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Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration

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tb1
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
tb1   11/28/2012 6:09:49 PM
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I've commented on this before. Green cards reform makes a lot more sense than using H-1B permits, which are subject to abuse, and the end result is engineers, trained in US industries, leaving the country. Of course H-1B usually ends up as a stepping stone to a green card. Why not just reform the green card program in the first place? It seems like the hardest way to become a US citizen is to do it the legal way and have a college degree and useful skills.

fwp46
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fwp46   11/28/2012 8:08:57 PM
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Bad idea: employers are getting way too picky. They want the exact profiles while unemployed and/or older engineers have a broad enough education to adapt to new positions. Intel just lobby the government to increase supply in order to lower the pay. Why not other industries? Doctors make so much money because they limit supply with boards etc. At least the lottery does not discriminate engineers vs others.

EREBUS0
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EREBUS0   11/28/2012 8:54:34 PM
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As long as the US maintains its lead in cutting edge deveopment, we will always have the best engineers wanting to come here. Once we lose that edge, you wont be able to give these Visa's away. Face it, employers need the best engineers when they need them. The days of hiring promising applicants and brining them up inside the company died when engineers began company hopping for the best pay. Both sides lost.

pinhead1
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pinhead1   11/28/2012 10:31:43 PM
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This is interesting. I "entered" the game quite a while after you could join a company and feel like you were there for life. The day I started my first job out of school, I was operating under the assumption that I was only there until I wasn't, you know what I mean? I think this IS seriously bad for companies. I never work for the best of my company, I work to make sure I'm building my resume for my next job. Is that what an employer wants? But yet, it's what they compel me to do by essentially keeping employees until the stock goes down and then bringing out the hatchets.

sheila_NGC
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sheila_NGC   11/29/2012 5:51:03 PM
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There are a lot of great engineers in the states. For every engineering job opening, there are 5000-7000 applicants. Do you beleive that none of 5000 people are really qualified? It's companies way of getting cheaper labor and lowering benefits for employees, that drives requests for more engineers and scientists from other countries.

Stimpy
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Stimpy   11/29/2012 8:22:03 PM
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I agree 100%. In fact most of what people are saying here would speak against any more 'open boarders' for would be cheap to hire foreign engineers. How about we go global to find the lowest paid politicians?

Bert22306
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Bert22306   11/28/2012 9:15:45 PM
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Every country should have the right, and even the obligation, of controlling immigration, so that they can attract the type of immigrant that best meets that country's needs. This seems like such an approach. I find it odd to be debating this, i.e. whether we should attract people with skills that practically define what the US is, while politicians are spending infinitely more energy trying to come up with more and more creative ways to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. This debate seems almost like a side issue, to keep people distracted. Politicians know what will get them votes, for their own short-term interests. I'm sure this is very low on their to-do list. No votes there.

nosubject
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
nosubject   11/28/2012 10:46:24 PM
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Those who got STEM degree in general have analytic capability and they are not very easy to be fooled, which is the last thing the regular politicians want the regular citizen (voter) to be. If I were a politician, I don't want to grant the GreenCards to the STEM guys. I would rather give them to the amnesty and illegal immigrants to buy some votes. In such a game, because of this interest contradiction, I don't think the debate will do anything good to the STEM guys.

CharlesE191
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
CharlesE191   11/28/2012 11:34:04 PM
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Limiting immigration to those with STEM degrees is rotten foreign policy, and not very good farm policy. When the best and brightest emigrate from South and Central America and from Southeast Asia they not only contribute to the brain drain from these areas, but also bring with them resources in the form of years of education. These countries have economic problems caused by this resource loss. South and Central America are supposed to be spheres of influence of the United States, yet I have always had trouble understanding why they are so poor, and we have done little more than periodically invade. The British established honest government in India, brought order, and built industries that competed with England's. In Africa they dug ports, built railroads, and constructed a system of roads and other infrastructure. What is the US doing other than drain foreign countries of their resources? It is a fact that the American poor, regardless of skin color, are not often successful in American public schools. Blaming the lower socio-economic class for not being able to cope with middle-class schools really is "blaming the victim." I saw a Black woman in the check-out line at Kmart recently; she was staring at a box holding a new portable computer on her shopping cart, presumably for her child, and caressing it with her fingers. Does anyone doubt that she was hoping that the computer was going to be the silver bullet that allowed her child to be successful in school, go to college, and lead a productive and useful life? Yet statistically speaking, if the child is male he has an equal chance of going to prison instead, never holding more than a day-labor job, and never marrying. The IEEE has researched the production of successful engineers. Why can't we use that knowledge to help people at home who literally don't know how to be successful rather than drain our allies of their resources?

