Friday, December 01, 2006

The SKIL Bill and Your Local Elementary School

InfoWorld Tech Watch | InfoWorld | The SKIL Bill and Your Local Elementary School | November 15, 2006 08:06 AM | By Paul Roberts: "The Republican lame duck Congress is toying with passing the SKIL (Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership) Bill, a top priority for the tech industry and its lobbyists that would raise caps on H-1B Visas by 20 % and exempt highly skilled workers (Master's Degree or higher from a U.S. institution) from the cap altogether. While tech executives may be keen on the law, many, many U.S. born IT workers are none too keen about this law, which they see as a backdoor way to keep wages low in the U.S. by importing cheap labor from India, China, Eastern Europe, or any other low wage country with a surfeit of engineers.

Nobody knows this better than my colleague Ephraim Schwartz, who had the temerity to raise the issue of the SKIL Bill's future in a TechWatch blog post last week.

GAO reports about corruption in the H-1B program.

The National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators report for 2006 raises a number of red flags on issues that indirectly contribute to the problems addressed by SKIL. The NSF reported that most 4th, 8th, and 12th graders did not demonstrate proficiency in math and science knowledge and skills taught at their grade level.

As NSF points out, while students on temporary visas in the United States earned a small share (4%) of Science and Engineering degrees at the bachelor's level they earned double that number (8%) of bachelor's degrees in computer sciences in 2002 and 7% of those engineering.

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