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The Almighty Buck Businesses United States

Rescued Banks Sought Foreign Help During Meltdown 749

Posted by kdawson
from the simple-fairness dept.
theodp writes "An AP review of visa applications has found that major US banks sought permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country under the H-1B visa program, even as the banking system was melting down and Americans were being laid off. The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years. (It's not known how many of these were granted; the article notes 'The actual number is likely a fraction of the... workers the banks sought to hire because the government only grants 85,000 such visas each year among all US employers.') The American Bankers Association blamed the US talent pool for forcing the move, saying they couldn't find enough Americans capable of handling sales, lending, and bank administration. The AP has filed FOIA requests to force the US Customs and Immigration Service to disclose further details on the bailed-out banks' foreign hires."
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Rescued Banks Sought Foreign Help During Meltdown

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:47PM (#26688845)

    ...people turn to protectionism. No news there.

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:54PM (#26688907)
      As they should. When millions of people in your country are without jobs, you want your government to protect your ability to get a job, not a corporation's ability to get cheap labor from somewhere else. At least, last time I checked the government is supposed to work for the people.

      Disclaimer: I'm a small business owner who despises organizations using H1B visas, since it's only used to get high quality talent at dirt cheap wages.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You think your way of life doesn't depend on getting high quality foreign talent (upbringing and education paid elsewhere) at dirt cheap wages?

        • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:21PM (#26689129)

          You think your way of life doesn't depend on getting high quality foreign talent (upbringing and education paid elsewhere) at dirt cheap wages?

          No, as a matter of fact I don't. I'm honestly getting tired of big companies blaming "the U.S. talent pool" for their own failures as businesses. And you're off on another issue: much of that cheap foreign talent comes here to get educated, often at the expense of qualified American students. The GP is absolutely correct: my taxes go to my government, whom I have every right to expect to put the interests of my fellow citizens first. That goes for every country on Earth, actually, so America is no exception. This is all about maximizing profit margins at the expense of people, period.

          • by Potor (658520) <farker1@gmail. c o m> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:40PM (#26689307) Journal

            You're on to some nativist bullshit here. I have payed taxes in many countries, only one of which I could vote in or depend on "my fellow citizens." And yet, I paid as much percentage of my wages in taxes as any of my colleagues.

            Your logic is that taxes give you rights. Well, according to your logic, if they collect taxes, governments should protect taxpayers, not citizens.

            Moreover the parent here makes an excellent point: your standard of living has in fact been based on cheap labour for a long time, not just the direct "cheap" labour of H1-B visas.

            • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:51PM (#26689377)

              Well, according to your logic, if they collect taxes, governments should protect taxpayers, not citizens.

              Just to be clear here, you believe that a government (in particular, my government) has no duty to protect its citizens? That a foreign national should enjoy the same treatment as someone who has spent his life paying into the system, whose family has been doing the same for generations? And all this because certain large corporations see a way to reduce costs, while simultaneously availing themselves of the benefits afforded by the very taxpayers you so offhandedly disparage?

              Wow. I mean, just ... wow.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Tablizer (95088)

              your standard of living has in fact been based on cheap labour for a long time

              It's kind of like oil: we go for the cheaper source of energy hoping that the consequences of doing such don't eventually bite us in the ass. Unfortunately, they do.
                       

            • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Insightful)

              by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Monday February 02, 2009 @05:29AM (#26691941)
              I strongly support your statement. I am currently living in a European Country that I have no citizenship in. I am not allowed to vote, but I am allowed to pay taxes. But somehow that doesn't stop me from being the evil foreigner who takes away jobs for the locals.

              The GP argument implicitly assumes that there is some fixed amount of work available, and that foreigners coming into the country somehow "take away" their work, or deteriorate their salary. I can assure you that, if anything, I am more expensive than a local (I get the same wage, but my employer paid a bonus to get me here. Also, I am stricter about taking all of my paid leave and not working overtime than the people around here).

              The sad fact is that while the markets have become global, most workers still don't want to live global. It's just as easy for an American to get abroad as it is for an American company to hire people abroad. So why are Americans so hellbent on staying put? It can't be the standard of living: Many European countries offer a better deal than the States when it comes to work-live balance and purchasing power.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Hognoxious (631665)

                There also seems to be an assumption that the work is all the same kind, or that all workers are interchangable, which is absurd.

