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Education Programming Give Us More H-1B Visas Or the Kids Get Hurt 271

theodp writes "Fresh off their wildly-hyped Hour of Code, headed to Washington last Thursday where H-1B visas were prescribed as the cure for U.S. kids' STEM ills. 'The availability of computer science to all kids is an issue that warrants immediate and aggressive action,' told Congress. "Comprehensive immigration reform efforts that tie H-1B visa fees to a new STEM education fund,' suggested co-founder Hadi Partovi, is 'among the policies that we feel can be changed to support the teaching and learning of more computer science in K-12 schools. We hope you can be allies in our endeavors on Capitol Hill.' Also testifying with Partovi was inventor and US FIRST founder Dean Kamen, who also pitched the benefits of H-1B visas (PDF). 'We strongly encourage Congress to pass legislation that directs H-1B visa fees to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST,' Kamen testified. 'Specifically, these fees should support efforts to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST.'"
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  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:23AM (#45964055)

    Like asking if you want fries, or how to fill out forms to receive government cheese.
    Train what you have, fix what you have, rather than importing more of the problem. It's like selling a product at a loss, but making up the profit on volume.
    Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

    • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:52AM (#45964299)

      Training them to get government cheese would probably be more useful than teaching them programming. At least then it wouldn't get their hopes up that there are actual jobs awaiting them at the end. It's my experience that most advertised IT jobs these days are just mirage jobs. They're posted for legal reasons and so that tech companies can run to Congress and say "Look at all these jobs we can't fill! We need more H1-B visas!" But if you actually waste your time trying to GET one of those jobs, you'll find that they're as fake and inaccessible as a closed movie set.

      And even the jobs that ARE real have their wages kept artificially low by all the H1B's. And god help you trying to get anything these days in programming if you're over 35 (only hip kids can code, I guess).

      • All so we can pour money into India, to keep the Chinese out.

      • by w1kL3f ( 316139 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:21AM (#45964645)
        There's a lot of ageism now in the software engineering sector. I'm over 40, first began programming BASIC and C in the 1980s, and have kept current: I now program in Python and JavaScript. Does the latter matter to employers? Not that I see. I'm unemployed and can barely get an interview or a meeting, let alone get hired after they see that I have a couple of strands of grey hair (I still have all my hair, though). Doesn't matter how I dress, or if I wear a hoodie and chucks. I'm old, and apparently that means I'm worthless in this market.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You're not 22 anymore, so they can't hoodwink you into working 70 hour "crunch time" 52 weeks a year. You probably expect paid vacation, also.

          Also, regarding these people:
          WHORES! FILTHY SYPHILITIC WHORES! Burning alive is too good for these people.
          • If you're too old for the job then brush up on your Hindi and re-apply. But be ready to take a 60% pay cut, no vacation, and 80 hour work weeks.

        • get with the program--multiculturalism is COOL and if you are against mass immigration you are a bigot and probably the next Hitler.

          The fact that multiculturalism and mass immigration makes millionaire investors richer is just a coincidence. Just keep saying that....Just keep saying that....Just keep saying that....

          • Why is this not modded up? The only ones that believe in free trade and multiculturalism anymore are the 1%ers and politically correct, the rest of us can plainly see the only "trade' is the importing of slaves and the exporting of misery.

            In my own area not only is the local college shutting down the programming courses (because only a fool would go 60K+ in debt to compete with someone who paid peanuts for theirs in India) but construction USED to be a good job for those that weren't able to go to college, now? you can go by any job site and yell "immigra!" and watch them scatter like deer. oh and if they take a header from a scaffold YOU PAY for their medical bills as they are dropped off by the nearest ER with a "tough luck Paco".

            I've been all over the flyover states and have seen first hand what "free trade" has gotten us, its gotten us abandoned factories, boarded up buildings, and for many areas the only "jobs" are applying for government handouts and flipping burgers. To quote George Carlin "You know why they call it The American Dream? because you have to be asleep to believe in it"

            • There are still bulwarks of coding being done here in the US. I just recently graduated with a CS degree and had no problem finding employment here in the states, with a family and grey hair.

