No End In Sight To H-1B Problems

from the workers dept

We recently pointed to a study that demonstrated the large contribution recent immigrants make to the tech industry, as they found a high percentage of new startups. Of course, some people won’t be swayed by the data, which is why it looks likely that the mess surrounding H-1B visas won’t get cleared up anytime soon. As it is, businesses quickly snap up the available visas, and it’s clear from the evidence (as well as anecdotally) that more should be freed up. One opponent of expanding the program is newly-elected Virginia Senator Jim Webb who doesn’t support the program at all, and said the idea of a tech worker shortage is a myth. It’s not totally clear how he arrived at that viewpoint, but even if it were true, it’s irrelevant. Even if there were no shortage, per se, it still doesn’t make sense to limit companies’ options in terms of who they can hire. Would Webb prefer tech companies hire abroad? That seems doubtful. Since this is one of those issues that doesn’t fall neatly along party lines, it’s hard to tell whether the new Congress will be interested in addressing the issue. It seems likely that progress on this issue, like many other tech-related issues facing the Congress, will be slow going.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “No End In Sight To H-1B Problems”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Overcast says:

They really need to get the borders secure and FIX immigration policy, instead of playing whatever stupid game congress is playing.

I think it’s good that people immigrate legally. But I know it’s next to impossible for many with the current system, so they have nothing to really loose as it stands now.

If the system was fixed so normal people from other countries could immigrate, it wouldn’t be such an issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So essentially you’re saying that if we just dumped the laws surrounding immigration then there wouldn’t be a problem.

As insightful as a pile of rocks.

Why don’t you try and give a solution instead of regurgitating pointless viewpoints (like your all congress is doing is twiddling their thumbs comment). Otherwise you’re just another American bitching about another problem without having the balls (or brains) to actually suggest a solution that’s innovative. What’s the point outside of making yourself feel like you’re actually contributing without actually bothering to work the muscle in your scull?

discojohnson says:

franco unamerica

Even if there were no shortage, per se, it still doesn’t make sense to limit companies’ options in terms of who they can hire.

because you’re american maybe? don’t forget that first and foremost you’re an american and we have an obligation to look out for ourselves. if someone from india (for example) wants to come work here, good on him…but this shouldn’t be affirmative action for immigrants. s/he wants to come here, then he can get a visa like everyone else and come here 100% legit and legal. s/he doesn’t like it? then go work somewhere else. where the hell is america’s sense of nationalism?

Govi (user link) says:

H1-B is non immigrant visa

First of all H1-B is non-immigrant visa which allows to fill the tech worker position for few years. It is another thing that some of these H1-B workers apply for immigrant status later and some go back home. Regarding skilled worker shortage it’s is very obvious that a foriegn worker will put lot more effort, time and commitment for an additional penny and recognition than a local worker because the a single dollar converts to tens of currency units in his home country.

corporate says:

Re: H1-B is non immigrant visa

I don’t thing this is necessarily true. Tech workers in H1B earns quit substantial and usually come from good financial background back in their home country. Most of them come here due to the wide possibility of growth and not for financial reasons. Take India’s example. opportunities are more then in here back in India and people usually come here due to the corporate environment and wonderful work culture the US offers.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

If you didnt see the shortage

If you havent seen the shortage in tech workers, its because you werent looking for a specialty.

The tech job market is VERY fast moving, and talents are rendered useless just as fast as buzzwords.

Most large projects cannot be accomplished without the expertise of a few technology specialists, who arent really good at anything else. Finding those people is HARD. Finding them at a decent price… damn near impossible. Unless of course, you import them from India.

Go ahead, do a medium to large implementation of SAP R-3 and try to say theres not a shortage of tech workers…

comboman says:

Re: If you didnt see the shortage

If you havent seen the shortage in tech workers, its because you werent looking for a specialty.

And if tech companies put some time and effort into training their current employees in these “specialties” instead of replacing experienced programmers with recent grads (from US and abroad) who have today’s important buzzwords in their resumes, there wouldn’t be any shortage of tech workers. “Let’s see, you have 10 years of programming experience but no AJAX experience? Sorry, you’re not what we’re looking for.”

firestarter says:

No End In Sight To H-1B Problems

Its a free country … anyone can get a job if they want to. Its not like the “many unemployed or mis-employed tech workers” cant post their resume on dice or anything – who’s stopping them from getting the jobs? I think its up to the tech companies to determine who they hire and if they cant find what they’re looking for locally, can you blame them for wanting to bring talent in from abroad? I mean, they do have a business to run.

