H-1B visa: Kids of recipients dominate America’s leading science contest

With applications for the H-1B visa due to start coming in next week, a new report on the controversial program will bolster proponents’ arguments for expanding the number of visas granted.

The lottery-based program has a cap of 85,000 visas. Last year, 236,000 applications were submitted in just a week by companies seeking to hire skilled foreign workers.

And if a new report is accurate, bringing in these workers carries a benefit little discussed amid the rancorous debate over the visa.

In the country’s most prestigious science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search, 75 percent of the 40 finalists in 2016 had a parent who had worked in the U.S. under an H-1B visa and gone on to become a permanent resident then a citizen.

That’s according to a recently released study by the National Foundation for American Policy.

The group also found that 83 percent of the finalists in the contest, commonly called the “Junior Nobel Prize” competition, were children of immigrant parents.

Only seven kids in the finals had parents both born in the U.S.

“Both the Trump administration and some members of Congress would like to impose new restrictions on legal immigration, including on high-skilled immigrants,” the foundation said in a news release.

“The findings tells us that if we prevent high-skilled foreign nationals from coming to America, we will not only lose their contributions but the significant contributions that will be made by their children.

“It is likely there are many more children of H-1B visa holders who will make outstanding contributions beyond those who qualified for one of the coveted 40 finalist spots in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search.”

In the group of 40 finalists, 14 had two parents born in India; and 11 had both parents born in China.

“To put these numbers in perspective, people of Indian and Chinese birth represent only about 1 percent of the U.S. population each, according to the Pew Research Center,” the foundation said.

Other countries of origin for competitors’ parents included Canada, Cyprus, Iran, Japan, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

The H-1B visa has become a flashpoint in the immigration debate, with tech firms lobbying aggressively in favor of it, and opponents citing abuses and alleging that the program takes jobs from to American workers.


Photo: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building Phoenix (AP/Matt York, File)


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  • maraba4

    That’s nice.. But what about the American kids of those who get laid by H-1B? Do you liberals and immigration lawyers even think about it/ Or do you simply think they are just disposable? Or are you all so beholden to greedy rich tech owners that you cant even feel for fellow Americans? Maybe Zuckerberg has the answers!

  • StopTheLies

    The outsourcing of American tech jobs is now the third largest contributor to India’s national GDP. India has a population four times larger than the United States, has starting annual IT salaries of $6,000, and is militarily allies with Russia.

    And US corporations gain? Well, do the math:

    900,000 foreign guest workers currently in the US
    x $30,000 average annual cost savings

    Yes — $27 TRILLION dollars. Cash eagerly stuffed into waiting pockets by US CEOs and politicians.

    And no one should underestimate the damage to this nation and our citizens. Personal damaged measured by destroyed careers and families, economic ruin, divorce, murder, suicides, etc. And damage to our nation measured in loss of an industry, competitiveness, betrayal of private data, declining enrollments, and 75% of STEM educated citizens no longer working in these fields.

    More of our nation’s best and brightest will soon be condemned to long-term unemployment in the name of greed; and certain recipe for turmoil and revolution. What is the future of a nation with no engineers, technologists, and scientists?

  • elkhornsun

    I have worked at Hewlett-Packard and Varian and IBM and seen IT workers have to train their H-1B replacements. The replacements were costing half as much as the American tech workers they replaced and the “temp” agencies took a healthy cut of the H-1B workers paychecks so these workers were getting shafted as well as the people whose jobs they were given.

    Replace a 55 year old tech worker who cost the company $100,000 a year with benefits after having given 20 or more years of service to the company with a H-1B that costs the company $45,000 a year and with no benefits to pay. Such a deal except that the money that does not get paid to American workers drives out talent and the money goes out of the local economy and into the offshore bank accounts of the 1%.

    I have seen a tremendous increase in turnover as the new recruits have no one to mentor them and develop their technical knowledge and skills and so go from job to job. No reason to be loyal to a company that does not reciprocate and that erodes the value and future innovation and profits as well as denuding the local economy.