Guest Worker Visas: The H-1B and L-1

Fact Sheet 2015

For a PDF version of this fact sheet, click here.

The United States guest worker visa programs for skilled workers are a flashpoint in the immigration debate. Chief among the controversial skilled visa programs are the H-1B and L-1. The controversy is not surprising considering that nearly 400,000 guest workers receive work authorization through the H-1B and L-1 visas every year.

Temporary work visa laws do not have provisions to protect guest workers or American workers. Guest workers are paid below market wages, have little bargaining power, and cannot easily switch employers. The laws governing skilled worker visas allow for U.S. citizens and permanent residents to be replaced by guest workers. Despite increased and well documented abuses of temporary guest worker programs, proponents seek to expand guest worker programs without reforms.

This fact sheet explores the availability of guest worker visas and programs, provides an overview of the guest worker workforce, and explores the consequences of the programs for foreign and domestic workers.

What are Guest Worker Visas?

Guest worker visas, including the H-1B and L-1, allow citizens of foreign countries to temporarily work in the U.S. OPT, while not a visa, grants temporary work authorization for foreign citizens who attend or graduated from a U.S. university.

The H-1B Visa

  • An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa for a guest worker who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or field.1 The visa is held by the employer, not the worker.[2]
  • A “non-immigrant” is a person who enters the U.S. for a temporary stay.
  • “Specialty occupations” are defined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as occupations which require the “theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.”3
  • H-1B visas are issued for workers in a wide range of occupations, including computer-related occupations; architecture; engineering; education (pre-k through post-secondary); administration; medicine and health; management; life sciences; mathematics and physical sciences; social sciences; art; law and jurisprudence; writing; and entertainment and recreation.4 However, most visas, nearly 65 percent in FY 2014, go to employers hiring workers in computer-related occupations.5
  • The H-1B visa is issued for three years and can be renewed for another three years.6 If the H-1B beneficiary’s employer sponsors the worker for a green card (permanent residence), then the H-1B visa can be extended in one-year increments until the green card is issued.7
  • There is an annual cap on the number of H-1Bs that can be issued. The cap is 65,000 workers per fiscal year.[8] However, there are several exceptions, which raises the number of visas issued to over 120,000 each year.
  • There are 20,000 H-1Bs available for workers holding a master’s degree or higher from an American institution of higher education.9
  • Nonprofits and government organizations that conduct research and institutions of higher education are exempt from the annual cap.10
  • The cap does not apply to renewed applications.11
  • There are 6,800 visas set aside within the cap under the terms of the U.S.—Chile and U.S.—Singapore free trade agreements and unused visas are made available for use in the next fiscal year.
H-1Bs Available Under Fixed Cap
H-1Bs Available to Workers with a Master’s Degree or Higher from an American Institute of Higher Education
H-1Bs Available to Institutions of Higher Education and Nonprofit and Government Research Organizations
65,000 20,000 Unlimited*

*   In FY 2014, nearly 40,000 initial employment visas were issued in the “unlimited” category.12

  • An H-1B beneficiary must either have a bachelor’s degree or higher (from a U.S. or foreign institution), have a state license or certification that permits practice in the specialty occupation, or have training or experience (with progressively responsible positions) in the specialty occupation that is equivalent to completion of a degree.13
  • H-1B employers are not required to show that there is a shortage of U.S. workers. H-1B employers must only attest: (1) “that they will pay H-1B workers the amount they pay other employees with similar experience and qualifications or the prevailing wage; (2) that the employment of H-1B workers will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed; (3) that no strike or lockout exists in the occupational classification at the place of employment; and (4) that the employer has notified employees at the place of employment of the intent to employ H-1B workers.”[14]
  • The requirements for H-1B “dependent employers” and “willful violators” are slightly different (more about these employers below). These employers must attest: (1) “that they did not displace a U.S. worker within the period of 90 days before and 90 days after filing a petition for an H-1B worker; (2) that they took good-faith steps prior to filing the H-1B application to recruit U.S. workers” and “offered the job to any [U.S.] worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the job” than an H-1B worker; and (3) that in the event the worker is placed with a third-party employer, the original employer inquired with the third-party employer that it did not displace or intend to displace a U.S. worker within the 90 days before and 90 days after the placement.15