And for those who think H1-Bs are a threat to domestic talent, may I remind you that this country was made by the hands of immigrants, who have, time and again, come in to fill the gap Americans cant or wont fill. Once here, though, its up to the natives to assimilate those ‘foreigners’ till they can be proud of their adoptive country too.

AmericaFirst says:

Re: No End In Sight To H-1B Problems

The reason companies want to hire H-1B immigrants over Americans is that they don’t want to pay American level wages and offer American level benefits. H-1B visa employees generally will work for substandard wages and substandard benefits because their wages are leaving the country and going overseas where the money goes farther and where their family is. This helps the greedy corporations and hurts everyone else. American salaries should go to American workers and the American dollars should stay in the American economy.

Ex H1B visa holder says:

Re: Re: No End In Sight To H-1B Problems

No true. I used to hold H1B and worked for software companies many years ago. My salary was pretty competitive (close to 6 figures). I’m sure any citizens who can do my work would like to have my job. Why didn’t they get hired? I don’t know. All I know is it’s not cheap to hire H1B workers because on top of salary, companies have to pay for lawyer and other legal fees.

whargoul says:

re: ScytheNoire

where are all these people wanting tech employees?
They’re out there, I’ve been on plenty of job interviews in the past couple of months. is a good place to start.

last i saw, there were too many unemployed or mis-employed tech workers.
My guess is those “unemployed” or “mis-employed” tech workers haven’t kept up with changing technology since the layoffs of the “dot com” bubble so nobody wants to hire them.

rstr5105 says:

re: America's sense of nationalism...

…has gone straight down the tubes. Personally, I blame people like Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, and the like. These are the people who feel that, “Everybody is totally equal” which in reality means, “Everybody is totally equal, unless they were born in this country, we have to make it easier for everyone else.”

Fucking Liberals.

BillDivX says:

the sad fact is...

shortage of engineers in america? no.

shortage of COMPETENT engineers in america? YOU BET.

There are just as many retards here as there, so why not import who we need from the bigger picture. To me thats a much better option than forcing companies to leave the US because they can’t get enough good employees.

pick only from the shallow end of the gene pool, and you’ll get pretty much what you’d expect.

Wolff000 says:

Nationalism Doesn't Work

We live in an international world and that is how businesses and people need to think. By saying I should give this job to this person because they are from the same country as me is ridiculous. You pick the person that is most qualified for the position regardless of nationality or place of residents. I’m not saying hire illegal immigrants but there is nothing wrong with hiring the legal ones. This country was founded by immigrants and has continued to thrive partially because of immigrants. None of us are originally from here unless you are Native American. I am only third generation in this country and I have a lot of friends that are first or just moved here themselves. Limiting the influx of immigrants harms us all. We need them as much as we need each other. If we expect the world to progress we all have to start working together despite our many differneces. Until people start thinking globally nothing is going to change and will most likely get worse.

Pro says:

Depends on your perspective

From the perspective of an engineer, the foriegn workers are absolutely killing the industry. Companies perfer to hire foriegners who need to work to stay in the country because they can pay them a lot less and they’re a lot easier to ‘keep in line’. As a result, the whole profession has been degraded. If I had kids with brains, i’d never send them to school for engineering – it just doesn’t make any sense anymore.

Enrico Suarve says:

Keep the work inside your border?

OK so i’m not an American so maybe my opinion doesn’t count on this one but…

These visas are for temporary workers to work inside the US? And the alternative is often to send work overseas?

I would have thought it would benefit the US more to have the work carried out inside your own borders? That way at least some of the money going to the worker is going back into your own economy directly?

Admitedly this is a very simplistic view of what is obviously a complex issue but I would have thought this was at least part of the picture. The mere fact that corporations are so quick to snatch all they can get shows this is a problem – if they are just trying to save a quick buck then removing them won’t make them employ more Americans – it’ll make for more off shoring

Quantum John (profile) says:

Strengths & weaknesses, as always...

1. A non-citizen is not legally allowed to work in the United States without authorization (E.g., green card, H1B visa, etc.)

2. We’re all immigrants. Some are first generation, the rest of us are descendants of immigrants. Even “native” Americans are thought to be descendants of people who came from Asia.

3. Recent immigrants (1st-3rd generation) have always had a major impact on the national economy, primarily due to entrepreneurial activities.

