Fortune Magazine Promotes Bizarre H-1B Scheme — Pay Cities for Visas

By David North on June 2, 2023

Fortune Magazine, the sleek house organ of big, big business and once the flagship of Luce Publications, has printed an op-ed suggesting that employers wanting more H-1B workers should pay cities to receive H-1B visas.

This is the rough equivalent of turning over the Department of Defense to county sheriffs and putting foreign policy into the hands of governors — it is rank nonsense.

Although there is a possibly valuable element to the op-ed — to which we will return — author Ben Zweig, CEO of Revelio Labs, located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, talks about the “shortage” of H-1B workers and never mentions that they displace over half a million citizen workers.

He goes so far as to say: “Firms spend $5,000 to $10,000 more to hire H-1B visa holders than U.S. citizens”, without adding the obvious fact that the lower wages paid to the aliens rather than to citizens will pay back those employers the additional hiring costs in a matter of months.

He is so out of touch with immigration matters that he uses the term “non-immigrant” (his hyphen) when he means citizens and green card holders.

He goes on to say, against all evidence, that “Local municipalities are in the best position to determine the number of foreign workers they can absorb.” While state labor departments have some data in this area, cities and towns have none.

The one possibly useful element in Zweig’s op-ed is his statement that his firm’s research shows that “over 90% of the laid-off H-1B visa holders were able to secure new work that met the program’s rigid criteria. In fact, compared to native workers, immigrant [sic] workers found work 10 days faster.”

H-1Bs, of course, are not “immigrant workers”. They are nonimmigrants.

Given his inability to use the vocabulary of immigration, it would be interesting to know more about the underlying research done by his firm.

Revilio Labs is a small-scale H-1B employer. In 2022, according to the usually reliable Myvisajobs dataset, it filed five labor condition applications, then withdrew two of them. In the prior year it filed for a single LCA, and then withdrew it, too. Employers withdrawing these petitions are not supporting industry allegations that there is a shortage of such workers.