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How the 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT In America 436

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-intentions dept.
theodp writes "Back in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a controversial 'emergency' rule to allow foreign students earning tech-related degrees in the US to work for American employers for 29 months after graduation without a work visa. The program would allow US companies to recruit and retain the 'best' science and tech students educated at the top US universities, explained Microsoft. But two-and-a-half years later, it turns out the top US universities are getting schooled by less-renowned institutions. Computerworld reports the DHS program is dominated by little-known, for-profit Stratford University, whose 727 approved requests for post-graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM extensions tops all schools and is more than twice the combined total of the entire Ivy League — Brown (26), Columbia (105), Cornell (90), Dartmouth (18), Harvard (27), Princeton (16), Penn (50), and Yale (9). In second place, with 533 approved requests, is the University of Bridgeport. In another twist, the program's employers include IT outsourcing and offshoring 'body shops' like Kelly Services, whose entities snagged about 50 approvals, more than twice the combined total of tech stalwarts Google (15), Amazon.com (2), Yahoo (2), and Facebook (3)."
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How the 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT In America

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:45PM (#34301286)
    Clearly the private, for profit schools produce more competitive students.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Clearly the private schools are really good at funneling foreign workers into our job positions. Win for private sector, a loss for the rest of us.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by umghhh (965931)
        these are apparently well skilled people that possibly may stay longer and create prosperity in the visited country also when they stop visiting and become citizens for real. What is wrong with that? It is definitely better than having unskilled immigrants polluting labor market at low end.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dishevel (1105119)
          Getting kicked in the balls is better than being beheaded with a dull lawnmower blade. I still do not wish to be kicked in the balls.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540)

          these are apparently well skilled people that possibly may stay longer and create prosperity in the visited country also when they stop visiting and become citizens for real.

          They won't do that. The whole reason they are "competitive" is that they are going back to their homeland with a lower quality and cost of living, thus allowing them to get more bang for their buck. This, in turn, allows employers to depress wages using them as an excuse.

          What is wrong with that?

          As I said, the practice lowers wages for

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:53PM (#34301318) Homepage

    "Back in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a controversial 'emergency' rule to allow foreign students earning tech-related degrees in the U.S. to work for American employers for 29 months after graduation without a work visa.

    While citizens who could use the training and work, are given the short shaft, thanks to various loopholes in need of closure. They have the skills, it's time we made companies actually recognize that.

    Think about it before you throw your exception to the rule about a specific thing not being found.

    The program would allow U.S. companies to recruit and retain the 'best' science and tech students

    Bullshit. We have all the people we need, we just aren't willing to engage in fraud. Businesses however, are.

      But two-and-a-half years later, it turns out the top U.S. universities are getting schooled by less-renowned institutions. Computerworld reports the DHS program is dominated by little-known, for-profit Stratford University, whose 727 approved requests for post-graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM extensions tops all schools and is more than twice the combined total of the entire Ivy League -- Brown (26), Columbia (105), Cornell (90), Dartmouth (18), Harvard (27), Princeton (16), Penn (50), and Yale (9). In second place, with 533 approved requests, is the University of Bridgeport. In another twist, the program's employers include IT outsourcing and offshoring 'body shops' like Kelly Services, whose entities snagged about 50 approvals, more than twice the combined total of tech stalwarts Google (15), Amazon.com (2), Yahoo (2), and Facebook (3)."

    This might be the real story. Either the fraud's moved over to those universities, or the fraud shops got seriously blindsided.

    • by TheSync (5291) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:01PM (#34301366) Journal

      We have all the people we need

      I'd kind of prefer if the US had more smart people, even if we have to import them...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:10PM (#34301418)

        I'd kind of prefer if the US had more smart people, even if we have to import them...

        So would I, but this program doesn't accomplish that. It just gives the offshoring companies a couple of years to train the "graduate" before sending the job to Asia.

      • by arivanov (12034) on Monday November 22, 2010 @01:56AM (#34303386) Homepage

        That is not accomplished by the current visa legislation. Just the opposite.

        To be more specific US is the only developed country whose immigration legislation prohibits the spouses of people on high-skill labour visas from working. The ones that are not prohibited have to go through so many demeaning and outright stupid hurdles that they do not want to even consider it. For example for L2 visa (in-company qualified labour transfer) you have to supply 5 pictures of your wedding ceremony and they have to be approved by the immigration officials. What's next? Pictures of your sex life?