4. When there are both citizens and non-citizens who qualify for a job, H1B visas allow companies to have the citizens and non-citizens compete for the position, based on additional skills, acceptance of lower compensation, etc.

5. If there are no H1B’s, and if there are not enough qualified citizen job-seekers in a field, larger (or better funded) firms tend to win bidding wars for the limited supply of local personnel.

Bottom line: H1B’s allow greater concentration of the best skilled workers in the world to work for American companies, at the cost of reduced demand (fewer jobs, lower pay) for American workers who are less skilled than non-citizen competitors.

Therefore, H1B’s are good for the American economy overall, but bad for citizens whose job skills are inferior to foreign rivals.

Ashwin Mudigonda (profile) says:

H1B is a very convenient, profitable way of importing skilled labor to perform mundane/exciting/cutting-edge/rote work for the country. H1B is valid for 3 years (Subject to renewal for another 3). Max 6. Thus, in 6 years, an “immigrant” makes MasterCard’s PayPass a reality in your local starbucks or installs a card reader in your favorite stripper’s ass. Whatever s/he might do, it will directly benefit the average Schmo.

What he cannot do is design the next-generation nuke or rocket booster, scramjet missilies or spaceports. For that s/he needs security clearance and all that jazz.

Applying for an H1B by an individual working for a firm > 25 employees will cost him upwards of 2000$, not including lawyer representation fee. 2000$ for what? Multiply that by the number of H1B quotas given out each year and raise your eyebrows at the disgusting burp Congress heaves.

Its time for that xenophobic redneck to check his family tree and shoot Billy Bob or whichever brother his mom banged and quit whining.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“What he cannot do is design the next-generation nuke or rocket booster, scramjet missilies or spaceports. For that s/he needs security clearance and all that jazz.”

Yeah or create new software service companies in the US or abroad. oh nm

I love the H1-b system. I like seeing the teaming masses of well qualified programmers and network specialists in the unemployment lines. They are just to self satisfied and smug. Just because you have an education and technical skills doesn’t mean you deserve special treatment. I don’t care how hard you worked to get there. You should be in the same category as migrant workers. I like watching a haughty up to date CCIE become a trucker or garbage man because he can’t find a job in the tech field.
I’m sick of seeing hardworking technical people getting ahead. We need to continue to bring people from outside the country and employee them, teach them our techniques and processes so, when their Visas expire they can take those skills back to their home country and start companies there. Then there will be even more competition to drive down the costs of products so these new welfare programmers can buy them.
But then again who are we kidding? Prices are only going to drop on electronic over time. Any cost saving will be absorbed by the stock holders of those companies over seas. Making them rich. So if I can’t be rich I don’t want my neighbor getting rich so I say lets make more Chineese and Indian Millionaires.

Republican Gun (user link) says:

Tyson Chicken

Tyson chicken would love to get visas for workers to work in hot, smelly chicken houses throughout the U.S. But since the shrinking white minority fears the unskilled worker, they only allow visas for Irish or Indians from Mumbai to support this unfounded tech shortage.

So Tyson does what it has to do….it hires illegal immigrants with fraudelant identities. Vicente Fox said it best. Our unskilled work force would rather stay at home and play with their xboxes and sell herb to buy their spinning rims and Nike shoes.

The liberal democrats think that raising the Minimum wage will help. It won’t! It will only make our employees earning $10-15 an hour feel poorer.

CHL instructor (profile) says:

H1-b is just another form of age discrimination

I’ve been on the inside of an illegally-run H1-b sweatshop, run by contractors on behalf of a major telecom company. The reason the telecom company uses job-shops is for plausible deniability.

I have no problem with allowing foreign workers into the US, but I have a BIG problem with the government-encouraged abuse of the H1-b system — which, as practiced by above un-named telco, amounted to slavery. (“What? So you don’t like working 18-hour days without paid overtime, Ganesh? Pack your bags; you’re fired — er, “laid off”. Too bad you have to leave the country before you have time to file a legal complaint…”). The abuses I personally observed were bad enough that I have trouble with people believing it could be so bad.

I would favor complete abolishment of the H1-b program, and just let anyone with a marketable skill come to the US with no restriction other than a clean criminal record. Note that the companies that want to hire H1-b’s are dead set against any such move, because it would obviate the main advantage of the H1-b program, namely the ease with which it can be abused.