                Even if you reduce it to IT workkers, that still runs the gamut of everything from syasadmins, website designers, SAP configurers, device driver writers.

                But then this is pretty typical of the crap stories theodp posts.

          • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Monday February 02, 2009 @08:12AM (#26692719)

            And you're off on another issue: much of that cheap foreign talent comes here to get educated, often at the expense of qualified American students.

            You would have a point if american schools were all state-run schools which exclusively admitted students due to academic merit alone. That is not the case and the american way of handling access to higher education is through the price of admission. So if the foreign students pay their tuition or get scholarships like americans do then they have as much right to be there as anyone else.

            Moreover, if your colleges and universities weren't desperately seeking for foreign talent to enrol in their school program then they wouldn't spend their valuable funds on foreign recruitment programs, such as the recruitment program that MIT and Carnegie Mellon are running on the university I've enrolled, along with other top schools of my country.

      • by Nursie (632944) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:19PM (#26689107)

        The problem is, so does everyone else.

        Gonna mandate that public construction be done with US steel, even if the cost is a little higher?

        It'll help american companies and american jobs, sure. But then the europeans decide that if you're not playing fair then they won't buy stuff you make, they'll use their own.

        Result? We lose out on the global economy, which is largely responsible for the last 20/30 years of growth, everyone pays higher prices and things are no longer done best or cheapest, they're done in isolation.

        • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:07PM (#26689469)
          Problem is, the next 20-30 years are going to be nothing like the last 20-30 years.
        • Despite myself (Score:5, Interesting)

          by caitsith01 (606117) on Monday February 02, 2009 @12:03AM (#26689925) Journal

          I am sort of enjoying watching the United States have these epiphanies about protectionism, minimum wages, banking regulation etc. Not because I wish ill on you guys - I absolutely don't. If we must have a 900 pound gorilla of a country indirectly ruling the world, I'd prefer America to, say, China. Or just about anyone else.

          But for years and years, the rest of the world has protested long and loud as the U.S. has rammed radical capitalist theories down our throats - no, you may not protect local IP, jobs, vulnerable industries, agriculture, culture, etc etc etc. Globalise everything, open your markets, participate in the race to the bottom. It has seemed crazy and backwards to you that any of us would even consider having high minimum wages, good unemployment benefits, strong unionised workforces, public health, free education and so on. Such things are apparently "socialist", which to many Americans (especially of the right wing bent) really means a combination of "communist" and "totalitarian".

          Sure, globalisation has created a lot of growth. But it has also been unneccessarily destructive, and in many countries has wrought untold damage before any benefit has been seen.

          So now, after forgetting all about the New Deal and after ignoring the post-WWII warnings your own leaders and intellectuals gave you about the corporatisation of your nation, you finally start to see what can happen to an economy and a society when you strip all of those terrible 'protectionist' policies away and then expose it to harsh conditions. Banks are hiring foreigners because (a) it's cheaper and (b) you have created a culture where the only "right" is corporations doing things as profitably as possible and the only "wrong" is putting anything ahead of money. You're a late entrant in the race to the bottom that you created.

          But the measure of intelligence is not whether you make mistakes - it's whether you learn from the ones you do make. I hope you learn from all of this, I really do. Getting rid of the Republican Party and moving your idea of "centrist" away from what the rest of us regard as "far right" might be a good starting point.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tyrione (134248)

            The problem is, none of those "theories" were Capitalism. They were forms of pseudo-Capitalism designed to maximize consolidation of market players [anti-competition/pro megacorporations too big to fail] and form legally protected Oligopolies.

            Real Capitalism with government oversight guaranteeing a large pool of players in all markets is something the US power brokers fear the most.

        • by twostix (1277166) on Monday February 02, 2009 @01:07AM (#26690457)

          Growth? That 'growth' was wiped out in about two weeks when the financial house of cards fell. Some 'growth'.

          The last 20-30 years have seen the most dramatic drop in real wages and the hardest squeeze on the middle class for over a century.

          Not exactly what I'd call 'growth', more like hollywood accounting and people living on credit in an attempt to maintain their class status. We'll get a look at the real financial state of society in many western countries over the next couple of years. Once people get bumped en-masse down into the lower class and they realise that they are now the people they used to look down upon, they're gonna be *pissed*. Whether the pro-globalist ivory tower intellectuals and/or robber barons like it or not. And when that happens all the strict financial regulations and high tax rates on the ultra wealthy and protectionism that have been chipped away at for last century will be brought back post haste. Rightly or wrongly governments won't have a choice. In fact it's already begun to happen.