        This ultra conservative approach means that USA will be getting only a small fraction of smart people out there. Smart people nowdays have smart wives (and husbands) with careers of their own so they are not coming. These restrictions specifically exclude them in favour of slave labour from countries where the wife is draped top to bottom and is a dedicated child production and home cleaning device with no other functionality. Call me biased, but I have my doubts about anyone in this category being "qualified labour".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by prefec2 (875483)

        The best way to get more educated people is to educate more people. But western countries try to outsource this to other countries. But in the end the jobs go where the people are rather than the people go where the jobs are. Especially in technology and sciences.

    • hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This reminds me of the Stephen Colbert + Mexican farm workers demonstrating how even when offered US workers didnt take the farming jobs. It is not that Americans dont have the skills - it is just that the ones with the skills didnt want to do the back breaking work for the pay offered.

      IT consulting is a legitimate need. You may not think so - but most companies dont want a hoard of IT employees. Most of them want a few dozen when starting on some boring implementation (Say Oracle ERP.. or SAP), and once do

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        This reminds me of the Stephen Colbert + Mexican farm workers demonstrating how even when offered US workers didnt take the farming jobs.

        A "program" offered by a character on a Comedy Central program isn't exactly a valid cite. How many people actually thought it was real? And for most people who live on the coasts, how many farms are there around them that would actually hire that kind of worker. I think the closest one to me is about a 3 hour drive - one way.

        • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:12PM (#34301730) Journal
          Ya right dude, no one wants to do that kind of farm labor. It's not easy. Imagine climbing up and down ladders all day, moving your hands faster than you thought possible, picking cherries or something. And then at the end of the day getting paid almost nothing because you are too slow to keep up with everyone. That's how it starts out. After a month or so you get a lot better at it, your stamina goes up, and if you are lucky, you'll get paid $8 an hour. You can get as much on welfare and watch TV all day. I only did that kind of thing when I was a teenager and had no other skills (incidentally most of the other white teenagers I was working with got fired because the Mexicans are so much better workers. White teenagers have trouble focusing on work, sorry if that sounds racist, I'm not looking down on either race). Mexicans truly do the jobs no one else wants to do. If you have any skill at all, you can do better than picking cherries.

          Incidentally, most cities have places you can go to get day labor work. The WSJ did an analysis a few months ago of the kinds of jobs that are available now. They found that there are lots of jobs for unskilled workers, and lots of jobs for highly skilled workers (like programmers), but not much demand for medium skilled workers (like middle managers). And that matches my experience. If anyone is having trouble finding a programming job, it is because A) they suck, B) they have no clue how to find a job (one of my friends is like this: every time he goes in for a job interview he tells them he doesn't want to work hard. And yet he still has an ok job....at a university). or C) you are looking in the wrong place. You won't find many programming jobs in Modesto, California.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bberens (965711)

            And then at the end of the day getting paid almost nothing because you are too slow to keep up with everyone. That's how it starts out. After a month or so you get a lot better at it, your stamina goes up, and if you are lucky, you'll get paid $8 an hour.

            You've unknowingly hit on the single most important point. Americans are not willing to do that labor at that price. There's plenty of Americans in Florida laying pitch for roads, roofing, putting up fences, etc. All miserable jobs in the 100+ degree Florida heat. All pay more than $8/hr.

        • Well it comes down to how desperate you are, really. 3 hours travel one way is nothing for someone truly desperate. So a better interpretation of the Colbert demo is that average Americans aren't nearly as desperate for jobs, yet, as we are led to believe.
    • by jonwil (467024) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:45PM (#34301888)

      People have the skills, they just dont have the experience.
      I see it time and time again on IT job sites. I see companies that ask for "3 years experience in " yet no-one is willing to give people like me (someone who has plenty of skills but not enough experience) a chance so that I can GET the jobs where they want experience.

      And I see the same job listed again and again.

      I see article after article where people claim there is an "IT worker shortage". If IT firms were more willing to hire people who have University qualifications and good skills but havent necessarily done real world work, there wouldnt BE a shorage.

