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Study Questions H-1B Policies 361

Posted by samzenpus
from the cutting-costs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the arguments for continuing and even expanding the H1-B visa program (pdf) is that it enables highly-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. and grow the U.S. economy. Counterarguments state that the H1-B visa program does not bring in the 'best and brightest' and is used to drive down wages, particularly in the STEM fields. This Bloomberg article, discussing pending H1-B legislation, quotes some of the salaries of current workers in the U.S. on H1-B visas: $4,800/month and $5,500/month which work out to $57,600/year and $66,000/year; only slightly higher than the average entry-level salaries of newly-graduated engineering or computer science majors."
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Study Questions H-1B Policies

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  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wpiman (739077) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:09AM (#44379499)
    employers want to bring more people in. If we didn't, people in the STEM fields could demand more money. We should have H1B Visas for lawyers and politicians. It would be amazing how quickly the program would be shut down then.
    • by firex726 (1188453)

      I see your point, but that's not really practical.

      Lawyers and the like need years of study for a certain field which the laws will almost certainly not translate to another country or even state.

      Compared to science, where the Speed of light is constant, Water has two Hydrogen molecules, etc... no matter where you are in the world.

      • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:33AM (#44379649)

        Lawyers and the like need years of study for a certain field which the laws will almost certainly not translate to another country or even state.

        How convenient.

        Dean Baker (http://www.cepr.net/) had a good suggestion though. Have foreign schools train for US laws and practice, and let people elsewhere take the exams for the federal or various state bars. Only after passing would they get their visa.

      • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:39AM (#44379693)

        Can law books not be shipped internationally?

        This H1b lawyer does not need to know the laws of his own nation, only the one he wants to practice in.

      • And yet for some reason only in America can an iPhone be designed....it can be manufactured in China but not designed there....
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      We don't need or want more lawyers or politicians. We want more scientists and engineers. It probably holds my salary down in the short-term, but it keeps the US competitive and makes my relatively high salary more sustainable in the long term. $60k right out of school is a very comfortable wage.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Keep telling yourself that, buddy. Lower wages make your life better. The US can't compete with foreign workers skills because what? Americans are untrainable?

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Lower wages make your life better.

          I don't concede the point that our wages get lower. Our wages are objectively higher than in the countries these H1B people are coming from. If you don't have a huge pool of talent in the US, what keeps an employer here at all? They can hire 2 or 3 engineers for the same price elsewhere.

      • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:36AM (#44379667)

        We want more scientists and engineers.

        Why? There is no shortage of domestic supply. If you disagree, please cite some objective evidence to back your claim.

        it keeps the US competitive and makes my relatively high salary more sustainable in the long term

        Stockholm syndrome.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ranton (36917)

          Why? There is no shortage of domestic supply. If you disagree, please cite some objective evidence to back your claim.

          The only objective evidence I have is that I have never met someone who is involved with hiring developers who has said how easy it is to find quality talent at market rates. You can be naïve and believe that salaries would rise with increased demand if we ended the H1B program, but the reality is that more work would simply go overseas. I work at a consulting company and if we had to pay our entry level developers $80k/year we would never win a bid against a primarily overseas firm. Almost the entire

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:55AM (#44380383)

            The only objective evidence I have is that I have never met someone who is involved with hiring developers who has said how easy it is to find quality talent at market rates.

            Then they aren't actually offering "market rates". The definition of market rate is "The term “market rate” refers to the level of compensation an organization must provide to enable it to effectively compete against other organizations in attracting and retaining qualified employees. "

            http://www.da.ks.gov/newpayplans/whatmarket.pdf [ks.gov]

          • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Aaden42 (198257) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:04AM (#44380477) Homepage

            As someone who is involved with hiring developers, I agree there is a shortage of qualified developers currently looking for work. H1B (in my experience, in my area of the country) does very little if anything to help the situation. If there are highly qualified H1B carrying individuals, I'd love to meet them (and hire them).

