The new record retention policy may add to the criticism the U.S. has already faced over its immigration record keeping. Researchers have faulted government records for being error filled, inconsistently available and difficult to work with.
"Getting good data on the H-1B, and other visa categories, is a serious issue for researchers," said Daniel Costa, director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute.
While the Labor Department's LCA data "has generally been good," getting more accurate data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS ) takes a Freedom of Information Act request, which is a lengthy and uncertain process, Costa said.
USCIS data isn't all that great once you get it, Costa said, "because USCIS is a national embarrassment in terms of its data collection, in part because it's a paper-based agency that's living in the stone ages."
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