The L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa is used to transfer employees of multinational corporations who have been employed by the company abroad to a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. The L-1 visa beneficiary must have been employed by the company within the three preceding years and have been employed abroad by the sponsoring firm continuously for one year.[16] There are two classes, the L-1A visa is for managers and executives and the L-1B visa is for workers with “specialized knowledge.” [17] Also, the L-2 visa grants employment authorization for the spouses of L-1 visa beneficiaries.

  • The L-1 visa is often used by companies to facilitate “knowledge transfer,” which means enabling guest workers to come to the U.S. and then take the knowledge and skills they learned in the U.S. to their home country.[18] For example, Intel uses the L-1 visa so American workers can “train L-1 workers who staff the company’s offices in Russia, India, China and other high-growth markets.”[19]
  • As with the H-1B visa, the L-1 visa is held by the employer, not the worker.[20] There is no cap on the number of L-1 visas that may be issued. The visa is renewable for up to six years for specialty workers and seven years for managers[21] and there is no wage minimum.[22].
  • A worker who comes to the U.S. on an L-1 visa can be sponsored by the employer for permanent U.S. citizenship, but very few receive sponsorship (about 5,000 in FY 2014 were sponsored for citizenship).[23]


Optional Practical Training Program

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program allows students on an F or M visa to work for 12 months after graduation and students with a degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field to work another 17 months for a total of 29 months. OPT does not have a wage requirement and employers are not required to pay Medicare or Social Security taxes for OPT beneficiaries.[24] The OPT program does not require that employers test the labor market before hiring an OPT beneficiary.

B-1 in Lieu of H-1B

Finally, the B-1 visa in lieu of H-1B allows employers to bring in workers even when the cap for H-1B workers has been reached. The B-1 in lieu of H beneficiary must have a bachelor’s degree, perform work or receive training of an H-1B caliber (specialty work), be paid by their foreign employer (cannot be a U.S. source), and the task they are coming to America to do can be accomplished in a short amount of time.[25] There is no information available on how many of these visas are issued each year, their duration of stay, the type of work involved, or the requesting/sponsoring employer.

In late 2011, the Boeing Company attempted to bring 18 Russian contractors from its engineering and design center in Moscow on B-1 visas in lieu of H-1B. The Russian contractors were denied entry at Sea-Tac Airport by immigration officials after the contractors admitted that they would be working at Boeing in Seattle as opposed to receiving training. The Russian engineers told investigators that they were coached by their Russian employer to tell immigration officials that they would be receiving training and not working. The union representing engineers at Boeing reported that Boeing had between 75 and 200 Russian engineers working at Boeing in Seattle at any one time on B-1 in lieu of H-1B visas. If the Russian engineers had been on H-1B visas, then Boeing would have to pay them wages set forth in the collective bargaining agreement. Instead, the Russian engineers were paid wages that were one-third to one-fifth of what the U.S. Boeing engineers made.[26]

Quantifying the Guest Worker Workforce

Among the STEM workforce,[a] there were 1,185,205 non-U.S. citizens employed (just over seven percent of workers) in January 2015.[27] Among all professional occupations[b] in January 2015, there were over 2.9 million non-U.S. citizens employed (just 4.9 percent of the professional workforce).[28]

Guest workers are highly concentrated in STEM occupations. Guest workers were 11.3 percent of the computer and mathematical science workforce in the U.S.; 8.2 percent of the architecture and engineering workforce; and 11.8 percent of the life, physical, and social science workforce in January 2015. Further, guest workers made up 20.8 percent of software developers, 13.1 percent of computer programmers, 14.7 percent of computer hardware engineers, 18 percent of operations research analysts, and 16.2 percent of mathematicians, statisticians and miscellaneous math occupations in the U.S. in January 2015. The highest concentration of guest workers in STEM occupations was among medical scientists and life scientists where guest workers were 40.9 percent of the workforce in January 2015. [29] All of these guest workers are employed under a variety of skilled worker visas, including the B, H-1B, L-1, L-2, O, and OPT.

