Study: H-1B Visas Depress IT Salaries

An opponent of outsourcing claims the U.S. government’s H-1B visa program depresses IT salaries for American workers. According to an analysis of green-card data conducted by anti-outsourcing advocate Robert Oak, who runs the website noslaves.com, and posted on the political blogs MyDD (Direct Democracy) and DailyKos, the median salary of H-1B visa holders is $71,000 a year. That’s well below the starting salary of $100,000 a year that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told The Washington Post last year when asked how much Microsoft pays its H-1B visa holders. For years, Gates has called for an increase in H-1B visas, arguing that technology companies like Microsoft can't find Americans to fill the highly skilled programming jobs. Last week, Gates again asked Congress to increase the 65,000 H-1B cap when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Microsoft's public affairs department responded last week to a request by NetworkWorld blogger Paul McNamara asking for clarification of Gates' comment about the $100,000 salary, saying "Microsoft compensates its H-1B workers at the same high levels as U.S. workers." But the benefits the H-1B program provides U.S. corporations -- and therefore the U.S. economy and its competitiveness -- are still debatable, as a BusinessWeek article published last month points out.

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