              I think the AC above, talking about 70 hour crunch times is closer to the mark. H1b visas means getting young Chinese and Indian employees for low-end salaried pay but who routinely work much longer days (as well as being well trained) than most typical US college grads. At least, that is what I see in the company th

            • The Free Trade nonsense is a scam being perpetuated by the 1% class and sold to unsuspecting Economics students. It is pure snake oil however, for obvious reasons, it is a disaster. It is designed to enrich a few wealthy elites at the expense of the middle class in a race to the bottom that equalizes first world countries with third world countries. Basically, third world countries basically remain such while first world countries become third world economies, while a global wealthy elite becomes vastly wea

        • by danlip ( 737336 )

          Perhaps Python and JavaScript are not as valuable skill set as you think (they're not, try Java or (shudder) .Net) or perhaps you live somewhere crappy. But I am 42 and get to pick from multiple job offers in Denver.

        • Perhaps your mistake was to not specialize or learn the right things?

          I'm over 40 and have a PhD in computer science, with decent experience in databases and scientific computing. I'm still having an easy time getting work in the greater Boston area.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I agree, but not exactly for the same reasons. Within big tech companies there's a disease. It's an ugly disease, and one that needs to be cured. It's called HR. Whenever we have an opening for new people within the company I work for, it's impossible to hire an honest american. Why? Because the recruiters in the HR department put the following requirements:

        Expert in:
        IP Engineering, C Programming, Java Programming, SQL, Unix Administration, Windows Administration, SS7, VoIP, etc, etc etc.

        Also, require

      • I put my resume on and got bombarded by phone calls for jobs the next day. In contrast, I've gotten very few responses for jobs that I applied. Apparently that is how job hunting works now. Publicly listed jobs get overwelmed so you need to get first dibs on a subset of the job market via a recruiter.

    • Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

      The term "limousine liberal" comes to mind.

      • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:46AM (#45964937)

        Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

        The term "limousine liberal" comes to mind.

        Because there is no catchy pejorative coined for right-wing billionaires pushing their own policy preferences?

        • Because there is no catchy pejorative coined for right-wing billionaires pushing their own policy preferences?

          Increased immigration ("immigration reform") is usually associated with the "liberals" in this country. The right-wingers are generally associated with anti-immigration sentiments.

          • by hb253 ( 764272 )

            Hahahahahahaha, funny. So, that means that big business leans liberal??? Hahahahahahahaha

            You're funny and your political bias is showing, and in this case, it's misdirected and pointless. H1B is all about firing US residents and citizens and ALL about importing cheap labor from countries where a salary of $20,000 per year is a king's ransom.

            • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:38AM (#45965481)

              Hahahahahahaha, funny. So, that means that big business leans liberal??? Hahahahahahahaha

              No, it means that in America, there's not much difference between "liberal" and "conservative", esp. when you look at the politicians on both sides.

              The Democrats push for "immigration reform" and lax policies because their constituents have been brainwashed into thinking unlimited immigration is a great thing somehow ("we need to reunite families!!!"), and push for this when they have power, but their real motivation is to help big corporations import cheap labor. The Republicans speak publicly against "immigration reform" to their constituents usually, because they're generally more anti-immigration, but then when they're in office they push for easier immigration and laxer policies, because their real motivation is to help big corporations import more cheap labor, but then they blame it on the Democrats. This of course is exactly what the Democrats do for other issues, where they do the same thing as the Republicans, to help their corporate masters, but then blame the Republicans for it. So we have two parties, doing mostly the same thing, and screwing over middle-class Americans, while keeping us distracted with a divide-and-conquer strategy so we won't vote for anyone outside these corrupt parties, because then "the wrong lizard may get in".

            • Hahahahahahaha, funny. So, that means that big business leans liberal??? Hahahahahahahaha

              On many issues, yes. Republicans are more pro-business on most issues, but Democrats are "better" on immigration, education funding, non-defense corporate welfare, and intellectual property (big media companies are big donors to the Dems).

              ALL about importing cheap labor from countries where a salary of $20,000 per year is a king's ransom.

              Once they are here, many of them will apply for permanent visas, and then citizenship, and then they will register to vote ... as Democrats.

            • So, that means that big business leans liberal?

              "Liberal" means very little. At the very least you have to distinguish between social and economic politics. Plenty of big business types, especially in places like Silicon Valley, are social liberals (gay marriage, etc.), but economics is another matter. Democrats are very good at pandering to this crowd in both aspects, and Republicans cater to their economic leanings. In other words, you're screwed. Real Democrats and moderate Republicans are, if not extinct, at least endangered species.

          • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:47AM (#45965567)

            Increased immigration ("immigration reform") is usually associated with the "liberals" in this country. The right-wingers are generally associated with anti-immigration sentiments.

