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Computerworld: Court Orders Three H1-B Sites Disabled


Fergasun

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i actually think cutting back the H1B visas back to 20k would be even worse. Now instead of having workers coming overseas to work in the USA.. it will be jobs leaving overseas to workers in other countries...

If there really was that many qualified skilled workers in the USA for this type of work.. then why would a company willing to deal with the cost of sponsering workers to work in the USA which would add additional 10-20k a year in legal and other associated fees when you can find enough American workers to do the same job.

I mean if you a position that pays a $60k per year then a company pays another $10-20k in legal fees to sponser the person. Also in addition to this the employer is taking a bigger risk in taking a person whose english might suspect or who might have hard time culturally adjusting to the USA.

Why wouldn't the employer just hire an American who is willing to do the job for $65-70k instead? It sure sounds like a better deal then messing with the H1B visa and everything else that comes with it.

Heck they could hire 2 West Virginians for that cost, come set up shop here, we've got plenty of skilled people graduating from our Universities now, but not enough jobs to keep them in the state.

So to say that they HAVE to do it for skill, or even if they are doing it because of cost is ridiculous, and West Virginia is not the only state where the median income is so low they could save money in the long run if they opened an office there.

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Heck they could hire 2 West Virginians for that cost, come set up shop here, we've got plenty of skilled people graduating from our Universities now, but not enough jobs to keep them in the state.

So to say that they HAVE to do it for skill, or even if they are doing it because of cost is ridiculous, and West Virginia is not the only state where the median income is so low they could save money in the long run if they opened an office there.

You're asking the companies to move to West Virginia? Why don't the West Virginians move to Seattle or Silicon Valley or the Dulles Corridor? You're competing with people who are willing to move from India to go where the jobs are. If you're not willing to do the same, you're out of luck.
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 numbers of foreign engineers wanting to come over here when the exploitive nature of thier relationship with their new employer is removed.
I would agree with this. We need to give out more green cards. The growth in H-1 visas is really the result of an ugly compromise between corporations who want to exploit workers and anti-immigration interests who want to limit permanent immigration. The best thing for both native and immigrant workers would be to issue green cards that give immigrants the ability to change jobs and negotiate fair contracts.
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You're asking the companies to move to West Virginia? Why don't the West Virginians move to Seattle or Silicon Valley or the Dulles Corridor? You're competing with people who are willing to move from India to go where the jobs are. If you're not willing to do the same, you're out of luck.

I appreciate the sentiment and understand that I offered it only as an example. Moving to seattle would not help their bottom line. the moment you move out of the geography to where the cost to maintain status of living is hire, the benefits of the move become lessened for the corporation.

My point though is that while there are a few corporations that have realized this and begun to hire a lot of people here in West Virginia, many companies still choose the H-1B or other roots to fill vacancies. The point though is that with the high tech infrastructure now available to so many communities, the ability to setup 'satellite' offices, or to have people telecommute can't be under emphasized.

Be advised though, that when i was in the market for a job, I sent resumes as far away as I was willing to move. IIRC Texas, and Florida to the west and south basically, and further north. I had no desire to move past the Rockies. That probably cut me off from some opportunities, but when you have a family already in place, simply picking up and moving without job in hand at the new destination is difficult for many. The Irony is I was very open to moving just about anywhere, but few would give me a call. 9-11 probably played a larger roll in this, and I think my current employer for all they've done to keep jobs here in WV, otherwise I might be in another field now, having long ago exhausted my search.

This is why I get upset about the H-1B Visas. There are people like me all over this country, that are more than qualified, that can learn, that already know the language, and history of this nation, that can do the job just as well as some foreigner, yet these corporations haul the H-1Bs in like sea bass in a net.

The main point I brought up WV, is because I often hear this red herring about costs to do the job. If the cost of living in an area is too high, simply bringing in lower cost employees is only a short run solution to the problem. Case in point, look at what has been happening in California. So many are now migrating away from the state, some of them third or forth generations moving back to where their families lived before the Depression.

I just don't buy the 'cost' argument. With telecomputing there are ways to get around the costs and employ people off site now, especially for technical jobs. (Technically implying anything related to computers, to a point).

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You're asking the companies to move to West Virginia? Why don't the West Virginians move to Seattle or Silicon Valley or the Dulles Corridor? You're competing with people who are willing to move from India to go where the jobs are. If you're not willing to do the same, you're out of luck.

I appreciate the sentiment and understand that I offered it only as an example. Moving to seattle would not help their bottom line. the moment you move out of the geography where the cost to maintain status of living is higher, the benefits of the move become lessened for the corporation.

My point though is that while there are a few corporations that have realized this and begun to hire a lot of people here in West Virginia, many companies still choose the H-1B or other roots to fill vacancies. The point though is that with the high tech infrastructure now available to so many communities, the ability to setup 'satellite' offices, or to have people telecommute can't be under emphasized.

