The H1-B Stats Are In - Did the Reform Work?

President George Bush leans over Brandon Seeger, a student at the Saturn School of Tomorrow, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to see the computer screen as Bush toured the school, May 22, 1991. Bush was in Minnesota talking about his plans for educational programs. Seeger was showing the president how his computer works during a writing workshop at the school. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)

Previously, the Trump administration updated the H1-B work visa rules. Now the stats are in. Did the reform work?

The H1-B visa program is meant to bring in specialized talent that’s hard to find in America. Back when the program was founded, computer programmers were a lot more rare on the ground. It made sense for American companies to yank them from anywhere in the world that they existed.

But since then the number of entry-level programmers in the country has jumped way up. Many fortune seekers tried to cash in on the growth of the industry seeing the twin Internet and Y2k booms. Therefore the Trump administration made a sensible ruling: needing a computer programmer does not in itself qualify your business for the H1-B program. We have plenty of entry level programmers at home.

Companies that need specialized experts can still get them, but bringing in a 22 year old Indian to replace a 22 year old American is not the purpose of the program, and so the administration ended it. So did it work?

It turns out the reform worked. The industry has been screaming for years that they need H1-B to grow. They need more slots, they need more imports, and it was vital that it happen. However after the administration banned entry level programmers from the program, the number of applications actually dropped! The growth has ended.

H1-B was a good idea at the time, but since then the program has been perverted and abused. As we continue to reform the program, we will work toward the ideal way to bring smart people into America without distorting the job market here at home. It can be done. We just have to stop the abuses, no matter how much the businesses cry after we take the binky away.