          Not to mention doing things in isolation has its merits...like providing jobs, lots and lots of jobs, and security both nationally and personally and national self-reliance. Not to mention the skill, knowledge and pride base it builds.

          If an operation in the US (or here in Aus) wishes to run the bulk of its operation in a third world country then the executive should have to live there as well. See how long the pro offshoring arguments would carry on for then.

          As with everything there's a balance, bit of protectionism here, bit of free trade there whatever's good for the country and your countrymen. Totally closing the borders is about as useful as totally opening them and seems to have the same outcome. But moderation in ideology is out of fashion these days isn't it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ogdenk (712300)

          The problem is, so does everyone else.

          Gonna mandate that public construction be done with US steel, even if the cost is a little higher?

          I'm perfectly OK with that.

          It'll help american companies and american jobs, sure. But then the europeans decide that if you're not playing fair then they won't buy stuff you make, they'll use their own.

          I'm ok with that too.

          Result? We lose out on the global economy, which is largely responsible for the last 20/30 years of growth, everyone pays higher prices and things are no longer done best or cheapest, they're done in isolation.

          If it means that a lower-middle-class worker gets to quit feeding his kids Ramen noodles and gets decent benefits instead of being consistently shafted and told he is the only one to blame for his problems then yeah, I'm fine with that.

          If that person gets a raise instead of a paycut with cheap "better-qualified" foreign labor being the excuse then yeah, I'm fine with that.

          I'm tired of starving because of some assholes bottom line. It wasn't like this 15 years

        • by dbIII (701233) on Monday February 02, 2009 @03:02AM (#26691215)

          Gonna mandate that public construction be done with US steel, even if the cost is a little higher?

          That is a bad example because it is already a protected industry - what you descibed happened years ago. Even "free trade" agreements have conditions in there that the other countries cannot sell steel, wheat, sugar etc to the USA. It costs more than imports since there is no need to price it to imports anymore and there is no drive for the protected industry to improve price or quality. It's one of the reasons why there has been little spending on government infrastucture in the USA for a couple of decades, steel is expensive. There's not much of an export market due to the higher cost - and due to the nature of US coal being higher in sulphur than most places - often lower quality as well. Eastern europe can produce higher quality steel more cheaply since they have better coal and the technological advances that kept the US ahead in efficiency no longer happen. Why bother to waste money on R&D when you have a government mandated captive market?

          The boat has already been missed. It's time to swim to shore as best as can be done.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Maxmin (921568)

          We lose out on the global economy, which is largely responsible for the last 20/30 years of growth, everyone pays higher prices and things are no longer done best or cheapest, they're done in isolation.

          The benefits of growth accrue to business owners and shareholders, not to workers... use "we" carefully in such context.

          Real wage growth [wikipedia.org] has stalled since the 1970s, after CPI/inflation, and wages have been in decline for most of the decade [minyanville.com]. Since the 1970s, wage growth has been stalled relative to CPI. Yo

        • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday February 02, 2009 @06:38AM (#26692249)

          Gonna mandate that public construction be done with US steel, even if the cost is a little higher?

          It'll help american companies and american jobs, sure.

          No. No, it won't. That's the problem. It'll help American *steel* companies and American *steel* jobs, but the higher cost paid for steel will result in more companies and more jobs harmed elsewhere. The problem is, the benefit is concentrated and obvious. The cost is diffuse and difficult to see.

          And, incidentally, once US steel no longer feel competitive pressures from outside, that "little higher cost" won't stay so "little" for long.

          Free-trade arguments don't need to be based on retaliatory protectionism from other countries. Protectionism is bad nobody *what* the other country does.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        errm "high quality"??? are you fucking kidding me. i'm not knocking all workers here, but it seems the ones desperate to move in under these kinds of visa's are fucking useless. i've had 4 of them cycle through my work place under similar schemes here and only 1 of them was any good, and i wouldn't call him high quality, merely competent.

        industry is full of crap when they claim there is a people shortage, what they really mean is there is a shortage of industry willing to train people inhouse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by James Youngman (3732)
        The trouble is, protectionist trade policies can significantly hurt employment; consider the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act [wikipedia.org] for example.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      Of course! It's in the preamble of the constitution. I'd say ensuring fair wages and preventing the exploitation of cheaper foreign workers falls neatly within promoting the general welfare. And the fact is, the H1-B program has been abused wildly for quite a long time. It is rife with fraud and abuse and needs clean-up and re-examination. Putting people here out of work while importing people from outside the country does dangerous things to the economy and while it isn't as drastic as what we already

      • by adpowers (153922) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:22PM (#26689137)

        You can train people all you want, it won't necessarily make them smarter.

