The principles of US labor migration include:
ensuring the admission of foreign workers on a scale that ensures a more balanced domestic labor market and does not harm the employment and earnings of US citizens and other residents of the country;
stimulating, through the establishment of visa quotas, entry to America for highly qualified specialists, foreigners with exceptional abilities, as well as people of rare professions;
countering the uncontrolled influx of foreign labor. Labor migration to the United States is carried out under strict government control. It is allowed within the limits necessary to maintain the required balance in the national labor market. US immigration law clearly defines the groups of foreign citizens in whose work the American society is most interested.
priority specialists (foreigners with outstanding abilities in science, art, education, sports, famous professors, scientists and specialists, managers and executives working in international companies (28.6% of the total quota for labor immigration);
foreigners with an academic degree or exceptional ability (28.6% of the total number of labor immigrants);
skilled workers, professionals, and other categories of migrant workers on jobs for which there are no qualified workers in the United States (28.6% of total labor immigration visas).
US immigration law stipulates that “nonimmigrants” entering the United States for temporary work qualify for the following main groups:
workers with outstanding abilities and exceptional merit (primarily in the field of science, art and religion);
persons entering temporary work under contracts with American entrepreneurs; they are divided into two subgroups – temporary agricultural workers and workers of other specialties;
interns who come at the invitation of American companies;
persons working in representative offices and branches of American companies, employees of foreign companies that have opened their representative office or branch in the United States. There is another category of foreign citizens who temporarily enter the United States and have the right to work. These are foreign students studying in the United States or coming as part of exchange programs between educational institutions. At the same time, it is envisaged that the work of students should not be the main type of their occupation in the United States and can only be a source of a small “extra earning”. The structure of the unskilled labor force admitted to the national labor market is peculiar. In accordance with established practice, for every five temporary workers entering the H-2 visa, four are seasonal agricultural workers, employed primarily to harvest perishable fruits and vegetables. The bulk of the visitors in the H-2B category are seasonal workers in the service sector of resort cities and entertainment centers. Consequently, there are practically no industrial and construction workers in this group of temporary workers.
The US Immigration Program provides for a number of priorities in attracting and employing certain categories of temporary workers. Immigration policy consists in encouraging highly qualified specialists, persons of “exceptional merit and ability”, in curbing the influx of people entering the category of unskilled labor.
Specialists temporarily entering the United States have significant advantages over the unskilled labor force. These benefits boil down to the following:
foreign specialists do not need to obtain certificates from the US Department of Labor;
those who enter on the H-1 visa can do work that is both temporary (for example, lecturing) and permanent (for example, work in a research firm), and those arriving on the H-2 visa are entitled to do only that work that is temporary inherently;
H-1 visas can be renewed locally, while H-2 visas are issued for up to 1 year, after which the foreign worker must leave the United States, and in order to come again, he must go through the entire registration procedure again, including certification by the U.S. Department of Labor. These circumstances mean that, on average, more than two-thirds of the total temporary workers who enter the U.S. on an H visa each year are H-1s.