As espoused by these authors previously (as most rcently in our last blog entry) it is no secret that the H-1B visa is not the hot commodity it once was.  Whether it be the state of the economy, increasing awareness by prospective H-1B candidates that more attractive opportunities may exist abroad, U.S. employers' aversion to the increased fees and other liabilities of the H-1B program or just the general malaise of our government leaders in attracting the best and brightest from around the world to our shores, make no doubt about it - the H-1B visa is being under-utilized. 

To opponents of the H-1B program, such a recent phenomenon is good news (as such "specialty occupations" are now being purportedly being filled by U.S. workers and not immigrants); to proponents of the program, a cause for concern?  Is such decreased usage actually a foreboding?

A recent report by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy, found that about two-thirds of the finalists at this year's Intel Science Talent Search (a national contest based on solutions to scientific problems -- known as the "Nobel Prize" of high school science), were born to parents born in either China or India. Only 12 of the 40 finalists had parents who were U.S. born; 16 had parents from China, 10 were born to Indian parents, one to parents from Iran, and another from South Korea.  Of important note, almost all of the finalists' immigrant parents came to the United States on H-1B visas.

I suppose one could opine that such a disproportionate number of nascent "Nobel Prize worthy" finalists being offspring of H-1B workers is merely happenstance.  On the other hand, one can look at a recent list of actual Nobel Prize winners and draw a completely opposite conclusion -- that preventing or discouraging the entry of H-1B visa holders, skilled immigrants and family-sponsored immigrants would shut off the flow of a key segment of America's next generation of scientists and engineers.

Let our leaders be the judge.

Post Authored By: Anthony F. Siliato, Esq. and Scott R. Malyk, Esq. of Meyner and Landis LLP