Be advised though, that when i was in the market for a job, I sent resumes as far away as I was willing to move. IIRC Texas, and Florida to the west and south basically, and further north. I had no desire to move past the Rockies. That probably cut me off from some opportunities, but when you have a family already in place, simply picking up and moving without job in hand at the new destination is difficult for many. The Irony is I was very open to moving just about anywhere, but few would give me a call. 9-11 probably played a larger roll in this, and I think my current employer for all they've done to keep jobs here in WV, otherwise I might be in another field now, having long ago exhausted my search.

This is why I get upset about the H-1B Visas. There are people like me all over this country, that are more than qualified, that can learn, that already know the language, and history of this nation, that can do the job just as well as some foreigner, yet these corporations haul the H-1Bs in like sea bass in a net.

The main point I brought up WV, is because I often hear this red herring about costs to do the job. If the cost of living in an area is too high, simply bringing in lower cost employees is only a short run solution to the problem. Case in point, look at what has been happening in California. So many are now migrating away from the state, some of them third or forth generations moving back to where their families lived before the Depression.

I just don't buy the 'cost' argument. With telecomputing there are ways to get around the costs and employ people off site now, especially for technical jobs. (Technically implying anything related to computers, to a point).

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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.

ok well if we are going to be replacing H1Bs with more green cards (alloted for skilled workers) then I would be in favor for it. As DjTj stated, the whole H1B visa deal is just a compromise between corportations that want to hire forgein workers and people who dont want them here... and JMS... I guess we just have to differ in opinion... its unfortunate that you had bad expereince with the H1B program. However at least know in back of your mind that this program is being used properly in many industries and it is helping America absorb top talent from rest of the world.

Veretex - I understand your frustration. I guess it might be different depending on types of jobs or companies you deal with... During my job search or during job search of people around me, I have actually NEVER heard of a company that preferred to hire someone through the H1B visa program. However, I do know personally quite a bit of people who struggled to find jobs because companies did not even want to take their resumes if they required a H1B visa to work. Very few were lucky to find companies to sponser H1B visas for them and the others went elsewhere or went to grad school cause they couldnt keep searching for jobs in the US forever...

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I appreciate the sentiment and understand that I offered it only as an example. Moving to seattle would not help their bottom line. the moment you move out of the geography to where the cost to maintain status of living is hire, the benefits of the move become lessened for the corporation.

West Virginia really isn't any good though. WV'ers have the same problem Virginians, California, Bostonians or Arizonians have. Even if you can hire them cheap, once they are trained up and you've put a few years into getting them productive; they are still free to move to where they can be paid a reasonable wage for their skills. Ultimately they are still Americans.

You don't have that fundimental problem with H1B's. Their immigration status is legally tied to their jobs with your company. If they leave their job, they either need an entirely new H1B visa, with a new six year clock, or they leave the country.

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ok well if we are going to be replacing H1Bs with more green cards (alloted for skilled workers) then I would be in favor for it. As DjTj stated, the whole H1B visa deal is just a compromise between corportations that want to hire forgein workers and people who dont want them here.

I totally disagree with you there. I don't think the corporations compromised at all. I think they got exactly what they wanted. Indentured cheap labor, uninfluenced and unempowered by the free labor market. What could be better?

Corporations don't want more green cards. They want more H1B's. We know this because they aren't asking for more green cards, green cards don't do them any good. There is a reason all their interested in is H1B VISA's, that reason is money..

.. and JMS... I guess we just have to differ in opinion... its unfortunate that you had bad expereince with the H1B program. However at least know in back of your mind that this program is being used properly in many industries and it is helping America absorb top talent from rest of the world.

Sjinhan, I don't know any such thing. Not in the back of my mind, or in the front. H1B program is not about importing the best or even talented skilled workers. If it was such, given that smart talented people can be found around the globe, one would expect an even distribution of the H1B VISA's distributed across the globe. In reality the vast majority of H1B VISA's are distributed in the developing world. Not because the developing world has a preponderance of brilliant talented people, which belies logic. It is because developing world workers are cheap exploitable workforce unempowered and used to being taken advantage of. That is their primary function in this program and their best asset. There is nothing about the H1B VISA which requires somebody be bright much less the brightest available in their countries of origin. All that is required on the foreign engineers part is a willingness to come here and recieve execellent experience, training, and opprotunity.

I've already published a study from the US Gov which shows that 20% of all H1B VISA's issued in a given 6 year period were awarded based upon fraud.... False experience, False deploma's, False education

The H1B program is all about money, corprations trying to save it. The H1B pogram is not about talent as you constantly misrepresent. It's not necesitated by a labor shortage as some of it's proponents misrepresent. It doesn't save American jobs, it directly consumes American jobs, supresses wages and styfles Americans entry into jobs in our own country. It's a Horrible program chalk full of false claims which are not substanciated by any independant scholarship or studies. That alone should be illuminating to anybody with an inquisitive mind interested in this subject. At one time we had more than 600,000 foreign born engineers in this country to address totaly undocumented labor shortages. That's a majority of professional engineering talent in our economy. One would think one would at least need a single independant study documenting a shortage before implementing such an ambitious program. To date, not one has been executed or even commissioned. Reason being the justifications of the H1B program are all based on falsehoods and it's proponants know it.