            My personal experience has shown that on the whole, H1B's are average to slightly below in terms of the overall talent pool, and that pool is pretty shallow right now. I've interviewed H1B's whose most complicated project they worked on in college amounted to "Hello World" and who can't even code FizzBuzz on a whiteboard. Granted, I've also interviewed American citizens who are equally un-qualified, but if the intent of H1B is to attract only the "best & brightest," I'd say it fails pretty badly.

            If there was a way of screening H1B applicants for qualifications before granting the visa, it might make more sense. Perhaps require that they have a job offer waiting from someone who wants to hire them first. As the program stands now, all it seems to do is dilute the talent pool and waste interview time on dead wood.

            As far as off-shoring goes, as we've also tried that as an option, we found you get what you pay for. The time differences, language barrier, and out of reach nature of off shore programmers led to barely adequate code quality, and required significant oversight & double-checking by some of our more talented team members to ensure what the off short contracts were delivering was secure, performant, and actually did what it was supposed to do. We found that at any scale, the amount of highly talented supervision required on-shore off set any gains by having programmers off-shore. Hiring better people locally & paying them a bit more is a better ROI.

            • the body shops are the ones messing up the system with low payed workers / useing the same overseas low skilled people just now there on site in the same time zone vs the over seas time lag.

            • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dwpro (520418) <dwpro777@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:54AM (#44381123)

              I agree there is a shortage of qualified developers currently looking for work.

              Bullshit, you're seeing a shortage of _cheap_ developers, not qualified developers, which is obvious from your statement "Hiring better people locally & paying them a bit more is a better ROI". As long as the cost of living disparity exists as dramatically as it does now, you'll never see salary parity between overseas labor and local labor. That has nothing to do with shortages of qualified workers.

            • If there was a way of screening H1B applicants for qualifications before granting the visa, it might make more sense. Perhaps require that they have a job offer waiting from someone who wants to hire them first.

              Are you sure you know what you're talking about? What you wrote is precisely how H1B works today. You might be justified in the mistake because you can't imagine how somebody who can barely write Hello World can land a programming job, but hey, that's why they're going around interviewing in the first place...

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa [wikipedia.org]

              The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows US employers to temporarily emplo

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Stockholm syndrome.

          Incorrect. Having a ton of technically trained people in the US makes it one-stop shopping. People know that they can set up a business in the US and find plenty of technical people. Without this environment, what in the world would justify our above-average salaries? Why would a company set up shop in the US instead of China or India where the salaries are a fraction of what they are here? We need liberal immigration, especially for highly trained people. It benefits our entire society to have a pool of un

          • Having a ton of technically trained people in the US makes it one-stop shopping.

            That's a great slogan for retail, but meaningless elsewhere. Have you noticed a shortage of multinationals? Me neither (including "micro-multinationals"). Anything that can be off-shored has been or will be, as employing people in various other countries is cheaper than employing H-1B's in the US. Therefore the H-1B's are used to occupy positions that can't readily be off-shored.

            It benefits our entire society to have a pool of unbeatable talent.

            RTFA. We already graduate far more STEM people than are employed. We have a shortage of demand, not supply.

      • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:40AM (#44379699)

        We don't need or want more lawyers or politicians. We want more scientists and engineers. It probably holds my salary down in the short-term, but it keeps the US competitive and makes my relatively high salary more sustainable in the long term. $60k right out of school is a very comfortable wage.

        But why would a company pay you $60K right out of school when they can hire an H1B worker with years of experience for about the same wage?

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Because H1Bs are limited, the process is a pain in the butt, and often you have to deal with a language or cultural barrier. They may have "years of experience", but probably not in the US. Often, they find their degree worthless and get a masters or PhD in the US before seeking employment. Some of the best co-workers I've ever had have been H1Bs. Some of the worst, as well. :)

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            Because H1Bs are limited, the process is a pain in the butt, and often you have to deal with a language or cultural barrier. They may have "years of experience", but probably not in the US. Often, they find their degree worthless and get a masters or PhD in the US before seeking employment. Some of the best co-workers I've ever had have been H1Bs. Some of the worst, as well. :)

            That sounds like a good argument for *not* expanding the H1B program and keeping low limits on the number of H1B workers. If the program is expanded and the only impediment to hiring an H1B interview is paying a few thousand dollars in application fees and relocation costs, then the H1B worker becomes more attractive than the college grad with no experience. It's not hard to find H1B's that have had a few years of experience working on outsourced projects from American companies and they already speak excel

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              The whole POINT is to let in talented people who are more attractive than a college grad. Having such a pool of people _inside the US_ is a huge competitive advantage over countries with strict immigration. What in the world keeps American engineering salaries so high if not available talent pool?

