Using data from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), VisaNow.com found that the INS received 14.4% more applications for H-1B visas between October 1, 2000 and September 30, 2001 over the year before, according to a report in CNET News.
The H-1B documents allow college graduates with work experience to get employment in the US – often with technology firms.
Many of the applications in the past year have been for visas in universities, government agencies and non-profit groups, an INS representative told CNET.
Are Foreigners Cheaper?
According to Project USA, American companies pay H-1B visa workers less than the average American worker with the same amount of experience and education.
Because they’re cheaper, Project USA argues, it’s no surprise that US companies demand even more of them during an economic downturn.
According to federal law, H-1B workers must be paid at least the median wage in their given job category when hired through the program.
Congress created the H-1B program as part of the 1990 Immigration Act. It started as a means of importing workers to US hospitals, universities and companies specializing in cancer research, plastics, computer programming and other occupations.
By the mid-1990s, when technology linked to the Internet caused an unprecedented economic boom, the H-1B program helped funnel in computer programmers and engineers, mainly from India and Taiwan.