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2005/06/21 H-1B Visas (Microsoft wants tech geeks)

Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© June 2005 Tony Lawrence

An H-1B visa allows someone not a U.S. citizen to work here in certain "specialty" occupations. What occupations? From http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/h2b.htm:

A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application
of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelors
degree or its equivalent. For example, architecture, engineering,
mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and
health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology,
and the arts are specialty occupations.

As an autodidact, I object to the educational requirements, but never mind that. U.S. programmers think this steals jobs from them and lowers their salaries. Bill Gates, once a struggling programmer himself, wants the program expanded so that Microsoft has a greater labor pool to draw from. Given that the U.S. Congress seems to love Big Business, I bet Bill will get what he wants.

I actually partially agree with Bill, though surely not for the same reasons. I'm an extreme libertarian and find all restrictions on travel, work and residence disgusting. We are all of the same DNA, and having been born in a particular location can be fortunate or not, but governments should have no right to perpetuate that circumstance.

But as ars technica points out, the current H-1B laws put all the power in the employer's hands. I'm definitely not in favor of that: people should be able to work and live wherever they wish.

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