      • by xtal (49134) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:12AM (#44379945) Homepage

        This question is becoming increasingly interesting to ask. I see no clear answer. Society is not willing to pay for them, so they are not needed .. or there is sufficient supply. This is not a value judgement; Poets have much to offer, but society does not extract much direct benefit - so the wages are low.

        I'd recommend the best and brightest do engineering as last resort, not a primary one. Engineering is a better hobby than a career these days.. in some ways, that is how it's always been.

        You're far better off learning how to build a sucessful business, entering law (technical law is very lucurative), or going into medicine - medicine isn't all that difficult if you can get accepted, and protects itself very agressively.

        Do what society values for money. Do what you love to be happy. Sometimes those things are the same, frequently they are not. I've been lucky as a EE but I started almost two decades ago, and much of my success has come not from engineering skill, but entreprenurial endeavours.

        A profitable, but well managed career can set you up to be financially independent in 8-12 years - then you can go do whatever you like.

        Want to increase STEM? Why?

        • by JWW (79176)

          Exactly. The damn politicians whine and complain about "not enough STEM workers" while the salaries go down.

          Economics says there are enough STEM workers for the supply desired and we don't need more.

          So the politicians should shut the hell up!

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          In my experience, having a technical degree is a huge benefit in any of the fields you listed. I wouldn't suggest medicine (my wife is a doctor - massive debt, terrible hours, decreasing or stagnant pay), but should you go that direction, having an engineering or science degree puts you way ahead of your class. Business loves engineers. Sure, you need to brush up on finance and accounting, but if you got through a technical degree you can do those things in your sleep. Statistics, logical thought, and simpl

        • by Nemyst (1383049)
          I think it's depressing when our best and brightest are recommended to avoid science and engineering, things that can move us all forward, and to instead enter the ranks of "businessmen" and lawyers. Because what we need is more lawsuits and more Wall Street.

          Note that I understand why you're suggesting it, I'm just saying it's a terrible thing for humanity in general and the US in particular.
    • by Trepidity (597)

      Or doctors, for that matter, a field that actually does have a bona-fide shortage.

    • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:55AM (#44379817)

      We should have H1B Visas for lawyers and politicians. It would be amazing how quickly the program would be shut down then.

      I doubt you could do anything about politicians. The legal profession is heading for trouble. [pjmedia.com] It is getting harder and harder for lawyers for find a good job coming out of law school (with that massive debt), law school enrollments are dropping, law schools are laying off faculty. There are a lot of things feeding into that, including over selling of law degrees, computer and web based legal services, and off-shore legal work. Off shore accounting work is also increasing with the usual implications for accountants.

      Law firms send case work overseas to boost efficiency [washingtontimes.com] - September 25, 2005

      Guess which jobs are going abroad [cnn.com] - February 25, 2004

      If a tax preparer gets you an unexpected refund this year, you may have an accountant in India to thank. That's because accounting firms are joining the outsourcing trend established years ago by cost-conscious American manufacturers. In fact, companies in a number of unexpected industries are now sending work overseas. From scientific lab analysis to medical billing, the service-sector workforce has gone global. CPA firms are just one example. In the 2002 tax year, accounting firms sent some 25,000 tax returns to be completed by accountants in India. This year, that number is expected to quadruple. -- more [cnn.com]

      Australia is seeing a similar trend.

      Get used to it: sending jobs overseas is the way of the future [smh.com.au]

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      employers want to bring more people in. If we didn't, people in the STEM fields could demand more money.

      No, they couldn't. The jobs would simply get outsourced directly.