BTW, if you think age discrimination isn’t for real, it just means you haven’t been around long enough for it to get applied to you.

Texas CHL Courses

Medezark says:

Re: H1-B

I’ve read most of the comments above, and have tried to remain open minded as I digested the information and contrasted those comments to my own experience.

There is no CRITICAL shortage of qualified, resident technical workers in the US. The H1-B Visa program is simply a way for employers to short-circuit the labor market, artificially injecting cut-rate labor and thus reduce the supply/demand ratio forcing lower overall labor rates. I remember one occasion when I was told “Why should I pay you X, when I can bring someone in from another country and pay them half that?”

The argument that the H1-B visa applicants are mostly highly skilled specialists is false as well. Yes, some are highly skilled, and some are specialists, but some are so “specialized” that I find it hard to beleive that they deserve a special visa. Take the “Oracle DB Admin” who does not understand that a comma delimited file HAS TO HAVE COMMAS BETWEEN THE FIELD VALUES!! Is this a “highly skilled specialist”, or an over-specialized one trick pony?

I do believe that foriegn workers should be able to come into the US and earn their way into the workplace and earn citizenship. But I am opposed to “guest” visa’s, and I am oppose to any program which artificially disrupts the labor supply/demand ratio. (That includes importing goods and services from countries which artificially deflate the value of their currency, have prohibitive protective tarrifs, utilize child labor, utilize forced labor, have dictatorships, communist, or fascist governments.)

Anonymous Coward says:


Why do you think people have stopped enrolling in engineering programs. Altering the supply-demand curve pushes wages amd opputunities down.
Some immigrants end up with successful startups because they have connections and can talk to low cost workers here and abroad. I have been in companies that hired many h1b’s, they were hard to communicate with, the solution was to get rid if the americans and have all low level management on down Indian. Go to Verizons main offices of development. Less than 10% non indians walking around. Joe, get a grip it is all about the money.

Anonymous Coward says:

The biggest problem with H-1B is the very strict conditions required to get a green card. Employers abuse the system and delay applications as long as possible to ensure that they trap the immigrant in one particular position and one particular location (within 50 miles radius) until it’s completed.

The solution is to give conditional green cards to skilled workers. You have to remain employed or continue searching for work, no felonies or misdemeanors for 10 years, no unemployment or other benefits without a certain amount paid into the system. And before you get in, you need to have a physical and blood test as well as write a small essay on why you want to come to the United States.

/ Canadian who tried and sadly failed because of this system to get his green card despite two masters degrees and never having taken unemployment

Anonymous Coward says:

when you get down to it, it’s not liberal vs. conserative or american vs. mexican

it’s cost vs profit. always has been, always will be.

companies want to maximize profit while reducing cost. why pay an american worker do to 50% of a job at 100% of the price, while an immigrant will do 100% of the job at 50% of the price. why not? fear of breaking laws…cost analysis. if fines run you $10k and you save $30k, you still made an additional $20k

the issue comes in where the conservatives think everyone is moral, and will do the right thing. (how many “honest conservative business owners” do you know (of)>) so they say, let business do what they please, they won’t abuse their workers. (um…if that’s the case, why the need for unions???)

the liberals believe that people are discrimiated against and deserve a fair shot. civil rights? so becuse you’ve been disgrimnated against in the past, it will continue, so we need to help (minimum wage anyone?)

in the strictest sense, neither side will work because they will screw over the opposing side. business will pay less and less on the conseervative side, and business will fall due to the mandatory regulations by the liberals.

what is needed is a balance between the two. some type of way to keep business from abusing the workers yet be able to adjust the market. will it happen? i doub it only because when one side gets too heavy, the other over responds, takes control, and once that side gets big, the reverse happens.

Anonymous Coward says:


If all of these people from other countries are so superior, then why are their countries so screwed up? If we are in a global economy then why don’t they start companies in their countries and compete, instead of being used by our greedy corporate executives which destroys the engineering capability of our country so american executives can get big bonuses. Destruction of the middle class is very profitable, but only over the short term. When it is your reality you may take a different view, but it may be too late. What if someone told “you that you were priced out of the market”, “you cannot expect to make that much”. With all of these smart people here that think h1b has been good and want to expand it, pull out your old economics book from the class you must of slept in and read about supply and demand and understand that high quality workers will exist given demand in a closed system, if a uncontrolled supply is injected into the system from outside, it is not a closed system anymore and the high quality workers will not be generated by the system, the injected supply will continue until the system dies.