H-1B Visa Workforce

The U.S. government does not track how many H-1B visa beneficiaries are in the U.S. USCIS only releases the number of initial and renewed visas that are issued each year. Obviously, this makes quantifying the impact of H-1B visas difficult.

  • USCIS approved 315,857 H-1B petitions in FY 2014, a 10 percent increase over FY 2013. Petitions for approved initial employment numbered 124,326, a three percent decline from FY 2013. [30]
  • In FY 2014, among all H-1B beneficiaries, for 45 percent the highest degree held was a bachelor’s degree, 43 percent held a master’s degree, and 12 percent held a doctorate or professional degree. Just over 75 percent of approved H-1B beneficiaries were under 35 years old. [31]
  • Of the 315,857 H-1B visas approved in FY 2014, 203,425 worked in computer-related occupations; 29,103 worked in architecture, engineering, and surveying occupations; 15,358 worked in medicine and health; 14,402 worked in college and university education; and 7,869 worked in accounting, auditing, and related occupations.[32]
  • In FY 2003 computer-related occupations accounted for nearly 39 percent of all H-1B visas approved, by FY 2014 computer-related occupations accounted for 65 percent of all H-1B visas approved.[33]

Corporate Interests and H-1B Visa Research

The debate over H-1B visas tends to be clouded by corporate-sponsored research that not surprisingly finds that H-1B beneficiaries are well paid, among the best and the brightest, and create jobs for U.S. workers. The vast majority of this research is flawed.[34] One study claims that H-1B beneficiaries create jobs for U.S. workers, but does not conduct similar research on how many jobs are created when a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is hired, making a meaningful comparison impossible. The corporate-sponsored research is simply meant to support the position that there is a shortage of U.S. workers and that H-1B beneficiaries are among the “best and the brightest.” Corporations sponsor this research to justify their continued access to a cheap, young, and indentured workers.

The “Best and the Brightest” Myth

Many supporters of guest worker programs justify the programs by arguing that the H-1B visa helps the U.S. to recruit and retain the best and brightest workers. However, there is little support for this claim. In most years, the process to obtain an H-1B visa is actually a random lottery. The lottery is held when the number of applications exceeds the number of available visas. Instead of awarding H-1B visas to the most highly skilled (or highest paid) H-1B candidates, the visas are awarded through a lottery system. The nature of the lottery system also gives employers incentive to file for as many H-1B visa applications as possible to increase their odds of receiving a visa in the random lottery.

  • Fifty-four percent, 130,528, of the H-1B visas in FY 2010, the most recent year with available data, went to non-immigrants for “entry-level” positions.[35] Entry-level positions require a “basic understanding of duties and perform routine tasks requiring limited judgment.”[36] Entry-level positions also happen to be the lowest paid.
  • Only six percent of the H-1B visa beneficiaries in FY 2010, the most recent year with available data, received compensation in the top pay grade (level IV), a reflection of highly specialized skills.[37]
  • While corporate-sponsored research has found that companies with H-1B visas have a higher patent rate filing, unbiased research has found “winning an H-1B visa has an insignificant average effect on patenting.” This paper compared companies that were allocated H-1B visas in the FY 2006 and FY 2007 lotteries to companies that sought H-1B visas, but were not awarded one in the lottery. The patenting rate was similar at companies that were awarded H-1B visas and companies that lost out on H-1B visas in the lottery.[38] This paper also found that H-1B visa beneficiaries displace other workers.[39]
  • Employers have the option of sponsoring H-1B beneficiaries for permanent status, but few do. Just over 50,000 H-1B beneficiaries had their applications for permanent status certified in FY 2014 and for various reasons, not all of these certified petitions will lead to permanent status.[40] Considering over 315,000 H-1B visa were issued and renewed in FY 2014[41] and the size of the H-1B workforce is projected to be nearly 900,000, few employers are transitioning guest workers to permanent status. If a skilled worker is exceptionally talented, a company should be motivated to keep the worker permanently. Instead, the lack of sponsorships is further evidence that guest workers are used as cheap, temporary labor.
  • Finally, a study by University of California, Davis Professor Norm Matloff found that foreign students who graduated from U.S. universities were not superior to their American counterparts. Specifically, the former foreign students were found to “have talent lesser than, or equal to, their American peers.”[42]

