"The updated government restrictions have very little to do with the drop-off in petitions," Pelta says. "But the senators and congressmen that really have problems with the H-1B program will not look at this year's petitions as an indicator that the program should be allowed to meet the needs of U.S. companies in good and bad economic times. There are restrictions in place and government agencies are equipped to enforce them without requiring an unrealistic cap."
Pelta says demand for H-1B visas follows the job market, and as more companies seek to hire foreign nationals, oftentimes that means an increase in jobs for U.S. citizens as well. A March 2008 NFAP brief reports that rather than displacing American workers, data showed for every one H-1B position requested, U.S. technology companies increased their employment by five workers.
"If the U.S. wants to participate in the global economy, it must shed some of its protectionist and outdated policies, and lawmakers must realize we need to view resources globally as well," Pelta says. "Short-sightedness on immigration programs could hurt our universities and businesses five years down the road."