      • by jshackney (99735) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @09:34PM (#34302176) Homepage

        "IT worker shortage"

        Marketing-speak to English translation: The market is full of highly experienced and expensive talent. We're looking for cheap talent, and nobody wants to work for what we're paying.

        See also: Teacher Shortage; Pilot Shortage; Nurse Shortage; [________] Shortage.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jonwil (467024)

          None of the jobs I saw specified anything to do with sallary, nor was sallary specified anywhere by me. If they wanted someone cheap, they should stop preteding and just go hire some Indians or Chinese and get it over wirh.

      • by dakameleon (1126377) on Monday November 22, 2010 @12:02AM (#34302964)

        Forgive me for stating the obvious, but if you're still at college, look for internships, part time work and graduate roles, where experience isn't a criteria. If you're out of college but looking to change careers, or just plain out of a job, volunteer with local NGOs, charities and associations. You might not get the 3 years experience they're looking for exactly in the roles you want exactly, but often you can get your foot in the door with less experience but a demonstrated ability to go out and chase opportunities yourself.

        And remember at all times, the criteria listed is for "ideal" candidates, so if the same job is still listed a month later, chances are if you hit some of the requirements you're in with a pretty strong chance - basically, don't let the listed requirements put you off.

  • Been there. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:14PM (#34301448)
    From the 4th page:

    The contractor that Serrano trained at IBM was from China, but Serrano didn't know her immigration status. And despite having to train her replacement, ...

    I had to do the same thing at another company and he was the one who asked me what the '*' by variables mean and "what's a pointer?"

    That's why when I hear some big shot at Intel, IBM or any other big corp says that they are hiring overseas because 'they can't find qualified Americans", I have to go off and mumble "Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. ... "

    Just tell the fucking truth. They want cheaper labor. That's why as Indian salaries go up, they move to other countries.

    Nope. It's corporate America. How do you tell when a PR person is lying? Their lips move.

    Of course the economists will say this is good for the entire economy. Really? Then why have real wages been stagnant for over a decade - for everyone?

    Go up the food chain? How can we when even the upper food chain jobs are leaving. Except of course upper management. But that will change. Some foreign based company without the obscene upper management pay of IBM or Intel is going to come in and eat their lunches - you'll see.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      It's corporate America and the selling walk around. Would you invest in a company has feel good US generation brands all over its kit?
      Or like to trust a company with the low cost ugly no brand kit?
      Whats the difference? One box is built to order in Peoples first class export electronics factory 12, the other cloned in factory 48 a mile away for a fraction of the cost.
      The US still has the design edge. Build on that :)
    • Re:Been there. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wampus (1932) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:37PM (#34301846)

      'they can't find qualified Americans"

      They aren't lying, they just aren't saying the rest of that phrase, "for what we are willing to pay."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)
        Well, no, they are lying. If they're leaving that out of the phrase they're definitely telling a lie.

        It's a case of the free market that they use to justify no oversight being inconvenient when it comes to hiring talent. They need to ship people in on the H1-B visa as a way of adding additional competition, not as a way of filling positions that would go unfilled.
  • by mixed_signal (976261) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:21PM (#34301472)

    ... probably aren't high on the recruiting list for IT and technology professionals. MIT, Carnegie-Mellon, U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, ... several state universities, and on down are where the action is for engineering and computer science. So clearly there are more "tech" jobs in the specialties where these schools are hiring, likely those requiring less education. The problem with this data is that it has no basis for comparison to how the visa program is actually changing anything.

    I had tried to recruit some talented MSEE grads for some time back in 2007 and found, frustratingly, that most were here in student visas and the pool of H1-B visas were much smaller. We couldn't count on obtaining an H1-B and had to turn down a few very talented people. And, no, at the time we did not find as many U.S. citizens available.

    A better data point would be to show the percentage of student visa holders that have remained the in U.S. with this program.

    And if anyone wants to complain about these programs taking jobs from U.S. citizens, then it should start by reducing the number of student visas on offer. Once someone is well trained by our schools it's insane to not let them stay and add to our GDP.

    • by macshit (157376) <miles @ g n u . o rg> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @10:51PM (#34302550) Homepage

      And if anyone wants to complain about these programs taking jobs from U.S. citizens, then it should start by reducing the number of student visas on offer. Once someone is well trained by our schools it's insane to not let them stay and add to our GDP.

