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Computerworld: Court Orders Three H1-B Sites Disabled


Fergasun

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Wow, I'm at a total loss here...what is H1B?

See if I can do an explanation.

H1B refers to a type of visa which the US can issue to citizens of other countries, which allows them to come to the US for purposes of employment. It's intended for workers who have important, needed, skills, which the country is temporarily unable to satisfy domestically. It's only open to skilled foreign workers, and it requires their employers to pay market wages.

Some people claim (with, IMO, some validity) that the system, however, is manipulated by the affected industries. They claim that what happens is:

Industry X decides that workers in segment X make too much money.

Industry X cuts the wages they pay their workers.

After several years of this, workers in segment X begin leaving that segment. Kids going to college don't major in that segment any more, because it doesn't pay. Workers who are experienced in that segment find jobs in other areas.

Eventually, Industry X can't get workers with the needed skills to work, for the wages they're offering.

Industry X then goes to the government. "Gee, Mr. Government. There's a shortage of workers with Skill X (who are willing to take what we're offering). We need to bring workers with Skill X in from other countries, who we will pay the "market wage" (which we have artificially lowered until Americans won't work that cheap.)"

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Some people claim (with, IMO, some validity) that the system, however, is manipulated by the affected industries. They claim that what happens is:

snip

The manipulation doesn't have to be that elaborate. The outsourcing company classifies the position as requiring skills in the bottom 25% of the labor classification and the market rate is lower.

Unlike those companies that claim to only hire the best and brightest, their apparent policy is to hire the worst. :)

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I don't really know a whole lot about this issue, but I have two points. First of all, JMS, you completely undermined your argument when you used the term "second world." Everything you've said after that has a big asterisk denoting that the poster probably has no idea what they're talking about, and is just trying to sound smart.

Also, putting that aside, the idea of H1-Bs sound great. DjTj, sjinhan, and the others arguments make sense. It just sounds like, as with anything in business, there is a loophole being exploited. You don't shut down the whole damn thing to close a loophole.

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This also allows the USA to keep absorbing the best and most gifted skilled workers. If H1B was limited then it would seriously limit the USA ability to only acquire the top workers from other countries but also limit our ability to retain the graduate international students in the American universities...

H1B's have nothing, nothing at all to do with being , best, brighter or gifted. That entire argument is extreamly self serving and is only persuasive to foreign nationals who by into sterio types and believe indeed they are brighter than lazy Americans who refuse to work hard.

I think the truth is a little less nationalistically prejudiced.

The reality is H1B is solely about saving money for corporations. Foreign engineers are no more talented than domestic engineers. Likewise the H1B VISA application requires no IQ test or quantifieable intelligence test what so ever.

So you tell me what is more rational an argument. Foreign workers are on average more intelligent than Americans workers, who by the way pioneered the entire software industry. Or, that workers who themselves are not allowed to seek the highest rate for their services are cheaper than workers who are. Workers who are tied to a single job for six years do not get raises at the same rate as workers who are not.

EDIT: Few years back.. Bill Gates went to Congress to increase the H1B visa limit... of course they got blasted in the Republicans cause they said Microsoft wanted to bring in cheap labor from India and bring down the salaries of American workers... What will really happen is if Microsoft can't find workers to compete with rest of the world then they will just open more offices overseas instead of bring them to the USA.

http://blogs.computerworld.com/five_reasons_why_the_h_1b_visa_cap_will_increase

Which is also a crazy argument. give a foreign guy your job or the company will export the job.

Fact is engineers who have experience over here are more valuable than engineers who aren't. That's because the products are made for this market not india or china. Direct access to the market...

Bill Gates wanting to save 500k per developer couldn't possible influence his position. Why even suggest it?

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I don't really know a whole lot about this issue, but I have two points. First of all, JMS, you completely undermined your argument when you used the term "second world." Everything you've said after that has a big asterisk denoting that the poster probably has no idea what they're talking about, and is just trying to sound smart.

Dave. The second world reffers to former soviet aligned countries. Fact of the matter is a large percentage of H1B's do in fact come from the second world, and third world developing nations.

It shouldn't undermine one's argument to recount facts accurately.... Unless somebody doesn't understand the terms you are useing. Which I think is your issue.

