The Battle Over H-1B Visas Heats Up With Conflicting Reports

from the take-your-pick dept

Last year, the supply of H-1B visas given to skilled foreign workers to work in the US, was exhausted after a single day, leading to many calls for the program to be expanded. As we get closer to this year's eligibility period, the expectation is for a similarly quick exhaustion of visas, so it's no surprise to see people rushing out studies that are both pro- and anti- H-1B extension plans. First, comes the controversy over newly released data pointing out that many of the companies who received the most H-1B visas happen to either be headquartered or have much of their operations based in India. Of course, the whole point of the H1-B is that these workers are in the US, so it's not entirely clear why it matters who the firm is. However, it does suggest that this may involve a situation where these firms are abusing the program and are not, as is required, first looking for qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Yet, just because some firms are abusing the program, it does not mean the program itself is a bad idea.

Meanwhile, Slashdot points us to an article claiming that there is no IT worker shortage, as some have claimed. The article is fairly balanced, looking at a few different recent studies that suggest there isn't a shortage -- though, there isn't much of a surplus either. It tries to reconcile the fact that companies are having difficulty hiring workers (which is undeniable) by suggesting that the problem is more with the hiring process than with the labor supply. Of course, that's just one interpretation. Another might be that many of these studies are counting all "IT workers" as equal, meaning that someone with obsolete skills or who is not particularly good, is considered the equivalent of a programming hotshot. The problem many firms are finding these days isn't that it can't find techies, but that the techies they're finding just aren't that good or qualified.

Finally, on the flip side of the coin, a study has come out dismantling the claims that H-1B visas tend to cost Americans jobs. Instead, it found the opposite was true: H-1B visas tend to create more American jobs. This is only counterintuitive if you believe that the labor market is a zero-sum game. However, as we recently noted, it is not. Bringing good workers into the US helps create more jobs here, because successful local companies help grow the economy and require even more workers. This is supported by the study, which found that for each H-1B visa issued by companies, five additional hires were made as well. With smaller companies, it was even more drastic, showing seven new hires. Furthermore, the study dispels the notion that H-1Bs are only used by companies looking to save money. It notes that when companies are facing hard times, they reduce the number of H-1B applications, suggesting that they're not being used to save money. If you've ever gone through all the paperwork (and lawyers fees) needed to hire an H-1B, you'd recognize that it's hardly a cheap or efficient process.

In the end, though, it's not hard to figure out the best path forward. The key is recognizing the simple fact that the labor market is not a zero-sum game. Bringing strong workers into the US, rather than having them compete from overseas, is much more likely to create more new jobs in the US. It shouldn't be difficult to understand this fact, though we always get angry comments from people who have trouble grasping it. It shouldn't be that complex however: if a company is doing well, it will need to hire more people. A company doesn't do well by letting the best available people (the ones who help them do well) work in other countries. This doesn't mean that it's okay for firms to abuse the H-1B process, but we need to separate the abuses (no matter how widespread) from the program itself. The goal should be to get as many smart, qualified workers working in the US, helping to expand our own economy, rather than working against it.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Petréa Mitchell, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    The study we really need...

    ...is one looking at hiring criteria that will say what percentage of IT jobs aren't being filled because of impossible requirements like 10 years' experience in Ruby on Rails. It seems like this point always gets raised in objection to assertions of a skills shortage, and it never gets addressed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 4:35pm

    I own a successful IT consulting firm. We utilize a lot of H1B labor help. From my experience however, a majority of the H1B workers are severely under qualified. Their skills in comparison to the US contract labor market is apples and oranges. I don't think this is a representation of the skills coming out of foreign countries, it would just be nice if H1Bs were awarded to the most qualified applicants vs. the body shops that tend to get in line first. Also, we've seen major attrition problems with these resources where folks will jump in the middle of a project to another contract paying $1 more an hour. I feel some legislation should be put in place where if this behavior occurs, their visa should be revoked.

     

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    Mark Murphy, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 4:47pm

    Maybe Not A Zero-Sum Game, But Definitely More Lik

    While I generally agree with Mike, this is one where I think more analysis is required before it is safe to leap to his conclusion. His concluding paragraph feels like he's looked one move ahead in chess, and we may need to think further than that.

    From my standpoint, "the study we really need" is one charting the incoming experience level of the H-1B recipients vs. the duration of their stay in the US.

    If the chart shows that we're bringing in a ton of experienced folk, or that they're staying here for the long haul, then perhaps Mike's reasoning is correct. If, on the other hand, the H-1B recipients are under-skilled and leave once they acquire the skills, then the US is losing out big-time. It feels like Mike is assuming that the H-1B recipients are "strong workers", and I'd like to see more analysis on that point. And even if they're strong, if they don't stick around for more than a couple of years, the US hasn't gained that much.

    Lou Dobbs hit on this topic in _Independents Day_, albeit more focused on university education. His argument was that if we are bringing in tons of international students, giving them an education, and then losing them back to their home countries, that's a net loss for the US. We could have been training people who would be staying and helping the US financial and knowledge economy.