      My impression (from helping a foreign national through the application process) is that many universities (including Ivy League universities) treat foreign students as something of a cash-cow: unlike U.S. citizens, foreign nationals receive no discounts and no assistance from the university, regardless of financial hardship, and so end up paying the full price up front (there are exceptions, like Harvard, but they're very rare). The more famous the name, the more willing they're to pay, even at Ivy League prices.

      So I expect if anyone suggests limiting student visas, universities will freak.

      Moreover, from a less cynical point of view, limiting the number of foreign students will make universities poorer places in non-financial terms as well — the presence of people from many cultures, with many different points of view, is one of the things that make universities a cool place to be, and makes for a more vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment. Restricting that for short-term protectionist reasons would be folly.

      [I'd suggest that the same thing holds generally, despite all the anti-H1B whining on slashdot, but in the case of universities, it's an especially aburd notion.]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by martas (1439879)
        Actually, that stuff about different cultures creating a "vibrant" learning environment and all that crap is only true under certain conditions. All too often I see that as the number of students with similar cultural backgrounds increases, they just create their own little community, and completely shut themselves in. You can see this with students from China, India, and, guess where else? Nope, the US! That's right - most American-born students themselves aren't willing to spend any time with the foreign
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by walterbyrd (182728)

      We couldn't count on obtaining an H1-B and had to turn down a few very talented people. And, no, at the time we did not find as many U.S. citizens available.

      Maybe that is because smart American's would have to stupid to study for a STEM career. US companies are offshoring as many STEM jobs as they can, and what jobs can not be offshored, are being filled by guest workers. Do you really expect that Americans would get an MSEE, only to train his/her H1B replacement two years later?

      When US companies stop offshoring/inshoring at furious pace, and start hiring Americans, then maybe the field will be attractive to Americans again.

      You are complaining about a situatio

  • or blacks. Besides, we have rights -- whereas cheap immigrant labor doesn't.

    This sorta reminds me of Los Alamos preferentially hiring male foreign scientists while treating American female PhD's no better than prostitutes...and then wondering why all their "nucular" secrets go walkabout time and time again.

  • by PhilipTheHermit (1901680) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:23PM (#34301486)

    How about we eliminate H1-B and L-1 visas and start hiring Americans again?

    The economy is going down the tubes because greedy corporations aren't willing to pay a living wage. They don't even want to hire Americans, because the indentured servitude of the H1-B visa is too attractive to them. This is the primary reason why the middle class is shrinking: there aren't that many good jobs left (unless you're an ivy-league child of the rich, in which case "daddy" or one of his friends will make room for you somewhere).

    Between the end of WWII and the start of this outsourcing nonsense, spending by the middle class was the engine that drove our economy. Now that the middle class is in rapid decline, corporations are trying to expand third-world markets to preserve their profits. So Congress is writing love letters to India and China by doing things like expanding foreign-worker visa programs.

    This in turn is eliminating any desire for young people to study science or technology. Why should they, when all those jobs have moved overseas or are being handed out to visa holders? The kids are going to study law or business, things they can use in a third world economy (i.e. the future America).

    The corporations are run by idiots who think the executive levels are the only important parts of the corporation to keep in the U.S. They are going to find out the hard way that they should have kept their tech staff on board, when India Inc. and China realize that they can manufacture their own executives TOO. All they have to do is drop-kick American corporations out of the country, and replace them with home-grown alternatives. This will happen within a decade, I think.

    By then, there won't be ANY Americans bothering to study STEM subjects in our schools -- it'll be nothing but foreign kids, who will go right back where they came from when they graduate. We Americans are already a minority in graduate programs here. And it'll simply be too late. The professors are all foreign. The kids are all foreign. When they all go home, we won't have anything left at all.

    It's all so pathetic. Rich people are so petty and stingy they're destroying their own future to make a little extra bread in the present. If they weren't destroying our future as well, I'd wish them bon voyage, but as it is they're taking the whole country down the tubes.

    The only ones among us who will still know anything are hobbyists and small-scale manufacturers and hackers. And we aren't going to be inclined to try and help the corporations when they finally realize they need us.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:44PM (#34301610)

      How about we eliminate H1-B and L-1 visas and start hiring Americans again?