      The reasonable policy is to make immigration itself a lot easier; that is, largely replace H1B with immediate greencards for skilled immigrants. That way, the people we bring in would be in a better negotiating position and would actually be able to contribute more to society right away.

  • Simple solution? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ACluk90 (2618091) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:17AM (#44379547)

    Solution: Issue H1-B visas only if there is a contract with a wage of at least 80kUSD/a. (the value of this limit is just politics...)

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:26AM (#44379601) Journal
      Don't issue H1-B visas at all. If you want the best and the brightest, then give them indefinite leave to remain. And reintroduce the faster immigration system you used to have for PhD graduates: don't spend years ensuring that someone is familiar with the state of the art in their field and educated in the methods of research and then send them to another country. We've just imported this particular idiocy into the UK because our government wants to be tough on immigration, but can't legally crack down on immigration from the EU where most of our unskilled immigrants come from.
      • Re:Simple solution? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shavano (2541114) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:41AM (#44379711)
        Very much this. The H1-B puts the foreign worker at the mercy of the company doing the hiring. The best and the brightest know they can get a better deal than that, or should be able to. Why become virtual indentured servants in a foreign country if they can do better? We should encourage the best and the brightest to come here, issue temporary visas not tied to any specific company, but if you show a history of near-continuous employment over that visa term, you get fast-tracked to permanent resident status and encouraged to become a citizen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597)

      That's actually a much better policy from an economic perspective as well. If you want to let in a fixed number of people (say, 50,000) for the reason that they will fill shortages and benefit the economy, how should you allocate them to different fields? The obvious market-driven answer is: allocate them to the highest bidder, who we can presume must have the greatest need for them. An employer willing to pay $120k for an H1-B obviously feels a greater need for them than an employer only willing to pay $60

      • Re:Simple solution? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:43AM (#44379725)

        Also just let them immigrate. No H1B, no being tied to the employer to stay in the states. Put up X spots, let companies bid and let the people simply immigrate.

      • by TMB (70166)

        This would be horrible - the need the organization has for the employee and the rate they pay are only loosely connected depending on what the employee does and what other organizations pay someone equivalent.

        For example, I am on H1B status. I am a professor of astrophysics at a state university. If I were a early-career software developer, I would make more than I currently do, and therefore would be more eligible to be here under your plan. But the university needs me as a professor with my particular ski

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      It should depend on the field. It should have to be above the prevailing wage in the USA for the profession and experience required.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        They simply lie.
        They hire the H1B as tier 1 helpdesk, pay him as such and have him do software development. Only setting a price floor or requiring bidding would fix this.

      • Wish I had mod points. This is my thoughts. If they are good enough to be pulled from overseas at the expense of local candidates then surely they should be paid more than the average local would at that task. If you really can't find local talent for it then it will be worth the cost.
  • Major Cities Anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Richard Dick Head (803293) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:18AM (#44379557) Homepage Journal
    A discussion on salary isn't complete without also discussing the location of these immigrant workers.

    Hint: They're always in major cities. National averages don't mean a damn thing when your local supermarket pays more for a meat department employee than your "average H1-B". Why do people see 50-something salary nowadays and think that is par? This is an engineering profession. Even the least skilled should be doing better than a teacher's or a cop's salary.

    50k was good...25-30 years ago.
    • by l3v1 (787564)
      "A discussion on salary isn't complete without also discussing the location of these immigrant workers. "

      Of course. However, the article says:

      "26-year-old, whoâ(TM)s been paid about $4,800 a month by a Bangalore-based outsourcing company to work for a client in Boston since fall"

      Also:

      "In Atlanta, 30-year-old Narendra Sripalâ(TM)s Indian employer applied to extend his H-1B [...] who earns about $5,500 a month"

      So, there you go.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I would think that most teachers don't start at 50k. Where I live, the starting salary [theglobeandmail.com] is $34k, and the OECD average is $37K. Not only that, but it tops out pretty low. Even after 15 years experience, the average OECD teacher only makes $45,000. The rates in the US [educationworld.net] are about the same in the highest paying areas, and quite deplorable in the lowest paying areas. So starting at $50k is actually quite good, especially in a field like engineering, where it's completely possible that you will be earning $100k a
    • Working in a supermarket these days is either at minimum or slightly above. If you're there for some time you'll be fortunate to break 20k unless you're management.

