H-1B Visas Exhausted In Record Time; Think It's Time To Raise The Cap?

from the going-going-gone dept

Every year, the story is pretty much the same with H-1B visas, as tech companies quickly gobble them up, prompting the inevitable debate of whether more should be made available the following year. Everybody knew this year would be a mess, but in case there were any doubt that demand for these visas far exceeds their supply, the government has said that it's run out of them after only one day of availability. Employers now realize that there's no sense in waiting around and running the risk that they won't get alloted any, so they all apply on the first day. The fact that they're exhausted so quickly should make people realize that more should be made available, but there are some politicians who are completely opposed to the system, since they see it as just a way for companies to import cheap foreign labor. But their stance doesn't really hold up. For one thing, it's hard to imagine that companies would go through all of this trouble if it were just about saving money, as opposed to filling gaps in talent. Furthermore, if companies can't bring employees from abroad, then they'll just move more operations overseas, which is something these politicians would find even more troublesome. The real problem is that politicians see everything as a black or white, zero sum game. Some see it as foreign workers stealing American jobs, while others view it as greedy managers selling out American laborers to further line their own pockets. But these simple viewpoints don't capture the reality of the tech industry, which is far more dynamic. The US economy, and the tech industry in particular, benefits from from immigrant workers, while the traditional delineation between management and labor doesn't really apply in an industry where most workers have a large stake in the success of their firm.


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  1.  
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    El Marklar, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:31am

    this must be the dumbest line ever written by techdirt: it's hard to imagine that companies would go through all of this trouble if it were just about saving money. Uh, yeah...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    actually, if you read the entire post, you'll see it makes sense. If saving money were the only consideration, the jobs would be outsourced and offshored.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:44am

    some may have the talent
    but it sure is frustrating not being able to understand them

     

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    Gary, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    I spent a lot of time in company IT departmentss that employed H1 workers---well, actually, they didn't employ them, they just rented them from contractors who imported them and held them in a sort of peonage.

    Yhat's the system---agent companies dewal with the bureaucracy, the user companies just consider them cheap workers.

    The H1 system is supposed to help foreigners learn new skills her that they take back to their own countries. In fact, they are exploited for the skills they already have.

    The smart ones hire lawyers to free them from peonage or marry US citizens in order to get green cards the easy way.

     

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    Neal, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:59am

    Oh Please

    I hear this again and again but having worked with way too many H1B hires I can definitely say that IT IS ONLY ABOUT SAVING MONEY.

    The reason they don't ship it all overseas is because there is too much loss of control over the process and employees and that results in more time and thus more cost. What they want is to bring those workers over here so they can get much lower wages and keep closer oversight and control. That way they can easily discern the wheat from the chaff, keep the former at low wage, discard the latter with no penalties - thus lower overall costs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    Submitter must never have worked in IT...I've seen this happen plenty of times.

    Simple supply and demand; the more open positions employers have and the longer they stay open, the more they will have to pay for an applicant.

    As the pay scale goes up, more people enter the field.

    Keep outsourcing work and importing H1-B's and nobody will want to go into IT. And the people already there will want to leave.

    Hire some people and train them if you have too. There are plenty of experienced IT people looking for work!

     

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    This is lame, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:09am

    Are you kidding me?

    So I'm sitting here wondering if this person has ever even been involved in outsourcing, I doubt it.

    As has been said, it's all about the money. The H1B folks are either brought here, taught an American's job, and sent back offshore, or they are here to be the contact for the offshore teams.

    BTW, did you know companies get a large tax break for sending jobs offshore? Did you know that without this companies likely would not save enough money to make the investment worthwhile. Want to slow the bleeding of American jobs? Push congress and upcoming Presidential candidates to remove this corporate tax break.

     

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    Ron (profile), Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:09am

    Saving Money

    re: "For one thing, it's hard to imagine that companies would go through all of this trouble if it were just about saving money, as opposed to filling gaps in talent. "

    Umm, WHO cannot imagine that?!

