CowboyRobot writes: "American companies are demanding more H-1B visas to ensure access to the best and brightest workforce, and outside the U.S. are similar claims of an IT worker shortage. Last month, European Commission VP Neelie Kroes bemoaned the growing digital skills gap that threatens European competitiveness. But a new study finds that imported IT talent is often less talented than U.S. workers. Critics of the H-1B program see it as a way for companies to keep IT wages low, to discriminate against experienced U.S. workers and to avoid labor law obligations. In his examination of the presumed correlation between talent and salary, researcher Norman Matloff observes that Microsoft has been exaggerating how much it pays foreign workers. Citing past claims by the company that it pays foreign workers "$100,000 a year to start," Matloff says the data shows that only 18% of workers with software engineering titles sponsored for green cards by Microsoft between 2006 and 2011 had salaries at or above $100,000."