    Now, if there were sufficient quid pro quo — lots of American students studying abroad and returning, or lots of American entry-level workers getting up-skilled abroad — then it would be a wash. Anecdotally, it feels like more foreign students and workers are coming here than Americans are going over there, but I may be wrong about that.

    And, of course, in a world full of multinational and transnational companies, it's hard to say what country gets the economic impact from any given educational or entry-level work experience.

    In short, I don't think it's nearly as simple as how Mike portrays it in his final paragraph. It may be he is right in the end, but there's a whole lotta more work that needs to be done to confirm that.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Maybe Not A Zero-Sum Game, But Definitely More

    If the chart shows that we're bringing in a ton of experienced folk, or that they're staying here for the long haul, then perhaps Mike's reasoning is correct. If, on the other hand, the H-1B recipients are under-skilled and leave once they acquire the skills, then the US is losing out big-time.

    This is a good point -- but I'll make two points in response. First, the purpose of the H-1B system is to bring in skilled workers with advanced degrees in engineering or science. So they should *NOT* be under-skilled. If they are, then that's an abuse of the system.

    Second, even granting you the premise, I am not convinced that the scenario is bad for the US. We would still be getting 6 yrs or so of productive work from the visa holder, and that work can certainly help increase the overall economic pie.

    Furthermore, there are additional intangibles, even if the person eventually goes back to their home country, they bring with them ties to people back in the US that could lead to future business for the US firms.

    I'm not saying they always will, but these are things that would also need to be taken into account.

    Lou Dobbs hit on this topic in _Independents Day_, albeit more focused on university education. His argument was that if we are bringing in tons of international students, giving them an education, and then losing them back to their home countries, that's a net loss for the US.

    I have trouble taking Lou Dobbs seriously on anything having to do with immigration. He seems to have a blind spot to even the most basic fundamentals of economics.

    That said, if these foreign students are paying for their education, then what is the loss? I'm assuming foreign students are not getting financial aid from the US gov't? Right? Furthermore, again, these students are likely to make connections in the US that can be useful for future business relationships.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:34pm

    International students for advanced degrees usually will get financial aid from the school, either as research assistants or as teaching assistants.

     

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    Jeremy, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Re: Maybe Not A Zero-Sum Game, But Definitely

    Mike,

    I have one problem with your response. Having people here for 6 years doesn't necessarily mean that they are helping much to increase the overall economic pie (in the long-term). In my experience(not making a generalization about all H-1B holders), most of the people I have worked with/known that have an H-1B save most of their money or send it overseas. Also, most of them are just saving enough money to move back to their country as soon as possible.
    While I'm all for immigration (both of my parents family's immigrated to the U.S.), I'm against people coming to this country, making as much money as possible, and then leaving the country as quickly as they can. That doesn't help with long-term sustained economic growth.
    I think that to get an H-1B form, you must live in the country for at least 10-15 years following the time you receive it.

     

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    Clueby4, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:44pm

    "separate the abuses" with magic kool-aid?

    "separate the abuses" with magic, or just more propaganda about how good and wholesome the H1-B visa program should be portrayed.

    From the word go, hhe H1-B visa program was flawed and easily exploited. How exactly do you "separate the abuses" when such abuses are intentionally built/designed into the program.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    International students for advanced degrees usually will get financial aid from the school, either as research assistants or as teaching assistants.

    That's not financial aid -- that's work that they're getting paid for.

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:54pm

    Re:

    "I feel some legislation should be put in place where if this behavior occurs, their visa should be revoked"

    Hey, fuck you, dude

    maybe it is you and your shitty "consulting" business who should be punished here

    H1Bs is the modern equivalent of slaves in America

    Maybe if slavery is abolished and those H1B folks are legally allowed (by getting them green cards in the first place) to say GFY to employers like you then we could have a real labor market for IT workers and companies like yours based on cheap unqualified labor would go out of business

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 11th, 2008 @ 5:58pm

    Re: "separate the abuses" with magic kool-aid?

    "separate the abuses" with magic, or just more propaganda about how good and wholesome the H1-B visa program should be portrayed.

    Er how about by not allowing the abuses any more? The program is supposed to only allow jobs to highly skilled workers if there aren't equivalent American workers available. Now, clearly many companies skirt, bend or outright flaunt those rules. So the way you stop abuses is by cracking down on the companies that to do that and make sure others live up to the rules.

    To think that you can't separate out the abuses from the legitimate cases is folly. There are many legitimate uses and users of H-1Bs. To throw out those uses because some firms abuse the process makes no sense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:03pm

    I am an international student - well, I was. I indeed studied on Uncle Sam's pocket, at the most prestigious school in engineering. It is beyond my understanding why laws make it so hard to hire people that are trained in the US, with education paid with US taxes. Some companies, knowing that you need a visa wont even talk with you, others will make it very difficult for you to get hired.

    It is even more complicated to access a permanent residency status, with a cost upwards of 25K to be shouldered by the employer. So, there is little incentive for the company to sponsor a worker for permanent status, and for the employee to stay on the longer term, and continue providing value to the economy.