corporate says:

Re: Huh

This is in response to Huh by Anonymous Coward.
I am an immigrant myself. But I love this country due to the way it stands for its core foundation believes. However many do tend to undermine this very core concept America was build on. I am a true believer of Capitalism and I think US is one of or maybe the only true capitalistic society. More so because, US follows Capitalism without any bias or hypocrisy. Many developed and under developed countries including India are confused about what form of capitalism they should follow. One of the principal reasons this country is not screwed up is due to this believe. Other countries are screwed up in spite of talented and abundant human resource due to the fact that they too much obsessed with their confused corporate culture and are hypocritical about how to truly obey the rules of globalization. Corporate America is the main reason this country –as you say–is not screwed up.

amazed says:

horrible disinformation in here

i can’t believe all of the posts regarding this article at all. there is a wealth of misinformation and DISinformation in here regarding H-1B petitions and wages.

first off, the “studies” conducted by the “Center for Immigration Studies” are dubious at best. i would understand if there may be some bias in their reports, as, after all, they are trying to prove a point. however, the “CIS” (not to be confused with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been criticized as blatantly racist, basing their findings on extremely skewed and nonrepresentative data.

second, the H-1B program and the regulations set forth by the USCIS and the Dept. of Labor strictly enforce prevailing wage protections so that the U.S. labor market is given preference while allowing a reasonable number of skilled foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to fulfill much-needed professional positions. there is a limited degree of abuse, yes. it is hard, however, to envision *any* system that will be free from abuse. however, the DOL strictly regulates what sources can and cannot be used for the purposes of a prevailing wage. private wage surveys are SCRUTINIZED. suspect surveys are investigated and, if necessary, rejected, eliminating the lower-wage problem as much as possible. the actual H-1B petition process is no cakewalk, either. companies AND foreign nationals must bend over backwards to prove to the U.S. that the position being offered is professional in nature, cannot be filled by anyone in the U.S., and can only be fulfilled by the foreign national in questions because of his or her education and experience. in addition, security checks are run, and foreign nationals are interviewed both at their local U.S. embassy/consulate AND when applying for entry into the U.S. companies hiring H-1B workers are also open to increased scrutiny from the CIS, ICE, and the DoL. H-1Bs are NOT trivial.

furthermore, H-1Bs are not limited to the tech industry; other industries such as business management, biomedical research, and financial analysis depend on H-1Bs, among other things, primarily because American workers with the necessary education and skills are simply *not there*. i think that speaks to the lack of support the U.S. gives to education in general.

in any event, H-1B numbers need to be increased.

Pro says:

Re: horrible disinformation in here

You’re a fool.

“primarily because American workers with the necessary education and skills are simply *not there*. i think that speaks to the lack of support the U.S. gives to education in general.”

People don’t go to school for engineering anymore because a) you have posess a certain level of intelligence to do it b) It’s really hard. c) it doesn’t pay the bills anymore – it’s not longer a respected profession. It’s the textiles of the 00’s.

In Mass., engineers are the mules that make the econemy go around. Taxes->Public Sector->VC->Private Sector->Taxes-> etc… the money goes around and around, yet certain people have their straws in and benefit from this lossy process – all at the expense of the future.

Those people also benefit from increased h-1Bs, and coicedently, educational spending. you wouldnt’ be one of them, would you?

amazed says:

horrible disinformation in here

Pro, uh, what’s your point?

you’re basically proving my point. no one in the U.S. is going into engineering anymore? and yet somehow employers still show a demand for the profession?

guess what labor pool they will have to pull their workforce from then?

the public/private/venture capital/taxes loop has been in existence since the beginning of this “great” nation, so stop using it as a strawman.

and as i pointed out, H-1B’s aren’t just for industries and businesses in technology fields.

Pro says:

Re: horrible disinformation in here

The point is that American engineering has been decimated by the rules and systems that we have set up – or allowed to be set up – for ourselves.

There’s a price to be paid for incentivising your best and brightest to be recruiters and salesmen. Down the line the system will break down.

Engineers have never been known for their business sense, especially foriegn engineers. Other professions aren’t as succeptible to being used as tools.

American engineers need some tax relief or benefit from the government to make it a financially viable career again. It’s too important a resource to let go.

