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White House Says ­U.S. Needs H-1b Visas to Avoid 'competitive Disadvantage'

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U.S. President Barack Obama has already reversed several actions and policies established by President George W. Bush, but has shown little interest in revising a rule that has come under attack from H-1B opponents. The Bush administration increased the amount of time foreign nationals with degrees in engineering, science, and technology can work in the United States on student visas from one year to 29 months, which prompted in the Programmers Guild, the American Engineering Association, Bright Future Jobs, and several other technology workers groups to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., last May. The lawsuit claims that the policy is a backdoor increase in the H-1B visa cap. Though the lower court rejected the case, an appeal has been filed before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

In a filing with the court last month, the Obama administration defended the H-1B visa program, and reiterated many of the arguments from the Bush administration. "The inability of U.S. employers, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to obtain H-1B status for highly skilled foreign students and foreign nonimmigrant workers has adversely affected the ability of U.S employers to recruit and retain skilled worker and creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. companies," the administration argued.

New Jersey U.S. District Court Judge Faith Hochberg did not comment on the merits of the H-1B program, but rather argued that the opponents of the student visa extension could not legally challenge the case because they were not directly affected by the rule change.

From Computerworld
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