the first days that cases can be filed in April. As a result, cases received in the beginning of April are put into a random selection process, or lottery, to decide which cases will be selected for processing or rejected altogether. This is particularly frustrating, given that the H-lBs candidates generally may not begin working until October, when the fiscal year begins.

H-1B-The "Cheap Immigrant Labor" Myth

Opponents of the H-1B visa argue that these candidates are really "cheap immigrant labor," who take U.S. jobs away from qualified workers. In fact, employers who sponsor candidates for an H-1B must attest to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that they will pay the H-1B worker the wages and benefits normally paid to their similarly situated U.S. workers, or the wage the government believes is appropriate for the occupation in the area, whichever is higher. Many small employers who are entering the H-1B sponsorship process find that the H-1B worker will need to be paid more than their U.S. citizen employees. In addition, the employer is required to post the wage of the H-1B worker for 10 business days on the scheduled worksite, to allow U.S. citizens to complain to the DOL if the H-1B worker will be paid below the normal wage for the company. Finally, with filing fees to the U.S. Citizenship...

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