  • by Andover Chick (1859494) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:24AM (#44379591)
    I work at a major bank where they constantly have a choice between a high quality, albeit highly paid, US workers and low cost, low quality H1B workers. They always go H1B. And it becomes a real Indian ghetto at a lot of IT shops. Having multicultural abilities is part of being "best and brightest" yet many of the Indians are only comfortable working with other Indians. So the incumbent Indian employees end up only hiring Indian H1Bs, which is obviously a negative for the whole organization in the long run. But who every cares about the long run anyways.
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:45AM (#44379751)

      If they have the choice you should be reporting them. What you are describing is simply illegal. It is not uncommon though. It is really your civic duty to report this sort of thing.

      • by hackula (2596247)
        What is the bar for this? Obviously, at some price you can always hire someone.
        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:07AM (#44379891)

          Nope. Price cannot be used legally as a hiring decision for H1Bs.

          It has to be due to a shortage of workers, meaning you simply can't get them at any price. You can use refusal of offers at whatever wage as evidence of shortage, but that is it. You cannot hire an H1B simply because he agrees to work for less than the prevailing wage, and it is illegal to pay him less than the prevailing wage.

          That being said, all the major contracting companies that use H1Bs do this. They are all breaking federal law and as such should have the DOJ after them.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:28AM (#44379609)

    It's nice to see the H-1B program questioned in at least some of the MSM (e.g. the NYT). It might have an effect on legislation if we had a representative form of government (by which I mean one that represents voters, as opposed to representing money).

    The Bloomberg article is crocodile tears though:

    While the legislation raises the annual H-1B cap to as much as 180,000 from 65,000, it increases visa costs five-fold for some companies to $10,000. It also bans larger employers with 15 percent or more of their U.S. workforce on such permits from sending H-1B staff to client’s sites.

    It nearly triples the quota, but might cost as much as $10k to bring in someone on an H-1B. Good heavens, no! If $10k is too much, then there is no skills shortage and you could hire an American for the job.

    Current draft House legislation also lacks the clause barring visa-dependent employers from client sites

    Surprise, surprise, surprise! Wouldn't want any draconian restrictions on screwing Americans now, would we.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why is there a set price at all?
      If you are going to have the program let there be X H1Bs and put them up for auction. Those who really need them will have no probably paying. A price floor might be nice though, set it at 25% of the expected wage though. If they are not willing to pay that, they don't get them.

      At a bare minimum we also need a fast track to citizenship for these folks. Clearly they are so valuable our nation cannot function without them.

      • At a bare minimum we also need a fast track to citizenship for these folks. Clearly they are so valuable our nation cannot function without them.

        Are you serious, or have I, in typical Slashdot fashion, missed the sarcasm?

        If you are serious, could you actually provide an argument, or even (*gasp*) evidence, to back that statement?

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          It was functionally both at the same time.

          I know that 90% of them are just used to lower the wages in these fields, but the last 10% or 5% or 1% are really great at what they do and should be offered citizenship. Importing the best of the best is what we should be doing.

          The H1B program without a fast path to citizenship insures it will be used for that 90% of folks that work for cheap and the employer can deport if they feel like it. Since they will likely not find a job fast enough to be allowed to stay if

  • Last time there was a major backlash against H1Bs, it resulted in outsourcing. If the workers couldn't come to the US, then the job would go to the worker.

    In the end, H1B or no-H1B, eliminating local competition doesn't mean salaries will blow through the roof.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      No one thinks they will blow through the roof.

      Let these folks become citizens, H1B is simply a way to make them indentured servants to the company. If they complain you fire them and odds are they will not find a job quick enough so they get deported.

      • by m00sh (2538182)

        It's not the H1B that's making them indentured servants, it's a different part of immigration law.

        Over 90% of the H1B are consumed by India and China but the US only allows 7% to be from a particular country to preserve diversity. So, workers in H1B from India and China tend to be on the wait list for years.