Also, putting that aside, the idea of H1-Bs sound great. DjTj, sjinhan, and the others arguments make sense. It just sounds like, as with anything in business, there is a loophole being exploited. You don't shut down the whole damn thing to close a loophole.

It's a program which is being misused to diplace a generation of American engineers. This nation needs engineers and artificially suppressing their wages and denying them important training hurts the country.

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umm where did I make that claim? Dude America is the past the point of just hiring anyone with a certain degree... America is about hiring the best and retaining the best people regardless where they are from.

Your argument would be much more persuasive and less selve serving if those foreign engineers didn't overwhelmingly come from teh developing world and overwhelmingly earn 30-40% what American engineers earn.

If India, Engliand, China, South Africa, Mexico, or any other country had a person who is best in the world at something.. its in American interest to attract that person to come and work and live in the the US.

The H1B has nothing to do with the best and brightest. It's solely about the cheaperst most cost effective by short circuiting the domestic free market and tap into a population of engineers who legally can not participate in that market.

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And as a former H1-B visa holder I'm calling bull**** on this. Trust me, I was never paid 20-30-50% of market rates.

How would you know? Did you sign your H1B contract in the United States after going and visiting 5-10 or 20 other American corporations? Or did you sign your H1B contract with a head hunter shop in your home country before ever even seeing the shores of this country?

The only comparison you were able to make was comparing the wage being offered you to the wage available in your home country?

That's the case of most H1B's and is why most H1B's come from the developing world, and not the first world.... ( Most 98-99%, not all. )

You need to distinguish between the legitimate and ethical employment practices of technology product companies and those who use the H1-B as part of their IT downsizing/outsourcing process, such as many large US finance institutions working with companies like Apex, Tata and others.

There really isn't a significant legitimate use of H1B's for it to be important enough to even mention. It is solely about undercutting domesitc workers because it is economically expedient to do so.

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How would you know? Did you sign your H1B contract in the United States after going and visiting 5-10 or 20 other American corporations? Or did you sign your H1B contract with a head hunter shop in your home country before ever even seeing the shores of this country?

I was fully aware of market rates. I worked here for a very large corporation on an L-1 visa prior to switching companies via a H-1. :)

I didn't sign a H1-B contract; you fail to understand the difference between employment practices with US technology companies and the Indian outsourcing 'body-shops' that service the US financial sector.

There really isn't a significant legitimate use of H1B's for it to be important enough to even mention. It is solely about undercutting domesitc workers because it is economically expedient to do so.

For you to make that claim you know nothing of the high tech sector that needs foreign talent. We're not talking about legacy systems in the financial sector. As we've discussed that sector is abused by the Indian consulting firms. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

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Graduating from Carnegie Mellon which is somewhat a decent college with engineering degree...

I saw basically everyone with legal Ameriican work status (green card or citizenship) get jobs. From the international students, I saw only the very top sudent among that group find companies that would get H1B visas for them. Those international student surely did not get paid any less than anyone else. In fact they got paid more because they tended to land very good jobs since they were top students in the graduating class... Other good international student who did not get jobs cause of the their legal status either went to graduate school in the USA or went back to their home country...

So are you actually claiming that most H1B's have Ivy League or near Ivy League degrees? It's a pretty silly assertion and argument....

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So you tell me what is more rational an argument. Foreign workers are on average more intelligent than Americans workers, who by the way pioneered the entire software industry. Or, that workers who themselves are not allowed to seek the highest rate for their services are cheaper than workers who are. Workers who are tied to a single job for six years do not get raises at the same rate as workers who are not.

Whats more rational view of this is that the companies should have more opportunities to hire who they want as they see fit. If a business decides to choose lesser talent in order to save money, I doubt that those business would have long-term success.

The fact that companies have easier access to H1B visas does not mean that those companies are required to use them. I am not pushing the idea that all foreign workers are more intelligent, talented, or superior than American workers... I am nor do I think all American workers are better either. It depends on the individual and its up to the companies to identify the best talent.

Which is also a crazy argument. give a foreign guy your job or the company will export the job.

Fact is engineers who have experience over here are more valuable than engineers who aren't. That's because the products are made for this market not india or china. Direct access to the market...