H-1B visa proponents often try to downplay the dark side of H-1B visas, including employer abuse of foreign workers, displacement of U.S. workers, and the use of H-1B visas to move jobs out of the U.S. If asked, most Americans would agree that U.S. immigration policy should not facilitate the loss of jobs in the U.S. and protect the skilled workers who come to work in the U.S.

Body Shops

Generally, body shops are staffing firms that provide labor to other employers. However, body shop owners exploit the H-1B visa program by utilizing low-paid guest workers as their primary, if not exclusive source of labor. Body shops are not providing labor that is otherwise unavailable, they just provide the labor at a lower price.[43]

  • Body shops are an abundant source of Department of Labor (DOL) complaints. According to the DOL, a large majority of the wage and hour complaints it received in FY 2009 were related to activities at body shops.[44] In the Northeast region, where body shops predominate, “nearly all of the complaints [DOL] receive involve staffing companies and that the number of complaints are growing.”[45]
  • A 2014 investigation found that body shops commonly house as many as eight to 10 workers in one small apartment. H-1B beneficiaries working for body shops also reported not having a job for them when they arrived in the U.S. (a practice called “benching”), having wages illegally withheld from their paychecks, and being required to pay illegal fees.[46]
  • The use of body shops makes it difficult to enforce H-1B laws. Body shops may contract out H-1B workers to a third-party employer who then contracts out the H-1B worker to a different employer. “[O]nly the staffing company, as the employer who has petitioned for the visa and made the attestations to comply, is technically accountable and ultimately liable for complying with program requirements.”[47]

Offshore Outsourcers

Offshore outsourcing is a term used to describe the practice of a U.S. company contracting with a foreign corporation to move in-house professional and technical jobs to a lower-cost foreign country. H-1B and L-1 visas are used to facilitate the movement of U.S. jobs offshore. India is regarded as the center for offshore outsourcing.

  • In 2012, the top 10 users of H-1B visas were mostly India-based companies specializing in moving work from the U.S. to India.[48]


While there are hundreds, if not thousands of instances of guest workers being used by corporations to replace U.S. workers, the Southern California Edison Case and Walt Disney World cases provide recent, relevant examples. Between 2014 and 2015 Southern California Edison (SCE), a highly profitable utility company, said it would shed 500 of its information technology professionals and replace them with guest workers, with some of the work going offshore. Before the SCE professionals were laid off they were required to train their guest worker replacements and sign a non-disparagement agreement in order to receive their severance packages.[49] SCE essentially said it was contracting with India-based Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, because other companies are adopting the same business strategy.[50]

In 2015, the Walt Disney Company also admitted it is laying off IT professionals and outsourcing the work. Disney declined to disclose how many were being laid off, but it was estimated to be 500. Disney employees “said since India-based HCL landed Disney’s IT contract in 2012, they have seen more international employees being hired locally, and they said many of Disney’s information technology jobs are being outsourced overseas.”[51]

L-1 Visa Workforce

The L-1 visa is largely a black box. From an employer’s perspective, L-1 visas are desirable, because there are no minimum wage requirements. There is no data available showing how much L-1 visa workers are paid or the duration of their stay. The U.S. Department of State issued 66,700 L-1 visas in FY 2013.[52] However, it is unknown how many are working in the country at any given time.