      How about a middle ground: we eliminate H-1B (H-1B, not H1-B, and that's how I can tell you've never dealt with whatever they renamed the INS to after 9/11) and L-1 visas and start handing out green cards again?

      You wanna come here and sling code for us? Fine. But none of this six-years-of-getting-expertise-at-the-expense-of-our-corporations and then you're out (H1-B) unless you get an extension through one of these degree mills. That was the same problem with the H-1B program in the first place: a quota of ~65K, now ~130K, and they were also all filled by bullshit body shops from India.

      Those abuses happened because getting a green card takes years, and a company (and an employee) has to go through a year-long charade to demonstrate that "this furriner candidate isn't merely the best candidate for the job, we even tried to hire a lesser-qualified American but failed" (they call it a "Labor Certification"), and spend years more waiting for it to be approved, and years more for the green card to be granted, in order to get one.

      The root cause of the problem hasn't been fixed, so the old abuses continue under new names.

      So yeah, how about the compromise option: You come here, you pass the basic tests for H-1B ("Is this person qualified to do the work? Are they being paid the prevailing wage in their local area?"), you get a green card.

      In the time it takes to hire an H-1B and walk them through the green card process, and then the five extra years it requires them to become eligible for citizenship, most companies have sold out and shut down, never mind most positions.

      Give these alien bastards a shot at citizenship in exchange for 5 years of working here, and they might just sign onto that deal. (Even if what it means to "Be an American" has changed a lot over the past 5 years. If being an American means that when your boss tells you to do this [imgur.com] to to a 13-year-old, you say "How hard?" instead of "Fuck you, Sir! I quit!", maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be.)

      Disclaimer: Lawful permanent resident who can renew once a decade for the rest of his life if he has to. Was considering naturalization until two weeks ago. If one - just one - of the tens of thousands of TSOs across this country says "enough", and quits in the next month, and goes public with his or her reasoning, I'll fucking file. If you're a TSO and you're reading this: Yeah, that's right, I'm not an American. So no, I don't know what it means to be an American. You are. Show me what it means. You're an American. Act like one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "This in turn is eliminating any desire for young people to study science or technology. Why should they, when all those jobs have moved overseas or are being handed out to visa holders? The kids are going to study law or business, things they can use in a third world economy (i.e. the future America)."

      Law or business are the disciplines of the master class, EVERYWHERE, while science and technology are not. The exception of some scientists and geeks doing well is often due to _business_ skill (Bill Gates).

      I

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:07PM (#34301708)

      It's all so pathetic. Rich people are so petty and stingy they're destroying their own future to make a little extra bread in the present. If they weren't destroying our future as well, I'd wish them bon voyage, but as it is they're taking the whole country down the tubes.

      You're correct about the effect but mistaken about the motivation.

      Yes, the ruling elite in America are destroying the middle class. No, they aren't doing that because they're stupid or can't figure out what that will do to the country. Destroying the middle class has taken generations of effort that is only just now coming to fruition.

      They're acting in their own long-term interests, as usual. You see, when you already have a stranglehold on most of the wealth in a country, and can already buy anything you please, and can already secure the financial future of your great-great-great grandchildren, and you still aren't satisfied and you still want more and more and more ... at that point only one thing remains: political power.

      A strong, independent middle class is a gigantic barrier to this. When most of the country's population is a strong, independent middle class they want government to take care of what is reasonable and then to stay out of their lives and their wallets as much as possible. For those who don't think the US Federal Government is already more than powerful enough, that won't do. It won't do at all. People who can house themselves, feed themselves, and take care of their own children don't want the kind of "help" (dependency) that government can offer. People who have not just material and financial independence, but an independent spirit, well to the elites they also have this annoying habit of not easily cowering in the face of every little crisis.

      For those reasons and many more, a society like that is easy to govern but incredibly difficult to rule.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by microbee (682094)

      How about you cut this 'anti-legal-immigration' crap and fix illegal immigration instead?

      I am a legal immigrant. I came to the US more than 10 years ago and had two master degrees in an Ivy League school. It took me about 3.5 years to get a greencard, and I considered myself bloody lucky. Many people waited for more than 5 years and counting.

