As reported a few weeks ago in Federal Computer Week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a study that drew the conclusion that a significant percentage of H-1b holders did not fulfill the purpose of the H-1b. The SSA specifically pointed to persons who received wages from an employer, other than the H-1b sponsor and another group of H-1b workers who received no wages at all. The findings are interesting however, the conclusions are at best dubious without more information. Of those H-1b holders who did not earn wages, how many remained in the U.S. ? During the period of time studied, the U.S. economy was in the middle of a fairly large recession and many H-1b workers returned overseas to work for the overseas offices of their international employers. Many others were simply laid off and returned home with the hope that when the economy improved, they could return to the US on their valid H-1b visas and resume employment. In addition, it is a common practice among larger employers to file for H-1b workers that may be needed on a US based project on a sporadic basis but, due to factors such as the H-1b quota, a draconian interpretation of the L-1 visa, and the complete bastardization of the B visa, the H-1b is the only vehicle available to insure that a key employee can be brought to the U.S. when needed. Were any of these factors considered by the SSA ? As for H-1b workers who received wages from an employer not approved by the USCIS, I can think of numerous scenarios under which an H-1b holder may work for an employer not approved by the USCIS. How about persons who are using the portability rules and transfer to a new employer while the I-129 petition is pending ? Or a person who changes employers while using an EAD after their I-485 has been pending for more than 180 days, commonly referred to as an AC21 transfer ? Or how about the common scenario of a corporate merger, acquisition, name change, or re-ogranization where no new I-129 is required but, only an update of the LCA files ? Or how about the scenario when an employer starts using a payroll processing company or other BPO which results in pay stubs and W-2’s being issue under another name than that of the employer ? (This one always seems to stump the USCIS so don’t feel so bad SSA, you are in good company.) Maybe all of theses scenarios were considered but, based upon the past history of other reports on the H-1b program, I doubt it.