After years of importing tens of thousands of foreign workers of Japanese descent from Latin American countries like Brazil and Peru for blue-collar jobs, Japan is now doing an U-turn on its immigration policy.
An U-turn that America must seriously consider (but only partially) vis-a-vis its H1B Visas.
Facing growing unemployment of its own citizens because of slumping production, Japan is now paying these guest workers who came there on special Nikkei Visas $3,000 for air fare and $2,000 for each dependent if they agree to go back home and not seek employment in Japan again.
With growing unemployment in the U.S. (going beyond 10% in some parts), America must study the Japanese model with some modifications.
Here are some suggestions on how we can reform the H1B program:
* Offer to pay the airfares of H1B employees and families who promise to return to their native countries and not apply for job visas for 10 years. U.S. airlines are in bad shape anyway so this H1B cargo should provide a fillip to their business.
* Impose a 10% H1B tax on the wages of H1B employees to fund the state labor departments and help pay unemployment insurance to American workers.
* Impose a $10,000 fee on the employer for each H1B Visa issued over and above the immigration fees to fund the investigation intoÂ the massive H1B fraud.
* Impose a $25,000 fee on the employer wishing to sponsor an H1B Visa holder for a Green Card to retrain American workers.
* Seriously consider requiring H1B applicants to serve in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq to reduce the bonuses the U.S. Defense Department has been forking out for the last few years to spur recruitment.
Bottomline, we need to make it as difficult as possible for employers to bring in H1B employees that work against the economic interests of American workers and their families.
Studies have already shown that H1B Visas depress wages for American workers and cause job losses.
When the U.S. economy rebounds, we can consider revising the regulations if there are serious labor shortages in some sectors. Until then, let these H1Bs stay where they are – in their countries.
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