        My team at work has five engineers and a manager. I'm the only one that was born in the US. Some of them have become citizens and others are here on visas. They are extremely smart and know their shit. There is a shortage of top-notch talent, and the only way for a company to remain competitive is to hire people from outside the US. In my opinion it is better to bring them here to work than to set up an office in their native country (offshore) because the employees make more and they spend most of it within the US. That's a net win.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)

        If there was TRULY a shortage of good people, the companies should do what they did before H1-B -- TRAIN PEOPLE.

        But the problem is the wages. For example, say the average American expects to get paid $9 per hour for a job, when they have been trained specifically for that job they expect even higher wages (just look at certifications in the computer world, such as how a Red Hat Certified technician expects to get paid more than a recent IT graduate of the local college). The average H1-B person might expect to be paid $7 per hour for a job that they are already trained at. Its simple economics, if you were looking

  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:49PM (#26688865)

    The American Bankers Association blamed the US talent pool for forcing the move, saying they couldn't find enough Americans capable of handling sales, lending, and bank administration.

    They're just copying well the tactics of others.

    What the above paragraph really means is they couldn't find enough Americans capable of the job, who were willing to take less pay than average, so their costs would be less, and their profit margins would be more.

    For the purposes of their requests, people who want to be paid somewhere near the market price for their services aren't suitable candidates capable of the job.

    • by mochan_s (536939) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:24PM (#26689153)

      What the above paragraph really means is they couldn't find enough Americans capable of the job, who were willing to take less pay than average, so their costs would be less, and their profit margins would be more.

      H1B rules say that you specifically cannot pay them less. An American worker has the right to go to a company, demand the salary, related qualifications and job descriptions. If the American citizen can prove that she is qualified for that position, then the company cannot continue hiring the H1B. In fact, all this information is REQUIRED BY LAW to be posted in a public space in the company (in the bulletin board of the hallway).

      There are rules and safeguards up the wazoo about hiring workers with with lower pay on H1B.

      On the other hand, H1B sponsorship costs money in application fees and lawyer fees. You'd have to hire the H1B for ridiculously little for the whole system of underpaying to be even worth it and have a way to get away with it.

      As far as I know, there has been no major disclosure or legal action against a practice like this. All that has been are stories that people have put up in the web.

      The banking industry needs a lot of IT and database people. This is where a lot of H1B hiring goes on I believe.

    • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:35PM (#26689265)

      I hire a lot of foreigners. Trust me, we pay out the ass for them. They're more expensive than 90% of Americans who apply for the same job, and then again, they're more qualified than 90% of Americans who apply.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:52PM (#26688881) Homepage

    Retreats at luxury spas, buying private jets, handing out billions in "retention bonuses" when there are 10's of thousands out of work in the finance industry and the companies are asking for a taxpayer bailout. Then they repay those same taxpayers by trying to hire foreigners to replace them.

    It's obvious to everyone outside Wall St. that these people just don't get it. Entitlement has become so entrenched it's a way of life for them.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:53PM (#26688893)

    ... were also looking for the cheapest labour they could get.

    I'm suspecting that you'll also find that those were the banks handing out the biggest bonuses for their executives.

    When this disaster is over, I recommend lots of government regulations to ensure that, in the future, none of the banks (or other financial institutions) ever get "so big that we cannot let them fail".

    In theory, with the "Free Market", these banks WOULD fail because they were badly managed. Instead, we're propping them up and rewarding their failed management.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Umm, no.