    At the moment I am working with an H1B visa. I just changed employers, and it is costly for my new employer, and a huge source of uncertainty for myself. It is certainly an additional thing I needed to ask as part of my negotiation with them, and made me less attractive as a worker. Thanks God things worked out well in my negotiation, otherwise, I would have ended up returning to my home country, with a practically free top notch education, thanks to the unflexible US immigration legislation.

    H1B workers are taxed without representation. It is harder for us to assimilate, because the system does not want us to. All the paperwork filed insists on a 'non-immigrant' intent.

    There should be a merit based system with points, similar to Canada's. You would award points based on education, language, intention to stay, family, and other parameters deemed of interest. The applicants that rank above certain threshold would be granted a visa (obviously after a security background check). An intermediate category could be subject to a lottery in order to fill up a number of applications. Furthermore, H1B visaholders, that work and pay their taxes for a certain number of years should be converted to permanent residency on an automatic basis.

     

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    Mark Murphy, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Maybe Not A Zero-Sum Game, But Definitely

    First, the purpose of the H-1B system is to bring in skilled workers with advanced degrees in engineering or science. So they should *NOT* be under-skilled. If they are, then that's an abuse of the system.


    The phrase "advanced degrees in engineering or science" is meaningless. We have lots of people in the US with "advanced degrees in engineering or science".

    If the H-1B program brings in people who can do things we can't do domestically, or have a true shortage of people who can do, then it's a great system. If the H-1B program brings in what amount to straight-up replacements for who we already have, then I think it's a net loss for the US.

    After all, one of the articles you link to reported that students aren't enrolling in programs for "advanced degrees in engineering or science" because they don't think the jobs are there...and bringing in people on H-1B's won't help that perception any.

    We would still be getting 6 yrs or so of productive work from the visa holder, and that work can certainly help increase the overall economic pie.


    Again, only if they are capable of doing things that we aren't.

    Furthermore, there are additional intangibles, even if the person eventually goes back to their home country, they bring with them ties to people back in the US that could lead to future business for the US firms.


    Um, OK. That's a mighty slender limb you're climbing out on, though.

    That said, if these foreign students are paying for their education, then what is the loss?


    University educations are not infinitely-expandable goods. This is particularly true at the top universities -- they only admit so many people. You can't, say, double the size of MIT in a year.

    Furthermore, again, these students are likely to make connections in the US that can be useful for future business relationships.


    There's that limb again.

    I'm not saying your conclusion is wrong, I'm saying it's not a slam-dunk that it's right, like you implied in your closing paragraph. Heck, had you dropped the whole last paragraph from the original post, I wouldn't have quibbled about the piece at all.

    But in that paragraph, you slammed your readers — "It shouldn't be difficult to understand this fact, though we always get angry comments from people who have trouble grasping it" — yet you didn't make a convincing enough argument that the slam was justified. Certainly the articles you linked to didn't make the case for you.

    I sincerely hope the H-1B program is truly being used for its intended purpose, and therefore your conclusion (and slam) are truly justified.

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    "Meanwhile, Slashdot points us to an article claiming that there is no IT worker shortage, as some have claimed. The article is fairly balanced, looking at a few different recent studies that suggest there isn't a shortage -- though, there isn't much of a surplus either."

    For your info, we are entering a MAJOR recession in US, especially in IT

    People graduating from TOP US universities with BS and MS degrees in CS and EE are having EXTREMELY difficult time finding ANY job in the field.
    You need a reality check, pal
    Go to dice.com discussion board:
    those guys are very angry after being unemployed for a while

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:13pm

    The real test: change the price structure.

    The acid test for whether H1B's are needed would be to assess an excise charge on the H1B's. Make it so that H1B workers cost 10% more than a non-H1B worker. If H1B employees actually cost a little more than domestic workers then there wouldn't be a need to haggle over the cap every year. Employers would only request H1B's when they absolutely needed them. That is supposed to be the intent of the program to start with.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Yeah, "pal", and while you're grousing with the rest of the malcontents, ask them why they REALLY are so unemployable. I'll give you a hint-- it has nothing to do with visa holders. If they can't hold their own, tell 'em to try a McJob.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    People graduating from TOP US universities with BS and MS degrees in CS and EE are having EXTREMELY difficult time finding ANY job in the field.

    Funny, because we're still not seeing that here. Perhaps it depends on where those students are looking, but in the Valley there remains a very high level of demand for them. I know because I've been actively working with someone who has been trying to hire CS & EE grads from a top university and is having tremendous trouble hiring them, despite working for a large, recognizable tech company in Silicon Valley. They're handing out offers, but it's tough to convince the students to join because they're all getting multiple offers, and all the good ones are going to Google or Facebook. If you're not Google or Facebook right now, hiring top-notch CS students is very difficult.

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Give a nice blowjob to somebody and leave this discussion
    You have nothing to share
    Are you one of those korporate bean counters ?
    I hate those idiots

     

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    steveballmer, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!

    We proposed to the commission last year that IT workers have "Universal Passports"! Admit it, the regular laws must not apply to the IT worker! How else can we keep the Vista train running?

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    "but in the Valley there remains a very high level of demand for them"

    You are joking, right ?