Bill Gates wanting to save 500k per developer couldn't possible influence his position. Why even suggest it?

So the engineers who are experience only exists in the US and there is no expereinced engineers overseas? You also think American companies will hire an engineer with no experience to replace an expereince engineer to save some money? You know how stupid that sounds?

JMS you are really misguided... Let me go off your premise that Microsoft is paying these guys like 20% of their true market value... So you think a talented software developer who obtains a H1B visa through Microsoft will stay with Microsoft at 100k pay salary when their true market salary is 500k? Why would Microsoft invest money and more importantly TIME in an employee that would jump ship to a competitor who will pay them a market price for their talents at any chance possible? Does that make good business sense? I am sure those "second world" workers are same as us that they want to get paid market value for their work.

What influences Bill Gates and other tech companies is this... they look at the top universities WITHIN the United States. They see a quite big portion of graduate student in technical degree programs being international student who would require a H1B visa to work in the USA. They want the OPTION to hire that student coming out of college if they feel they are better fit than a student with already legal status here (permenant resident/ US Citizen).

Right now countries like China, India, Russia, and European countries are worried about the "brain drain" to the USA and are trying to find a way to entice people to come their respective countries to study and work... So if we do limit the H1B visas to a low number, we are really doing rest of the world a favor since they need their elites to come back and contribute to their industries instead of ours.

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So are you actually claiming that most H1B's have Ivy League or near Ivy League degrees? It's a pretty silly assertion and argument....

I am giving your my personal expereince with H1B visas.. you seem to be making assumption and using your imagination about what really happens with H1B Visas...

Yes some of those H1B visas to get abused and misused but its overall effect in the US economy is overwhelmingly positive. So limited H1B visas to a such a low number is not good for us.

American businesses should be allowed to hire people that are best fit to their need. Putting limitation on that is not a step forward for us.

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So are you actually claiming that most H1B's have Ivy League or near Ivy League degrees? It's a pretty silly assertion and argument....

got a question.

If you got a choice between an average international Harvard grad and an average Virginia Tech grad... wouldnt you want to have the OPTION to hire the Harvard grad if you think he is better for your business?

EDIT: heck even between average internationa Virginia Tech grad to average American Virginia Tech grad... wouldnt you want to the option hire who you want?

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JMS,

You keep making this claim about "30% of what Americans make".

Frankly, you're the first person I've ever heard make that claim. All of the people I've heard who are complaining about the H1B's, say that they pay market wages, but that the "market wages" have been artificially depressed. (By companies who know that if they cut wages so much that it causes a shortage, then they've got another card to play.)

In short, even the critics I've read say they pay market wages. They just say that it's an artificial, intentionally distorted market.

You got any kind of support for this claim that you keep making?

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So are you actually claiming that most H1B's have Ivy League or near Ivy League degrees? It's a pretty silly assertion and argument....

You are the one making silly arguments. I don't think anyone here disagrees that some sectors of the US economy are exploiting loopholes in the H1 program to outsource their IT functions to large Indian bodyshops that do not pay market rates. This should be stopped.

But when the best and the brightest from around the world complete their masters and PhD degrees at top US institutions, the restrictions on the H1 program (largely caused by abuses in other sectors) prevent those people being recruited by US technology innovators. Similarly, you see a number of tech companies setting up satellite development centers in Canada and elsewhere because the lead engineers they want can't get the H1 needed to work here.

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The H1B has nothing to do with the best and brightest.

I don't think anyone is claiming that corporations are hiring H1B (I'll say engineers, since that's the example you're using) because they're better engineers than Americans are.

What their "best and brightest" claim means (if I'm reading them correctly) is that we hire the best engineers that India has to offer. Not that we hire engineers who are better than American engineers.

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Dave. The second world reffers to former soviet aligned countries. Fact of the matter is a large percentage of H1B's do in fact come from the second world, and third world developing nations.

It shouldn't undermine one's argument to recount facts accurately.... Unless somebody doesn't understand the terms you are useing. Which I think is your issue.

It's a program which is being misused to diplace a generation of American engineers. This nation needs engineers and artificially suppressing their wages and denying them important training hurts the country.

