US IT companies are so desperate for more skilled staff that they are lobbying the Clinton Administration to allow more foreigners to work in the US on visas.
Cypress Semiconductor, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments are among the companies that have asked congress and the senate to increase the annual quota of H-1B visas for highly skilled staff, currently set at 65,000. Last year, the visa quota was used up for the first time, a month before the end of the year, and this year visas are being issued at an even faster rate.
The Information Technology Association of America estimates that over 340,000 skilled jobs in the IT industry - over 10 per cent of the total - are vacant, stifling some of the growth potential for US computer firms. Even the US Commerce Department predicts that 138,000 new IT workers will be required every year until 2008. At present, US computer firms claim they must offer American graduates an average salary of over $45,000 to recruit them from college and PhD students command starting salaries of $85,000.
But US labour organisations are set to oppose any increase in foreign workers and its lobbyists claim the shortages are overestimated. Some claim the technology companies are simply using the visas to gain cheaper sources of labour, as studies show they pay skilled foreign staff a third less than Americans.
Yet sources said the White House needs to appease its powerful allies in IT and is seriously considering increasing the visa quota, because IT companies need skilled staff now and cannot train Americans quickly enough. The government may compromise by charging for H1-B visas and ploughing the proceeds into American labour.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago