May - 2016 - issue > Indian American View


Shashi Reddy
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Shashi Reddy
April 1st is April Fools Day. It is also a day on which 600,000 applications are put into a random lottery system to pick the lucky 85,000 who are to be admitted to the U.S. to work for a three year period. This is indeed a foolish system and unsurprisingly the U.S. government picked April first as the date that this joke gets played out every year.

Being the capitalist system that we are, why do we run a lottery when we could be running an auction? Why not let the Indian IT services companies and other prospective employers pay top dollar to get the employees they want to get into the U.S.? If each one of the 85,000 entrants paid $50,000 to get a work permit, that would be a cool $4.25 Billion in revenue per year for job training for unemployed U.S. techies.

Also, there is no magic about 85,000 slots per year. We could adjust that number up or down to get the maximum revenue we can get from the program.

The danger with making potential employers pay for this fee is that this may lead to a slave labor type situation where the employer will then try and extract maximum value from its employee so that they could recover their investment. So I am in favor of making this a program where the visa is granted to a person and not linked to an employer.

Some of you may know of the EB-5 program where we sell green cards to people who are willing to invest $500,000 in an underdeveloped area in the U.S. (or one million dollars in a developed area) and create a certain number of jobs. These H-1B temporary work visas could be sold the same way. A person from say India could pay the fee, say $50,000 and get a temporary work visa so that they could live and work in the U.S. for three years. Hopefully, they make enough of a salary to recover their investment. If not, they decide that they cannot afford to pay another $50,000 to stay an additional three years and go back to India.

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