Has the H-1B visa program strayed off course?

The H-1B visa program was established under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. These temporary visas were intended to help American companies. If qualified American workers were not available, a company could look overseas and offer a suitably skilled candidate a temporary visa.

However, a 2013 settlement suggests that the program has been subject to some abuse. In that year, a Bangalore-based company, Infosys Ltd., agreed to a $34 million settlement with federal prosecutors. The company was accused of sending employees to the United States with visitor visas instead of going through the H-1B program. The company may have been trying to avoid the cap of 85,000 H-1B visas that are given out each year.

Temporary visas were also an issue in the recent Presidential campaign, with allegations that the H-1B program was stealing jobs from Americans. A company might have a financial incentive to hire workers under the H-1B program, as foreign workers are often paid less than their American counterparts.