H-1B crisis: Cisco has 1,504 U.S. job openings to fill

National Foundation for American Policy
As of January 2008, Cisco had 1,504 U.S. job openings that require a B.A., professional degree or higher. Breaking news: Cisco gets help in H-1B visa crisis from Department of Homeland Security The supply of H-1B visas has been exhausted before the start of each of the past four fiscal years.

"Unfortunately, there is currently a shortage of U.S. workers with the skills necessary to fill certain types of engineering and science positions," said Heather Dickinson - Public Relations for Cisco. "This leaves Cisco and other U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage if we cannot access the best and the brightest workers." "Therefore, we support an increase in the number of H-1B workers allowed in the United States this year as part of an overall strategy to boost U.S. competitiveness." "We are also advocating for a greater emphasis on math and science education so that U.S. students have the skills necessary to fill these types of positions,"

John Chambers
"I think we're still job-constrained in terms of IT talent, whether it's in this country or around the world," said John Chambers - Cisco CEO. "It's something I would like to see us be more aggressive on in terms of our immigration policy for people with college degrees, especially in high-tech that we expand the H-1B status capability, because each person that we bring to this country to put in engineering and high-tech generates two to three other jobs in my company, a good three to five jobs in the local economy ... Having said that, we're going to go wherever the talent is in the world, not as a labor arbitrage play but it is a focus on the war for talent and getting the best and the brightest around the world be a part of Cisco which we are clearly trying to do."

Because of multi-year waits for green cards, which allow for permanent residence, H-1Bs have become crucial to retaining skilled talent in America, otherwise skilled foreign nationals, particularly graduates of U.S. universities, generally cannot work or remain in the United States. The current annual level of H-1Bs is about the same level as in 1990, even though the U.S. Gross Domestic Product has risen by 64 percent (from $8.5 trillion to $14 trillion) over the past 17 years, while the demand for skilled labor, particularly in technical fields, has also risen. A large portion of the students that U.S. employers find when they go to recruit from American graduate school programs are foreign. In 2005, foreign nationals (international students) received 55 percent of electrical engineering master’s degrees and 42 percent of computer science master’s degrees. In 2006, 73% of new electrical engineering Ph.D.s were granted to international students, as were 64% of all engineering Ph.D.s awarded, according to the National Science Foundation.

Foreign Nationals in U.S. Graduate School Programs
Recent history shows the market has determined the use of H-1B visas. When Congress raised the annual limit to 195,000 a year in FY 2002 and 2003, in both years fewer than 80,000 visas were issued against the cap, leaving 230,000 H-1B visas unused in those two years. In other words, firms did not hire more H-1Bs just because the cap was higher. If, as critics allege, companies saved money because hiring H-1Bs is cheaper, then businesses should have used more H-1Bs when the economy worsened in 2002 and 2003, not fewer, as the data show. Talent Search: Job openings and the need for skilled labor in the U.S. economy

Data show that for every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology companies increase their employment by 5 workers. This is particularly remarkable since the actual number of people hired on H-1B visas is likely to be much lower than the total number of applications filed with the Department of Labor.

Estimated Increase in Total Employment for each H-1B Certification Requested: By Firm Size
Source: National Foundation for American Policy; Hoover’s, U.S. Department of Labor. Notes: Data are for S&P 500 technology companies. Labor condition applications (LCA) are for the prior year. H-1B Visas and Job Creation

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