            The right-wingers are generally opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens and also want stronger border enforcement, etc. When it comes to increasing the H-1B quota they, or at least their supposed representatives, are all for it. Look at the voting records. The Democrats aren't much different, which is why people get so screwed by the endless stream of H-1B's. This is a bipartisan screwing. Occasionally you get a decent politician like Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who actually want at least some protections, but they're such a small minority it doesn't matter.

            • The right wingers say they're opposed to amnesty and want stronger border protection, but when they're in power they don't actually follow through with it, because cheap farm labor is important to many of their big donors in the ag industry. Bush's track record on border protection wasn't very good.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Billionaires pushing policies that benefit billionaires lacks irony.

          "Limousine liberal" generally applies to a wealthy person pushing a putatively altruistic solution which imposes costs on those less able to bear them.

          It's often associated with increased taxation. A limousine liberal may advocate for an increase in property taxes to help fund schools, a cost that they can easily bear but which is regressive on the rest of the population (while all the while sending their kids to private schools).

          Other exa

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      The problem with 'rich guys' is that as a society we highly prize wealth and associate it with superiority in general. If one knows how to make lots of money then usually they are seen (and see themselves) as being generally more intelligent then people who do not. Some get really wrapped up in this perception and forget that they are domain experts, really good at a narrow (but profitable) field but not necessarily skilled in other fields. It is the same basic problem we see in tech sites like slashdot
    • Absolutely true. H1B Visas are destroying tech job opportunities for American citizens and stealing our jobs. A flood of Indians who drives down wages and basically makes it next to impossible for Americans to easily find Tech work, discourages American students from going into this field. It costs significantly more for an American student to go to College, letting in Indians who went to third world schools who had to spend far less on their college undercuts American students.

      While Liberals claim to be so

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:24AM (#45964063)

    ... to make sense anymore.

    They might as well say "Wombat refuges must be funded so as to secure America's future in space exploration.

    The whole thing is a non sequitur.

    Visas have nothing what so ever to do with the academic success of American kids. Nothing.

    Aliens could come bubble out of the 10th dimension and seal the US off in a pocket universe... and guess what... they could still get a decent education. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?! Because immigration has nothing to do with education. The US could be utterly isolated and yet have a fantastic education system.

    Example? Look at Japan... notice how their education system is terrible because they don't have really permissive immigration policies.

    Oh wait, their education system is great despite having pretty tight immigration.

    Stupidity. Anyone that honestly gets suckered into such arguments should get the word "moron" tattooed on their forehead. Just for efficient identification.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:35AM (#45964153) Journal
      It's worse than a non-sequitur:

      Let's play EC101 for a second here:

      1. Not enough students are persuing 'STEM' education.

      2. Hypothesis: 'STEM' education needs to be improved, to improve retention and attraction and/or the rewards of pursuing 'STEM' education need to be more visible, greater, or both.

      3. Ergo, we should issue more H-1B visas in order to lower the real wages for workers in 'STEM' fields and thus incentivize more students to study the (even if rewarding, quite challenging) 'STEM' subjects!

      A non-sequitur would be downright sensible by comparison. At least disconnected statements tend to not be internally contradictory...

      If you are having difficulty recruiting students for a subject, why would you possibly want to reduce the rewards for studying a subject? That's the opposite of what you want to do. Now, admittedly, some non-STEM students or STEM-abandoning students are motivated more by shitty teaching or other similar factors than they are by future job prospects; but unless you want to abandon basically all theories of human motivation underlying vaguely capitalist economies, you have to admit that expected payoff is sort of a major factor in whether to stick with hard math or go and do something else.

      This one strikes me as similar to the (also surprisingly common and equally absurd; but self-interested) "We can't attract enough good talent, also wages are too high!" whining from employers. Hey, dumbass, supply curves, no? If you can't attract good talent, how can you also be paying too much? Unless your work environment is brutally fucked on various social levels, if you were overpaying, talent would be knocking down the door to come join you...
      • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:43AM (#45964227) Homepage

        Stop reading Slashdot headlines.

        It sounds like is pushing to have H-1B visa fees earmarked for education programs, rather than just going to general funds.

        I skimmed through TFAs (poorly-organized as they were), and I didn't see anything implying they want more H-1Bs. Rather, the most I saw was implying that there could be an increase in H-1Bs, so it would make sense if that increase also increased STEM funding so we don't need H-1Bs in the future.

        • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:59AM (#45964387)

          From the link to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC: "Modifications to the guest worker program must also include an increase in the number of H-1B visas". Many of's backers are also backers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If H-1B visa fees are earmarked for education then more visas means more fees means more education. So yes it's implied that more H-1B visas would be better. For the children, of course.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            If cigarette taxes are earmarked for smoking cessation programs then more cigarettes being purchased means more non-smokers. So yes, it's implied that more cigarette sales would be better.

      • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:58AM (#45964373) Journal
        As painfully obvious as is the logic, it's a way to present a distasteful, wage-lowering piece of immigration reform in a positive light.

        Your Congressional representative can always use a positive spin to sign something favorable to large campaign contributors.

        For the children.

      • apprenticeships and more put into trades schools will fix the education part and it can be done in less time that the older college system at a lower cost.

    • I didn't see anything in your post that indicated you knew what the arguments were.

      Kamen et al think they have found a revenue stream in the fees collected from H1-B visas that could be used for additional funding of STEM programs. It has nothing to do with more permissive immigration policies being sold as a way to improve the education system (other than through money only).

      Unfortunately, I expect the gov't to be losing money on the H1-Bs due to inefficiencies, but I don't know for sure.
    • by njnnja ( 2833511 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:52AM (#45964311)

      This makes sense once you realize that it isn't about what they are claiming it is about. Tech businessmen want cheap labor - everyone here on slashdot gets that. But the other half is more about transferring wealth from the middle and upper middle class (in this case, through the lowered wages of developers, a moderately well paying profession in America) to the poor by providing funding for inner city schools.

      We can't tax the rich since they have the ability to control their income, and the poor can't provide funding for their own schools or else they wouldn't be poor. So the funding for programs for the poor has to come from the middle class and those with high incomes in high cost of living areas who have relatively little wealth and therefore can be easily taxed either explicitly or implicitly.

      • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:52AM (#45964985)

        ....We can't tax the rich since they have the ability to control TAX POLICY...

        There. Fixed that for you.

        • by njnnja ( 2833511 )

          Actually I had originally written something like "control their income and wield sufficient political power" but took out the part about political power because the ability to control their (US) income is so much more important. Even if tax law was changed that increased taxes on wealth, I doubt it would generate much revenue to pay for stuff because the truly rich have the ability to manipulate their income such that it still would avoid taxation. For example, they might move it to Swiss bank accounts, or

    • Visas have nothing what so ever to do with the academic success of American kids. Nothing.

      No, but they DO have something very much to do with your chances of getting a job when you leave academia, and the wages you're going to make.

    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:59AM (#45964389)

      TFS is not very clear, but if you read it closely (twice, in my case) it appears these guys are suggesting diverting the money collected from H1-B visa applications into "STEM" (how I hate that acronym) education for poor American kids. That makes a little bit more sense insofar as, if you stand on your head and squint, it looks like a token effort to tax immigration to pay for education in the US.

      It's funny how everyone who makes his living on research or advocacy for a particular problem says the solution to that problem is to provide more funding for his organization. That is what TFS appears to be really saying - a bunch of people working on STEM education want more government funding for STEM education. Film at 11. ;-)

      I don't know how much an H1-B visa fee is, but it must be less than the salary difference between an H1-B guest worker and the actual labor rate set by the domestic market. Otherwise no one would make money off H1-B workers and there would not be this constant clamor for more of them. This small amount of money, collected from a relatively small population of H1-B workers, will never be more than crumbs from the table anyway. It might be enough to fund a dog and pony show like FIRST, but not nearly enough to effect systemic change in the educational system.

      In September 2013, the IEEE magazine ran a special series [] on the STEM "crisis," and based on that, I am now convinced that crisis is nothing more nor less than wishful thinking that high-tech industries can someday, somehow get skilled workers for less than the fair market rate.

    • Did you actually even read the summary? They aren't saying, "Visa will magically allow us to train better STEM" or even that more STEM people will help train new ones at home. Instead, what they said was "Give us more H-1B Visa, but put the fees from them towards funding STEM education & activities like FIRST." In other words, allow companies more H-1B Visas to meet the immediate need while using the funds generated to train up locals to fill those gaps when the Visas run out.
      • Not particularly realistic. Every"fee" is being glommed to band-aid the yawning budget deficit. Prying those funds away from the pork salesmen just isn't a realistic goal. Once fees/taxes pass through the US government's fiscal event horizon, it just disappears.