Brad Ward says:

H1B visas

Congress needs to fix a lot of problems with the H1B visas prior to increasing the number because of some make believe shortage. It’s clear to me and anyone that it’s objective would see that H1B visas can be and has been very harmful to American Engineers and IT workers by increasing the supply of cheap indian workers beyond the current level of demand. That’s exactly why there’s been unemployment and suppressed salaries for the Tech industry. The short-term benefits that businesses receive with this cheap labor do not outweigh the future harm it will do to America. After all, what happened to God and country. There have been many wars fought over the years to secure our freedom. We owe the world nothing! I could care less about the world. I’m concerned with me and my family here in America. If this H1B visa scam doesn’t benefit us, then why should we support it? This H1B visas thing is completely out of hand. There have been cases where American Indian citizens from India have been replaced with and forced to train H1B India workers prior receiving a severence package. Congress needs to clean this mess up. The bottom line is that anyone that wants to cross the bridge should pay the toll! There are no free lunches.

Furthermore if businesses don’t care to business in America because they think that they have the right to H1B cheap labor in India and China, then they can pack their bags and go! There’s nothing stopping them today from leaving. This whole H1B visas thing has scam written all over it. Wake up people! We’ve been sold out.

Steven Olsen says:

Listen to Gates, or Kill Yourself off

I have two quick points.
First, Bill Gates recently testified that America is not producing enough techies to hire (and I believe he’s not just jaw-flappin, but knows what he’s talking about). And check out Times Magazine to see that our teenagers are faaar from the brightest scientific minds in their class.
Those are facts.
Second, why in the world would you want to send off smart people to work in other countries and strenghten their economies?? Does that sound patriotic to you? It sounds idiotic to me. Keep ’em here, let them pay American taxes and build America’s reputation as being smarter-than-average. God knows we’ve needed the help lately.
Maybe it all boils down to this: Hire the foreigners, save the economy. Toss the foreigners, save “patrionism”. Personally, I’d rather have my economy, cause you can’t eat patrionism.

Brad Ward says:

Re: Listen to Gates, or Kill Yourself off

You’re an idiot, plain and simple. Why in hell do you think that this is some sort of trade-off that we must accept. What do you think Americans have been doing before this so-called “globalization.” Maybe the government should flood the market with cheap labor for the field that working in currently. If it hurts your budget, then you would understand moron.

RTP says:

Where is the supply & demand aspect of H1B needs?

1. As a highly skilled & experienced tech professional, the question I have for those claiming ‘lack of skills’ of existing US citizens is:
Why aren’t wages significantly moving higher to meet the demand for these highly skilled people?
Simply economic dictates that you can get the skills from the existing US citizens for the right price. Throw in a $10k signing bonus, add $10-20k to my current salary, and I’ll move. Otherwise stop complaining of ‘lack of skills’.
2. The Visa program is a major factor artificially holding down US wages.
3. Also I know too many highly skilled folks not being fully employed. So why would smart US people sink 4-10 years of opportunity + actual costs into IT/engineering education when there is lower probability of recovering from the investment?

Wrong, Wrong says:

OK, I’m talking from a worker’s viewpoint here. But there are also constitutional issues that come into play.

First–you have to realize that H-1B is an exception in the visa laws. It mentions specific occupations. As such, it is not a “free-market” law, but rather an exception to what would otherwise be a free-market law. Free-market laws don’t mention people.

So the justification for this exception has to be that the free-market isn’t working. Specifically, the free-market isn’t providing as many skilled workers as IBM or Microsoft needs, at the right price. Well I don’t know who you would ask for an opinion to test this, but IBM and Microsoft aren’t the place to go for unbiased opinions.

Secondly, the companies lobbying for the law claim they could hire more workers overseas than THEY ALREADY HAVE. Once again, this is an irrational conclusion. H-1Bs are 3 times more expensive than an overseas worker. If it were possible to have them doing THE SAME WORK at home, it would make more sense to go that route.

Let’s assume it costs 10 million dollars to lobby Congress, 60K for an H-1B, 80K for an American, and 30K for a worker in India. What does the company gain by lobbying for H-1B if the job could be sent overseas? A loss of 10 million, PLUS a loss of 30K per worker.

But…what if the company’s lying? What if the job needs to be situated in the US, due to proximity to the marketing and finance people, and due to the proximity to the US market? What does the company gain BY LYING in that scenario? 20K per worker. What makes more sense? They’re lying of course.

Or to quote an Oracle LOBBYIST “The problem, of course, is not every company can relocate overseas [that’s why we need H-1B.]”