    Maybe in Houston or Chicago there is some demand (for now, until recession hits full fource and streets are littered with qualified applicants)
    Valley is dead, considering cost of living
    And btw Facebook is CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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    Dan, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    >People graduating from TOP US universities with BS and MS
    >degrees in CS and EE are having EXTREMELY difficult time
    >finding ANY job in the field.

    Yea - mythical CS and EE grads laying around with no work options...Where do you live? I graduated in 2005 - I know lots of CS/EE and even MIS grads - no one is on unemployment. Everyone is making $40K+ starting.

    >Go to dice.com discussion board:
    >those guys are very angry after being unemployed for a while

    As far as I can tell - to be unemployed in the US with an IT related degree you need to be:

    1. Not very good - for a LONG time - it takes a long time to get rid of even marginally skilled people.
    2. Skilled only in something stupid and too lazy to learn anything marketable.
    3. Have a MAJOR personality flaw.
    4. Be completely unwilling to move or travel to where the work is.
    5. Mysterious inability to show up for work regularly.

    If your friends on Dice have problems landing a job - maybe they should spend less time crying on there and more time looking for work or upgrading their skills.

     

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    John, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    h1-b is just another way to lower cost. Large companies love it because bigger labor pool means lower wages. You can save thousands on each head count.

    I have managed 15-20 h1-b holders in past. Most of them have mediocre technical skills.

    However some H1-b application are legitimate like phd holders.

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Dude

    have you recently tried to change your current IT job ?
    Try it first and you'll know
    The situatuion you describe might be true 1-2 years ago, certainly very true 10 years ago, but completely untrue today

     

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    JohnOpincar, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:11pm

    H1B Aren't That Skilled In My Personal Experience

    I've been in IT a long time and worked with a lot of people from overseas. H1B in IT is more like indentured servitude. It's a scam and everyone in IT knows it. The people aren't more skilled and they certainly don't have more experience than locally available options. They are easily exploitable and they do return.

    Don't get me wrong here -- I know these people personally and consider many of them my friends. But H1B is just a ticket for some corporations to increase their profit margins at the expense of workers -- it's that simple.

     

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    craigs, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:17pm

    international students...

    ..with masters degree or higher in any field should be given a greencard pronto, if this country still wants to stay competitive

     

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    Dan, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Fair enough - I have been here for a bit less then 2 years.

    On the other hand my co-workers are leaving left and right for better jobs REALLY often (out of 150 people maybe 5-7 leave a month).

    The guys who I know from the ACM who are graduating this spring and in the fall all have jobs lined up.

    Also, I keep getting bona fide offers from the companies I consult for.

    I wish I knew any decent unemployed IT workers - I get like $5k+ for each one I bring in.

    Hell if you know several unemployed IT guys - start a company - if you are unemployed (and think you will stay that way) you have $0 of opportunity cost to worry about. Lock yourselves in a virtual room and do it the way H and P of HP did it. At least it would be time better spent then complaining on Dice (to other unemployed people - which is like networking but less useful)

    If you really think the IT career field is being killed by H1B's - get a couple stafford loans and go back to school and change fields...

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    "but in the Valley there remains a very high level of demand for them"

    You are joking, right ?


    Ah, angry dude. So like you to not admit that you might be wrong. Take a look at how many open jobs there are at Silicon Valley companies and ask any hiring manager here how easy it is to hire college grads and you'll learn just how wrong you are.

    The job market remains quite hot here.

    Again, that might not be true elsewhere, but in the Valley, it's tough to find good engineers.

    Valley is dead, considering cost of living

    And you know this from the other coast how?

    And btw Facebook is CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I don't disagree, but they're hiring like mad, and recent grads are flocking there. I wasn't making a statement on the quality of the product, just stating the fact that a lot of recent grads are going there.

    Though, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that you can't separate what the discussion is actually about from some totally unrelated comment.

     

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    Dan, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Re: international students...

    Exactly!

    Any foreign student (or any foreign person) with a graduate degree, and who has stayed out of trouble, should be offered a green card upon graduation (or upon request).

    If there is a problem with H1B's it is that we make the holders leave after 6 years.

    We (the US) should be trying to corner the market on smart people.

    Our economy - like any other - grows when we have more smart, hard working people living here, buying homes, buying cars, raising families, and paying taxes - no matter where they are from.

     

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    Jake, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:43pm

    Beyond The Economics

    I would theorise that a lot of the problems with the H-1B visa system are to do with attitudes towards immigrants, both positive and negative, and an unfortunate tendency to gravitate towards one extreme or the other. We have a similar debate raging more or less daily here; Britain's economy is becoming increasingly dependent on economic migrants from recent entrants to the European Union like Poland or Lithuania, and there seems to be a slight tendency for some employers to actually prefer foregin workers because of a perception that they're willing to work longer hours for less money. There is a certain amount of anecdotal evidence to back this up- a lot of the East Europeans I met during my time in the warehouse industry were there because they wanted to save up a few grand to start their own businesses or pay for college- but the range of skills and competence is rather broader than it's sometimes made out to be. Unfortunately, the inevitable backlash against that perception makes finding a middle way extremely difficult, especially since certain sections of society are only weighing in on the debate because they feel like a change of pace from demanding the expulsion of blacks and Jews.