  • by Thantik ( 1207112 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:27AM (#45964083)

    what they're worth. Flood the market with H1Bs, so they can tank the amount paid because then there is lots of competition. STEM education is there, the people are there, the (large) businesses simply don't want to pay them the $100k+ they deserve. They want a large pool of $20k/yr workers.

    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:52AM (#45964987)

      and there's the rub... there are plenty of programers. The problem is, someone that's smart enough to code is also smart enough to do lots of other things that pay well. It doesn't matter how many coders they get in the market place, they're always going to be able to find a better job in management, accounting, engineering or whatever that pays twice what their employer wants to pay for coding. I'm sorry Microsoft/Apple, coding is not factory work. There's no way you're going to be able to pay minimum wage for this kind of talent.

    • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:56AM (#45965023) Homepage

      Also because they don't want to train people to work in technology. There is legitimately a shortage of tech people in the US, and one potential response would be to increase wages until the right candidates are motivated to apply, but another potential response would be to take not-quite-ideal candidates and provide the necessary on-the-job training that would make them suitable employees.

      And I'm not even talking about being willing to hire Java guys to write C#, although that's in play too. For example, a guy who spent 15 years keeping an assembly-line humming and has been unemployed for 5 years now might well be somebody who could help keep a network cruising along. You'd have your senior-level network admin start him off as a cabling monkey, then teach him what he's plugging things into, and as he gained experience he'd eventually get familiar with the monitoring tools and be able to recognize and respond to common problems. This kind of hire might never reach the top-notch skillset of your senior network admin, but he could be an effective and inexpensive junior-level employee. You could pretty easily dream up similarly effective training programs for desktop support technicians.

      These kind of programs were exactly what the major corporations were doing in the 1950's, because there was such a shortage of available workers after WWII that they would basically hire anybody with a high school diploma and no demonstrable idiocy, and then train them for whatever the corporation needed to them to do. They provided good wages, benefits, and a career track for people who did their jobs well. This was an investment, but it worked well, and you ended up with people who were fiercely loyal to the company and proud to be a part of it.

      H1Bs are basically stopping those kind of market corrections from happening - they both prevent the IT guys from getting paid what they're worth, and prevent non-IT people who want to get into IT from making the move.

      • by BigDaveyL ( 1548821 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @12:07PM (#45965807) Homepage

        This type of thing is so frustrating.

        For example, I applied for a job recently that wanted 1-3 years of Linux admin experience. While I never had formal paid experience, I do have 15 years of:

        • taking several college courses in the subject matter
        • my masters project was a sys admin heavy
        • I attend the local lug and help people and have given several technical talks over the years
        • I volunteer as a sys admin at the local humane society that has 100 employees, more volunteers, processes 10,000+ animals a year and has a fully staffed vet clinic
        • I use Linux at my day job and do a bit of shell scripting there (I'm one of the go to guys it seems)
        • Use Linux as my primary OS
        • Have set up/manage servers for my own/others personal usage
        • Have attended conferences on my own dime to learn more about things
        • More things I'm probably forgetting

        Somehow, I don't know why they can't extract/find 1 year of experience in there. I can understand if they were asking for 5 or 10 years, but the bar seems low. In other words, what technical day to day tasks does someone in the job face, that I can't handle or figure out? Judge me on my actual technical merits, not something arbitrary.

        Pay is not an issue either. Their top pay would represent something like a 40% increase from what I make now, which I do not expect to get. They list no floor. I would be estatic to get even a 5%-10% increase, but can understand that I may have to take the same money or a slight pay cut because of the experience factor (which is fine since I get by well on my current salary).

        Of course, the job listing states the team is overwhelmed with work, but the job has been posted over a month. One would think they may have to re-adjust expectations in order to fill the job and get some relief.

      • There is legitimately a shortage of tech people in the US


    • I think pizza hut and others pay more for mangers with the same unpaid OT needs.

    • The $100k+ they deserve? Were you born in the 80s? $200k programmer salaries came because there were no programmers. You don't deserve $100k+ you entitled bastard; everyone in the fucking world went to college to be a Web designer and now we can just hire one for a few shiny nickels.

      Look up how guilds work. You know, medieval unions. They increase salaries by having skilled workers not work--less labor availability. We have the opposite: get everyone a college education so we can pay people less.