Essentially, the L-1 visa allows employers to legally pay well below the market wage, offshore work, and displace U.S. workers. Employers only suffer consequences when they fail to meet the lowest of labor standards. For example, in late 2013, Electronics for Imaging, was fined by the U.S. Department of Labor and ordered to pay back wages to guest workers who were paid just $1.21 per hour to install computer systems.[53] The employees were likely on L-1 visas. Since there is no prevailing wage requirement, Electronics for Imaging was only required to pay its foreign employees the U.S. minimum wage.

An automotive engineer, Suraj Kamath, at Bosch Engineering in Santa Barbara, CA was working in the United States for a little over four years on an L-1 visa. Mr. Kamath believed Bosch employed as many as 160 high skilled workers in the United States and paid them between $600 and $2,100 per month (as well as a standard of living allowance and transportation reimbursement). However, Mr. Kamath knew this compensation was “far lower than salaries typically paid to highly skilled workers in the U.S.” Bosch required Mr. Kamath to return to India when he refused to give Bosch the federal and state tax refunds he had lawfully received in the three previous years.[54]

The OPT Workforce

In FY 2013, a little over 123,000 foreign students and graduates received OPT work authorization.[55] The OPT program does not have any wage standards and there is no data on how much OPT recipients are paid, their working conditions, or where they work.

USCIS Approvals for OPT Employment Authorization Fiscal Years: 2009-2013
Fiscal Year Pre-Completion OPT Post-Completion OPT 17-Month STEM Extension Grand Total
2009 3,370 81,868 5,902 91,140
2010 3,067 83,624 10,423 97,114
2011 3,143 89,237 13,179 105,559
2012 Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable 115,303
2013 Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable 123,328

Source: USCIS, Office of Performance & Quality, Data Analysis & Reporting Branch, May 23, 2012; 2012 and 2013 data from U.S. GAO, “Student and Exchange Visitor Program: DHS Needs to Assess Risks and Strengthen Oversight of Foreign Students with Employment Authorization,” February 2014.

Lack of Protection for U.S. WorkersChanges in employment and median wages 2004 - 2014

The H-1B and L-1 visa programs provide no real protections for U.S. workers. Guest worker wage standards are so low (or non-existent) that it easy for employers to replace experienced U.S. workers with entry-level guest workers, saving employers thousands of dollars. Employers who hire guest workers actually boast that guest workers work for lower pay than their U.S. counterparts. It is not surprising then that in computer occupations employment is up, and wages are flat.

While employers make unsubstantiated claims of worker shortages, studies repeatedly show that labor market indicators do not demonstrate a labor shortage and that there are plenty of applicants who meet the requirements for open positions.[56] As seen in the chart below, the wage and employment data show that computer occupations defy the laws of economics. For example, during the same period as in the chart below, May 2004 to May 2014, employment of petroleum engineers increased by 130 percent and their real wages increased by 17 percent. Similarly, for pharmacists, employment increased by 30 percent and their real wages increased by 14 percent.[57]

Absence of a Labor Market Test

The H-1B visa program allows employers to add to the supply of the computer and engineering workforces without evidence that U.S. workers are not available. This increased supply keeps wages low, forces current workers from the field, and deters others from entering.