      While most might not remember this, since it happened four months ago, those big banks that got the $150 billion bailout were ORDERED by the Treasury Secretary to take a bailout. Most of them didn't even want it. I recall reading in the paper at the time that the Secretary had to basically lock them into a meeting and tell them they weren't leaving till they'd accepted a bailout. Apparently, someone was afraid that bankers who really needed a bailout would be afraid to admit it if everyone wasn'

  • Visa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dsieme01 (1108105) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:04PM (#26688981)
    America has a choice. Bring in foreign labor that sometimes is much better and sometimes much worse than American labor over here legally or outsource their functions and loose all the benefits in the process.
    • Re:Visa (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tinkerghost (944862) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:31PM (#26689221) Homepage

      America has a choice. Bring in foreign labor that sometimes is much better and sometimes much worse than American labor over here legally or outsource their functions and loose all the benefits in the process.

      Or the obvious answer - hire people from the US.H1B visas were designed to expedite bringing in people when there was a legitimate shortage of people to fill a position, not to ensure that employers were guaranteed a low cost workforce. Per the last stats I saw, H1B recipients were making 75% of the standard wages for their professions.

      I find it preposterous that a bank was unable to find qualified Sales agents within the US. What they couldn't find was people willing to work for 3/4 of the salary of everyone else in the office.

  • by adpowers (153922) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:05PM (#26688989)

    I'm worried by the increasing number of stories on /. up in arms about companies bringing in *gasp* foreigners. America was founded by non-natives and our economic strength comes from the thousands of immigrants who come here for a better life by getting good jobs or starting businesses.

    The contempt for the foreigners coming here on H1-B visas, and the companies that hire them, disgusts me. What makes you any better or more deserving than these people? The fact that you were born in the US? Please. These people have the should have the same right as all of us to come here and be successful. By preventing people from immigrating, especially talented, smart people, we are damaging the future of this country. The ability to attract the best and the brightest to come here is one of our greatest strengths. Erecting barriers to trade and enacting protectionism, especially during this economy, will lead to our downfall as a nation.

    The economy isn't a zero-sum game. Allowing foreigners to come here to work enhances their life and the life of those in this country. If you believe you are inherently more entitled to a job than someone from another country, just because you were born here, then you are a xenophobic prick.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:16PM (#26689065)

      No shit, this stuff is really pissing me off.

      Look, the federal law is that H1B workers are paid the same as American workers in the same job. These companies are asking for H1Bs because they need the talent, NOT because they want to cheap-out on the payroll. If H1B employees are being paid less, then the company hiring them is in violation of the law. It's as simple as that.

      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:28PM (#26689195) Journal
        Honest question - who decides what American workers get paid? Does the average for the foreign workers have to be the same as the national average? Or some other metric? Or does the company just have to pay their own foreign and American workers the same for the same position?

        Because if it's the latter, what's stopping a bank from lowering the entry-level pay of all, say, branch managers from $15/hr to $10/hr, then when they can't find enough qualified Americans willing to work for that amount turning to H1Bs? They'll pay the Americans they do get the same, but there won't be enough willing to take it so they can claim a shortage and pay everyone less.
        • by cetialphav (246516) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:18PM (#26689547)

          Honest question - who decides what American workers get paid?

          Normally, the free market decides this. A company has to pay me a reasonable salary because I am always on the lookout for something better. There is nothing that prevents me from changing jobs for more money or better benefits.

          Where the H1-B system is really broken is that this market dynamic simply does not exist. An H1-B worker must stay at the sponsoring company or leave the country. Most of these workers want to be able to live and work here permanently so they need the company to sponsor them for a green card. This basically makes them indentured servants with no way to leave that company. If H1-B workers were free to go after a better salary, we would not have these abuses. Someone from India or China might take a low salary to get a company to relocate them here, but they will quickly look for a higher salary once they are here.

          That has always been my problem with the H1-B program. We bring in a bunch of workers that are easily exploited and that hurts everyone. We need a system where qualified people are given the right to work in our country. If they manage to stay employed for a couple of years, then they clearly have some value and they should be on the fast track to a more permanent worker status.

          • by radish (98371) on Monday February 02, 2009 @12:16AM (#26690021) Homepage

            H1-B holders are allowed to transfer to another employer provided the new employer is willing to employ them in that status. In fact, the H1-B is one of the most employee-friendly of all the visa categories - I used to be on an L1-B and I really was tied to my employer. If I quite (or they fired me) it's off to the airport - regardless of how long I might have lived here or how much I paid in taxes. Luckily I'm now a greencard holder but being an immigrant in this country really isn't fun.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday February 02, 2009 @02:17AM (#26690931)

          Honest question - who decides what American workers get paid?