Bert22306
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Bert22306   11/29/2012 12:00:56 AM
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That's an interesting argument for the return to a colonial power model. You are arguing that allowing STEM immigrants in with open arms creates a brain drain for other countries (which, by the way, can always compete to keep their STEM people at home, and some do - like Brazil). And that this will take away STEM job opportunities from these theoretical US citizens who could be coerced into a STEM education, that they don't seem to want. But a much more probable state of affairs is that allowing uncontrolled immigration of relatively unskilled labor is taking a lot more likely work away from these same disadvantaged kids. The measure of effectiveness (MOE) for a politician is to get votes. Doesn't matter if his policies are good or bad, right or wrong. I'm simply suggesting, pushing for work permits for STEM immigrants is not where the votes will come from. It's a make-believe debate.

CharlesE191
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
CharlesE191   11/29/2012 11:07:35 AM
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You question whether we should coerce poor children into a STEM education they donít seem to want . What is the most significant motivator for a child to attain in education? Success. Nothing succeeds like success. What are some of the factors that determine pupil success? 1. The quality of the teaching. Americaís inner-cities schools located in low-SES neighborhoods have become dumping grounds for teachers who canít teach and leaders who canít lead. The latter must be true or they would not accept teachers who canít teach. Part of the problem is that the big cities donít have any money, but another part is that many parent-teacher conferences descend into shouting matches, with the single parent with the low-paying, low-prestige job demanding, rather than presenting a reasoned case, that her child be placed in the academic track rather than the commercial track, and the teacher responding, but the child simply canít do the work. Some believe that the solution is placing the underperforming pupil in a child guidance clinic led by professional psychologists, but neither the parent nor the school can afford it. Often the good teachers canít stand the constant confrontations and lack of cooperation, so they leave. 2. Some of the student-level factors predicting child academic success are the quality of the home learning environment, maternal education/qualifications for child-rearing, financial resources, and occupational prestige of the parent(s). These are in short supply in low-SES neighborhoods. Until the schools develop something like parent clubs to train devoted parents in how to change these factors, there is little hope of helping the child succeed in STEM or anything else.

Bert22306
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Bert22306   11/29/2012 8:24:19 PM
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Indeed, you have explained quite well what a major problem is with this new "celebrating diversity" mindset we're all suppose to subscribe to. With diversity come a bunch of different cultural attitudes and values. It becomes difficult when you're celebrating diversity to then turn around and impose one sub-culture's values on another sub-culture. Even when it seems obvious that this would be a good thing, as you have articulated. Anyway, I think you're strayiong off the thread here. Even if what different sub-cultures value is different, which it is, it's still a LONG shot to assume that you can force kids into doing what they don't want, and excell at it. In a global market, you are competing against the very best.

Don57
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Don57   1/29/2013 12:38:54 AM
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It's not race or culture but Class. Culture used in that context is Orwell news speak for Class as in got no money for food.

Don57
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Don57   1/29/2013 12:34:21 AM
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I would not say votes but Campaign $$. Votes and elections can be stolen and are.

Dr Raman
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Dr Raman   11/29/2012 7:08:46 PM
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Please do not change history just for your convenience (unless you are British). British did not do any free service to uplift the developing countries you quoted. They brought more destruction than any development.

rick merritt
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
rick merritt   11/29/2012 12:07:32 AM
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I think there is a global war for talent out there. Companies play it across borders. I suspect countries play it too as they invest in universities, etc. The U.S. has clearly let education, especially a STEM ed, slide as a cultural value. Culturally we tease geeks and nerds and many kids grow up looking for a softer, easier path to a career that doesn't involve calculus...I did! So the U.S. has to play catch up in STEM for awhile.