        H1B is also an immigrant visa and a path to permanent residency is possible within 9 months of starting a job.

        There have been attempts to clear the queues of Indian/Chinese but so far hasn't been d

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          The wait list would not be so long if so many were not brought in fraudulently. Personally I would also give citizenship to anyone who alerted the DOL to such fraud and had enough evidence for a conviction.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:49AM (#44379775)

      Last time there was a major backlash against H1Bs, it resulted in outsourcing.

      When was this alleged major backlash? The quota hasn't dropped below 65k/yr in what, at least 20 years?

      Second, you're falling for the "if you don't let us have more H-1B's we'll just outsource more" threat. It's bull. No matter how little they pay H-1B's, they're still way more expensive than people working in the 3rd world. Hence, anything that can be outsourced already has been or will be. The H-1B's are for the jobs that they can't outsource.

      • by m00sh (2538182)

        The H1B quota was highest around 2000ish during the .com bubble. It is in the Wikipedia article. It was around 120,000 then.

        When the cost savings justify something, people will invest in the technology to make a lot of things possible. You can dismiss it as bull but this is exactly what happened when the H1B quotas were slashed.

    • by rollingcalf (605357) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:50AM (#44379781)

      Except that the H1B is being used to support and expand outsourcing. The big outsourcing companies send developers with H1B to clients in the US to provide an on-site presence to coordinate with the larger development teams in India or China. Without the H1B program being used like that, either the entire project would be done in the US, or American developers would fill the roles of the on-site technical leads.

      • by m00sh (2538182)

        There is a different class of visa for that - employees of multinational companies going from one country to another. H1B is for filling technical positions that cannot be filled locally. Even if the entire H1B visa was scrapped tomorrow, then your scenario of developers in the US coordinating with their counterparts elsewhere would still work.

        The price difference in labor is too great for the companies to simply ignore it. At the same time, the entrepreneurs in the 3rd world countries are building up the

        • "There is a different class of visa for that - employees of multinational companies going from one country to another."

          That is the L1 visa, used for management. They use that to send the project managers and executives to the US. But the on-site developers have H1B. If they're using the L1 to send the regular developers, that's visa fraud.

      • by Ryanrule (1657199)

        I was just hired with a fat salary to be the onsite tech lead. Working for one of the big Indian it shops. They may be getting ready for this eventuality.

    • what needs to happen comes from 2 different angles

      1 H1B and fraud: a company posts massively exaggerated requirements (10 years experience in Windows 7 Server and 25 years in Java) and then after they can't hire a Local person they grab an H1B to do the job (but with far lower requirements)

      2 Outsourcing: jobs get shipped to %cheapest country% just because its cheaper (with a lowering of quality)

      So what needs to be done is

      1 if you get an H1B it is required you be paid LOCAL MARKET WAGES for what your job is

  • What I would like to know is: why is people from outside willing to take a low-paying job and people from within not willing? Or why does the employer believe that?

    If the problem is local people not willing to settle for lower, then I can't really blame the employers for wanting to look for something cheaper (even if it means from the outside). They are, after all, looking for profit.

    If the problem is the perception, why does such perception exist? What can potential, local employes do to change that perce

    • by Grand Facade (35180) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:51AM (#44379787)

      It's about profit
      It's about work ethic/culture
      It's abut indentured servitude

      You can get 80 hours a week out of a HB-1 for a salary
      A US citizen is not going to sign on to that ball and chain

    • I guess what I'm trying to ask is: why do they want H-1B workers instead of local? And so far I haven't seen this question answered, at least not outside the speculations of the comment section going "it's all about profit, that's what they care about" which is, well, a given.

      You ask a question, then answer it. Why are you not satisfied with what is, by your own statements, the obvious answer? Why do you think that there have to be other reasons? William of Ockham was one sharp dude.

      • by Ardyvee (2447206)

        My point was: yeah, they care about profit. Now, are they deciding that to achieve that goal they want H-1B workers because they are cheaper, or because they are perceived to cheaper, or because of what? Yeah, they are profit driven. That does not really explain that they want h-1b workers unless you also consider that they are (or thought to be) cheaper than local population.