    Jeremy's point is not without merit, but I would dispute that the long-term harm done to the economy by such practices is particularly severe, and in any case higher education in the United States -and to a lesser extent my own country- is run on a commercial basis; if the government wants to incentivise the intake of domestic students over international ones (and there are probably reasons why that's not a bad idea), I'm sure there are better ways to do it than making it harder for international students to get visas to attend courses after they've been accepted.

    Anyway, I would suggest that the best way to put a stop to the misuse of the H-1B visa might just be to convince employers to look a little harder before they give up looking for a candidate from the local area who doesn't suck.

     

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    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    How old are you ,dude ?

    25 ? 30 ?

    Well, talk to you in 10 years.....
    IT career is like sports with the only difference that you don't make nearly as much money to retire at 40 or even 50...
    After 50 you are done in IT. Make sure you save enough money (or at least get couple patents for yourself to make a switch from IT to litigation)
    Wonderful wonderful career !!!!

     

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    Le Blue Dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re:

    The problem is that compromise is necessary: And there are people who say 'no immigrants' this is a necessary first step. I hope we can take more.

     

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    Dan, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    >How old are you ,dude ?

    Late 30's - I went to school late - mostly to make sure I stayed employable once all of the semi-skilled keyboard pounding IT jobs moved overseas.

    >After 50 you are done in IT. Make sure you save enough money
    >(or at least get couple patents for yourself to make a switch
    > from IT to litigation)

    Not really. I know you hear it a lot, but that does not make it true. Sure, you don't find a lot of 50 year olds pounding out code - but it would be kind of sad if they were still doing that after 30 years in the industry.

    Obviously, like any other skilled job, those that did not keep current or move up the ladder fell by the way-side - that accounts for some of your perceived lack of 50 year olds in IT today. The rest is a combination of the people who did retire, the fact that 30 years ago the IT industry was a LOT smaller then it is now (there were less people - now they are spread thinner), and many of the employers did not exist even 10 years ago.

    In the "brick and mortar" companies of the world you see a lot of 50 year olds - less then 25 year olds, but again you should expect this in any growing field.

    >Wonderful wonderful career !!!!

    I think so, you have to love a meritocracy...Especially a global meritocracy.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Le Blue Dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Award for most incorrect way to debate someone's veiwpoint goes tooooooooo ANGRY DUDE.

    Dude, lern 2 dabate.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    JRo, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 9:28pm

    This is why I left the US after five years and moved back to Canada. I just couldn't take it anymore. I would constantly get "couldn't they hire someone in the US?" right to my face. Every year I had to defend myself at a TN renewal. Oh yah and I brought my nurse wife with me. The US doesn't need medical staff? If I'm not wrong wasn't the US and Canada built on immigrants? Its funny how fast people forget that there ancestors came by boat to these two countries a few hundred years ago. If demand for TN, H1B and green cards are out pacing the supply maybe there is a problem with the system? Until those issues are resolved I'll take my experience and knowledge to other countries. South East Asia has no problems with Canadian Engineers.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and statis

    Well, good luck to you, dude

    Code or no code, it's just hopeless when you are 50 and forced to compete in all of the latest technologies with new college grads
    Call it "burnout", it happens to everyone and it will happen to you, sooner or later

    Unless you move into project management you are done in IT after 50
    There are no 50 year old professional athletes
    Keep saving money dude and start thinking about some other career before it's too late

    Heck, you are already waaaay too old to work for Google or Facebook
    Trust me on this

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Bruce de la Vega, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    Skills

    That's odd, then, because in each of the last few years H-1B applications have been approved for over a hundred people who did not have the equivalent of a US high school diploma (USCIS: Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers).

    The US Department of Labor numbers show that most H-1B recipients are classified in the bottom quartile in terms of credentials, knowledge, and experience, i.e. they're newbies, not "highly skilled", and they're doing ordinary work, not work that requires skills unavailable anywhere in the USA. Indeed, the DoL strategic plan asserted that H-1Bs can be handed out even if more capable and willing US citizens are applying for the same job.
    http://wistechnology.com/article?id=4228

    You are correct to mention the international ties that form. Ron Hira has pointed out that H-1B visas are widely used to facilitate off-shoring, with one H-1B present in the USA for every 2 jobs set up over-seas. The H-1Bs and L-1s visa grantees act as liaisons, a means to obtain additional contracts, and a means to transfer knowledge from the USA to those at the off-shore facilities.
    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=how_guestworkers_promote_outsourcing

    For eign students receive financial aid from both state and federal governments. About 26% of foreign students' tution and fees are subsidized. It gets more complicated because tuition and fees are generally set so that they cover 25% to 33% of the total costs for their education, while the rest is covered by state and federal tax-victims. (This goes through cycles and there is variation from state to state.) This implies that the foreign student is paying 74% of about 30% of total costs, or about 22% of what their education costs, while US students are paying about 30% of the total costs of their education.
    http://www.nysun.com/article/70731

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and st

    >Code or no code, it's just hopeless when you are 50 and
    >forced to compete in all of the latest technologies with
    >new college grads

    There's the crux of the problem - You should be staying current because it is your job - not complaining about being "forced" to compete against new college grads. Really - if you can't compete with someone with 30 years less experience then you - you should go.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Bruce de la Vega, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:17pm

    Compromise

    Yes, I believe that compromise is necessary.

