The rush by companies, particularly of the high-tech persuasion, to apply for H-1B visas has come to an end–only one day after it began.Auctioning off the visas is actually a good idea. Anytime we have a scarce resource, it is worthwhile finding out what firms are willing to pay. Companies that they are not just seeking cheap labor, but desperately filling jobs that no American can do. If so, then they should be willing to pay high prices for the visas, and an auction would help the feds make sure that the visas go to companies that really need them.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday that it had received 150,000 applications as of Monday afternoon for the controversial work permits, which allow foreigners with a bachelor’s degree in their area of specialty to be employed in the United States for up to six years.
Now, what this is really about: there are 10,000,000 folks that apply to get into the US each year. A subset of those folks are willing to do are say anything to get US immigration rights-which are considerably more valuable than anything they can reasonably aspire to in their home companies. Bloated, corporate welfare cases like Microsoft, HP, Intel and Oracle depend on cheap guest worker visas so they can pay employees in immigration rights-rather than cash-and appear like viable companies.
Those spots should be auctioned off. The more an employer is paying for an H1-B visa, the more highly-skilled the worker in question is likely to be. IOW, we really will be getting those people with skills we can’t find here.
Update: I didn't think that there was any market data on what an H-1B is worth, but this article says:
We don’t really have "markets" in U.S. immigration rights. But India does. In the Indian dowry market, an Indian IT worker can expect the dowry from the bride's family to double when he acquires an H-1b visa (which also confers barely a 50% chance of attaining citizenship).