Recession reduces demand for foreign workers despite visa extension

April 10, 2009
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

© 2009 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, author Joe Napsha.

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Robert Whitehill, an immigration attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP, Downtown, said the cost to apply for a visa combined with the price of obtaining an advanced degree and the poor economy has lowered the number of workers willing to seek H-1Bs.

Applicants and prospective employers also were wary, Whitehill said, because the government had planned to use a lottery system for the visas.

The workers "wanted to stay in the U.S. and the employers wanted them, but not as many were willing to go through the process" because of the possibility of losing the lottery, he said. Whitehill said his firm has handled fewer H-1B applications this year than before.

A lesser factor, he said, is the restrictions placed on financial institutions that received federal bailouts, he said. Companies that accepted Troubled Asset Relief Program money can't displace an American worker with a foreign worker three months before or after applying for H-1B visa.

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