(Bloomberg Opinion) — The visa program for skilled workers is a net positive for American society despite a number of problems that make it a target of critics who worry that cheap foreign workers are taking Americans’ jobs and lowering wages.
Fortunately, the country may already be on the way to fixing those problems. The first step, an increase in the minimum wage for H-1B visa holders, has just happened.
The H-1B program is often discussed as a way to alleviate labor shortages: Import foreign specialists to do work that native-born Americans are unavailable to do. That’s how advocates often sell the program, and it fits the common idea of jobs as a fixed resource to be parceled out. In fact, helping companies “who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce” is right there in the program’s mission statement.
But in reality, relieving