No. The second world refers to the Soviet aligned countries. Therefore, there is no second world.

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You got any kind of support for this claim that you keep making?

(That H1B's make significantly less than American Workers)....

Bill Gates gave a famous speech a few years back where he touted the best and the brightest Microsoft hired from India and China (H1B's) and he also claimed Microsoft paid it's "Best and Brightest" H1B's 100k a year or the same as it paid it's American workers...

Unfortunately for Bill he has to publish the wages he pays his H1B's.

More were paid under 60k than were paid 100k by 2-1. The majority of H1B's he used had entry level job titles not titles given to senior or knowlegeable engineers.

Unfortunately for Bill Gates, when a corporation sponsors a green card, they must publish the actual salary along with the application.

From the graph above and the table below, only 3.3%, or 40 employees, of the 1,202 total green card applications submitted by Microsoft had wages above $100k.

In fact, more applications, 8.3%, or 92 employees, were paid salaries below $60k. Most of the jobs titles of the 1,202 applications were Software Engineer, an entry level job indicator.

The median salary for all was $71k, well below the $100k that Bill Gates touted in his claim of a great shortage of "talent" in America (read cheap, controllable and young).

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/11303

Microsoft is the largest H1B employer in this country currently with some 4100 H1B workers just in 2008....

SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES LTD pays it's H1B visa holders on average 59,000......3300 of them in 2008.

INFOSYS TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED the fourth largest importer of H1B's in 2008 (1500 of them) only paid its workers on average $41000 in 2008. $ 41000 for an engineer is less than newgrads make from many American schools..

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Bill Gates gave a famous speech a few years back where he touted the best and the brightest Microsoft hired from India and China (H1B's) and he also claimed Microsoft paid it's "Best and Brightest" H1B's 100k a year or the same as it paid it's American workers...

Unfortunately for Bill he has to publish the wages he pays his H1B's.

More were paid under 60k than were paid 100k by 2-1. The majority of H1B's he used had entry level job titles not titles given to senior or knowlegeable engineers.

So I assume that any minute now, you'll tell me what the average entry-level position at Microsoft pays?

(I'd also observe that if you claim that the average entry-level hire at MS made $70K, then to support your claim of "they make 30% of what Americans make", you'd have to show that the average entry level American got $233K.)

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So I assume that any minute now, you'll tell me what the average entry-level position at Microsoft pays?

(I'd also observe that if you claim that the average entry-level hire at MS made $70K, then to support your claim of "they make 30% of what Americans make", you'd have to show that the average entry level American got $233K.)

Larry, H1B's are often consultants. They are not employees of the companies they work at, they are employed by shell corporations and thus compete directly with American contractor labor.

And yes it's not uncommon to have a 20-25$ per hour H1B replace a 75$ per hour American. Believe it or not 75$ per hour for a hourly temp engineer isn't high, or that uncommon....

That's 40-50k a year for the H1B replacing a $150k American worker. And yes that also means the H1B is making 33% of what the American worker makes...

I've run my own software company for more than 20 years. I've worked with hundreds of H1B's. It's not that they are the brightest. They used to be quite dumb, but we still used them. When you can save so much money on them; and your competition is using them, you can't compete unless you do too.

I wouldn't say they are inferior today. I definitely would say historically they were. But today most of the technical work goes to H1B's. They have the experience and experience makes the engineer, not your education. I know American programmers who have left the country to find programming work because they couldn't find it here. Last two cars I purchased were from former American programmers who are no longer in the biz. I personally spent a year in Saudi Arabia because 18 years of experience in 2001 and I was still unemployable. In 2001 the high tech segment was contracting severely. But the Government still increased their h1b's from 60k, to 160k that year and employed all the foreign labor they had slots for in the first three days of the fiscal year.... That doesn't happen unless H1B's represented huge profits over American workers. which they do.

IBM replaced 140 guys in Bethesday on a contract. The bill rates went from 80$/hour down to 23$/hour. I saw it. Comsys of Bethesda bid all H1B's and Companies who didn't use them got swept away. Lost every seat they had.

You think I'm exagerating. I'm not.... H1B's compete favorable with American employees, but they have also hit American computer consultants who used to make significantly more.

