Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Would You Bid For a Work Visa?

Are there any good arguments against auctioning off the right to enter the U.S. on an H-1B work visa, thereby setting a market price for something that we now basically give away? The anti-auction half of the New York Times Bloggingheads: Visas For Sale? debate can't come up with one. The closest she comes is to say "it would be incredibly regressive," which strikes me as an odd remark to make about a program that exists to benefit foreign IT professionals and assorted other hi-tech geeks.

An auction seems like a very reasonable idea to me. Let Congress set an annual quota for H-1B visas, as it does now, let the State Department process and screen applicants, as it does now, and then open an auction in which the qualified applicants or their sponsoring U.S. employers bid against each other, thereby setting a fair market price for an H-1B ticket.

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