danny1024
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danny1024   11/29/2012 3:54:00 AM
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Please speak for yourself rather than make categorical indictments about the the cultural valuation of STEM ed in the US. Everyone gets teased; Jocks are brainless brutes, art students are queer, liberal arts majors are fluffy, etc. If you are deterred from a career path because of bullying or teasing how on earth are you going to survive the rigors of the real world in almost any competitive field? I went to high school in the late 90's and I can tell you that practically everyone wanted to go into tech. Senior STEM talent engaged our high school and through collaborations, co-ops and internships, encouraged all of us to go into the field. However, by the time my peers graduated (from some very good if quite expensive engineering schools) the bottom had fallen out of the market. Virtually all of them moved on to med school or law school (one became a patent attorney with a focus on her undergrad engineering specialization). A few, like me, soldiered on in tech because it was our passion and some were lucky enough to secure employment in aerospace, automotive electronics and other beneficiaries of government contracts which resulted in good job security and career development. There has never been a single peer-reviewed study that has shown this so-called STEM worker shortage. This IEEE-USA study is not subject to peer-review and reads like a standard pro-H-1B lobbyist whitepaper. Peer-reviewed studies on the US STEM workforce have consistently shown significant underemployment of US engineering talent, particularly experienced (read: expensive to employ but they areworth it) engineers. Correct that structural underemployment issue and experienced engineers will once again encourage and convince bright-eyed middle school and high school students that tech is the place to be.

Don57
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Don57   1/29/2013 12:23:47 AM
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Slide ? No they are just not so stupid. They see the market and adjust their decision.

US Made
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
US Made   11/29/2012 1:11:24 AM
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we want to get the best. we do not care e they come from. Smart, hardworking people are asset.. This is what we are and this what we should do... I hate to see tp Ph.Ds from US. School do not have oppertunity to work in US. That is simple plain not good...If you cannot kepp them why even educatthem here (just to get their school fees...)

danny1024
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
danny1024   11/29/2012 4:01:03 AM
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Every good employeer has the notion of "cultural fit" when evaluating candidates. This refers to the culture of the organization rather than the culture of the host country or the culture of the majority of employees. However, organizational culture cannot help but be strongly influenced by the host nation's culture and the culture of the employees especially the founders. If look at the top tech companies in the US, they were with very few exceptions, founded by native born US citizens. Thus, the best cultural fits are likely (but not exclusively) to be those individuals who were raised from an early age in that culture.

azee
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
azee   11/29/2012 2:50:50 AM
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Support for visa "reform" from the large tech companies is all about reducing engineering costs. I have no idea who the tools are at the IEEE-USA that support this. There are 155,000,000 people in the US workforce, with a practically unlimited pool of smart, educated and motivated workers. The US has a very flexible workforce that is the most productive in the world. However, in our free market system, employers have to pay well to attract and keep the best workers. If there is such a lack of bright, motivated people to fill technical positions, why don't we reform the visa system to fill up slots in the law schools, medical schools and MBA programs? That should free up some bright people to work in engineering.

nosubject
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
nosubject   11/29/2012 4:50:49 PM
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You said the points. Instead of reform immigrate system, we should better have union/board in EE, such that we have better job security and attract the teenagers to enter the STEM career path.

Stimpy
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Stimpy   11/29/2012 8:30:15 PM
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Bring it on.

bobzz0
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
bobzz0   11/29/2012 4:01:57 AM
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I was born in the USA and I have a graduate engineering degree from a top level university. I have had 4 jobs in 2 different industries in the 12 years since I graduated. The first 3 jobs were in smaller or venture funded companies, but the current job is in a larger supposedly stable company were I have been advancing through the ranks for 7 years. Just recently the long term viability of my current job seems to be in jeopardy. I make less money at a higher rank with more responsibility and more hours than my wife who works at another company. She has an MBA from a good, but second tier university. I love engineering, but I cannot honestly recommend an advanced degree in science or engineering in the USA. Go into medicine or get an undergrad in something and get an MBA. Engineering does not pay well in the USA! Show me the money, Jerry!

bobzz0
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
bobzz0   11/29/2012 4:03:16 AM
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I was born in the USA and I have a graduate engineering degree from a top level university. I have had 4 jobs in 2 different industries in the 12 years since I graduated. The first 3 jobs were in smaller or venture funded companies, but the current job is in a larger supposedly stable company were I have been advancing through the ranks for 7 years. Just recently the long term viability of my current job seems to be in jeopardy. I make less money at a higher rank with more responsibility and more hours than my wife who works at another company. She has an MBA from a good, but second tier university. I love engineering, but I cannot honestly recommend an advanced degree in science or engineering in the USA. Go into medicine or get an undergrad in something and get an MBA. Engineering does not pay well in the USA! Show me the money, Jerry!