In February 2015, there were 250,000 unemployed computer and engineering professionals in the U.S. (not counting discouraged and underemployed professionals).[58] In addition, approximately 500,000 new STEM professionals enter the workforce each year. In the 2012-13 academic year, over 500,000 postsecondary degrees, from associate’s to Ph.D., were awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in STEM fields.[59] However, according to the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 1.25 million U.S. citizens with a STEM bachelor’s degree under the age of 26 in the U.S. workforce. Among those 1.25 million recent graduates, nearly 115,000 were looking for work.[60] From 2014 to 2015, wages for computer science graduates are expected to decline nine percent.[61]

With one small exception, there is no requirement that employers take steps to recruit U.S. workers or new graduates before seeking guest workers.[62] Only “H-1B dependent employers” and “willful violators” must attest that they have “taken good faith steps to recruit…[U.S.] workers for the job for which the non-immigrant or non-immigrants is or are sought.”[63] An “H-1B dependent employer” is defined as:

  1. An employer who has 25 or fewer full-time employees of which more than seven are H-1B workers;
  2. An employer who has between 20 to 50 full-time employees of which more than 12 are H-1B workers; or
  3. An employer who has more than 50 full-time employees of which 15 percent or more are H-1B workers.[64]


However, H-1B beneficiaries who are employed by H-1B dependent employers are exempt from these provisions if the H-1B beneficiary is paid at least $60,000 per year or holds a master’s degree.[65] Since the $60,000 wage minimum was not tied to inflation, this wage standard set in 1998 has remained the same. The minimum would be nearly $87,000 in 2015 dollars.

A “willful violator” is defined as an employer who has willfully failed to follow or misrepresented the H-1B rules.[66]

Low or Non-Existent Wage Requirements

Inadequate wage standards create incentives for employers to replace U.S. workers with guest workers. The Southern California Edison case shows that savings can be considerable—the H-1B beneficiaries brought in to replace the existing workers were paid up to 41 percent less than the U.S. workers they replaced.[67]

  • H-1B rules require that employers pay “the actual wage level paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications” or “the prevailing wage level.”[68]
  • “Prevailing wage” is “the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the [geographic] area of intended employment.”[69] The prevailing wage does not take into account specialized skills or education, but is instead an average wage for workers in an occupation in a particular location. Analysts often argue that the prevailing wage makes it possible for H-1B employers to undercut U.S. wage rates because it is less than the market wage for labor. “Market wage” is defined as the wage earned by a worker in the open labor market. Market wages take into account the skills, experience, and education of the worker.
  • Companies using H-1B beneficiaries can achieve a cost savings of about 20 percent. Phiroz Vandrevala, an executive with Indian IT firm Tata Consultancy Services, remarked in an interview that “our wage per employee is 20-25 percent less than U.S. wage for a similar employee.”[70]

Mistreatment of the H-1B Workforce

One factor that enables employers to take advantage of H-1B beneficiaries is that the beneficiaries can lose their legal status and be forced to return to their home country if they are terminated by their employer. The GAO noted that “[a]ccording to agency officials, H-1B workers are likely to be reluctant to file complaints against employers for fear that the company might be disbarred, which in turn could result in the complainant and fellow H-1B workers at the company losing their jobs and potentially having to leave the United States.”[71] The H-1B workers are also reluctant to cooperate after a complaint has been filed “for fear of similar repercussions.”[72]

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has cited numerous obstacles to its ability to protect H-1B workers, including lack of authority to initiate investigations, inability to access the Labor Condition Application database, inadequate fines for employer noncompliance with a DOL investigation, and lack of subpoena authority to obtain employer records.[73]

Where to Go from Here?

The U.S. should adopt policies that protect the investment our country has made in its skilled workforce and ensure that opportunities are available for the young adults we have urged to enter STEM professions. The DPE recommends the following six reforms be made to our guest worker visa programs:

  1. Evidence of a labor shortage before employers are authorized to seek guest workers;
  2. Requiring all employers to advertise and offer jobs to U.S. workers who are equally or better qualified than the temporary guest worker sought;
  3. Increase the prevailing wage standard for guest workers to the 75th percentile of the prevailing U.S. wage, so that employers do not have an incentive to hire temporary guest workers. This would also create an incentive for employers to invest in training U.S. workers;
  4. Establishment of reasonable caps for all guest worker visa programs;
  5. Allowing guest workers to self-petition for green cards after two years of employment; and
  6. Regular audits of top skilled guest worker visa users to ensure compliance with the above provisions.


