Even after the H-1b applications for U.S. grads with masters degrees are processed under the separate 20,000 quota, there are 119,193 other H-1b applications for 65,000 slots. Historically these requests will range from hotel clerks and accountants earning less than $16 per hour, to genetic researchers earning over $100,000.
In the Wednesday April 11, 2007 article Most H-1B seekers lack grad degrees in SF Chronicle, staff writer Tom Abate covered our suggestion that "immigration officials should hand out the remaining visas based on salary -- a proxy for skill -- rather than by chance. "
(NOTE: This article was later retracted due to the technical error that many of the H-1b within the 65,000 quota hold masters degrees from foreign universities. But the points raised in this blog are independent from that issue.)
Immigration spokeswoman Sharon Rummery said that by law the remaining visas must be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. "As far as we're concerned, they're all equally qualified," she said.
Rummery's position is illogical and as far as we know not mandated by any statute: A "lottery" is not "first-come, first served," and arguably a genetic researcher is more qualified than a hotel clerk.
NO NEED TO RAISE H-1B LIMIT
More importantly, this Chronicle article reveals that we have not come close to reaching the cap on U.S. grads with advanced degrees.
H-1b proponents like Compete America and ITAA argue ad infinitum that we need more H-1b because 50% of graduates with advanced degrees (MS or higher) are foreign students, and we should not be rejecting these "best and brightest." They argue this because they know at the BS level the vast majority of U.S. Engineering and Computer Science graduates are Americans.
So watch ITAA pedal backwards:
"Jeff Lande, spokesman for the Information Technology Association of America, argued that the crush of applications makes the case for a higher H-1B quota. Reacting to Berry's comment about the number of applicants with bachelors degrees, Lande said critical skills vary from job to job, adding that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates didn't finish college but would certainly qualify as one of the world's "best and brightest.""
If finishing college is not a proxy for skill, then why does Microsoft require at least a BS degree for every position? Why do so many positions require an MS degree?
All this proves is that Bill Gates would have no chance of getting hired by Microsoft through the HR bureaucracy intended to filter out the thousands of applicants for each position.