    • by bmajik ( 96670 )

      Have you been involved in the hiring process for GOOG, MSFT, Facebook, or AAPL?

      I have.

      We (Microsoft) throw a LOT of money at people we're trying to bring on board. I have to assume our competitors are doing the same -- because we lose (and gain) talent from GOOG all the time as people move back and forth between companies.

      If you make it through my interview loops, you won't have to worry about your starting salary being high enough. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see your offer package.

  • by JD-1027 ( 726234 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:31AM (#45964111)
    So what if we allowed zero H-1Bs? Wouldn't wages for these positions go up, which would attract more people to the fields requiring workers. If they need workers so bad, why isn't anyone willing to pay increased wages for it? (tongue firmly planted in cheek) By the way, this is coming from someone who recently helped hire a great programmer and wonderful person from India on this very type of visa.
    • That, or perhaps the jobs would just be outsourced to Indian contractors instead.

    • You would need two things:

      1. Raise the demand by limiting H1B's and other pressure values.

      2. Heavily tax overseas labor.

      People respond to incentives. Smart people right now are doing frivolous things like games and entertainment instead of things people say we need - like STEM. The key factors to getting people to respond are (1) MONEY - how much you pay them and (2) QUALITY OF LIFE. IT can be hard on #2, but #1 should be easy to solve for.

  • Fuck off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:32AM (#45964117) Journal

    There are plenty of coders in the country ready, willing and able to take these jobs. You're just too cheap to pay them what they're worth or willing to wait the three months it will take to get them up to speed.

    Hauling in people from other countries who are no better than the ones here is just an excuse.

    Again, you want the unemployment rate to decline? Hire people who are unemployed. They'll work harder and better for you than someone who has a job because they don't want to go back.

    Oh, and Slashdot, the fuck off applies to you as well. Your interface just plain sucks and selecting 'Classic' doesn't do shit. Hmmm, maybe we do need more H-1B visas so you can read this site.

    • by bmajik ( 96670 )

      I'm not sure you are in a position to make this claim.

      I've been interviewing candidates for software engineering jobs since I was in college. I constantly talk to people I cannot hire because of raw smarts issues.

      My current employer is paying obscene amounts of money to hires of all ages, but especially entry level positions.

      The base comp package at my company has grown significantly during my career, often in response to market pressures. Furthermore, there are legally required flyers that post job title

      • The bottom line is that in my 15 plus years in interviewing and hiring, finding good people is hard, even if you're throwing around big money.

        Guess what.. most people are idiots! Sorting the wheat and chaff has been around for a while. Julius Caesar often complained about how hard it was to find good general staff.

        • The attitudes! (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward


          I constantly talk to people I cannot hire because of raw smarts issues.


          Guess what.. most people are idiots!

          The attitudes! And people wonder why kids are reluctant to go into the field.

          "Hey kids! You need to learn coding! You won't get jobs though because you are stupid! So, sign right up kids!"

          See, if it were me - just lowly stupid-unintelligent me - I'd be creating a campaign to show HOW kids and current coders are coming up short.

          Like, "Hey educators! The analytical skills are coming up short, so how about concentrating on that instead of the technology du jour?"

          And if you are currently having probl

  • Drop the program and most of the INS madness. Instead for a fixed cost, say around that of a cheap new car, allow anyone to enter and stay indefinitely on a green card.
    • This is how a lot of countries work. You can buy citizenship in several countries, although it's keep fairly confidential. You make a large investment in many foreign countries and you get "free" citizenship or at least legal status.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:37AM (#45964171) Homepage

    So let me get this straight... wants to tie H-1B visa fees to education programs, and somehow that's twisted into the headline saying they want more H-1Bs?

    It sounds more to me like they're saying "if you're going to bring in a foreign tech worker because Americans aren't good enough, you're going to pay for American STEM programs so Americans are good enough in the future". I can't really object to that idea.

    • This is exactly the argument your Senator will use when he signs the bill for you.

      Use the smell test.

      A major employer of nerds wants to import hordes of foreign nerds to work for less money than our local chaps during a prolonged dearth in the job market..

    • by Sez Zero ( 586611 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:27AM (#45964707) Journal
      Ok, I read the testimony.

      You are right, Kamen specifically didn't ask for more visas. Instead, he asked that the visa fees, at least in part, be directed to his program, FIRST. TL;DR: Give me money.

