Friday, September 02, 2005

Why is the Department of Labor keeping U.S. citizens from having equal access to more than 50,000 IT jobs?

Why is the Department of Labor refusing to post on its Web site a database of more than 50,000 job openings — many for IT workers — for 2006? Are they precluded by law to do so, as a DOL spokesperson claims?
This issue is part of a controversy currently raging between the DOL and professional organizations such as the Programmers Guild about the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Department of Immigration and Naturalization) H-1B visa quota for 2006.
Here’s how USCIS defines an H-1B visa: “Established by the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT), the H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows U.S. employers to augment the existing labor force with highly skilled temporary workers. H-1B workers are admitted to the United States for an initial period of three years, which may be extended for an additional three years. The H-1B visa program is utilized … to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors.”
The DOL requires that U.S. employers who want to hire someone on an H-1B visa first submit what is called an LCA (Labor Condition Application). The LCA describes (briefly — sometimes just a title) the opening available. Thus far, the department has received 51,939 LCAs. Programmers Guild President Kim Berry and others are calling for the DOL to post these LCAs and make them searchable, so that anyone can apply for the open positions.

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