by Mike Masnick

In Support Of H1-Bs

from the this-argument-again dept

It's an argument that comes up here often enough, but usually when I complain about writers who trash the H1-B program without really thinking through what they're saying. Here's the first article I've seen in a while that points out why the H-1B visa program is worth saving If you haven't been following the debate, the H1-B program lets highly skilled foreign workers work in the US for a limited period of time. The article makes some good points. There's something to be said for letting companies hire the best possible workers they can. If the best workers are stuck overseas, then the work, itself, will end up moving overseas. Bringing highly educated, highly skilled workers here makes these companies stronger. It makes our industry stronger. The biggest complaint from those against the H1-B program is that it's being abused by some companies. I agree that it is, but that doesn't mean the whole program should be thrown out. Instead, the companies that are abusing it should be punished, while those that legitimately are bringing highly skilled foreign workers into this country, who are helping to grow our businesses and our economy, should be allowed to continue.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 12 Feb 2003 @ 11:56am

    Red flag

    Reputable companies that make great products have no trouble attracting American techies eager to work for them. Companies that resort to H1-B's say that they are the bottom of the barrell, unable to attract self-respecting Americans.

    In the long run, H1-B's cause as many problems as they solve -- their English is usually very poor, so their documentation reads like a first grade book report. Plus, they often stink and have no social skills.

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

  • identicon
    The Dirty Tech, 12 Feb 2003 @ 2:44pm

    No Subject Given

    You right. There are some positive aspects to the program, but overall it's just a work-around, not the solution.

    Something else to think ponder... why do most of the workers come from India? Why not more from Europe? Or Asia? It's just a guess, but I think it's because there's an abundance of good workers in India. Working here for less, is an improvement for them, whereas other countries it isn't. This is changing though, many companies are contracting parts of their business out to India. Hah, it's cheaper to send the workers there than it is to bring them here. How does that benefit us in the US for the long term? (yes, it's possible the jobs could return here for the same reasons 50 years from now. Not likely with a one-world government though)

    Would you rather raise your own kids, or your neighbor's? Why invest so much into another country's workers and so little into your own?

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

    • identicon
      The Dirty Tech, 12 Feb 2003 @ 2:47pm

      Note to self: proofread

      It's easier to send *WORK* to India, than to bring workers here.

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

    • identicon
      dorpus, 12 Feb 2003 @ 4:06pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      There's a combination of reasons why so many H1B's come from India.

      - English is widely spoken.

      - There are more than a billion Indians, about one sixth of Earth's population.

      - Europe's education systems are antiquated and do not teach appropriate computer skills. Students there are still spending their college years writing essays comparing modern philosophers. Those labelled "working class" in their childhood are not allowed to pursue higher education. College engineering students spend most of their time learning the theory of logic, or great achievements of the past, as opposed to marketable skills.

      - With Chinese workers, requests for political asylum turn situations sticky.

      Much is made of the Indian IT miracle, but I view it as a passing phenomenon, much like the Asian miracle economies of the 1980s. India's depth of social problems will catch up to it sooner or later.

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

      • identicon
        a software guy, 12 Feb 2003 @ 10:39pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Well... in my two decades of doing software and running large software projects I've met a lot of different people... so, here's my (possibly biased, and by necessity over-generalized) list of what different nationals are good or bad for:

        * Indians: speak English reasonably well, produce readable documentation. Debugging/troubleshooting skills are usually poor. The code tends to be very voluminous, repetitive and unimaginative (and full of bugs, too, due to repetitiveness). Very poor architectural skills. They are manager's delight.

        Resume: good for maintaining existing products, QA and tech writing; don't let them do any original design/coding.

        * Chinese: poor English, slow learners, slow coders. Code is typically of uneven quality, apparently Chinese do not like to admit that they don't understand something, particularly if manager is asking them to do something non-trivial. Often very thourough and careful. Weak design/architecture skills. They are quiet, and appear obedient and unassuming; I've run into several situations when a Chinese backstabbed a colleague while making a pleasant face to him.

        Resume: good for QA and non-critical coding tasks.

        * Russians: moderate English skills, often technically brilliant. Generally hate writing any documentation and tend to have cowboyish coding style. They usually have excellent educational background, and exposure to computers now found only in museums, with resulting skills in very tight coding and finding elegant solutions to engineering problems (compared to the prevalent in the industry more predictable but wasteful brute-force approach). They do have huge egos, and need to be stroked the right way. A manager needs to teach them teamwork (particularly indoctrinate on the necessity of design documentation), but that is an effort well spent; Russians also tend to have "let's reengineer that crap from scratch" attitude, their quest to build a perfect product has to be contained. Good design and excellent troubleshooting skills. There's a reason why only USSR managed to compete with US in space and in military despite its non-existant "socialist" economy. They dislike any kind of politics, corporate politics included.

        Resume: hire them if you need top-notch all-purpose code geeks, particularly at the initial project stages, and for critical, assembly-language, or non-trivial parts. Hire a strong manager, which is not fazed by a bunch of geeks considering him a moron, too. Be prepared for shouting matches in the engineering department.

        * Israeli: pretty much the same as Russians, which is not surprising, considering that many "Russians" in US are actually Jewish, and many Israelis are former Soviets. Israeli corporate culture have one additional annoying feature - they are very insensitive, and it is common to hear something like "you won't understand it anyway" from them.

        * Mid-Easterners: poor English, poor education, paternalistic clannish culture. My experiences were very negative; your mileage may vary.

        * Western Europeans and Australians: pleasant people to have around, those who went to US are here to work and to make money. They usually have excellent English and communication skills. They are less technically-inclined than Russians, and make good managers and technical writers (but do not let French to introduce their management style!). Their education, coding, design and debugging skills are on par with Americans. They tend to avoid overtime, and generally do not consider work to be the most important part of their lives; that means they're less prone to burnout, but do not rely on them if you're in "mission impossible" situation.

        * Eastern Europeans: in between Russians and Western Europeans. That says all :)

        * Latino Americans: for some reason, they are relatively rare in high-tech, so I do not have any representative sample. So far, my expereiences were positive, but not exceptional in any way.

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

        • identicon
          The Dirty Tech, 13 Feb 2003 @ 6:28am

          Re: No Subject Given

          It's a good thing I'm not all into the "political correctness" attitude...

          But your summary relates to what I was trying to say. All of those working styles can be found right here in the good ol' USA. Look across the country for them, not around the world.

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

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