Do other people in the US gain from H-1B? Yes. A majority? Yes. But that’s where the constitutional issue comes into play.

If you tax everyone with brown hair $3,000, and redistribute the money to everyone else, a majority benefits. But–it’s unconstutional–the fourteenth ammendment prohibits passing laws that mention a specific group of people, even if a majority benefits. It’s a denial of “equal protection under the law.”

And if you mention programmers, specifically, in the Visa laws, everyone who isn’t a progammer benefits. They get cheaper software; they enjoy tax revenues paid by H-1Bs, they enjoy the money that H-1Bs spend here in the US–while the American progammers see only inflation and declining wages.

BUT–it’s unconstitutional. It’s unconstitutional to tax everyone who has brown hair $3000 even if a majority benefits. And it’s unconstitutional to pass a law mentioning programmers that hurts them–even if a majority benefits.

Ignore the 14th Ammendment, and pretty soon there will be no group that doesn’t have a law singling them out, punishing them, that benefits the majority.

Unemployed American Computer Programmer says:


I voraciously read every book I can find in my field, I go on numerous interviews and do well enough that I even correct mistakes in the interviewers questions, yet I cannot find a job. I am now close to being kicked out on my ass by my wife and living on the streets.

F*ck you corporate *ss licking pigs who make stupid comments about their being a shortage of COMPETENT American workers. And the INCOMPETENT and ignorant Joe Wiesenthal who authored this article can eat sh*t and die.

Jeff Zappa says:

Illegal and Legal immigrants are stressing the health care / welfare system in this country to the breaking point. Whatever subsidy/cost savings they give to private companies, the US taxpayer pays far more than immigration is worth when the immigrant brings their family here on tourist visas and they overstay and get free medical care and other welfare, and pump out tons of babies on the taxpayers dime.

Frank says:

Pure Racism

Many posters assume the “best” person gets the job. These people obviously don’t work in tech, or maybe anywhere. Since when do the best people get the job? In the case of H1bs what actually happens is as soon as a company starts hiring them it isn’t long before all the Americans are gone and replaced by H1bs. If you wanted to file a discrimination complaint this would be a slam dunk. (Imagine if you replaced all the women or all the blacks.) If you complain about it you are typically accused of bigotry, as if only white men are capable of such. Ask these Indian guys why they hire only Indians and they will tell you. First, if they get rid of all the Americans quickly it means they can control the industry soon. If they wait it might never happen. Second, foreign people do not mix well with Americans or even other foreign groups. So they want as many co-workers as they can get from their own country. Third, they really believe Indians are superior, a superior race, and don’t understand why there’s anything wrong with such a belief. Of course, it’s pure racism, but they really believe it’s racism to not see the “truth”. That America is allowing itself to get dragged back into this 19th century mindset is a serious problem, likely to lead to another civil war.

Dave J says:

Why H1B is so attractive -- and why its so so wrong.

I work with a Fortune 500 in Richmond, Va. Here the business model is simple. They draw a horizontal line along the middle of the Org Chart. That means 50% employees, and 50% contractors. Well, ahem H1Bs.

Employees should not do any development. They should stay with analysis and architecture.

Everytime, there is a downturn in the economy, most of the part under the line gets wiped clean. The H1Bs are gone with the wave of a wand.

No layoffs, no severence payments, no legal issues. No headaches…

What about the contracting company who was employing them ? Apparently this company has no legal obligations either. — You give your employers the pink slip without a penny in compensation.

Nice, huh? You get a huge chunk of their paycheck, sometimes over 50% of their hourly payment, but when they dont have a job, they are out on their asses.

Unless of course you are in such a position that you cannot be replaced. for eg. you know technology that is 8 years old and are still willing to work in that technology.

As an aside, …
A few years back, there were quite a number of H1Bs among the architects and leads. Now they are all relegated to development alone. And what happened to those employees who were then developing? They are now architects. They get paid more, but the real work is still done by the developers… Crazy? You bet.

This is why H1B is so attractive among corporates.

Continued in Part 2.

Dave J says:

Why H1B is so so wrong -- Part Deux

As a follow-on of my earlier comment,
lets look at it from the side of the H1B employee.

You are brought here on the promise of work and big money, then many have to find jobs themselves so their employers can make money off you. (Seems like live of the night streets to me.)

