Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Invitation to Onshoring?

President Bush's announcement of the proposed guest worker program is a surprising twist in America's chaotic visa and immigration policy.

I'll be curious to see if such a policy becomes a low-cost substitute for the H-1B visa program, through which skilled workers are brought to the US for a limited time. Like H-1B visas, guest worker visas automatically sunset at 6 years. However, H-1B applications are dramatically restricted in number (195,000), and are expensive undertakings for the sponsoring companies.

Wittingly or not, the Bush Administration may be creating a situation through which American companies can build up a local, temporary, foreign workforce to tackle problems they'd otherwise offshore.

Will the guest worker program obviate the need for an H-1B visa program and populate US tech firms with a temporary, lower-cost, foreign workforce?

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