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I don't think anyone is claiming that corporations are hiring H1B (I'll say engineers, since that's the example you're using) because they're better engineers than Americans are.

Actually that is exactly the argument being used. They are claiming that the H1B's are more skilled, more educated, better, and brighter.

That's the argument Bill gates used. That's the argument sjinhan in this board was using. "American corporations should be free to hire the best and brightest", he said.

What their "best and brightest" claim means (if I'm reading them correctly) is that we hire the best engineers that India has to offer. Not that we hire engineers who are better than American engineers.

Nope larry, They are saying that H1B's represent the best and brightest. And that's why H1B's are replacing huge percentages of American engineers employed in our economy. And it's totaly fiction.

They have a fiscal advantage, it's as simple as that....

That's why 100,000's of them can fill the import quota's in a one or two days at the beginning of the fiscal year. Not because somebody has an intelligence guage and their craniums fit that gauge. It's because they all represent big savings over American workers.

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My question was: Do you have support for this claim that H1B workers make 30% of what American workers in the same jobs make?

Absolutely I do. I just cited an example here in bethesda where IBM lowered their average contractual rate on a contract of more than 100 seats by 75%.

Seriously larry. How else can anybody possible explain the overwhelming popularity of H1B engineers in this country? There is no other explaination which makes sense.

Either men and women from the developing world are significantly more brilliant and productive than Americans, such that even when the job market is contracting like in 2001 and their are plenty of American engineers looking for work; but the 160,000 H1B Visa's were still filled in the first three days of the fiscal year....

How can you possible explain that?

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You are the one making silly arguments. I don't think anyone here disagrees that some sectors of the US economy are exploiting loopholes in the H1 program to outsource their IT functions to large Indian bodyshops that do not pay market rates. This should be stopped.

But when the best and the brightest from around the world complete their masters and PhD degrees at top US institutions, the restrictions on the H1 program (largely caused by abuses in other sectors) prevent those people being recruited by US technology innovators. Similarly, you see a number of tech companies setting up satellite development centers in Canada and elsewhere because the lead engineers they want can't get the H1 needed to work here.

There is a fundimental problem with your logic. Most H1B's are not ivy legue edicated. Nore do they have Masters and PHD's. Some do. but you want to keep arguing the exception to the rule, not the rule...

Most H1B's are entry level folks like the one's Bill Gates got busted for employing.......

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/11303

They are brought over here to train up, not because they had the skills coming off the boat or plane. Schools don't train engineers for the economy. Engineers become competent / seasoned only after working in industry for a number of years.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service at the end of 2008 found fraud in 20% of all H1B applications where among other things education, degrees and experience was forged.

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/managing-infosec/h1b-visa-fraud-uncovered-expect-more-legislation-27683

The reason their hear is not because they increase the brain trust. The sole reason they are hear is they are cheap.

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Enough of this.... We disagree on the problem because frankly; not many of you have seen the issue from all the side as I have and for the better part of three decades as I have. As employer, employee, contractor, imigrant, and emigrant.

We can continue to discuss this if you like but I would rather discuss something which we might agree on.... The solution....

My solution would be to do away with the H1B program all together. If there is a need for foreign workers as everybody in the corporate world claims. Let's give those guys green cards. Let's take away the indentured nature of the H1B program and let the foreign engineers truely enter and profit from the same system which Americans do. If as others have claimed and it's not the wages and indentured nature of the H1B program which make these workers so attractive, but their superior competence and the lack of American workers then issuing green cards will be a good things for these workers. If however I am right, you will see a dramatic reduction in the incentive to hire foreign engineers when the exploitive nature of thier relationship with their employer is removed.

Make no mistake, I do not begrudge the H1B in his effort to improve himself or seek employment here. I know first hand that H1B's are likely even bigger loosers in this current system as American workers are. It's the corporations which profit from the exploitative nature they enjoy with these workers.

I thus advocate more green cards.. and reducing the H1B to the bare minimum. I would also insist that as American workers can not sign away their right to earn a living, that right is also granted to foreign workers. So even if they sign an exploitivive contract in their home countries; when they get here; they can not be bound to any single employer nor fined for seeking higher wages or a better job.

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