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更新时间:2017-4-20 10:53:33 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How Trump’s ‘Hire American’ Order May Affect Tech Worker Visas

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that directs federal agencies to review employment immigration laws to promote “Hire American” policies.


The order makes no immediate changes to work visa programs but tells the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to study existing laws and procedures and recommend changes.


In the case of one program, H-1B temporary visas, the order directs the agencies to suggest changes to help ensure that the visas are awarded to the most skilled, best-paid immigrant workers. “Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that’s wrong,” Mr. Trump said at the signing in Kenosha, Wis.


The order also calls for a crackdown on fraud and abuse in the current system of work visas — which the agencies had already signaled they would do.


What is the H-1B program, and why is the president focused on it?


The H-1B program grants 65,000 work visas a year to foreigners, with 20,000 more visas granted to foreigners with advanced degrees and an unlimited number of extra visas available for universities, teaching hospitals and other nonprofit organizations. The program is aimed at highly skilled workers, and most of the visas are awarded to technology companies, although other specialty industries such as fashion also use the visas. (Melania Trump, the first lady, worked as a model on an H-1B visa.)

H-1B项目每年向外国人发放6.5万个工作签证,另外2万个面向拥有高级学位的外国人,大学、教学医院和其他非营利机构还可申请额外的数量不限的签证。该项目针对的是高技术人才,大部分签证都发放给了科技公司,不过其他专业性行业,比如时尚业,也使用这类签证(第一夫人梅拉尼娅·特朗普[Melania Trump]当模特时就拿的是H-1B签证)。

Under federal law, employers that use a large number of H-1B workers are supposed to document that they tried to hire Americans for the jobs. All H-1B employers are also required to pay prevailing wages to the immigrant workers who receive the visas.


Labor Department data shows that about 40 percent of the visas go to entry-level workers and another 40 percent go to people with limited experience and skills. The Trump administration says that more of the jobs performed by those people could and should be filled by Americans.


How are the visas allocated?


Visa applications must be sponsored by employers. Every April 1, the government begins accepting applications for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. This year, the government received 199,000 H-1B applications in the first five days and then stopped accepting them.


Because there are more applicants than visas, the visas are awarded by lottery. Each visa is good for three years and can be renewed for three more years. Immigrants who are applying for a permanent residency visa, known as a green card, can typically stay longer while waiting for approval.


In 2015, President Obama expanded the program to allow the spouses of H-1B visa holders to also work in the United States, but in a recent court filing, the Trump administration said it was reviewing that policy.


It is not clear exactly how many foreigners are in the United States on H-1B visas, but analysts estimate 650,000 to 900,000. In recent years, about 70 percent of the visas have been issued to citizens of India.


Who employs these H-1B visa holders?


The biggest employers are India-based outsourcing companies like Wipro Technologies, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services. These firms contract with banks, health care companies and other businesses to handle various computing tasks and bring in thousands of immigrants to do the work. Outsourcing companies based in the United States, particularly IBM and Cognizant, also use large numbers of H-1B workers.

最大的雇主是总部设在印度的外包公司,如威普罗技术(Wipro Technologies)、Infosys、马恒达技术(Tech Mahindra)和塔塔咨询服务公司(Tata Consultancy Services)。这些公司与银行、医疗保健公司和其他企业签订合同,负责执行各种各样的计算任务,引进了数以千计的移民来做这些工作。总部设在美国的外包公司,尤其是IBM和Cognizant,也雇佣了大量H-1B员工。

The leading American technology companies, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, employ thousands of H-1B workers. Two companies, Facebook and the chip maker Qualcomm, are heavily dependent on H-1B visas, with at least 15 percent of their American workforces holding the visas, according to federal filings. Thousands of Silicon Valley start-ups also hire some H-1B workers.


How do these foreign workers contribute to the American economy?


American technology companies argue that there is a shortage of qualified Americans for scientific and programming jobs, forcing them to turn overseas for workers to meet their hiring needs.


In addition, immigrants or their children have played key roles in founding many technology companies, including giants like Apple, Google and Intel and up-and-comers like WhatsApp and Airbnb.


The Indian outsourcers, which generally pay lower wages and operate in a different part of the technology ecosystem, say they are helping American companies cut spending on certain basic services so they can keep employing higher-paid workers in other parts of their businesses. R. Chandrashekhar, the president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies, a group that represents the Indian technology industry, says that more than three-quarters of the Fortune 500, America’s largest companies by sales, use the Indian outsourcers for some operations.

