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News Release

IEEE-USA Looks Forward to Working with Administration, Congress to End H-1B Visa Use as ‘Cheap Labor Program’; Identifies Most Effective Immediate Option

WASHINGTON (18 April 2017) – IEEE-USA is the largest organization representing U.S. high-tech workers and has long called for meaningful reforms to the H-1B visa program. Today in Wisconsin, President Donald Trump will sign an executive order that moves in that direction. 

“We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to help the president fulfill his campaign promise, ‘I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program,’” IEEE-USA President Karen Pedersen said. 

IEEE-USA points to one specific opportunity for the president to endorse an immediate reform: the H-1B wage disparity. A senior administration official, in a background briefing yesterday, said, “the average wage for H-1B visas is between $60,000 and $65,000.  By contrast, the median Silicon Valley software engineer’s wage is probably around $150,000.” 

This isn’t an accident. It’s the direct result of a 1998 act of Congress that provides favorable treatment for H-1B contractors, allowing them to displace Americans at that wage.  Some members in Congress want to perpetuate this loophole, only raising the price slightly while keeping it below market rates.  

“IEEE-USA calls on Congress and the President to immediately repeal this loophole entirely,” Pedersen said. “There is no price that makes it OK to replace Americans with H-1B contractors.”

A transcript of the briefing by the unnamed senior administration official is available.

IEEE-USA representatives are available for interviews on this subject. Please contact Chris McManes at 202-384-4287. 

IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 190,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.

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Contact: Chris McManes
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