While employers looking to import lower skilled H-2B workers must at least advertise those jobs briefly locally, that is not true in many cases for other work visas and J-1 visas. Daniel Costa, an expert on the guest worker issue at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, is particularly critical of lax H-1B regulations.
“They are not required to test the labor market to see if there are able and available U.S. workers,” he says. “They can simply hire a foreign worker if they like and don’t ever have to advertise the job in the newspaper or online, even if the local unemployment rate is sky high.”
Costa says many U.S. citizen systems analysts, programmers and other workers in the computer field are unemployed, as as are many electrical engineers.
“The main argument for hiring guest workers is that there’s a labor shortage in these occupations ,” Costa says, “but if you look at any data, it’s clear that those claims are bogus.”