印度外包企业通常只支付较低的工资,在科技业生态系统的另一个部分发挥着作用,它们说自己正帮助美国企业削减用于某些基本服务的开支,这样一来美国企业就能一直以高薪雇用人员从事其他方面的工作。印度国家软件与服务公司协会(National Association of Software and Services Companies)的主席R•钱德拉塞卡尔(R Chandrasekhar)说,《财富》500强公司,也就是美国销售收入最高的那些公司当中,有超过四分之三要借助印度外包企业来开展某些业务。该协会是一个为印度科技行业代言的组织。

“These services play a critical role in ensuring that corporate America remains a job-creation engine,” Mr. Chandrashekhar said.


Still, Indian outsourcing companies are preparing for a world of fewer visas, shifting the work to people in India and other countries.


Are American workers hurt by immigrant work visa programs?


Some studies suggest that universities grant technology degrees to more than enough American students to fill all the open jobs in the United States, so critics of the visas say the program is unnecessary. Silicon Valley companies often do not cast a wide net for American job candidates. Instead, they compete to hire the same graduates of the top colleges for many jobs and rely heavily on immigrants to fill out their workforces.


Under the H-1B program, “all companies have to attest that they tried to find an American,” said Russ Harrison, director of government relations at IEEE-USA, the American branch of IEEE, the largest professional association for computer scientists and electrical engineers. “But all you have to do is check a box.”

按照H-1B项目的相关规定,“所有公司都必须证明自己曾设法招一个美国人,”电气和电子工程师协会(简称IEEE)在美国的分支机构美国电气和电子工程师协会(简称IEEE-USA)政府关系部主任卢塞尔·哈里森(Russell Harrison)说。“但你要做的唯一一件事就是在某个选项后面打个勾。”IEEE是最大的计算机科学家及电气工程师专业协会

In some cases — at Walt Disney and at the University of California, San Francisco, for instance — employers laid off workers and replaced them with cheaper immigrants employed by outsourcing companies.

某些情况下——例如在华特迪士尼(The Walt Disney)和加州大学旧金山分校(University of California, San Francisco)——雇主会裁掉一些人,代之以外包公司雇佣的那些工资更低的移民。

Foreign workers can also be abused by the visa programs. The H-1B visa is tied to a specific employer, which means the visa holder cannot easily change jobs. Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, who has long pushed for changes, said some H-1B holders earned less than their stated salaries because they were forced to repay their employer for various expenses, such as travel.

外国工人的权益也可能因签证项目而受到侵犯。H-1B签证是和特定雇主相绑定的,这意味着签证持有者无法轻易换工作。一直在推动相关变革的加利福尼亚州民主党众议员佐伊·洛夫格伦(Zoe Lofgren)说,某些H-1B签证持有者拿到手的钱比他们声称的薪水要少,因为他们被迫向雇主偿付各种费用,比如旅费。

What changes are under consideration for visa programs?


The Trump administration was vague about what it would like to change. In a background briefing with reporters, officials said they were considering changing the wage levels that would qualify for visas, raising fees for H-1B applications and steering more visas to immigrants with advanced degrees.


The government will also publicly release more data about other visa programs, such as the L-1, which allows workers officially employed overseas by a company to work in the United States. “We don’t know how many L-1s are here, who employs them, where they are located and what they are paid,” said Ronil Hira, an associate professor of political science at Howard University who has extensively studied immigrant visa programs.

特朗普政府还会公开关于L-1等其他签证项目的更多信息。借助L-1,正式受雇于一家公司的海外工人可以在美国工作。“我们不知道这里有多少人持有L-1签证,他们受雇于谁,待在哪里,挣多少钱,”对移民签证项目做了大量研究的霍华德大学(Howard University)政治学助理教授罗尼尔·希拉(Ronil Hira)说。

Many in Congress support changing the H-1B lottery system to give preference to the highest-paying jobs. “We should allocate visas based on who wants to pay the highest salary to avoid undercutting the wages of American workers,” said Ms. Lofgren, who has sponsored one of several bills on the topic.


Such a change would favor established American technology companies, which tend to pay high wages, and hurt the outsourcing companies, which hire immigrants to do more basic work at lower wages. But there is a risk of collateral damage to start-ups, which pay less in cash but award stock to new hires, and to hospitals, which recruit immigrants for nursing and other nontech jobs.


Changes to work visas could also be wrapped into a broader immigration bill. Mr. Trump recently told members of Congress that he was open to discussing that approach.