          Simple. Demand.

          Lets say job A has 3 people qualified to do it, but four companies need job A filled, the three qualified people can pick and choose their job. Now, turn to job B, which also has 3 people qualified for it, but only one company needs job B filled. Now, it's the company who can pick and choose who they hire and for how much (or how little).

          Yes, this is amazingly simplistic, but it's really quite spot on. When you start looking at this sort of stuff on a global economy scale, yes, it gets a whole lot more complex, but the principle stays the same. Jobs in high demand will earn more. Somewhere above was an example of a qualified Red Hat person leaving college wanting more than an experienced sysadmin with years of experience. Guess why that is? Because right now, lots of companies have decided they need red hat qualified workers. Bingo, sellers market - and the people with red hat who can sell themselves will be making a killing.

          In Australia, a funny thing happened about five years ago. We pretty much ran into a shortage of tradies (that's local talk for plumbers, sparkies, brickies etc etc) and the ones who were in that field started to make an utter killing. There were even numerous news stories and articles about the new class of working elite. Yes, the guy hooking up the pipes in your new home was earning $150k a year. The guy fixing the cement slab for your house, he was making much more than the lawyer doing your legal paperwork to buy the house.

          Now, companies can of course try to exploit rules in a market. In this case, big banks worked out that they might be able to hire people cheaper by using this sort of working visa. Just means that there is less demand for that sort of worker really. It's a buyers market for this sort of work.

          Now, when you start adding more complexity again with "how much does a worker want for a particular type of work" you once again get into yet another kettle of fish. For example, I work in an office doing a business analyst role, but I wouldn't take say a job moving lawns for the same money. I don't like mowing lawns. Sure, I could do it, but for me to do that every day, I would expect to be paid considerably more. I also wouldn't really want to take a job working in a fast food outlet. Now, as it happens to be, those jobs pay less than mine - that's because a lot of people are willing to do them, and can do them for less than me. In global terms, these banks are taking advantage of the fact that they can take workers into a role for less than the average American wants to be paid for doing that job. It's not that there aren't any Americans who don't want to do that job - just not for that amount of money. If the bank can make use of a way to have the job filled for less than an American wants for it - seems to be playing fair. Maybe not patriotic, but fair.

          Now, having said all this rather longwinded stuff, I am of the general opinion that you end up getting what you pay for. I advertise roles within this team at above the minimum wages but hire very selectively. This means I get someone who is a better worker for the role - and mostly people who want to do the role well. Paying above the other people advertising the same type of role really lets you pick and choose who you want - it turns any role into a buyer's market.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hemp (36945)

        One way companies get around the pay issues it to apply for the H1-B via a company (body shop) located in Maine for example, and then contract out the H1-B to a company in California.

        I believe this is all covered in graduate school when you get your MBA now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HanzoSpam (713251)

      If you believe you are inherently more entitled to a job than someone from another country, just because you were born here, then you are a xenophobic prick.

      What I think is that if a company is receiving American tax dollars to stay in business, it's first obligation is to those people whose money it's taking. Got a problem with that?

      And why do oikophobes [brusselsjournal.com] always feel obliged to refer to those with opposing views with terms like "xenophobe", that imply disagreement must some form of neurosis?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pongo000 (97357)

      The contempt for the foreigners coming here on H1-B visas, and the companies that hire them, disgusts me. What makes you any better or more deserving than these people? The fact that you were born in the US? Please.

      Hate to bust your frail grasp of reality, but US citizens aren't the only people in the world who have a strong sense of nationalism and are opposed to US companies hiring foreign labor to replace domestic labor. The Brits apparently have the same sense of nationalism. [nytimes.com].

      So why don't you can your

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JumperCable (673155)

      This isn't an issue of preventing "the best & brightest" from immigrating to the US. These are stock jobs "sales, lending, and bank administration".

      For each one of those positions, there is surely a US employee who has been busting his or her rear end to be given a chance to work in that position. Not to mention, many of those position mentioned are currently desperately seeking work. Our economy is crashing due to people out of work, receiving little or now pay raises, or in secure about their futur

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quothz (683368)

      I'm worried by the increasing number of stories on /. up in arms about companies bringing in *gasp* foreigners. America was founded by non-natives and our economic strength comes from the thousands of immigrants who come here for a better life by getting good jobs or starting businesses. The contempt for the foreigners coming here on H1-B visas, and the companies that hire them, disgusts me. What makes you any better or more deserving than these people? The fact that you were born in the US? Please. These people have the should have the same right as all of us to come here and be successful. By preventing people from immigrating, especially talented, smart people, we are damaging the future of this country.

