The Corner

Perverse Incentives

Computerworld has a new searchable database of H-1B foreign-worker visas issued in 2008. The visa is usually thought of as used just by computer firms, but Jessica Vaughan of CIS looked at the non-tech employers using the visas and concluded that “These statistics raise questions about the degree to which the education and health care industries may have become reliant on guest worker programs instead of training U.S. workers to fill these jobs.” Among the top employers, nationwide, of new H-1B foreign workers last year were the public school districts in Baltimore City, Prince Georges Co., Md., and East Baton Rouge Parish, La. At first blush, one might ask whether teaching black kids has joined the list of Jobs Americans Won’t Do, but I had another thought — is using the H-1B visa to hire school teachers a way of circumventing the unions? I don’t know the dynamics in any of these school districts, but if this is what’s driving use of the visa program, we have yet another case of immigration used as a crutch to prop up the status quo and avoid needed reforms.

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