NewsFlash: August 13, 2008
Low H-2B visa wages threaten US wages
Businesses that want to hire foreign workers under the H-2B visa program are required to offer the jobs to U.S. workers first at the prevailing wage in the industry. The theory behind this wage floor is simple: Letting some employers pay less than the rest of the industry would discourage U.S. workers from applying, thereby creating an artificial “need” for foreign workers and, in turn, driving down U.S. wages.
In the world of H-2B visas (as in many other areas of life) what is happening bears little resemblance to what is supposed to be happening. Today’s Economic Policy Institute Snapshot, which takes a nationwide look at H-2B wages in industries with a high concentration of these visa holders, found that nearly all are being paid less than the regulation requires, and over half are being paid at least 25% less.
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