2009: Janet Napolitano and the H1B Visa Cap

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2009: Janet Napolitano and the H1B Visa Cap

If confirmed, Janet Napolitano’s nomination as Director of Homeland Security is likely to have a significant impact on the H1B visa process and  possibly even be a significant factor in increasing the cap on these employment visas. Of course, in order to get confirmed, she will have to face committee chairman Joseph Lieberman, her sometime ally. Although she could not singlehandledly raise the visa cap, she is likely to be very influential in making some major changes to the H1B program.

One challenge that Napolitano will inherit if she is confirmed is the current problems inherit in the system. A recent examination of a small percentage of approved applications revealed that aspects of more than 20 percent of H1B visa applications were in violation of federal laws and regulations. Examples of these included fraudulent foreign degree evaluations (some applicants submitted degrees from fake universities), signature forgeries, and applications from nonexistent companies.

Ms. Napolitano has been a strong advocate of increasing the H1B Visa cap. Her stance on welcoming the technological skills of persons with foreign degrees offers great potential benefit for U.S. companies and businesses. It remains to be seen, however, what kind of approach she intends to take to minimize fraudulent or erroneous foreign credential evaluations.

This could be done by making the foreign credential evaluation agencies responsible by penalizing them for evaluation reports that offer U.S. equivalencies for fake degrees. Agencies like Career Consulting International and Wes maintain high standards for corroborating degree equivalencies, and should have nothing to fear from this type of approach. Financially penalizing agencies that, knowingly or unknowingly, engage in this behavior should help to significantly reduce the incidence of failing to verify that a foreign country’s university education is indeed equivalent to that of an accredited U.S. university.

President-Elect Barack Obama’s governmental appointments will most likely have a major impact on immigration visas and foreign workers in the United States. The degree to which things will change remains to be seen. Hopefully, some of these abuses will be corrected, and the cap will be increased, so that America can regain her place as technological leader and innovator within world markets. The current U.S. economy sure could use that boost!

This article was written by Staff

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