    First, we should cap L visas at 20K per year, cap F visas at 2K per year, cap H-1B visas at 1K per year, and H-2B visas at 1K per year, cap E-3 visas at 800 per year, with no exemptions, set-asides, variances, etc.
    Make the H-1B visa permanent, so as to end the abuse that currently takes place while the guest-worker is waiting for processing of green card applications.
    Then auction them off a few each month to the highest bidding sponsor/ applicant teams, with the minimum bid set so as to cover the costs for proper background investigations to be carried out (as they should be for every visa applicant).

    This will bring back some market discipline, help bring national security back to reasonable levels by reasonable means, would no longer encourage body shopping, and would encourage the use of H-1B and these other visas for welcoming the truly best and brightest to America instead of for facilitating off-shoring and driving down compensation in the USA.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Bruce de la Vega, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:23pm

    financial aid, subsidized work

    It's also work that a US citizen student could do just as well... if not as cheaply. NSF knew this when they lobbied for creation of the H-1B visa (and expansion of the F visa program). They explicitly stated that they felt that PhD salaries in science and engineering were too high, and advocated bringing in foreign students to hold down wages. NSF also stated that a consequence of this would be that Americans would not find PhD study financially attractive and thus would not pursue it. Their words:

    "A growing influx of foreign PhDs into U.S. labor markets will hold down the level of PhD salaries to the extent that foreign students are attracted to U.S. doctoral programs as a way of immigrating to the U.S.A. A related point is that for this group the PhD salary premium is much higher [than it is for Americans], because it is based on BS-level pay in students' home nations versus PhD-level pay in the U.S.A... [If] doctoral studies are failing to appeal to a large (or growing) percentage of the best citizen baccalaureates, then a key issue is pay... A number of [the Americans] will select alternative career paths... For these baccalaureates, the effective premium for acquiring a PhD may actually be negative."
    http://www.nber.org/~peat/PapersFolder/Papers/SG/NSF.html
    http://www.nber.org/~peat/Rea dingsFolder/PrimarySources/TimeLine.html
    Policy and Research Analysis Division of the NSF
    http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/pres/comments/numbers.html

    "A decade after lambasting the National Science Foundation (NSF) for botching a study of the science job market, Congress has asked the agency to once again take on the politically risky task of predicting how many high-tech workers the United States will need over the next decade... Nonetheless, such projections can spark a political fire-storm, as NSF learned after a 1987 study, led by Peter House, warned of a coming 'shortfall' of several hundred thousand scientists. After the forecast proved false, law-makers questioned the agency's reputation for dispassionate analysis (Science, 1992 February 14, p. 788)."
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol282/issue5395/s-scope.dtl
    1998-12-04 vol 282 issue 5395

    Gene Nelson
    http://psyche.uthct.edu/nes/wwwboard/messages/53.html

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Bruce de la Vega, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:35pm

    the H-1B program is a fraud and an abuse in and of

    Abuse and fraud cannot be separated from the H-1B visa program.

    It was created as the result of fraudulent talent shortage claims (which continue to this day without a scrap of credible evidence to bolster them).

    The abuse takes the forms of under-paying the visa grantee. This is done mostly by defining the "prevailing wage" requirement (rather than prevailing local market total compensation) in such a way that the visa-holder can be, by a number of means, legally paid 7% or 13% or 15% or 40% below the actual local market compensation for the kind of work and the credentials, education, talent and experience of the individual doing it. These numbers are from memory and based on various studies by university research teams, individual researchers as part of a professional association examination, GAO and the DoL Office of Inspector General, best summarized by Norman Matloff of UC Davis:
    http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/PrevWage.pdf

    And the abuse consists of the guest-workers, especially those with pending green card applications, being required to work extra hours without even straight-time pay.

    But mostly from being cowed from raising any objection to working conditions on threat of termination of sponsorship and deportation.

    And there's also quite a bit of abuse in the form of visa over-stays, which has caused an explosion of illegal aliens in Silicon Valley who are of Indian and Chinese extraction.

    Do a few searches, the articles and reports are not difficult to find.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Blade, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:49pm

    age discrimination

    The age cited should be 35; that's when age discrimination starts to kick in, now.

    As to "staying current", with the creation of the H-1B visa program, there were several practices that had been common which firms dropped:

    1. Willingness to fly in US citizens from around the country for interviews.

    2. Willingness to relocate capable US citizens from around the country and from one city where a company had a facility to another.