Robertzz
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Robertzz   11/29/2012 4:08:54 AM
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I was born in the USA and I have a graduate engineering degree from a top level university. I have had 4 jobs in 2 different industries in the 12 years since I graduated. The first 3 jobs were in smaller or venture funded companies, but the current job is in a larger supposedly stable company were I have been advancing through the ranks for 7 years. Just recently the long term viability of my current job seems to be in jeopardy. I make less money at a higher rank with more responsibility and more hours than my wife who works at another company. She has an MBA from a good, but second tier university. I love engineering, but I cannot honestly recommend an advanced degree in science or engineering in the USA. Go into medicine or get an undergrad in something and get an MBA. Engineering does not pay well in the USA. Show me the money, Jerry.

Robertzz
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Robertzz   11/29/2012 4:13:13 AM
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Given the obvious lack of money in engineering, why would I want the IEEE to support more visas. I think we make a lot of money in the US by convincing the best and the brightest to come here to work and I think immigration can be good, but as a US based engineer I am looking into other fields and locations to have a better life. Engineering in the US does not pay well.

Robertzz
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Robertzz   11/29/2012 4:14:38 AM
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please remove the repeat comment, it seems you need to pay your website operators a little better

Duane Benson
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Duane Benson   11/29/2012 4:38:47 AM
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This country didn't become the one that so many people want to move to by closing its borders. We got this way because most of us are, at some point in our ancestry, from some place else. We were kicked out, chased out, kidnapped out or pressured out of pretty much everywhere else on the planet. Some came to exploit the weak. Many came because they couldn't make it in the old country. Some started here and were smallpoxed out or hunted down just like many of our ancestors were before they got here. I happen to think this is a great country, but I don't think it's that way because there's something magic about being American. I think it's that way because we have welcomed as many people as possible from all over the world. We have good people and not so good people here. Our government does stupid things. All governments do. That's why we have so many checks and balances and why so many people speak out against the government. When we close our borders and decide that only a certain type of person can come here or that it was okay to immigrate when our families got here, but isn't any more, that's when this great experiment dies. Yes, it's important to have tech-heads. But how many poor, downtrodden and uneducated want to come here so they can get educated and have a change at making great things? Elon Musk didn't have a degree when he got here. How many others are there like him?

Don57
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Don57   1/29/2013 12:17:45 AM
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All third world people think a rich country is great.

fundamentals
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
fundamentals   11/29/2012 4:33:57 PM
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There is a tacit assumption in this article that we need the H1-B Visa holders to keep up our technological edge. This is absolutely not the case. Any high tech company willing to pay well can hire truly top notch talent who are US citizens or permanent residents. They come out of woodwork if you open up the wallet! The truth is we need the H1-B Visa holders only in order to keep the engineering pay low. That's why many (large) high tech companies lobby the government for immigration reform. They whine that the engineering pay is already too high. They keep the wages low for everybody not by paying the immigrants less, but buy paying everybody less. Increasing the supply depress the wages for everybody. There is even insult to the injury here: many of these companies will not even blink to pay top notch lawyers five times as much as a top notch engineer.

SmokeNoMore
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SmokeNoMore   11/29/2012 5:24:01 PM
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Having done a few college recruiting trips I can say that 99% of the grad students I meet are not US citizens. Do we send them home to get paid lower or do we hire them here in the USA where they will be paid comparable wages?

geekmaster
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
geekmaster   11/29/2012 5:28:44 PM
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This will just get worse! We try to compensate our own faulty education system with attracting people from abroad. If this short-term goal is rewarded then why should there be any effort to improve our own education system? I think there needs to be a clause that for every H1-B or L-Visa should be a fund put aside supporting education of similar discipline for people who canít afford the $10K/$20K+ grant per year.

dmassetti
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
dmassetti   11/29/2012 7:12:50 PM
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BTW - there is just such a clause in the H1-B system but do you think that money gets into worker training. Some one should follow the money. I did a lot of analysis on who hires H1-Bs years ago and it was strange how for example Microsoft and Oracle could not find IT engineers in the Valley but HP had no trouble. Its publicly available at the Dept of Labor site - see who and how many H1-Bs are hired for youself.