      While at the same time, all the politicians are talking about 'comprehensive immigraiton reform', the core of which is to give ILLEGAL immigrants a legal path. Great, n

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheSync (5291)

      Between the end of WWII and the start of this outsourcing nonsense, spending by the middle class was the engine that drove our economy

      Between 1860 and 1930, immigration was the engine that drove out economy...perhaps we should go back to allowing easier immigration so we can attract the best workers of the world again.

      After WWII, the destruction of Europe's industries was what drove the US industrial economy. Once Europe recovered, we had little manufacturing advantage, only a slightly better sense of sell

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Error27 (100234)

      The kids are all foreign. When they all go home, we won't have anything left at all.

      If we didn't drive them out, they would say here. You're right that we should eliminate the H1-B visas, instead we should just let the smart people live here indefinitely.

      The mere act of immigrating means that you are willing to take risks and try new things. That you are willing to make sacrifices. That you are highly motivated. These are the people we need to build the economy.

      Unfortunately, the H1-B visa is business u

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by js_sebastian (946118)

      How about we eliminate H1-B and L-1 visas and start hiring Americans again?

      Do you know why the US has (most of) the best universities in the world (and the same holds for the high-tech industry sector)? You think it's because americans are somehow magically smarter than everyone else? It's because the US has attracted the top talent from all over the world. Stop letting talent in (while the rest of the world has started to compete to get it), and america will become a backwards and remote province in a matter of decades. But don't worry, outsourcing will stop once your standards o

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:31PM (#34301536)

    It's amazing how Slashdot's usual libertarian attitude to just about everything develops a strong protectionist bent as soon as American tech jobs are on the line.

    • by keeboo (724305) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:49PM (#34301630)
      That's a fundamental truth:
      it's easy to have ideals, until it starts costing you.
    • It's amazing how Slashdot's usual libertarian attitude to just about everything develops a strong protectionist bent as soon as American tech jobs are on the line.

      If American firms said, "We're going overseas for cheaper labor." I could accept that. But when they say they are going overseas because US workers aren't good enough, that's just a down right lie and shitty of them and I'll remember - Intel and IBM.

      I understand that there are billions of people on Earth and all of them are just as capable as Americans and as a result, all labor is now a commodity. I accept that. Nothing can be done either and even if there were, I wouldn't want it to be done because that

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @11:27PM (#34302764)
        Indeed, this isn't like hiring illegal immigrants because you legitimately can't prove you need guest workers before the picking season is over. And quite another to do it because you don't like what the American candidates are demanding.

        Theoretically that's how the free market is supposed to function, if you're not offering enough pay and benefits to attract workers you have to either raise your offer or do without. None of this pulling in folks from over seas because you don't feel like paying a living wage.

        Considering that a lot of those firms are receiving tax incentives from the government to be here, it seems to be lacking any sort of gratitude for the perks.
    • Hey Coward, insisting on honesty and integrity and being generally intolerant of corruption is not the opposite of being libertarian.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:36PM (#34301560)

    how about starting by moving the manufacturing sector back to the USA, it will definitely create millions of more jobs (compared to a very few thousand in IT) leading to a flourishing middle class and turn the economy around like a miracle... when was the last time you saw something made in u.s.a.?

    Like the old saying goes - penny wise pound foolish, there are bigger things we should be worrying about..

    • by TheSync (5291) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @11:20PM (#34302718) Journal

      how about starting by moving the manufacturing sector back to the USA, it will definitely create millions of more jobs

      US manufacturing output reached an all-time high in 2008 [blogspot.com], despite having a very small number of employees. US manufacturing is highly automated and productive, it will never employ very many people any more.

      This happened to agriculture in the early 1900's as well when it became mechanized - US agricultural employment went from 80% of all workers to 3% of all workers in around 75 years, despite increasing total amount of food grown.

      (Unless you lower the US minimum wage to the point where you can afford to have people and not robots doing the work, but it would have to be extremely low pay).

  • This system pisses me off greatly (and I am an American citizen, born in the US; but I have seen many good colleagues end up deported under this idiotic legislation). If a student from another country comes to the US to do their PhD, they will - on average in the hard sciences - be here for 4-7 years doing work for an American lab. That time they are doing important research, in our country, in English. Then when they finish, we give them an agonizingly short amount of time to get a work visa or leave. I am being far too kind to call this shortsighted on our part. If there was any law I could change in this country today, it would be this one. Students who come to the US for doctoral research should be, in my opinion, short-tracked for citizenship.