The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) comprises 22 AFL-CIO unions representing over four million people working in professional, technical and administrative support occupations. DPE-affiliated unions represent: teachers, college professors, and school administrators; library workers; nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals; engineers, scientists, and IT workers; journalists and writers, broadcast technicians and communications specialists; performing and visual artists; professional athletes; professional firefighters; psychologists, social workers, and many others. DPE was chartered by the AFL-CIO in 1977 in recognition of the rapidly growing professional and technical occupations.


For a more in-depth analysis of these issues, see DPE’s report: Gaming the System: Guest Worker Visa Programs and Professional and Technical Workers in the U.S. 2012.


For more information on professional workers, check the DPE website:


DPE Research Department
815 16th Street, N.W., 7th Floor
Washington, DC   20006


Jennifer Dorning                                                                                                                                                                                                            March 2015
(202) 683-0320, extension 114


[a] This includes business and financial operations, computer and mathematical science, architecture and engineering, and life, physical, and social science occupations.
[b] This includes all STEM occupations as well as management; community and social service; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; education, training, and library occupations; and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations.

[1] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models? Web. Aug. 2012.
[2] 8 CFR §214.2(h)
[3] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. What is a Specialty Occupation?” Web. Aug. 2009.
[4] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers: Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report to Congress, June 26, 2013.
[5] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers: Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report to Congress, February 26, 2015.
[6] What is a Specialty Occupation? op. cit.
[7] Government Accountability Office, GAO 11-26, H-1B Program: Reforms Needed to minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program. January 2011.
[8] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers FY 2012, pg. 3. op. cit.
[9] Ibid., p. 4.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers FY 2014, op. cit.
[13] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models. August 2012.
[14] H-1B Program: Reforms Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program, p. 8. op. cit.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Daniel Costa, Abuses in the L-Visa Program: Undermining the U.S. Labor Market. EPI Briefing Paper. August 13, 2010. Pg. 3.
[17] 8 CFR § 214.2(l)
[18] Ron Hira, Bridge to Immigration or Cheap Temporary Labor? The H-1B & L-1 Visa Programs are a Source of Both. Economic Policy Institute. February 17, 2010. p. 10.
[19] USA Today, “Ultimate job-loss insult: training your own replacement.” August 10, 2003.
[20] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager. Web.
[21] Ibid.
[22] See 8 CFR § 214.2(l)
[23] 8 CFR §214.2(l)(16); U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration. Foreign Labor Certification, OFLC Case Disclosure Data. PERM Program. Web. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
[24] Internal Revenue Service, “Social Security/Medicare and Self-Employment Tax Liability of Foreign Students, Scholars, Teachers, Researchers, and Trainees,” Website: Accessed on March 30, 2015.
[25] 9 FAM 41.31 N11
[26] Dominic Gates, “Russian engineers, once turned back, now flowing to Boeing again,” The Seattle Times, April 14, 2012.
[27] U.S. Census Bureau, DataFerrett, Current Population Survey, Basic Monthly Microdata, January 2015.
[28] Ibid.
[29] Ibid.
[30] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers: Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report to Congress, op. cit.
[31] Ibid.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Ibid.; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers: Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report to Congress.
