Message to the US government: If the best and brightest want to come to the US to work and start businesses, let them come! Stop limiting the number of H-1B visa issued. This issue often gets overlooked with immigration reform and it still escapes me why.
H-1B's give way too much power to the employer, and are used by non-tech employers, too.
For example, I know of a music studio that mainly employees H1B music teachers -- and there is no shortage of music teachers! (Maybe there is a shortage of music teachers willing to work under the same conditions as the H1B teachers. Oh, and as soon as the H1B teachers get a green card, they leave).
Who gets to decide who the best and the brightest are? H-1B shouldn't be expanded, they should be augmented with another program that allows Universities to give their top foreign graduates visas. That way we have a variety of institutions deciding who are the best and brightest and not just businesses looking for the cheapest labor.
This issue often gets overlooked with immigration reform and it still escapes me why.
First off, the numbers we're talking about are staggeringly different. H1Bs are a drop in the immigration reform bucket.
Aside from that, though, this would also be controversial. The reason is, any US citizen graduate engineer who can't find a job, and in recent years there have been quite a few of these, will naturally blame his unemployed status on H1Bs.
On the other hand, attracting the "best and brightest" is also a good thing. So to me, even this H1B issue cannot help BUT be contentious.
Only to underscore that point, we saw a blog to that effect on EE Times recently. A blog about how hard it is to find US citizen candidates, after the HR department adds in arbitrary filters to reject the vast majority of US applicants.
This topic is always controverial. Employers often claim they couldn't find local candidate so that they have to find candidate elsewhere. Question is the requirement of the job vs the credential of candidates.
Most often than not, a lot of employers are looking for over 90% match of skills and experience. To be honest, only the people who are currently working in the company or have recently left fit the criteria. Next question is why they are able to find the candidate elsewhere. No one except the hiring manager and the company will be able to answer this question.
Leaving the discussion of requirement vs credential aside, I believe maintaining a quota of H1B and immigration visa is important. I'm sure no government wants to have thousand of people coming to flood the city. The reason is simply, the city may not be prepared for the sudden growth of population. Road will get congested. Housing price spikes. I can see the reason quota shall be imposed and I also see the growing pain of companies.
@chanj0 says "Most often than not, a lot of employers are looking for over 90% match of skills and experience. To be honest, only the people who are currently working in the company or have recently left fit the criteria. Next question is why they are able to find the candidate elsewhere."
I believe that once an employer concludes there are no available qualified candidates, they move towards the cheaper H1B process and hire someone they will train. This isn't a level playing field. If employers made the same effort to train a local worker, the H1B process would not be necessary.
When employers hire H-1Bs it is the cheap labor they want and therefore no attempt to hire an American is made. This is legal. Unlike a greencard, which requires the employer to look for an American, the H-1B does not require an employer to look for an American or even make the position known to Americans.
The Department of Labor puts it this way:
"H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker."
@n65321 I agree that in practice the H-1B visa holders get lower wages and displace US workers but I don't understand how it is legal. According to Wikipedia (my emphasis added):
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for ensuring that foreign workers do not displace or adversely affect wages or working conditions of US workers. For every H-1B petition filed with the USCIS, there must be included a Labor Condition Application (LCA) (not to be confused with the labor certification), certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA is designed to ensure that the wage offered to the non-immigrant worker meets or exceeds the "prevailing wage" in the area of employment.
DrQuite, H-1B is, quite simply, the best legislation money can buy. Whoever, wrote the WIKIPEDIA text you quote is either seriously misinformed or is deliberately misleading.
There are a few things you are missing. First, while 8 USC 1182(n) clearly states that H-1B workers must be paid the prevailing wage, 8 USC 1182(p) redefines the H-1B prevailing wage. For universities, the H-1B wages are ridiculous. You can look up what employers can legally pay H-1B workers at FLCDATACETER.COM (not gov).
E.g. Computer Programmer in San Francisco: Ave. Wage $100,443. You can pay your H-1B programmer the Level 1 wage of $72,613. a 27% savings by going H-1B. If you are a university, you can pay $46,862.
Second, when the employer files the LCA, the DoL is requires to approve it with 7 days as long as the form is filled out correctly. An employer can put anything down on the LCA and know it will be approved. 8 USC 1182(n)(1)
The DoL is also prohibited from reviewing LCAs later and investigating based upon them. 8 USC 1182(n)(2)(G)(v). The entire LCA process is a papershuffling exercise.
The Dept. of Labor Office of Inspector General productes a semiannual report to Congress and it always describes the problems in LCA.
Third, the displacement of U.S. workers generally occurs through third parties. The first documented case was at AIG in 1994, when the company gathered 250 of its programmers to an offsite meeting and fired them. To collect severance, they had to train their foreign replacements
AIG can say it did not get H-1B visas. Syntel can say it did not fire Americans.
This process continues to this day because . . . .