    And it is even worse if that student wants to visit their birth country while studying here or immediately after finishing. I know someone from an Eastern European country who did her PhD here and was told if she went back to see her family after finishing she would not be allowed back into the US for 6-9 months minimum. She has spoken English since she was about 3 years old. Why should we punish her for doing her research (and contributing to American science) here?
    • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:58PM (#34301674)
      Because that's what the electorate wants. And most of the reactions on /. prove it.

      Note that I absolutely agree with you.
      • by cowdung (702933) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:21PM (#34301786)

        People are very anti-immigrant in the US (and elsewhere as well). Especially if the immigrants in question have dark skin.
        Sorry we haven't gotten over old prejudices so easily.

        US Science really took off when we imported all those Germans during and after WW2. This made the US the technological leader of the world.

        Maybe we shouldn't listen too much to old prejudices and do what is better for the country: attract the best minds, it doesn't matter what skin color they have.

        • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @11:07PM (#34302650)
          It's one thing when the individuals are exceptional and quite another when they're just being used to depress wages for the rest of us. The whole point of the H-1B visas theoretically was to fill jobs which couldn't be filled domestically. The problem though is that companies like MS use it as a way of threatening applicants that if they don't accept less that they'll be replaced by people who are thrilled to make that much more money than they otherwise would make.

          There really isn't any racism involved with it. It would be totally different if the applications weren't based on a quota system but required the corporations to demonstrate that they couldn't find the qualified individuals after a good faith search.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rinikusu (28164)

        I disagree. Most of the reactions on /. sound like they're not against immigration, they're against the current corporate masters from abusing the H1B and what not programs to ARTIFICIALLY DEFLATE the salaries of citizens and, if anything, fast-tracking PhD candidates to citizenship would do wonders to help alleviate those salary discrepancies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by value_added (719364)

      I know someone from an Eastern European country who did her PhD here and was told if she went back to see her family after finishing she would not be allowed back into the US for 6-9 months minimum. She has spoken English since she was about 3 years old. Why should we punish her for doing her research (and contributing to American science) here?

      Going a bit off topic here, but as a FYI ...

      My understanding (from personal experience) is that once you open an application, you are not[1] allowed to leave the cou

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SashaMan (263632)

      Mod parent up. There was a good article posted here on slashdot recently where Fareed Zakaria in Time magazine makes the argument that often the best and brightest come from other countries to get trained at American institutions, only to go back to their home countries and make technological innovations that benefit those societies. We should be doing everything we can to keep those smart folks HERE so the US can more directly benefit from their intelligence and work ethic (example - see Vinod Khosla).

  • Tons of Openings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Corporate T00l (244210) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:07PM (#34301712) Journal

    My company (a giant company that purveys giant software to giant customers) and my customers have a never-ending thirst for technical candidates who can speak and write good English, in a way that someone who barely passed TOEFL would not be able to handle.

    The question is not about how "those damn foreigners" are taking jobs away from "us". It's about how we can re-tool ourselves to consistently stay ahead and take advantage of our own unique abilities.

    Think about it, a good programmer isn't just writing code, he or she is also writing specs, writing documentation, and presenting the same. With good communication skills borne of many additional years communicating in English, a domestic candidate has a natural advantage over a foreign candidate. Plus, as people advance in their career and become either engineering managers or architects, what do you think they do more of? Communicating or solo coding?

    The irony is that what I see happen a lot is that the foreign colleague is far more eager to take on what might seem as a less desirable job. Nobody really likes to write 50 pages of specs today, even if they know that it's the specs and the author by-line on those specs that will get spread throughout the organization and live on for years, whereas code only gets unburied from source control where there's a bug. A person's brilliance is demonstrated in their English, less so in their C or Java. Somehow, even though everyone sees this, many people willingly give away this opportunity to a few who are eager for it. And it seems that those who should have a natural advantage, inexplicably, more often give away their edge to those who are less suited, but are hungrier and more eager.