Congress demands equal pay for H1Bs. But they have no way of enforcing it. Companies routinely pay H1B employees less than their worth by showing them as Senior Developers when they may be Team Leads or Architects.

There is no requirement that a company must file a Green Card for an employee. So companies keep an employee on their payroll but “forget” to file a Green card till its too late for the employee.

You would say “Why does the employee not change his job?” Well, apparently he has to have a clean slate when he goes to apply for his Green Card.

We have heard about slavery where our forefathers brought people here on ships who were owned by slave masters. They could not change employers without permission. They had to do all sorts of menial labor that normal citizens would never even think of doing.

H1B program seems very similar to that. The difference is teh H1B gets to pay taxes, Social Security, FICA, Medicare… Does he get anything in return?

Oh no! The benefit is only for the citizens of this country…

Ok, then, why does he not become a citizen? — Well he wants to. But the USCIS does not. It takes on a average over 10 years to become a citizen after your company starts a green card process(which could be anywhere from 4 to 6 years after you have started working here.)

Imagine this, Once a GC is filed for you, you have to stay with the same company, no matter what, unless you get your approval for Green Card. Talk about long term bonded labor.

Please remember, that the Medicare that is enjoyed by our parents is also supported by these H1Bs who are forced to give up their earnings without any hope of ever getting any back.

One thing to note:
I like to take in some fishing, sometimes I go bowling with my friends. I spend some evenings in a bar with the guys.
But you know what, none of my H1B colleagues ever join me.

They are busy going through the next book on .NET or eclipse or WCF or whatever Microsoft or IBM is coming out with next.

Are they hard workers? You bet.
Are there stupid idiotic dumps in them? — Absolutely.
I have no idea how they get through our “stringent selection process” but they are here.

Another fact of interest —
If an H1B loses his job, the USCIS requires that he goes back to his country.

Can you imagine, pulling your kids out of school, selling your house, cars and all worldly possessions and go on a months notice?

Have you ever tried putting your house on the market in , say December? How about selling that sofa you just picked up for $2000/-. How much will you get for that?

We pride ourselves on the fairness of our system. — I know for one, its not so fair after all.

Anonymous Coward says:

I know forsure THAT THIS IS NOT TRUE AT ALL! Because I was one of many

had that same problem way when back in 1977 Carter who had just Killed

the B1B Bomber here in California then I had just been Layed Off from

North American Avation, I found a Job and I was hired into the Northrup

Corp. And when I was hired in they were geting at that same time many

Engineer Job Shoppers coming out of England Paid way under Hourly cost

and would not hire but just a few American just to look good, so there

was this Union called “American Engineers” (Part of the Boeing Plant in

Wash. State that came down to Southern California) They made a Big Spat

over this type of H1B hiring, I know Because I was ONE of the ones who

got Fired by Northrup because As I was Out side on the Side Walk with a

friend holding a Sign on a “BIG WHITE BED SHEET”, That Photo was in the

News Paper the Next day!— Northrup were filing with the INS H1B’s

saying that they could not find or get Engineers and then paying off

Companys in England that were filling there request on the B1B

application they summited The same INS papers required to have the

Engineers hired in as Job Shoppers at Northrup, While even better-

qualified? American workers or Collage Students who at that time were

looking for any kind of work, So when they say that this country should

hold steady the number of skilled foreign workers eligible to live and


ONE!, They need to “delete the requirement all togather” and If I may

add that also “Regestered Nurses (RN)” here in the United States also

have this same kind of a problems NOW as most of the Jobs in the

Hospitals are Filled by foreign workers who are paid Lower wages, How

do I know well My my Wifes is one of them and is mad as Hell that this

is even taking place here in the States and all the Hospitals are stll

doing this same thing by for getting there foreign applicants Which

they also do by filling all there request on the B1B applications!! And

well next time your near a Hospital ! Check that Out.
And all the while for Over 33 Years I had been with North American

Avation they had been allways Hiring Many Many College student to work

along side by side with older Engineers or other types of jobs withen

the Company and During the Summer as well as full time and they could

have filled many of the jobs that were taken away by this Underhanded

Northrup Corp.
That Said! I am one of many Many American Citizens favoring a system

that really forces companies to prove they cannot find a qualified

American worker or even a College Grad, before hiring from anywhere

abroad Lets take back American Jobs and keep them here forever!

Write your Congress Rep. We just do not want it ! Now or Ever !!
Vote in the mid-Term and Take back America !
Pass this On

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...