        What I want then is for real data to be gathered to answer the question. Unless you consider the comments section of slashdot good en

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      They want H1B because they will take less pay and if they ask for anything can be fired and deported. If you want to hire cheaper workers, then maybe you should say so and I can avoid your products. If you want to hire workers you can deport at will, say so and I will avoid your products.

      Why should any worker accept that kind of arrangement? Why should society tolerate such behavior?

    • What I would like to know is: why is people from outside willing to take a low-paying job and people from within not willing?

      Come from a developing country and work for a few years earning way more than you could locally; save like crazy, shared accomodation, limited social life etc. Build up a say $20000 of savings. Go home, that $20000 is enough to give you a good start in life in your home country with a much lower cost of living.

      Now image someone local to the developed country doing the same thing.

    • by stud9920 (236753)
      Because having something for cheap is good microeconomically, but bad macroeconomically. H1Bs create poor workers, who don't spend money expect for basic, low margin survival stuff. By paying workers more, they can actually spend the money on you, your competitors (including those who compete with you only for the raw purchasing power of the workers), and your B2B customers. It drives business up. By keeping your margins for yourselves (which as a broken window fallacy afficionado you'll probably advocate,
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @08:49AM (#44379769)

    It's been suggested that rather than abolish the H1-B program that in order to sponsor one the company must pay 120% of the 90% percentile wage in the area where the person will work. If the 90% percentile for a cornfield in say Iowa (You hear that IBM?) is $100,000 then they have to pay the person $120,000 exclusive of any living costs and fees associated with the H1-B program. There has also been talk about surcharging H1-B sponsors for inspections by the Feds to ensure that the workers are getting paid correctly and are working with the sponsor. Right now it's an honor system and there's no honor at IBM, Wipro or Infosys.

  • by LeepII (946831) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:00AM (#44379843)
    200 "furniture movers" were given H1-b visa's in 2001. Are there really not enough furniture movers in NYC that a company had to import 200 of them? Google "Urban Moving Systems".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:04AM (#44379873)

    I, Cringley Cringley [cringely.com] had a very interesting post on how H1B fraud is accomplished, except in this case, the he got caught.

    The gist of the crime has two parts. First Mr. Cvjeticanin’s law firm reportedly represented technology companies seeking IT job candidates and he is accused of having run on the side an advertising agency that placed employment ads for those companies. That could appear to be a conflict of interest, or at least did to the DoJ.

    But then there’s the other part, in which most of the ads — mainly in Computerworld — seem never to have been placed at all!

    Client companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for employment ads in Computerworld that never even ran!

    The contention of the DoJ in this indictment appears to be that Mr. Cvjeticanin was defrauding companies seeking to hire IT personnel, yet for all those hundreds of ads — ads that for the most part never ran and therefore could never yield job applications — nobody complained!

    The deeper question here is whether they paid for the ads or just for documentation that they had paid for the ads?

    This is alleged H-1B visa fraud, remember. In order to hire an H-1B worker in place of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, the hiring company must show that there is no “minimally qualified” citizen or green card holder to take the job. Recruiting such minimally qualified candidates is generally done through advertising: if nobody responds to the ad then there must not be any minimally qualified candidates.

    How many other scams like this, are being run to prevent American engineers from being hired?

  • I guess they brought in some immigrants to do that math on that one too.
    "it enables highly-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. and grow the U.S. economy"
    No, it increases unemployment here in the US, drives down wages, and the works funnel money straight out of our economy and back to their families in their home country. That is complete and utter bullshit every way you look at it.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:01AM (#44380447)

    (A board meeting, somewhere in the US. Probably Texas. 10:00am..)