    It's exactly about saving money. My company (actually, our outsoure "partner") does exactly that. The people brought in from offshore are paid SH*T wages for being here.

    The reason the companies do this is because it's very difficult to deal with offshore presonnel. Crappy phone connections, 12 hour time differences, language problems, the hassle of trying to collaborate with someone half a world away, all make for good reasons to have your people on shore and sitting next to you. If you can get them here AND pay them less than 1/3 of what you pay your regular onshore personnel, you will save money and improve productivity.

    That's the bottom line.

     

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  9.  
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    Max, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:20am

    When someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. In the case of H-1B it is also about control. When I first got the complete description of the legal and work conditions of a person under H-1B the odl term "indentured servant" came to mind. This is a program that needs to end along with the perverse tax incentives that make it appealing.

     

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    zamo, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:20am

    Re: Saving Money

    Which company is it? It should be informed to the DOL as it is illegal to pay BELOW the prevailing wage.

     

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    dorpass, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:21am

    Anyone actually works for internation company?

    Ok, this is just ridiculous. For the IT losers out there... you are NOT the only industry employing H1B workers. Semiconductor industry has been suffering professional shortages for the longest time. Many of them would love to hire more people here or outsource or bring more H1B, but there are just not enough of them ANYWHERE in the world.

    For people that claim there is no such thing as professional labor shortage, get your noses out of your butts and check out industries other than code monkeying.

    For Ron: I work with people in my company in 4 time zones, 12 hour difference is common, my phone lines and video feeds work just fine. Your claims about dealing with offshore personnel are just ignorant, if it was indeed that difficult, you wouldn't have all of semiconductor industry spread throughout the world, from Asia to America to Europe.

     

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    TheDock22, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:22am

    Not all companies....

    Some of you people work very crappy and deceitful companies if they pay lower wages to their H1B visa holders.

    Our company is willing to pay normal wages just to get the talent we need in the office. We have had positions open for awhile now and the programmers who come in to apply are not very talented or just do not seem that interested in moving to our company. Most of them expected us to send them code to work on so they can work from home and not have to move.

    Maybe if lazy American tech people would get off their butts and try to compete with some of the H1B visa holders we wouldn't have this problem.

     

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    Andrew W, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    The real tragedy

    At least as of 2005 (when I was doing some research on H-1Bs), the visa specifically covered fashion models as specialty workers. These doggone tech companies keep scooping up the H-1Bs, thereby preventing all six Bundchen sisters from moving to the U.S.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:31am

    Getting people elsewhere rather than training them at home always struck me as lazy

    A self reliant country makes a lot more sense in the long term.

     

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    TheDock22, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Why the hell should companies waste their time training people who have gone to school and gotten their degrees? Isn't that the colleges job? If there is an employee in India who has goneto school there and HAS all the skills plus more than a college grad from the US has, why should they both hiring the US guy? It's competition.

    That's like saying all companies should hire High school graduates and train them instead of hiring college graduates, because hiring the college grad is lazy on the companies part. Get a clue.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re:

    Not all jobs can be outsourced overseas. Some projects need frequent face-to-face meetings, especially in tightly knot face-paced jobs with quick turnaround. Example: Extreme Programming.

     

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  17.  
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    Pro, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    Tech

    It's not only about paying less money, but about control. People here on H1B fall in line very nicely and do what their managers say without question. Who do you want to hire? That guy or someone you have to pay twice as much that knows better than you? You say you want to hire people that question you? You're a liar.

    The foriegn talent is of lesser quality, and is causing the whole tech industry in the states to atrophy. Once people come in and are willing to accept less, the field itself becomes cheapened. Who in their right mind is going to go to college for EE or CS these days - it's hard, doesn't pay much, isn't well respected anymore (you're more like a mechanic - hell tech support is looked upon as higher than engineering these days), and you get absolutely zero perks (can't write shit off in taxes, pay for everything out of your taxed paycheck).

    Me? I'm sort of trapped - but i'm looking for a way out, believe me - you don't have to be a fortune teller to see that this future isn't easy living.