      Partovi barely mentions visas, but also wants part of the fees to go to a new STEM education fund and wants changes to E-Rate (internet/telecomm to school libraries). He's got his fingers in a lot of pies, so skeptically I'm assuming one of them would benefit from unspecified E-Rate "changes".

      Jona, a prof at Northwestern, basically wants more scientists to be involved in teaching STEM. No visa mention.

      Cornwall, an ME, writes like an ME and doesn't mention visas; instead focuses on education.

      So, yes, there's a lot of spin in the headline. Because headline.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:56AM (#45964351)

    If I had a nickel for every "consultants by the pound" pitch where they sent in just barely competent coders for me to review, I'd be a millionaire (all of the big subcontinent body shops are guilty of this). Then they've got the balls to pay these poor saps peanuts and attempt to bill me $100-200/hour (depending on how many hours they've spent in front of an Idiot's Guide to C## training video). Then you see all the even poorer saps who are going through 2 or 3 layers of additional consultancies before they make it to our HR dept's door. I feel bad for them, but...I'd rather just recruit at local universities and get people who have identifiable skills, already speak English that most folks can parse, and won't get rotated back to the subcontinent randomly as one or more of their handlers has "visa issues."

    Talk to your local university with a decent Engineering or Comp Sci curriculum and start recruiting. Save time, money, aggravation, and help our own college grads get into the game. I refuse to even take calls from the body shops anymore even though my corporate overlords are trying to force the issue. It's just not worth the hassle.

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:06AM (#45964473)

    Better yet, instead of redirecting H1-B fees to inner schools, reduce the number of STEM related H1-Bs. This should allow wages in these fields to increase and with increased wages there will be more people wanting to pursue careers in those fields. You would think a country based on capitalism would understand how supply and demand works.

  • 35% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:16AM (#45964571)

    35% of IT related graduates over the past three years have failed to find gainful employment in their field. It would seem difficult for a company to justify H1-B employees given that. The only logical conclusion is that H1-B visas are being used for some other purpose than a shortage of skilled workers. I would posit, as many others have, it is to keep costs low to maximize shareholder value.

  • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:25AM (#45964693) Homepage

    First, force companies to pay H-1B workers a lot more - unless they pay for training of an American for the entire duration that the H-1B worker works for them. Then, if the American they trained does not work for that same company at least as long as the training period, penalize the company the salary difference they saved. This forces the company to pay the American what they're worth, or lose a lot of money otherwise.

  • This makes about as much sense as when the Clinton administration opened trade with China [] by personally promising [] reforms in Chinese government and an increase in Chinese demand for American cars and products, leading to an increase in manufacturing jobs. Yep, makes [] perfect [] sense [].

  • More cheap foreign labor, and pulling the floor out from under the market by making basic coding a common skill. Then it won't pay any better than flipping burgers.

  • The problem with increasing H-1B numbers is that it swamps the domestic market with offshore workers, likely at lower rates than domestic talent (ref the Oracle lawsuit filed yesterday []), making STEM training less desirable for US students as they won't be able to find jobs when they hit the workforce. Now you want to push H-1Bs into the academic market too?

    Waiting for the teachers' unions to start raising bloody hell about the impact to their livelihoods. Hmmm, given the clout they have with politicos

  • Just looking at it as a practical issue, if you reduce demand by bringing immigrants in to do the job (especially at sub-market rates), then the people here will have less incentive to learn those skills.

    By eliminating short term demand spikes, you are reducing the long term supply of workers.

  • The problem with H-1B Visas is that they smell like indentured servitude. I say abolish them, and then create a visa program for skilled professionals that is not tied to a specific job or business sponsor. That way, the "guest worker" would have some actual bargening power and could change employers.

  • With the obsolesence of currency approaching, one would think these fools would get it.
  • It's simple from the corporate position; you'll spend less on STEM contributions than what you will save by driving compensation costs down with H-1Bs.
  • The proposal is outrageous on its own; train kids for nonexistent jobs that have been outsourced to the lowest bidders.

    The suggestion that H1Bs are enabling opportunities to foreigners by providing a path to immigration is equally offensive. The reality is that any individuals interested in immigrating are going to do so via the traditional means, and that's assuming they didn't come here to study first.

    The vast majority of H1B applications are filed by outsourcing companies in an amusing twist of irony. Th

  • I'm all for importing as many smart talented people as we can, but not as indentured servants, which is what H-1B is. Give them green cards and a path to citizenship and the freedom to change jobs.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor