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Biden tacitly changed Trump’s H-1B և H-2B work visa ban. Will it help or hurt the US economy?

WASHINGTON – President Biden has calmly eased one of former President Trump’s immigration restrictions on foreign workers with skills that US employers say they cannot find in the domestic job market.

Many immigrant advocates have urged Biden to lift the ban on so-called guest workers as they enter the White House. Instead, Biden waited without enthusiasm for almost three months, allowing the ban to expire in late March, as planned.

Politically, Biden’s approach avoided open competition with his allies in organized labor, which had long been opposed to guest workers’ plans, such as the lesser-known H-1B համար for seasonal relief, the lesser-known H-2B. The unions claim that such visas allow companies to bring in foreign workers with lower wages and benefits than they would offer Americans.

But beyond the political calculations, the action of the ban tacitly accepted another reality. Closing the door on foreign workers could ultimately hurt the national economy, boost Biden’s goal of making the United States more competitive in the world.

The vast majority of research studies have concluded that employee visas և other open door immigration policies have a negative impact on native workers or the economy or have a negative impact. In fact, many economists believe that the evidence shows that foreign workers on the balance sheet have a positive impact.

Not only does the aging American population provide fewer workers, but foreign workers spend most of their earnings in the United States offsetting negative demographic trends to help meet the need for certain types of skills.

Some guest workers have advanced technical, business or other skills. Those on the lower end of the spectrum do jobs that employers say many Native Americans do not want to do, including farming, seafood processing, and services such as landscaping and nursing care.

Although critics dispute many of these points, employers say that in the last year of the epidemic, as travel restrictions further tightened the pipeline for foreign workers, many companies were still struggling to fill such jobs despite the sharp rise in overall US unemployment.

Last June, Trump blocked the entry of people with H-1B visas, many of them skilled technologists – tens of thousands of other foreigners working on a temporary or seasonal basis, such as gardeners, summer camp staff, and couples.

The ban, which fired agricultural workers, was based on coronavirus safety and job protection for Americans as unemployment rose.

But for tech companies like the Dallas-based SevenTablets, whose business slowed in the first months of the epidemic but has been booming since last summer, the inability to hire H-1B means it simply had to suspend some projects. said its chief executive, Kishore Khandavali. The 50-employee firm has five openings for software engineers.

“It’s not for lack of experience,” he said. “We have recruiters, not just domestic ones. We use third party recruiters. We advertise every detail of the boards. We do not leave any stone unturned. ”

Khandavalli has another, larger technology company in Vermont, iTech US, while nearly a quarter of its 500 employees hold H-1B visas. He said he often found foreign technological talent in American universities, but that pool was not what it used to be.

“The supply-demand gap is widening,” he said of so-called STEM workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Many researchers agree that the main problem is that the United States does not provide enough graduates with the skills needed for STEM jobs.

Last month, there were more than 1 million job vacancies in computer jobs alone, and the unemployment rate of those workers alone was even lower, up to 3% of the epidemic, according to an analysis by the National Fund for American Policy.

“Immigrant blocking is not really the answer if you want Americans to get these jobs,” said Britta Glennon, an assistant professor at Uharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “The solution is to educate Americans in these areas; there are not enough Americans in those areas right now.”

In fact, Glenon said his research found that the restrictions on the H-1B program not only did not increase the employment of Native Americans, but also had the effect of sending them abroad.

“For multinational corporations, if they can’t hire the workforce they need in the United States, they’re just going to hire somewhere else, in another country,” he said, adding that Canada was a beneficiary.

Trump’s ban also temporarily suspended a wide range of temporary, seasonal work for foreign nationals, including students. “One of the simplest things we saw was that the natives were not in a hurry to work in these occupations,” said Alex Novraste, director of immigration research at the liberal Kato Institute.

Apart from that, he said, there was another lesser-known, undesirable consequence of blocking the legal entry of these jobs.

“Since last April, there has been a steady flow of illegal immigrants crossing the border. And part of that is due to these visas, most of which are closed to people, there is still a demand for it [these workers] In the United States. “

Demand is expected to only increase as the US economy evaporates this year, thanks to more vaccinations and federal bailouts.

At the moment, however, the nation’s unemployment rate is relatively high at 6%,, the economy has about 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February last year, before the epidemic.

Proponents of Trump’s ban continue to argue that it was the right policy.

“It was a huge mistake to open the pipeline of temporary foreign workers,” said Robert Lowe, a senior immigration official at the Trump administration and now director of immigration policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.

“If you allow temporary workers to come in and work, you will distort any form of economic recovery.”

Employees այլ Other critics of guest workers’ visas say that employers sometimes hire low-wage workers on the condition that American companies have no more problems finding home help if they provide better wages and benefits. Employers claim that they can offer so much only if they want to stay in business.

With travel restrictions in many countries, large waves of temporary workers are unlikely to arrive soon.

But amusement parks, resorts and other tourist destinations that used to rely on seasonal foreign workers in the past are now struggling to meet their work needs.

“Looking at this fall, we really think that the tourism industry in particular will be affected by a rather severe labor shortage,” said Ali Noran, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

“And the question will be,” he said, “can the H-2B program go so fast that those businesses stay active?”

Democrat lawmakers from Maine, who are heavily dependent on tourism, recently called for a doubling of H-2B visas from 66,000 a year to meet the work needs of restaurants, restaurants and other hospitality businesses.

In the past, half of H-2B visas were used by workers, primarily from Mexico, to do various types of landscaping.

Steve Glennon, president of Cagwin & Dorward, one of the largest landscaping firms in the West, Petaguma, California, said the supply of domestic labor was so competitive that in 2018 he forced one of his employees to move to Mexico to relocate. 30 employees who could access under the H-2B program.

Glenon spent about $ 30,000 on other project rents and other expenses, but none of his prospective employees were granted visas under his contingency lottery.

He also said that he would apply again if the process was easier and he would have better experience in achieving success.

Today, Glenon’s business is coming back, he expects it to reach the level of 2018 or even better, but he is not sure how he is going to meet his work needs.

He says he pays gardeners, maintenance staff, and others in the field $ 18 to $ 19 an hour. Almost all of them are Latin.

“Indigenous people don’t want that job,” said Glenon, 60, who started out as a gardener more than 40 years ago. “They just don’t do it.”


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