     

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  18.  
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    Steve Baumann, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    It's time to raise OUR number of tech graduates

    It's not time to raise the H-1b cap, it's time to raise the number of people from THIS country that are qualified for these positions, before we fall even farther behind in global tech leadership. Do we want to eventually be a country that can do nothing more than rent talent, with the end result being that all the knowledge that the H-1b workers gain, ends up going back to further the progress in their country? The reason H-1b was created was to enable us to fill positions from the outside, when there were NO OTHER OPTIONS for finding qualified candidates within our own borders. Now, companies are just using it as a (profit increasing) crutch. This will only increase if we expand the cap on how many visas we grant. Other countries are quietly laughing behind our backs at our continually backward, short-sighted mentality. Other countries have 100 year business plans and goals, and some companies here can barely look beyond the next fiscal quarter. Now, I'm not saying that the next fiscal quarter is not important, just that you can't sacrifice the next several years, just so you can meet that next quarter's earnings expectations. It's called BALANCE, people. Just my 4 cents worth (have to count for inflation).

     

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    Bruce, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:49am

    As a typical counter-example, look at Microsoft

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070226-8924.html

    It IS all about the money!
    I've yet to see anyone prove that the people to fill the positions are unavailable.

     

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  20.  
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    Alex, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    Well... as a person on H1B its rather interesting to read the comments. First of all, if a company isn't paying the prevailing wage to its employees, then its breaking the law. Second, do you even know the prevailing wage for your position? Usually it's lower than you think. Company that I work for pays me a decent salary, comparable to what is being paid around here for similar jobs. I got my degree here in states, and worked hard for it. It blows me away to see the people that graduated with me and can't put a decent line of code together get hired. Whoever said that there's a lot of American IT talent going around is wrong... We can't even fill the available positions at my company, and we're not that picky. The only talented guy I interviewed recently is going to be on H1B.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    We've interviewed 20 candidates for a programming position. We had a simply little programming test to give them and not a single candidate from the US was able to get it working, but two of the people overseas got it no problem.

    Is that enough proof?

     

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  22.  
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    Pro, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:59am

    Re: It's time to raise OUR number of tech graduate

    You are right. We need some sort of tax incentives to make a tech career more appealing. As it is, most other careers pay as well or better, offer more bonuses, and also allow people to spend less of their money through tax writeoffs or cheats.

     

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    dorpass, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:13am

    Re: Tech

    Say what?! EE's don't pay much?! CS don't pay much?! What planet are YOU from, "Pro?" EE and CS are some of the highest paid positions out of college and throughout career, just look up salary numbers. I am EE and my salary whoops on just about any of me non-EE friends and it's not even the highest among my EE friends.

    And foreign talent is of lesser quality... less than what? The non-existent, all-American engineer? You have got to be smoking something bad ass, because your statements have no support whatsoever.

    And Bruce, since you don't see any shortage of professional, can you please forward 4 test engineer resumes, 3 designer resumes and 2 product engineer resumes to me, we can't find any decent professional in US or any where else, so since you got a boat load ready to go, send them over.

     

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  24.  
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    H1B-er, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:18am

    Been there

    I came to the US under H1B 6 years ago. Not from the stereotyped countries. Not in IT. Came for my own engineering career, and had several job offers in several countries (my own country was on the brink of political collapse and civil war). The program has benefits and flaws. You are allowed to be paid x% under the prevailing wage and there is little DOL does - it is largely a rubberstamp process - easy to fake. In my case the pay was around 25% lower, and I ate it because you could be sent "back". I came in as dual intent - fully intending to get a green card, like a number of other H1Bs. (which I did based on my specialty qualifications - not an easy process to go through while the US places greater importance in reuniting families, a majority unskilled, than actually improving the skills base inside the country.) I left my H1B co as soon as I could after getting the GC.

    Yes, outsourcers abuse the system, some others too. However we are not all on our way to distinguished careers in Indian outsourcing centers. Some of us came here to make a contribution and have a great career. Where I work now 40 highly (and lower) skilled people have jobs because of me. Innovation knows no boundaries, business enviroments are just easier in some countries. Unless the definition of "specialty worker" encompassed more than a half assed associates' degree and slave wages (that is the reality) are stopped, the abuse will continue.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:19am

    Half of the engineering graduates are foreigners. Where are the talented americans? We recently have a position open for fresh phds. All the resumes we got are foreign students which will need h1bs.

     

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  26.  
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    Shane C., Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:24am

    Hello! Welcome to the real world!

    Not about money? In some specialty cases, I’d say, yea, you are probably correct.

    Unfortunately that’s not the case, most of the time in the tech realm. I used to work for a large company (aka: big blue) that hired a ton of H1B visa employees to fill contractual requirements. Most of these people were hired in to fill a SA position, but were titled “junior SA” so they could pay them 1/3 the cost. For the most part they were clueless.

    Two things came into play that facilitated their hiring. First, the company was being paid to have a warm body in that position. If they could do it at a third of the cost, well, let’s just say my wonderful boss (-itch) could increase her bonus for that quarter.

    Second, the cost of actually obtaining the H1B didn’t come out of her budget. The legal department paid for all the associated costs. That was fine with them, because they could then justify getting more money in their budge, “because they had so much more business.”

    In the long run, it may not be about the bottom line, but it’s always about money, to someone.

     

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  27.  
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    billy, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    Agree with #18

    We really do just need to up our schools in general. Some states have some good ones, some don't. And the problem with all of them is that they are basically like an entrenched business. They don't seem to change to be always up to date. The ones that do, and hell, even the ones that don't, cost WAY too much to our own citizens. Why is it that foreigners can come in and get scholarships and full rides all the time, but we don't? We should be letting them pay for our college, seriously wtf.

    Increasing our number of professionals is the only way the US will still be on top in 10 or so years.

    But I suppose if those in power actually cared about our own nation, they wouldn't make as much money (which is really the only thing that matters to them). To those in power who want to kill or lessen the H1B, GO FOR IT!!

     

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  28.  
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    Immigrant, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:00pm

    Isn't it odd...

    that politicians want to crack down on LEGAL H1-B immigrants while working to grant amnesty to all the illegals?
    I am an immigrant myself, originally on an L1-B which means I was employed by a US company overseas who sponsored my visa. I am still employed by the same software company 10 years later and now have a green card, also sponsored by the company. My company also sponsors many H1-B visas and as far as I am aware pays them about the market rate.
    I have said many times in the past 10 years that the biggest problem this country faces is the failure of the education system to produce enough tech graduates. America needs to face the fact that it is no longer prmiarily a manufacturing country, manufacturing jobs are dwindling while tech workers are in short supply. We need to get the kids interested in technology and motivated to learn if we are to compete in the global workplace.

     

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    Immigrant, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:23pm

    Isn't it odd...

    that politicians want to crack down on LEGAL H1-B immigrants while working to grant amnesty to all the illegals?
    I am an immigrant myself, originally on an L1-B which means I was employed by a US company overseas who sponsored my visa. I am still employed by the same software company 10 years later and now have a green card, also sponsored by the company. My company also sponsors many H1-B visas and as far as I am aware pays them about the market rate.
    I have said many times in the past 10 years that the biggest problem this country faces is the failure of the education system to produce enough tech graduates. America needs to face the fact that it is no longer prmiarily a manufacturing country, manufacturing jobs are dwindling while tech workers are in short supply. We need to get the kids interested in technology and motivated to learn if we are to compete in the global workplace.

     

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  30.  
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    George, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    Been there, done that

    I worked for an international telecom company about 5 years ago. When they got in their first H1Bs the middle managers, (who don't want THEIR jobs to move overseas thank you very much), figured out that H1Bs will:
    - work at the base salary, (no incentives, raises or bonuses necessary)
    - work nights and weekends
    - cut corners on quality and security if asked, (not out of a lack of pride but out of fear.)

    Compared to the Americans who demanded things like weekends, comparable pay for quality work, and that the product live up to a standard, well... they couldn't fire us fast enough.