      First, H1-B visa recipients are not immigrants. That's why it's called a "non-immigrant visa". Immigration is a completely different topic, one in which I'd probably agree with you on several points. Here, however, you're off-base, largely because your initial assumption (H1-B visas involve immigration) is wrong. Prick.

      Second, I think I'm more deserving of US jobs because I'm a US citizen, not because I was born in the US. As a citizen, I expect certain rights, priveleges, and protections within the US, bec

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:18PM (#26689085)

    Rescued Banks Sought Foreign Help During Meltdown

    and then

    ...requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years.

    I wasn't aware the banking system was already melting down in 2003. Given the delay inherent in gov't bureaucracies, H1-B visa requests granted now may have been in the system for months, if not years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by radish (98371)

      Indeed, this is reactionary xenophobic crap. I work in a bank, I'm heavily involved in hiring both domestically and from overseas. Banks haven't been hiring _anyone_ in the last 6 months, and pretty much no-one for 6 months before that (didn't anyone see all the layoffs?). Also, to dispel some of the BS I read about H1-B, the vast majority of those candidates are people who are brought over here temporarily on contracts (through agencies) and who turn out to be excellent people who we want to keep. We pay t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:25PM (#26689167)

    I am a manager at major technology company. One that nearly anyone would love to get a job with.

    I have hired a lot of people over the last few years. And a lot of people straight out of college. And I've hired a LOT of foreigners. I've had to deal with H1-B issues every year for 4 years.

    I dearly want to hire Americans. I have a candidate right now who is really good and I'm frothing at the mouth to sign him up.

    And I don't believe Americans are stupid or can't do what foreigners can. But here's the thing, Americans in college mostly seem to have lousy resumes.

    Remember when you are getting a job out of college, that most of your peers (meaning college students graduating nationwide) will have no actual experience in anything but the basic concepts of your field. Most employers realize that a college student is mostly considered a smart blank slate, one they will have to train a while in the ways of work before they can contribute well.

    When I see resumes from Indian students, both educated in India and educated in the US (often just graduate school), the Indian students have FAR better resumes than any of the American students. The resumes list specific courses which show that the applicant has done projects which involved design and implementation while still in school. Also, they will often have fantastic summer experience. Meanwhile, American students will apparently have been delivering pizza for the summer because there's usually nothing listed.

    So, Americans, do yourself a favor. When you enter college, do a resume search of students graduating from your school or similar ones. Look at some of the resumes from the Indian students. See the experience they are listing, and then go get yourself some of this experience, both in school and during the summers.

    Yes, work your butt off in classes too, but you also need to work extra hard to make sure you land a good-quality internship between your junior and senior years. And take project-type classes that show you can do work in the field you want to land a job in, not just that you know the concepts and math involved. And make sure when someone reads your resume, they can tell from it what you learned/did.

    You'll make things a lot easier on me too, because I want to hire Americans (trust me, the government is still doing a good job of making it easier to hire Americans than foreigners), and if you make it easier for me to find you, we both win.

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday February 02, 2009 @01:20AM (#26690571)
      Your comment makes it sound like the clincher for you is what's written on the resume, whereas you've gone out of your way to point out with your example that actual skills or talent is not as important as the resume.

      In reality, the contents of the resume are not as important as actual skills and experience verified during an interview process. The resume is simply an advert to get noticed, after which the real work on the part of the prospective employer and potential employee starts.

      Now, you've implied that your American candidate has easily the skills required, at that point the resume should not matter at all any more. If it does, it can only be for political reasons, ie to make it look better when your company lists its employees in written documents, a CYA on your part, etc.

      But here's the thing: if _you_ care so much about the hiring politics that you're willing to forego a qualified candidate just because his resume does not look so good, then you've _already_ compromised your hiring standards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FredMenace (835698)

      And you BELIEVE these resumes from India?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bzipitidoo (647217)

      Another AC telling us that we Americans are inferior employees. Seems there are a lot of such posts in here. Are we being astroturfed? Why is this particular one rated so high?