    3. Willingness to invest in education and training of both new-hires and retained employees.

    It was body shopping, and in particular cross-border body shopping made possible by E-3, H-1B and L visas, that precipitated these changes and reduced the proportion of US citizen new grads and experienced professionals who could quickly land and then keep real, full-time permanent jobs. It is extremely odd in that several studies have indicated that it takes an experienced computer worker about 2 weeks to learn an additional programming language or operating system. In contrast, most of the "new" stuff in the last 10-20 years has been a proliferation of frameworks (OK, and certain kinds of tools with proliferating options), many of which duplicate functionality, but which were alleged to provide easy to assemble building blocks per the OO philosophy. It can take anywhere from a week to 2 years to productively use a new framework.

    "U.S. engineers... [are] more creative, excelled in problem solving, risk taking, networking and [have] strong analytical skills..."
    http://www.kermitrose.com/econ200707.html#20070702

    "Dozens of employers asked to compare American engineers to their much-vaunted colleagues from India and [Red China] agreed that 'in education, training, quality of work, you name it, in every which way, Americans are better'. Even the best schools in those countries 'don't hold a candle to our best schools.', he continues. Newly hired American university graduates 'become productive within 30 days or so. If you hire a graduate of an Indian university, it takes between 3 and 6 months for them to become productive.'"
    http://www.kermitrose.com/econ200801.html#20080104

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Batman, Mar 11th, 2008 @ 10:52pm

    Re: international students...

    Nope. I've nursed too many students through master's and doctor's degrees to fall for that con.

    A mere PhD does not make one "best and brightest". You've got to do a lot more to qualify for that appelation.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe Not A Zero-Sum Game, But Definit

    You miss the point that while they're here making money, regardless of where they send it, they're doing productive work for an American (or American-based) company. That work helps the company grow, which creates more jobs, and more jobs in America are good for the American economy. Regardless of where the foreigner sends his earnings.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lies, damn lies and st

    "There are no 50 year old professional athletes"

    Yeah, they tend to become managers, announcers, or commentators...

    It's my understanding that if you're still doing the same thing after 30 years that you were when you entered, you've done something wrong.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    EngiNERD, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    How NOT to hire an American worker!

    H-1B is all about cheap labor!

    Haven't you heard about "TUBEGATE" thee infamous video, "How NOT to Hire an American Worker".
    Korporate AmeriKa (sic) does want to let you know what is happening in the job market!

    but if your interested..... go to
    www.youtube.com/programmersguild
    and for more
    www.eng-i.com/E-Newletters.htm

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    enginerd, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re: How NOT to hire an American worker!

    Correction

    www.eng-i.com/E-Newsletters.htm

    for the real news on H-1B

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:12am

    I have to agree HUMBLY to something another stated. I complain alot about alot of things, But I can agree that I alone own some of the reasons I have trouble finding work. Also from the other side, I was the only one in my class to get a cisco certification and when I heard them complaining that they couldn't find work, that is the first thing that came to mind, They went to school, got low scores and did not follow through on getting that certification or others that help. I am working contracts, have no bennies, but the money is good. I could complain and have, but I choose not to at this time. Degrees and certifications are good to have and a major plus, but if you don't have the desire to keep learning, stay teachable, Humble and stow that EGO - You and "I" will continue to have issues finding work. IT changes on a regular basis - Want to learn something and not have to learn it again. Go to work for McD - Otherwise OWN your life, Stop biatching about it and get it on track.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:14am

    OH - They Tuuk owr jobs!!!

    >^..^

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Cohen, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    The Congress should increase the quota three-fold or get rid of it altogether. Our economy needs these people. So, to all the racists and haters: get a job, go back to school, or shut up.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Fed Up, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    H1B and EB green card programs defraud Americans

    The recent Cohen & Grigsby *How not to Hire an American* videos on YouTube really just confirmed that many job ads and interview sessions are just sham processes set up for the sole purpose of obtaining employment-based green cards for H1B people who are ALREADY WORKING IN THOSE ADVERTISED JOBS. It is not just immigration attorneys doing it, either. Professional recruiting firms and consulting services vendors also facilitate this ongoing fraud in order to win or keep corporate accounts.

    At the very least, American job applicants in these cases should be informed that the jobs they are applying for are already being held by foreign workers on H1B visas. But, just like every other aspect of the H1 visa and EB green card programs, the essential details are intentionally hidden from the American public.

    The H1B visa program and the EB green card program work together to defraud American workers and drive them out of their chosen careers. This is just another reason to shut down both the H1B visa and EB green card programs.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    ricardo, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 7:36am

    europe from a mexican point of view.

    I have an engineering degree (electronics) from a mexican unviersity (im mexican, and you dont like immigrants specially us). Many of my friend are working in the us as engineers, and most of they say that some of the "american" engineers are not qualified (freescale, bmw, etc..). After i worked for 2 years in mexico, i went to france to study. There i got an engineering degree, and a masters degrees. My university in france had agreements with georgia tech (i dont know if its a good school or not) and they said people from the US stop commign because all of them failed (and in france you need a note of 10 from a total of 20), by the way, all the french guys who went to georgia tech said it was extremely easy).
    Then, i tried to find a job, and it was quite easy here in france. Tehy didnt care i wasn't french nor european, they sad it was great having people from everywhere (as long as they were qualified) so we can have different points of view, opinions, way of doing things). A prove of that is that in my company we are around 2100 people, with 65% of french guys and the rest are non-french, and between 5-10% non europeans. so they see clearly the advantage of having immigrants.
    Comming back to the mexican engineer working in the US, they are looking for jobs in europe (and not leaving the US to go back to mexico). For the salarys they begin at 40keuros, so around 60k dollars. (and we don't have to pay an extra health insurance, like in your film sicko).