[34] See for example, Norm Matloff, “Researchers as Hired Guns,” Blog: Upon Closer Inspection, March 21, 2015.
[35] United States Government Accountability Office. H-1B Visa Program: Reforms are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program, GAO-11-26. January 2011.
[36] Ibid.
[37] Ibid.
[38] Kirk Doran, Alexander Gelber, and Adam Isen, “The Effect of High-Skilled Immigration on Patenting and Employment: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries,” National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2014.
[39] Ibid.
[40] U.S. Department of Labor, Foreign Labor Certification, OFLC Case Disclosure Data. PERM Case Data FY 2012.
[41] Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers: Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report to Congress, op. cit.
[42] Matloff, Norman. 2013. “Are Foreign Students the “Best and Brightest”?: Data and implications for immigration Policy. Economic Policy Institute.
[43] Steve Hamm and Moira Herbst, “America’s High-Tech Sweatshops.” Bloomberg Businessweek. October 1, 2009.
[44] H-1B Program: Reforms Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program, p. 53. op. cit.
[45] Ibid.
[46] Stephen Stock, Julie Putnam, Scott Pham, and Jeremy Carroll, “Silicon Valley’s ‘Body Shop’ Secret: Highly Educated Foreign Workers Treated like Indentured Servants,” NBC Bay Area, November 4, 2014.
[47] H-1B Program: Reforms Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program, p. 52. op. cit.
[48] Sharon Machlis and Patrick Thibodeau, “Top Users of H-1B Visas are Offshore Outsourcers.” Computerworld. February 25, 2013.
[49] Debra J. Saunders, “The federal government’s H-1B racket,” SF Gate, March 27, 2015.
[50] Patrick Thibodeau, “Southern California Edison IT workers ‘beyond furious’ over H-1B replacements,” ComputerWorld, February 4, 2015.
[51] Greg Fox, “Walt Disney World information technology workers laid off,” WESH Orlando, January 30,2015.
[52] U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics. NIV Workload by Visa Category FY 2013.
[53] George Avalos, “Workers paid $1.21 an hour to install Fremont tech company’s computers,” San Jose Mercury News, October 22, 2014.
[54] Mike Elk, “Bosch Engineering to Guest Workers: Hand Over Tax Refunds or Go Back to India,” In These Times, November 21, 2013.
[55] U.S. GAO, “Student and Exchange Visitor Program: DHS Needs to Assess Risks and Strengthen Oversight of Foreign Students with Employment Authorization,” February 2014.
[56] Michael S. Teitelbaum, “The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage,” The Atlantic, March 19, 2014; Alain Sherter, “A shortage of scientists and techies? Think again,” MoneyWatch, July 11, 2014; Globalization of R&D and Innovation: Implications for U.S. STEM Workforce and Policy, p. 9-12. November 2007.
Note: Wages are annual median wages in 2014 dollars. Wage change calculation was made using the BLS Cost of Living Calculator.
[58] U.S. Census Bureau, DataFerrett, Current Population Survey, Basic Monthly Microdata, December 2007.
[59] National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics. Table 318.45, Number and percentage distribution of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees/certificates conferred by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity, level of degree/certificate, and sex of student: 2008-09 through 2012-13. Available at: Accessed March 24, 2015.
[60] U.S. Census Bureau, DataFerrett, American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata, 2013.
[61] National Association of Colleges and Employers,;
[62] 8 U.S.C. § 1182(n)(1)(G)(i).
[63] Ibid.
[64] 8 U.S.C. § 1182(n)(3)(A)(i)-(iii).
[65] 8 U.S.C. § 1182(n)(3)(B)
[66] 8 U.S.C §1182(n)(1)(E)(ii).
[67] Ron Hira, “New Data Show How Firms Like Infosys and Tata Abuse the H-1B Program,” Economic Policy Institute. February 19, 2015.
[68] 8 U.S.C. §1182(n)(1)(A)(i)(I) and (II)
[69] U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration. Foreign Labor Certification, Prevailing Wages (PERM, H-2B, H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3), Overview. Web.
[70] Sean McLain and Dhanya Ann Thoppil, “U.S. Visa Bill ‘Very Tough’ for Indian IT,” The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2013; Ron Hira and Anil Hira. “Outsourcing America.” New York. Amacom, 2005. Print. 87-88.
[71] H-1B Program: Reforms Needed to minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program, p. 48. op. cit.
[72] Ibid.
[73] Ibid., p. 47, 49.