Chicago Launches Effort to Score Jobs for Foreign H-1B Visa Workers Laid Off from Tech Industry

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 05: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets employees returning to work at the Chicago Google offices on April 05, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Google employees began returning to work in the office this week for three days a week following a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 …
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The city of Chicago, Illinois, in partnership with big business, is launching an effort to score jobs for foreign H-1B visa workers who have been laid off from their tech jobs in recent weeks.

The city’s World Business Chicago group, which is a public-private firm, has joined P33, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the Corporate Coalition of Chicago, and others to fill jobs at companies like Caterpillar, Illinois Tech, John Deere, Ulta Beauty, and Walgreens with foreign H-1B visa workers who have recently been laid off.

On average, about 1,600 tech workers are being laid off every day, with multinational corporations like Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Facebook, and Microsoft announcing employee cuts. A sizeable portion of these layoffs, an estimated 80,000, are foreign workers who arrived on H-1B and L-1 visas and who are now scrambling to stay in the United States.

Chicago is looking to help those foreign H-1B visa workers stay in the U.S. by landing them new tech jobs in the city.

“This initiative is a shining example of our city’s commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive destination for immigrants, where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated in our neighborhoods, further solidifying Chicago’s reputation as a premier global business hub,” Chicago’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael Fassnacht said in a statement.

A recent post from David North at the Center for Immigration Studies detailed how foreign H-1B visa workers may avoid ever leaving the U.S. — despite being laid off — thanks to the little-known Optional Practical Training (OPT) program:

What we are describing is a little-known program that saves employers 8 percent of payroll if they hire aliens have who graduated recently from a U.S. college or university, or who are currently enrolled in such an institution. No such subsidy goes to citizen college grads. [Emphasis added]

The attorney did not spell out the universal availability of this approach, in which the alien will seek a night-time or weekend master’s degree, perhaps a second or third one. He will not need a demanding school nor worry about any ceilings or government fees and may take courses that he has already taken before at some other institution. He can then get a federally subsidized job in the Optional Practical Training program for the duration of his schooling and for three years thereafter. [Emphasis added]

And employers will be interested because there are no labor standards in the OPT program, and the employer gets an 8 percent discount. The discount, never available to employers of citizen workers, comes because the employer of the OPT worker does not have to pay his share of the payroll taxes. Since these taxes support the Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment insurance programs, the OPT employer is being subsidized by the nation’s aging, sick, and unemployed workers — again something the press, whether here or in India, never mentions. (H-2B employers do pay these taxes.) [Emphasis added]

Meanwhile, laid-off Americans are hoping to score new jobs in the STEM fields even as their chances of landing such positions are diminished with the constant inflow of foreign workers whom companies often prefer to hire.

Tech investors, in recent weeks, have admitted that there is no labor shortage in the industry and, in fact, there is actually such a saturated labor market in the STEM fields that salaries could be drastically reduced without much pushback from employees.

The labor market for tech workers is partially inflated by a massive pool of foreign visa workers that are imported annually, mostly on H-1B visas, L-1 visas, and OPT visas to take coveted white-collar STEM jobs that would otherwise go to American graduates and professionals.

Every year, more than half a million American graduates enter the STEM workforce looking for high-paying jobs with good benefits packages. Their chances of landing such a job are cut significantly with the annual inflow of tens of thousands of foreign visa workers who will compete directly against them in the labor market.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.


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