    CEO: We need to get our operating overhead under control! Look at all these hockey-sticks! (pointing to whiteboard)
    CF0: We've already closed 500 stores, offshored 90% of our labor and manufacturing, layed off 15000 retail and customer service positions, and cut everyone else to part time so we don't have to pay benefits. There's not much more fat to trim except for...
    CEO: What?
    CFO: We get hold of some of those H1B visa workers. I hear they are happy to work for half of minimum wage.
    CEO: How do we do that?
    CF0: We cut lunchbreaks to 10 minutes, and make overtime mandatory. Also include rotating weekend shifts for everyone, including managers. We make it so miserable to work here, that people leave.
    CEO: That doesn't sound like such a great plan. Who is going to run the stores?
    CF0: We don't do it all at once. We do it regionally. Not everyone can afford to quit right away so there's a good chance there will be some stragglers. We promote them to managers for the time being and advertise to fill the empty positions, but advertise at half the wages the others were getting. Nobody in their right mind will take that job.
    CEO: That sounds like a really dumb move. How are you going to fill those positions.
    CFO: We tell the government that there isn't any available labor pool for us to hire from. We show them how nobody has applied for the listings, so we need to bring in H1B visa workers to fill the vacancies.
    CEO: Hmm...
    CFO: As an added bonus, I'm sure we can find some taxpayer dollars to subsidize our H1B visa "program".
    CEO: Great! I'll be out the rest of the day yacht shopping. Hold all my calls.

  • I hate doing study questions.

  • First off we need less class room time and more hands on time.

    CS it NOT IT.

    IT jobs do need 4+ years pure class room.

    Over seas they have lower degrees costs and more trades / apprenticeships like schooling systems.

  • by milkasing (857326) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @11:31AM (#44381639)
    In the past few decades, the change in norms removed a lot of cushions that were there:
    1. There are fewer entry level jobs -- few companies are willing to train people.
    The buzz from Jack Welch was to treat team members like pro athlete stars -- pay the alpha performers well and get rid of the beta performers. The problem is that almost all new comers will under perform for a while. Why hire them?
    2. There is less loyalty towards an employer.
    Again this hurts entry level jobs. The norm used to be that employers used to train people, and the people would stay with the employers for a few years, even if the pay was less. The loss in productivity and the training costs from an employers perspective would more than be made up by the long term savings. From an employees perspective, skipping from job to job made you appear unreliable and would hurt your job prospects. Then with the dot com boom, everything changed. People used to join a company that offered training and then immediately jump ship to get even a slightly higher pay. Jumping from company to company became the most reliable way to get a pay raise. Most companies saw their investment in training wasted and eliminated or severely reduced training.
    3. There is no loyalty towards employees and long term planning is no longer considered.
    IT is typically a cost center. The norm today is to look for saving by cutting payroll where ever possible. Strategically employers look for a cheaper alternative, even if the long term risk to the business increases. incentives for managers are based on short term performance, so even star employees are at risk of layoffs. Salaries are often cut, irrespective to the damage to the morale of the workforce, because by the time the effects are seen, the people responsible for the cut would have moved on.
    4. The geographical mobility has decreased in the past 30 years.
    The drag caused by having ever larger mortgages, and complexities of ensuring both the husband and wife have a job, often prevents people from moving to places where there are new jobs.
    With constant layoffs a new fact of life, the risks of moving, particularly to smaller markets and single company towns has risen. In a larger metro like NYC, folks can look for new jobs more easily if they feel their job is at risk, and even go to interviews in their lunch breaks. In a small town, this becomes much harder.
    5. The move towards orienting IT personal to a project at all times creates a need for an ability to hire and lay off people at all times. As the projects becomes larger, at times there is a glut and times there is such a shortage that the project is moved offshore.
    6. The need to restrict liabilities, reduce fixed costs and deflect responsibility is leading to more outsourcing. (Outsourcing != off shoring.) This in turn leads to a need for a more mobile workforce. Just pouring money into these issues will not make it go away, and often the cost could be too high. The solutions for these problems -- rethinking at will employment, tort reform, rethinking home ownership as a primary method to build equity, rewarding long term performance over short term performance are complex, difficult to implement, and will require a ton of time, and right now these problems are not even on the public radar. In the mean time business must go on.
    H1Bs offer a quick fix to many of these problems by creating a more mobile, more employer dependent workforce. They are a crutch, and do not solve the long term issues, and they do have a downward pressure on wages. But they also buy time for US society and business to get its act together. Whether this time is used properly, I have no idea.

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