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    ricardo, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    education

    One last thing, at the beginning, i wanted to go to the states to get a master degree. I asked for a scholarship directly to the universites, and they said that they couldn't offer it to me because i wasn't american. Most of the foreigners that study in the us have a scholarchip paid by their country, and not by the us government as someone said. By the way, in europe universities are almost free or free. In france you pass an exam, and according to your score you have the right to go to x school. Where i studied i paid like 1000euros a year, and the books were included in the fee!. In my generation, we were like a 100 , 30% were foreigners (20%chinese, 2% from latinamerica, and the rest from senegal, marroc, libanon, etc.), and most of them around 25% found a job in europe before finishing their studies.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Colleen, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Unemployment versus H-1B Program

    Dear Senator (or Congressman): The H-1B and L-1 guest workers programs have “RESERVED” millions of high-value jobs for citizens of foreign countries. And, We The People have a problem with these “Fake Job Ads” which consistently and routinely EXCLUDE United States Citizens during the hiring process… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cNnK2M4OTs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU http://www.numbersusa.com/index If you agree that United States citizens should be INCLUDED (rather than excluded) during hiring procedures, then We The People urge you to co-sponsor this legislation as follows S.2368 “SAVE Action of 2007” CRS Summary: http://tinyurl.com/yoy3eg (note: according to NumbersUSA, S.2366 is identical, see http://www.numbersusa.com/index ) S.1035 H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007 CRS Summary: http://tinyurl.com/yrneb9 HR 2538 Defend the American Dream Act of 2007 CRS Summary: http://tinyurl.com/2x7qb7 HR 2504 L-1 Nonimmigrant Reform Act CRS Summary: http://tinyurl.com/ytdvud HR 548 To establish a Congressional Trade Office (DeFazio) CRS Summary: http://tinyurl.com/2l39vr NOTE: To view the above legislation, go to http://thomas.loc.gov Under *Search Bill Text*, enter the Bill Number. Select the *Bill Number* button. Click the *Search Button* The truth is, there is no shortage of software engineers in this country. Nor is there a shortage of H-1B Visas nor foreign workers according to… 1) The Urban Institute 2) The Sloan Foundation 3) The Rand Corporation 4) Harvard University 5) Duke University 1) The Urban Institute Urban Institute report disputes shortage of STEM grads. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand http://news.cenews.com/article.asp?id=1035&page=1 http://tinyurl.com/37omtw

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Mr. Clean, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Umm...

    The underlying problem here is the unwillingness for companies to pay to train their new hires, so they put ridiculous experience requirements on job descriptions. I mean, what exactly do you do out of college? There are almost no listings that accept anything less than "2+ years experience". Its like a closed circle, but if you manage to get in, you can move anywhere you want and have no problem finding other jobs. The biggest problem is definitely for the recent graduates, and I feel that companies are to quick to go for the H1-Bs instead of hiring and training someone young and willing to learn.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    bshock, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    A show of hands, please

    How many out-of-work U.S. programmers do we have in the audience?

    Personally, I know about a dozen, and I'm not terribly social. I just managed to jump into a new job myself before my previous company was about to lay me off after 8 months.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:12pm

    Re: A show of hands, please

    Funny. I am based in the Northeast, a foreigner, working under an H1B visa. We do need programmers, and we cant find enough creative people that would work for us. We are talking about 100K+ salaries.

    If an idiot, under-skilled, foreigner, and not top of the heap guy as me (and most of the H1B applicants), is able to create jobs for programmers, why all these capable programmers are not creating it themselves?

    Are H1B defrauding Americans? Should we all foreigners return home? How is the country going to stay competitive if people educated on US money is jettisoned back to their home countries?

    Look to Universities' admissions statistics. Arguably, there should not be any benefit for a school on admitting a foreigner, yet, the most renowned technical institutes have a very large fraction of foreigners as students or PhD candidates. The school is willing to pay guys like me to study and do research at the same time.

    If you are capable, you too can study for free. That is why this is the land of opportunity. Meritocracy they call it.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:21pm

    This is garbage. There is no shortage, unless by "shortage" they mean "we don't want to pay enough money to woo employees". Here is how the market is supposed to work:

    People are high in demand with certain skills.
    Those people become short in supply.

    Because of supply and demand being in favor of the EMPLOYEES, they get paid high salaries.

    High salaries drive up interest in the field and people flood to study that as a career.

    Available workers in that field increase, driving down costs for employers.


    Here is how corporations want this to work:

    We want lots of people with a certain skill and we don't want employees to have any control over anything and want supply and demand to ALWAYS be in our favor so we'll just stack the deck by hiring people on H1Bs or outsourcing.

     

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


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