JeffL_2
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
JeffL_2   11/29/2012 5:54:42 PM
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I think fundamentals hit the nail on the head here. The only thing he got wrong is the compensation of "top-notch" engineers, there's a large contingent of employers who think the "premium" that should be paid for top engineering talent is EXACTLY zero - "you older guys ought to consider yourselves lucky you get hired at all" and they act as if they weren't doing overt age discrimination (I used to work a lot of contract assignments so I ought to know, the top rates out there now are LOWER than the minimum I used to accept for the same work). And they're getting away stashing the difference of a couple trillion in offshore bank accounts where US laws for the most part can't touch them. I've stated elsewhere on related blogs that the absolute WORST thing we could do at this point is encourage our kids to enter robotics competitions to get them interested in "STEM" fields and provide more fodder for the beast. Until we get our DOMESTIC technical supply-demand equations back in balance we ought to do absolutely NOTHING to encourage more technical immigration. Unfortunately in this country with a "Citizens United" Supreme Court our pleas for reason will once again be drowned out by lobbying bucks, money that many of us actually helped these thankless crooks earn "back in the day" when the system was a couple orders of magnitude closer to balance. How to we get back to that condition, THAT is the real question that is crying out for answers!

Dave1010101
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Dave1010101   11/29/2012 6:02:32 PM
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One reason that so many of the college recruiters find so many foreign students is that Universities like to have them because they pay such high tuition fees. With state funding for colleges under fire, the administrators target students that bring in high revenue.

mgbglasgow
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
mgbglasgow   11/29/2012 7:35:13 PM
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its strikes me as a patent war escalates, all we are seeing is a war for gifted individuals. US has made war all to easy, asset stripped companies for patents and left Uk with very little. And now US giants dodge tax on the high street. Im sorry, but I can only confirm that the brain drain has happened. Korea and China will win this one. Apple and all others are only fighting a patent battle now and trying to plug the drain by waiving a "come and live here" flag to the future innovators, that success and the attraction is already happening in Asia. With our history of external investors coming and going, many of us are now sure our country is firmly a "consumption" only market. Consumption requires innovative products cheaply and of high volume. Thats Asia. If a whant a good lawyer, he would probably be American, thats the sad part.

Stimpy
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Stimpy   11/29/2012 8:33:44 PM
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I can't believe that the IEEE is performing such a incredible and reprehensible disservice to it's paying members by promoting H1B immigration.

Don57
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Don57   1/29/2013 12:10:54 AM
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Like a newspaper the Client is not the paying Customer but the Ad.

tb1
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
tb1   11/30/2012 1:41:58 AM
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I think some basics need to be made clear: This bill is -not- about H-1B visas. It is about green cards. I mentioned H-1B visas in the first comment because I think this bill is a better approach than H-1B visas. Bring people in a tax-paying, US citizens, rather as temporary immigrants to be educated, trained, (abused), then discarded. This bill does -not- increase the number of green-cards issued. It reduces the number of 'diversity' green cards, and moves them over to engineers who want to become US citizens. What, you may ask, are 'diversity' green cards and why do the exist? I leave you these questions as a homework assignment. Note that I'm still scratching my head over the second question.

mixed_signal
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
mixed_signal   11/30/2012 3:14:44 PM
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Yes, getting away from HB-1's and simply letting more of the world's talent stay in the US would be a good move. H1-B's are apparently open to abuses, though I've not witnessed them first hand, and are too restricted both in terms of freedom to change companies etc. for the worker in quantity. The present system is terribly imbalanced to the point where many qualified graduates with MSEEs and PhDs can't stay in the country after getting a good engineering education here. I have attempted to deal with that when hiring, and it's real shame. These folks go on to benefit other countries instead. We also need to recognize that the economy is not a zero-sum game. Having more talent in the US is good for everyone here. More companies will expand here, and many of the creative, talented people we allow to stay in the US will create new enterprises.

Don57
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re: Time for engineers to weigh in on immigration
Don57   1/29/2013 12:06:42 AM
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IEEE USA runs to it's real Customer the CEO not the Engineer. Business wants cheap people and that is it. The presentation is the sale and propaganda. The hook is the imported slave labor is in the USA ? F(Green card) = F(H1B) = Lower US Wage. Hey if A=B then A must be better than B. Not.

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