Demand dries up for US IT worker visas

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Demand dries up for US IT worker visas

Figures released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have shown a steep drop in applications for H-1B visas, which allow overseas IT workers to enter the US for employment.

So far there have only been 43,000 applications for H-1B visas, with 65,000 available. Over the same period last year there were 163,000 applications.

The drop is a strong indicator of the weakness in IT staff hiring across the country.

In previous years the scheme has been hugely oversubscribed, forcing the immigration service to decide the recipients via a lottery process.

The popularity of the H1-B visa scheme has led some in Silicon Valley, including Bill Gates, to call for an expansion of the scheme, since the industry claims that the US is not producing enough skilled IT workers.

Given the challenging economic circumstances, some in government have sought to cut back on the scheme to ensure that American jobs stay open for American workers.

Senator Charles Glassey also called for any layoffs at Microsoft to hit overseas staff before native-born workers, something which the company has refused to do.

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