    The only consolation is that the quality of their products got so poor, (once again, not because the H1Bs were stupid, they just couldn't stand up to bad requirements), that the office was eventually closed and those manager were let go.

    The reality is that the people who make the decisions at the companies aren't necessarily the "big picture" guys and so most definitely, "just saving a little money" is a big motivator for them. Having employees who will grovel at your feet is just a side benefit.

     

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  31.  
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    Jack Butler, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Isn't it odd...

    Damn leave it the immigrant to get it right!
    We need to stop complaining about Visa's and tech jobs going oversea's! If we need to complain then let's target our sorry educational system that hold's talented youth back, not because of other children struggling to keep up but because our teachers are some of the worst imaginable. I challenge anyone to honestly count the number of great mentors you've had in school. Your a lucky one if you reach five.
    We need smarter and better teachers. Maybe we should look at bringing foreigners in to teach our children, they will make better money and the education levels will rise!

     

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  32.  
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    White Minority, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:40pm

    What a load of shit

    The "Cheap Foreign Labor" argument does hold a lot of weight.

    I am the only white guy at an otherwise completely Indian Company. They hold the H1-B over peoples heads like some kind of dagger. No one dares ask for better benefits or higher pay or cost of living pay increases for fear of not getting an H1 and/or losing resident status and being sent back to India. Believe me. This is what *most* companies do to their foreign employees. They wave a bit of freedom in their face to get them to agree to what amounts to slave labor with a paycheck. They get treated like shit and take it because they're only other option is to go back to India.

    I have seen a lot of bad shit at this company and don't plan to hang around much longer than my contract says I have to.

     

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    Ferin, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    Not a great idea, for engineers anyways.

    SPeaking as a recent engineering graduate who's been out of college for about ten months, I don't think we need to bring more professinals over here, we need to start hiring people here.

    I've had about 20 interviews now, and each one has had at least 10 other applicants. My last interview I was up against 12 other people, one of whom was a fifteen year veteran of ford who got laid off and was looking for anything to feed his family. As far as I'm concerned they ought to consider lowering the caps, considering the current job market. This isn't about "feriners takin er jobs", it's about a glut of engineers in the market.

     

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  34.  
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    Work Ethic, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 1:13pm

    Lazy Americans

    Americans are getting lazier and lazier. Nobody wants to work hard and the numbers of people getting REAL educations isn't increasing proportionally to the demand. On top of that Americans have always wanted to work less, and get more.

    Ya ya, college graduates are on the rise but most people graduate with stupid degrees that mean nothing in the real world. So where do companies look to fill in the increasing hole of technically able Americans? Other countries. Places where people aren't spoiled brats and work their butts off. So if Americans are going to stay competitive in the future work force......get off your butts and DO something with your lives.

     

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  35.  
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    Vinay, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    I think you have the J-visa mixed up with the H-1B. The J's the trainee one.

     

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  36.  
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    Jess, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re:

    A College Degree means nothing, really. In the IT field its all about the certifications you can get. Because more certs means more money. And some companies are starting to realize its a sham. Having one person who's certified in this and that should be okay. But the thing they need foremost is training. And yes it is ALL about lowering the costs. Because we Americans can't think. We want higher pay but lower costs. The ONLY way to provide that is to go outside the country or bring foreign nationals into the country and pay them at an interns wage. You want to speak to an American? You better be willing to pay the price.

     

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  37.  
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    techdirtReader, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    compromise

    A compromise solution seems pretty clear. In return for raising the cap, we need a system that gives the foreign labor more freedom. An H1 visa should be treated like a free agent. Take away the employee sponsorship. An H1 should be able to easily switch jobs, just like Americans. An H1 should be able to be unemployed for some period of time without being kicked out. This will reduce the employers ability to underpay them and treat them like indentured servants.

     

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  38.  
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    TheDock22, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Not a great idea, for engineers anyways.