      He so much wants to hire us, but he doesn't. Says it's all our fault for writing crappy resumes, not working hard enough, and not doing school right. Theory isn't good enough, he wants practical experience. Apparently our schools aren't giving us good guidance, and a degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Is all this b

  • by gillbates (106458) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:31PM (#26689217) Homepage Journal

    Banks making decisions according to financial factors?! Say it ain't so!

    Congressmen act surprised because they want their constituents to believe that by bailing out the banks, they're saving the American worker and the economy. But I have serious doubts that any of the Congressmen who voted for the bailout *really believed* that it would create jobs or help the economy.

    The problem Congressmen *might* be facing next election is that those workers laid off by the banks receiving bailouts are not the ignoramuses they assume. These workers went to college, took courses in economics, and generally speaking, understand as much about the economy - if not more - than their congressional counterparts. They lived through eight years of the Bush White House, and can recognize cronyism when they see it. They lived through eight years of Reaganomics, and not only do they recognize it when they see it, they know it doesn't work.

    And they, like me, are frustrated that the wool is being pulled over our collective eyes. We're frustrated that Congress is rewarding greed and avarice, and trying to sell it as creating jobs. They know better; we know better.

    Oh, and that Change that Obama was talking about? Well, our government is going to take your dollars, and leave you with pocket change. Welcome to Democracy.

  • nativist flamebait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adavies42 (746183) on Monday February 02, 2009 @12:20AM (#26690061)
    two points: first, "six years""the meltdown"--six years ago was 2003, for god's sake, the economy was still roaring along. second, these banks are 100,000+ employee behemoths; they're ruled mostly by inertia. if someone said, in 2005, "hire me 10,000 people from india in 2008", an executive order direct from bush wouldn't have been enough to cancel the process in less than six months.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Monday February 02, 2009 @01:08AM (#26690463)

    I'm sorry... My knee jerk just hit me in the face so hard I lost all ability to reason for a while.

    The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years.

    We've got our panties in a bunch over their hiring H1Bs at the rate of one one thousandth of their global workforce each year during the fastest period of growth in banking history? Anyone else feeling stupid yet?

    21,860 over six years.

    So an average of 3,600 a year?

    Or, divided across the dozen quoted, an average of three hundred whole H1Bs per bank, each year.

    To put that in context, Citibank, not even the largest of them, had around 300,000 worldwide workers. Their lay offs have hit around 10% of that number... 30,000. 300 H1Bs a year is suddenly a very, very small number.

    Even if none of the H1Bs moved on during the six years, they'd have hired a total of about 2,000 of them. They'd still have laid off 28,000 non H1B holders even if every last H1B holder had gone first.

    Sweet jesus, they're clearly the most evil H1B abusers evar.

    And as for talking about how evil they were for hiring these H1Bs over the last six years as the system imploded? It's been falling apart for the last year or so. The other five of those that we're busy lumping in there were (admittedly for bad reasons) the fastest period of growth the banking sector has ever seen.

    The constant whining about H1Bs, I'm sorry, is the same pathetic xenophobia and protectionism that kicks in, whether grounded or not, whenever people get scared.

    I was disgusted in 2002 as that shameful of human traits was used to justify stripping away the nation's civil liberties. I was disgusted as it turned in to attacking mosques and regarding all muslims as obvious terrorists. I was disgusted as it was used to justify attacking as "unpatriotic" anyone who dared question what turned out to be lies justifying a war that's cost 5,000 American lives. And, yeah, I'm pretty disgusted by it now too.

    Xenophobia's pathetic at any time. Massively distorting numbers to make a point that really doesn't exist doesn't help.

  • by Killer Eye (3711) on Monday February 02, 2009 @03:43AM (#26691449)

    In quotes from interviews in the article, and comments here on Slashdot, there seems to be this misguided assumption that "taxpayer" equals "American". That is wrong!!!

    Immigrants who work here, even on a visa, pay taxes on their income. They shop at the same stores, forking over sales tax. Many foreign workers own property that is taxed, they buy stocks that are taxed, etc. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any difference between an immigrant and a U.S. citizen from a "paying taxes" point of view, over the same period of residency.

    So, stop acting as if foreign workers contribute no money to the government, as if somehow every use of tax dollars will only impact U.S. citizens.

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