Why Aren`t The H1-B Hogs Satisfied With The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa? Oh, Wait A Minute…

open-border enthusiasts discover that I`m both an
immigrant (from

South Africa,
and an immigration restrictionist, they often order me

go back whence I came
mouthing the mantra
“a nation of immigrants.”

they`re right. Maybe Obamao`s

multicultural America
has no use for a contrarian,
with an anachronistic attachment to British English
style and to the ideas of limited government and

however, is a different matter entirely. The
scientifically super-smart
nestle under the far
reaches of the
IQ Bell Curve,
and are, therefore, in short supply.
That their skills make the developed world go around
also helps immeasurably to make them highly desirable

Peter Bauer

) have belabored,

economic development
is not a function of

cheap, abundant labor
, but of innovation. A
superpower, even if it`s on the decline, ought to be

emphasizing innovation-oriented
, not labor-intense,
forms of production. More

and less


In exchange for the spouse`s
exceptional abilities and qualifications, he was awarded

O-1 visa
. And we, in short order, gained green

(My daughter was subsequently
stripped of hers on a debatable technicality when
entering the
Canada. This took a
heroic show of force from the

brave, U.S.
citizenship and immigration law enforcers
the border. Moral: <st1:place
w:st=”on”>U.S. immigration law is enforced
against people who obey the law. No doubt her hard-won
green card
was needed urgently for a real Bandido.)


Immigration lawyers
have made it their business to
navigate the labyrinth of visa programs.

According to
one such law firm, Houston-based Zhang
& Associates, the O-1 visa

“…is a nonimmigrant status category for aliens of
extraordinary ability
in the sciences, the
(including the television and motion picture
industry), education, business, and athletics. This is
an employment-related status that allows qualified
aliens to live and work in the
United States.. An O-1
petition is sponsored by an American employer.”

More significantly, there is
no cap on the number of O-1 visa entrants allowed. Access to this
pool of talent is unlimited.


“O-1 applicants are not subject to any cap or quota.
Each case is considered on its individual merits; the
total number of O-1 applicants that year does not affect
one`s chance of approval.”

What`s more, those even more gifted
than my guy are given green cards on the spot. A

RF engineer we know, who possesses a PhD,
publications galore, patented software programs and
products, and a company, was told to hop on a plane,
family in tow.

My point
vis-à-vis the
O-1 visa is this: The primary

H-1B hogs
—Infosys (and another eight, sister Indian
firms), Microsoft, and Intel—are forever claiming that
they are desperate for talent. But, in reality, they
have unlimited access to individuals with unique
abilities through the open-ended O-1 visa program…if
they really wanted it.

Granted—and here`s the catch—the
O-1 visa application process costs double in legal fees
what the H-1B visa application costs. The latter is
certainly easier to scam than the former.

But immigration lawyers are doing
their best to overcome this obstacle. Zhang boasts that
in the case of a client it calls
, a mere master`s degree, one publication
and an approved patent did the trick. And VDARE.COM`s

a case in which an

Argentine pin-up girl
got an O-1.

“[A] recently published investigation [PDF]
by The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which
oversees [
the H-1B program],
found a fraud rate exceeding 20 percent, with violations
ranging from nonexistent businesses being granted visas,
to phony job descriptions.” [Lou
November 1, 2008]

Touted as a means of trawling for
the best and the brightest, the H-1B system clearly has
become anything but.
“Ordinary talent doing ordinary
is Norm Matloff`s overall assessment of
the H-1B crop. A

VDARE.COM contributor
, and longtime critic of the
H1-B racket, Professor Matlof`s analysis has been

cited extensively

The 65,000 yearly recipients of
H-1B visas are mostly
“average workers”.
 H-1B recruits are
supposed to posses at minimum a bachelor`s degree, or “graduate

work experience. Twenty thousand additional H-1B
visas are set aside for high-technology workers with the
master`s degree. The master`s is thus the exception
within the H1-B visa category.

The Department of Labor uses four
levels of classification. The first two require little
or no judgment. They are entry-level positions, which is
where the vast majority of H1-B workers are
concentrated. Very few, only 11 percent, fall into the
top category and
“plan and conduct work-requiring judgment and
independent evaluation”
—DOL`s words.

Three percent
of Microsoft`s 900 H-1B visa workers
are level four workers—i.e., do work that requires
independent judgment. Among the companies that push the
hardest for expanding the H-1B program, level-four
workers entrusted with higher order thinking are rare.

But whether they`re capable of
conceptualizing or not, recipients of the H-1B visa are,
nevertheless, getting a good deal. Visa advocates
perpetuate the tall tale that the H-1B visa provides a
steady supply of talent; visa opponents, for their part,
like to cry croc about exploitation and

. I guess they think that misplaced
compassion adds force to their arguments.

H-1B visa holders are not paid
inferior wages. From the fact that an oversupply of
high-tech workers has lowered wages for all techies, it
does not follow that these (average) men and women are
being exploited. Rather, it is the glut of average
worker bees—their abundance—that has depressed wages.

(Incidentally, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics confirms that wages for computer programmers
have been falling. All the while industry

whines about
labor shortages. Shouldn`t a labor
shortage be pushing wages up?)

Before dissolving in

puddles of (misplaced) pity
, remember: Voluntary
exchanges are by definition advantageous to their
participants. They involve giving up something one
values less for something one values more and finding
someone else with
opposite valuations“.

The H-1B visa holder forfeits his
(apparently unexceptional) labor for a salary many times
the salary he`d get in <st1:place
w:st=”on”>India or <st1:place
w:st=”on”>China or <st1:place
w:st=”on”>Pakistan. If he were not
incalculably better off than he was in his previous
life, he would not have taken a calculated risk in a
plush American office.

The benefits to
locals, left out of the decision-making loop, are less
obvious—unless one considers the joys of a
work force. These can entail anything from communication
glitches, to cries of
from the company`s

(curiously monopolized)

prayer and meditation rooms
, to experiencing
toilet etiquette
(Jamal carrying a cup of water
along to the john).

Theoretically, the H-1B program
could be totally abolished and all needed

(and pin-up girls) imported through the
O-1 program…they just need to demonstrate

But industry lobbyists never
suggest this. Funny thing.

Mercer (email
her) is a

weekly columnist
for WorldNetDaily.com, a fellow at
the Jerusalem
Institute for Market Studies
and the author of Broad
Sides: One Woman`s Clash With a Corrupt Culture
to which was written by
Her website is

; her blog

upcoming book is

Into the Cannibal`s Pot: Lessons For America From
Post-Apartheid South Africa.