CNETNews.com titled its coverage of the release of a new batch of H-1B visas, “H-1Bs not going like hotcakes.” According to reporter Ed Frauenheim, of the additional 20,000 visas that were made available starting on May 12, only 6,400 have been requested so far.
While I have no doubt that the remainder will be claimed in time, this does put a bit of a damper on both opposing views: 1) that there should be no limit on the number of visas issued to people with masters and above degrees issued by US universities; and 2) that there are plenty of smart Americans who are standing by waiting for the right job and that these visas are simply an attempt to get talent for lower wages. In the first case, if companies were just aching to hire candidates from outside the states, those applications would have been claimed already. In the second case, if companies just wanted to reduce wages — no matter the skill level — they’d be lining up out the door for those special visas.
From what I can tell, the visa program is costly and complicated. I’m sure the Microsofts, Intels and Ciscos of the world have sorted out the vagaries of exploiting the H-1B — because they need a huge supply of really great technical talent. But I don’t think that’s true for the run-of-the-mill corporate entity.