    As far as I'm concerned they ought to consider lowering the caps, considering the current job market. This isn't about "feriners takin er jobs", it's about a glut of engineers in the market.

    Have you tried looking for jobs elsewhere in the US? Like Maybe Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho? These states are now starting to get into the technological swing of things. Engineers and Tech people are badly needed.

     

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  39.  
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    Gubatron, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Not a great idea, for engineers anyways.

    I don't know what are you talking about, I'm here on an H1B, and every month I get over 15 invitations to interview for IT companies, this country needs talent.

    here where I work, I'm lucky enough not to have my H1B as a dagger on my neck, and we're willing to hire talent, no matter where its from, if its american better, less hassle, but sometimes companies have a need of people that have very special skills and you just feel like its very hard to get them right here, most of the good people are taken, or they're way too expensive cause they know they're pretty good.

    And H1B's are supposed to be paid fairly like an american employee, the H1B is not for people to come and "learn" skills here, its actually a "Special Skilled Worker" visa, you get it because you already have the skills that a company couldn't find in previous attempts to hire american citizens.

    The IT market is awesome at this moment, there's way too many jobs.

     

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    techdirtReader, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

    thank you #39 for confessing that its about money

    "I'm lucky enough not to have my H1B as a dagger on my neck, and we're willing to hire talent, no matter where its from, if its american better, less hassle, but sometimes companies have a need of people that have very special skills and you just feel like its very hard to get them right here, most of the good people are taken, or they're way too expensive cause they know they're pretty good."

    I wish more pro hb-1 people were this honest. The paragraph above is an honest confession: Your employer pays below market rates. The only prospects who accept such rates are HB-1 employees.



    "And H1B's are supposed to be paid fairly like an american employee"

    That not an accurate description of your employer. Your employer's description should read:

    "We underpay H1B's. We would underpay american employees equally if we could find them"

     

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  41.  
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    Sal, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 7:51pm

    Bull!!!

    No that is EXACTLY what it's about. Of COURSE the companies are trying to save a buck. Just saw today that they pay an average $12,000 a year ($5.76 an hour) LESS than the median salary for others in the same job. Yes companies are sending jobs overseas but let's stop letting them train these people over here first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Clark Westfield, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 6:11am

    No Americans want the jobs

    I work for a large Wall Street company and we have several open programming positions in my department, all paying between $90K and $200K. We are making a concerted effort to hire Americans to diversify our workforce, even going so far as to lower our standards a bit to give them a leg up (affirmative action for Americans over Asians; who'd a thunk it?). Our main problem is that for every 20 resumes we get, we *might* get one from a local American, and that person is usually one of the least qualified for the job. We're trying really hard bring many offshored jobs back to the US but we can only hire from the candidate pool we get, and local Americans are not really in that pool anymore. What are we supposed to do?

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    Amen. I'm a former IT employee who left the field after 11 years for precisely this reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Pro, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 8:21am

    Re: No Americans want the jobs

    200K isn't shit in NYC. Myself, and most Americans don't want to double or triple up in a studio apartment - you'd be paying more if the foriegners didn't mind living like that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    Wizard Prang, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 9:04am

    Another perspective from an ex-H1-B holder

    I left Britain to come to the US in 1994. First as an H1-B, then as a Green-Card (odd name, considering it's pink!) Applicant, now as a Legal Permanent Resident.

    At the time I arrived there was high demand for tech folks; I was not exploited... though I have had a manager threaten to replace me with a team of Indian Programmers (I called his bluff and asked him if he could communicate with them. He backed down and mellowed out). However, I have heard a lot of horror stories, and met several Indian H1-B workers who have been abused by their employers.

    Do we really need more talented people, or are we just looking for cheap labor? I think it is a mixture of both. The INS/DoL need to perhaps be a little more proactive in policing H1B abuse, and there needs to be some kind of whistleblower legislation. The Corporations may not like that, but it should be part of the deal when you hire H1-B workers.