  • by Graff (532189) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:07PM (#34301714)

    The University of Bridgeport [wikipedia.org] is pretty much run by the Unification Church and its leader, Sun Myung Moon. For years now they have heavily recruited international members of the church to come to the United States and attend the University.

    The Unification Church uses the University as a means of extending their empire further into the United States and the extended visa program works exceptionally well for this. I'm not one to say if this is a good or bad thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      Probably just being used for the cash flow. The nifty thing, from these for-profit "tech universities" point of view, is that now all the student loans are guaranteed by the government (meaning the taxpayers) so their profits are assured even if the student is a complete loser... and they cater to losers in the first place (you pretty much can't get turned down, so long as your loan goes through). BTW this is straight from a friend who works as a recruiter at one of these "tech universities". Interestingly,

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:25PM (#34301800) Homepage Journal

    I'm more interested in why U.S. citizens are consistently found unqualified. And why, in that scenario, we watch as citizens go jobless and even legal visa holders get those jobs.

    Where I'm working, the workforce is changing from fairly well split between U.S. citizens and Indian nationals to a three way mix between citizens, Indians, and Asians. I'm not sure how that is happening. I also see various silos of technical work in many regions, on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Every continent. Oh, with the notable exception of Europe, where it seems we do precious little development work. Hmm...

    If I had to guess, I think current work allocations are favoring nations where the workers get little protection (Australia, for example has some interesting laws, while Chile doesn't) or the workers have already done the onshore shuffle and rotated back 'home'. Oh, and I dare not start asking about the visa status of some of these workers. It's a sensitive subject. Many will just get up and walk away.

    It's frustrating to see what is clearly basic, everyday work going to visa holders when you know someone who is truly overqualified, but couldn't get past the first interview. As far as I can tell, pay is not the issue.

    But I'm hypersensitive to this. I may be wrong about a lot if what I think, but I'm not yet convinced.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      They're not. They're found to expect a pay rate which sets them up for a decent life in the US rather than an upper class one in some other nation.

      It's not a case like with agriculture where by the time you can prove that you need guest workers the season is over. There at least is a quasi legitimate problem in need of solving. This is a case of companies using the H-1B visa to artificially deflate wages while claiming that they can't find qualified applicants here. If you don't believe me, look at the j
  • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @08:40PM (#34301862)

    While foreign IT workers come cheap, I don't think that is the biggest draw.

    They are deportable indentured servants, who are dependent on their sponsoring companies for their right to pursue a visa and remain in the US. Companies like employees who will put up with anything, and not complain. I doubt that they have the same labor rights as citizens, and even where they do, are they going to try to enforce them against their sponsor? And how would they go about enforcing any rights they actually have after they've lost their right to live and work in the US?

    Importing labor doesn't just import a worker, it imports entirely new labor rules.

    But more importantly, don't think of a corporation and treat it like it is one entity with integrated goals.

    Sub contracting firms provide one big advantage - huge opportunities for kickbacks and corruption. If your company hires individual citizens, it's unlikely that kickbacks are paid, and they're certainly difficult to concentrate. Sure, friends, family, and former coworkers get hired, but that is more an issue of limiting risk through trust and knowledge. But if you subcontract a dozen positions to a head shop, the relationship with the headshop is now associated with a continuing revenue stream that is worth a good chunk of change, and those who make the decisions about the relationship with the head shop have concentrated power over that revenue stream.

    So if you're a crook and in a position of power to make the decision, do you want to hire a bunch of random citizens, or do you want to have a relationship with a head shop where a fat revenue stream is entirely dependent on your decisions of which head shop to choose?

  • by awjr (1248008) on Monday November 22, 2010 @03:41AM (#34303812)

    We went to Disney in Florida a couple of years ago, and as an experiment, I tried to buy an American made product/toy for my daughter inside the parks. I just couldn't do it. Cheap seems to be the focus of corporate America.

    • Eheh, (Score:3, Insightful)

      How about the ticket? You are aware that Disney is an American company? So you bought an American product the moment you entered. How about the food? The drinks?

      The rides themselves? The movies the rides are based on?

      Sorry, but next time try a bit harder. For instance, go into an Apple store and try to buy a product build in the US. A lot harder. But you just have to buy non-Apple to get a piece of hardware not made in a dictatorship. But that would mean giving up the shiny. Oh and if you dislike Disney f

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