By Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: America’s biggest tech companies are laying off thousands of employees while hiring thousands of foreigners for less pay, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. They do this through the H-1B program, which grants work visas to immigrants for jobs requiring a high degree of specialty and merit, usually in STEM fields.
Why it matters: Congress created the H-1B program in 1965 to address labor shortages. However, companies that aren’t suffering such needs exploit the program by replacing American workers for the sake of profit since H-1B workers get paid less. This impacts hundreds of thousands of American STEM graduates each year, especially those with costly tech-related degrees, who struggle to find and keep these already coveted jobs because they must also compete with troves of noncitizens.
By the numbers: The EPI’s data show that the top 30 H-1B employers in the U.S., which include Amazon, Google, and Meta, are in the process of laying off almost 85,000 workers from the start of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, they have imported over 34,000 H-1B workers.
A longstanding issue: Former President Donald Trump tried to reform the H-1B program to prioritize American workers, but many of his regulatory changes were blocked by judges or reversed by the Biden administration. Last month, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a bipartisan bill to restrict the program to avoid the “outsourcing” of American labor. The issue of foreigners taking jobs for less pay goes as far back as the progressive workers’ rights protests of the 1960s.