The first H-1B expansion bill in 1998 (HR 3736, 104th Congress) contained a one paragraph provision to ban replacing Americans with H-1B workers when it left the House Judiciary Committee. Industry lobbyists screamed they would rather have no expansion ("over my dead body" as one lobbyist later turned community activist, later turned failed senate candiate cried) if they could not replace Americans.
The Repubican leadership in the House allowed industry lobbyists to rewrite the bill before it came to a vote. The offending provision was replaced by 20 pages of "labor protections" that were carefully crafted to protect no one. (You can compare the two versions at Congress.Gov.) That was what was voted on and passed.
The abuse in H-1B takes place before of affirmative action by lobbysts and the complacency of the American media and public.
While industry is organized, America's tech workers sit on their rumps.
John, Thanks for the detailed documentation (I do appreciate that Wikipedia is not a primary source). I agree that the legislation was the best that money could buy. Most people in technology can report accounts of massive layoffs that one way or another were replaced with cheaper foreign workers - sometimes working out of the same offices that their predecessors and trainers originally occupied in the USA. I wish there were an effective way to circle back to Congress, hold them accountable for the unintended consequences of the legislation (perhaps the light of day would enable employees as well as corporations an opportunity to present evidence), and implement corrective action. Unfortunately nobody wants such as Sisyphian task.
Just to demonstrate that the "prevailing wage" on the LCA is a sham an opponent of the H-1B filled out the form you refer to (ETA 9035) and for the pay he put a wage BELOW the minimum wage. DOL approved the form. That is, as far as the DOL was concerned, he could have legally hired a "high skilled" college graduate below minimum wage.
I am from the government and I am here tp help you.
How frustrating. In a fact based system, such specific information would drive changes and improvements. Why does an organization need 10,000 members to drive change when the facts are on their side? I'm grateful that in science and engineering (where I focus my energies) it only requires one voice of documented truth to make a difference.
Congress knows exactly what the H-1B visa does to American STEM workers. It is no accident that the H-1B was structured to allow that, in the words of the Department of Labor, "H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker." Former Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah) remarked, "Once it's clear (the visa bill) is going to get through, everybody signs up so nobody can be in the position of being accused of being against high tech. There were, in fact, a whole lot of folks against it, but because they are tapping the high-tech community for campaign contributions, they don't want to admit that in public." Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), said, "This is not a popular bill with the public. It's popular with the CEOs...This is a very important issue for the high-tech executives who give the money." There have been plenty of capitol hill hearings at which the problems have been brought to the attention of all Congressmen and Senators. American STEM workers are too small a group to get action in the face of big money spending by employers.
The majority of the world's top 200 universities are in US. So why it is that US cannot produce the birghtest engineers from the local US citizens? Is it because the US parents do not want to finance the education of their kids , the way asian parents do?
I have seen the Asian parents mortgaging their houses to arrange for study loans for their sons and daughters aspring to to study in US.
There seems to be an urgent need for US to look at this isssue to bring the US local students at par with the international student community so that this every year controversy on the Foreign workers can be resolved.
The problem is not that there are not enough Americans to fill these jobs. The problem is that the H-1B is 20-30 percent cheaper. The public schools in the top 200 universities prefer to admit foreign students because they pay out of state tuition which is much higher than in state students pay. Google "California State University departments rebel over resident enrollment dilemma." Also Google "David Berliner Our Schools vs. Theirs: Averages That Hide The True Extremes" and For a historical prospective on industry claims of a shortage of skilled workers Google "Do we need more scientists? By Michael S. Teitelbaum." The section titled "A history of gloomy forecasts" is a bit old but you will get the point.
"The majority of the world's top 200 universities are in US. So why it is that US cannot produce the birghtest engineers from the local US citizens?"
Why is it difficult to convince an obvious racist that he has no evidence to support his case?
The US has the 9th highest IQs in the world. India ranks 88th. Who the heck is an Indian to ask this question to United Sates citizens, without any supporting evidence at all?
The US does produce some of the highest-scoring students in the world. It's just that--in the context of H-1B, it does not usually benefit these people to major in computer science when options such as law, HR, finance, and accounting are available.
Many of these people would make much better software engineers than lawyers and accountants. It's just--being a mediocre lawyer pays better, in the long run, than being an excellent software engineer. And, unfortunately, the fact the H-1B cap is too high might be the reason.
While the people on H-1B visas should stay, we probably should not raise the cap going forward. Even H-1Bs do not want their wages to fall--this is a point that both sides (US-based H-1B tech workers and US-based citizen tech workers) can agree on.
Medicare pays 250,000 per Indian via CTS. Indian only gets paid 50,000, the company's executive, take in 100,000 divided among themselves. The Indians dont really do anything, they just stand there and talk among themselves. Seriously, they are using our tax money for their fraud. I was an employee in Caremore and I have witnessed this first hand.
A finite number of Stem job in the US. Means that for each h1-b imported into the US one American must lose their job. The psychopathic tech billionaires who created the h1b-program could of course care less.
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