    Is imported talent better? In many cases I believe that it is. While there are many intelligent and well-rounded Americans I have have also met many who were so apparently undereducated that they left me wondering where they purchased their degree. To a great extent this is due to the priorities of the colleges; after all, this is the only nation on the planet where most Universities are more synonymous with sports teams and parties than with academic excellence.

    What kind of country do we want to live in? Given a choice between a million uneducated Mexican illegal aliens (Dictionary Note: if you have not been through Immigration you cannot truthfully call yourself an immigrant!) or a hundred thousand Indian Engineers and Programmers, I would opt for the latter (they pay more taxes and burden the system less).

    With all of its problems, this is still a country where people are literally dying to get in. We should continue to leverage that to pick the top talent.

     

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  46.  
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    Wizard Prang, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    I hate to admit it, but he's right...

    ...I would not move to NYC for 200k. Not worth the massive drop in quality of life.

     

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  47.  
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    Pro, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 11:10am

    Recap

    So let's recap. Anyone feel free to tell me where I'm wrong:

    -Foriegners tend to not demand the same quality of life as your average american
    -Foriegners thus accept lower salaries
    -Foriegners now know how to code
    -This causes the profession to be 'cheapened' and less respected
    -Engineering is looked upon similarly to your auto mechanic
    -Companies would rather hire a horde of cheap labor and throw together a product, and instead spend their money on a larger and more expensive sales and marketing team.

    So the bottom line is, whereas I used to impress the hell out of people as a kid because I had the ability to understand things that they couldn't, I went to school with the idea that if I could do something really hard better than anyone else, that I'd make a lot of money doing it. Now you'd have to be a hard working fool to go after an engineering degree.

    How many other people on Wall Street are making less than 200k? What does your secretary make?

     

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  48.  
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    Clark Westfield, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 10:41am

    Re: Recap

    So you don't want to work for $200K on Wall St. because that's too low, for a programmer?

    That sounds like sour grapes to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Pro, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Recap

    Call it what you want. My point is simply that the hard work involved in getting an engineering degree just isn't worth it - because it doesn't demand a salary that allows for a high quality of living.

    Am I sour about it? Yeah - I am. I like to believe that hard work pays off. As it turns out, I should have cruised through liberal arts and been pushing mortgages for the last few years. I'd be golfing right now instead of in my cubicle.

     

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  50.  
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    Francois, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 5:35am

    A real problem for the film industry

    I work in the film industry for years now, and the H1B visas has
    been a problem for years, we work on quite short term contracts
    1-2 years max usually and move from one country to another
    depending on where work is. and the quota and disponibility of H1b visas has been a real struggle for the companies.
    Working in Australia now, it struck me when the new E3 visa
    (US working visa for Australians) came into action to see SO MANY US Companies running full hiring conferences here to be
    able to get people over there...
    I understand that raising the limit of H1B could be a problem
    at some point but for some industry it is a real problem as well...

     

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  51.  
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    barry, Jul 15th, 2007 @ 8:11am

    Re: GARY

    I have an H1B, I'm not here to "learn" new skills. I am here teaching Americans how to do things correctly. Its called transfer of skills, to enable American companies compete in the world. (Yes there are other countries in your world).
    The vast majority if not all H1 applicants have to show they have the education and skills to carry out their function, otherwise they are not allowed here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
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    Darren, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Foreign stuff

    I'm a foreigner who got my university education in the states and while we can find a few cases that break the trend, the foreign people in the undergrad computer science program were noticeably better than the American students. I'm can't really comment on talent as I couldn't really evaluate that but they were not anywhere near as driven to get the stuff done. Now that I'm a grad student it's even worse, there aren't much American students to even speak of them nonperforming. One of my classes last semester had about 60 people and only three were American. I have friends who were excellent in undergrad and one who was good in grad and work for good companies but excellence from the American students is not as widespread in computer science as it is from the foreigners. Will this trend be magically reversed when we graduate and go into the working world?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
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    Frustrated, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Not just about IT

    H1-B applicants are not just technology workers. Yes, they do make up the majority, and yes, many may come from a different background conversationally, but open your mind to the fact that other individuals may be trying to enter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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