`When we go to hire someone, they are typically working off of their student visas,` Scott said. `[Because of the H-1B scarcity], you don`t know if these individuals that you`ve hired are going to get a [visa] and if you`re going to be able to continue to employ them past a particular date in that year.`[Visa shortage hurting Georgia businesses By Urvaksh Karkaria The Atlanta Business Chronicle, April 28, 2008 ]I find it more than interesting that these two articles, by two different authors, writing for two different magazines, had such similar things to write. Oh well, it`s probably just one of those weird coincidences!
Other applicants are still worrying, though. Henry Suelau, a lawyer with Miles & Stockbridge PC in Baltimore, said his firm submitted about two dozen applications for clients. Many applicants, such as Baltimore Aircoil`s, work on extended student visas that expire a year after their college graduation. But the visas they applied for this month don`t become effective until Oct. 1. Workers whose student visas expire next month may be forced to leave the country before they learn the status of their application.[Lottery keeps visa applicants in dark By Scott Dance The Baltimore Business Journal (MD), April 28, 2008 ]
What makes Optional Practical training so pernicious is that Americans are excluded from the entire hiring process. Here`s how the process works to leave Americans out of the hiring game:
For the last 5-10 years, it has been typical in the industry to have a policy in which it is very difficult for a new graduate to get a software development job without having had internship/co-op experience. And if you don`t get into a development position at the beginning, it is quite difficult to get one later. In other words, internship/co-op experience is crucial to being able to have a development career.
Moreover, often in internship/co-op positions a bond develops between the employer and student, making it much easier for the student to get a permanent job with the employer after graduation.
The situation Matloff and I describe is not theoretical. In the year 2000 Norm Matloff uncovered a case where this exact scenario played out at a company called womenconnect.com, who hired a student from Mexico who was attending a U.S. university. To read about it go here.
I helped Matloff to do research that nailed womenconnect. At the time both of us thought the story would be a smoking gun that would cripple the H-1B program. Unfortunately the story was ignored by the media so it turned out to be a dud instead of a smoking gun. We sure tried though!