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If they leave their job, they either need an entirely new H1B visa, with a new six year clock, or they leave the country.

There is no new clock with a new H1B visa.

And one last comment - you are painting with too broad a brush here. Companies in the business of outsourcing ARE using the H1B program to bring in cheap labor. I think everyone agrees on this.

Companies in the business of developing new technology (i.e. NOT IBM/Tata/Apex who are performing contract programming/outsourcing) use the H1B program to bring in foreign talent. Most of these direct hires to technology companies become permanent residents or citizens. It is common for such people hired directly by companies to move to other companies if they feel they are not being paid market rates or for other reasons. These people have mobility because they are not tied to the onerous contracts of the outsourcers. They also have mobility because they are talented individuals that offer something the hiring company could not find locally.

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I totally disagree with you there. I don't think the corporations compromised at all. I think they got exactly what they wanted. Indentured cheap labor. What could be better.
The compromise is that the corporations want an unlimited supply. They accepted a quota to placate the labor interests and anti-immigrant groups.
Corporations don't want more green cards. They want more H1B's. There is a reason for that.
We can all agree that temporary visas are much better for the corporations than the workers.
Sjinhan, I don't know any such thing. Not in the back of my mind, or in the front. H1B program is not about importing skilled workers. If it was one would expect an even distribution of the VISA's distributed across the globe. In reality the vast majority of H1B VISA's are distributed with the developing world. Not because the developing world has a preponderance of talented people; but because they are cheap exploitable workforce used to being taken advantage of.
But if green cards are a more fair system, as you say, wouldn't you expect an even distribution of green cards distributed across the globe? Instead, the only countries maxing out their green card quotas are China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. It's not all about demand-side exploitation; there is also a difference on the supply-side as well. There are millions of poor Chinese and Indians who come to America to find better and higher paying jobs; Europeans can find good jobs in their home countries. Talent may be evenly distributed, but the desire to emigrate is much stronger in certain countries than others.
The H1B program is all about money, corprations trying to save it. The H1B pogram is not about talent as you constantly misrepresent. It's not necesitated by a labor shortage as it's proponents misrepresent. It doesn't save jobs, it supresses wages and styfles Americans entry into jobs in our own country. It's a Horrible program chalk full of false claims which are not substanciated by any scholarship or studies.
The H-1B visa is a poor substitute for the increase in green card quotas that we need, but it does address some real issues. There is a real shortage of American-born scientists and engineers; you can't deny that. For proof, just look at the graduate student enrollments for science and engineering in our universities:

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf09314/

30% of our science and engineering graduate students are foreigners with temporary visas. There is a real shortage there that is being filled by foreigners and helping to keep U.S. scientific research at the forefront. We do more science here than we (or really any country) could support using only our own citizens.

And after those students graduate, how do you think they get jobs? Many of them will have to get H-1B visas. These people are not working for some shell consulting company or being recruited out of India; they want to live and work in the United States but since there is a very limited number of green cards, their only option after getting their PhD will likely be a temporary work visa.

Employment-based immigration, whether in the form of green cards or H-1B visas, does bring talent to the United States, and it can help our economy.

Abuse of the H-1B system hurts our economy, and you can certainly make the argument that the abuses have outweighed the benefits. But the overall goal of providing an avenue for highly qualified foreign workers to stay in the United States is a good thing, and it is a policy we should continue - we should just do it with green cards rather than temporary visas.

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There is no new clock with a new H1B visa.

And one last comment - you are painting with too broad a brush here. Companies in the business of outsourcing ARE using the H1B program to bring in cheap labor. I think everyone agrees on this.

Companies in the business of developing new technology (i.e. NOT IBM/Tata/Apex who are performing contract programming/outsourcing) use the H1B program to bring in foreign talent. Most of these direct hires to technology companies become permanent residents or citizens. It is common for such people hired directly by companies to move to other companies if they feel they are not being paid market rates or for other reasons. These people have mobility because they are not tied to the onerous contracts of the outsourcers. They also have mobility because they are talented individuals that offer something the hiring company could not find locally.

I still disagree with you there too. Even if the foreign engineer wants to stay here, the H1B program still inhibits his ability to make use of the free market. They aren't elligible to go to any job they wish. They are only able to go to "compete" for a narrow set of jobs where the employer still holds all the cards.

There is a new clock. Corporations sponsors their foreign workers for green cards (effective permanent residence). It takes typicaly 1-to-many years before they will do so, and then typically 12-18 months or more to actually get the green card once it's been applied for.

If the H1B decides to leave his job the green card clock starts all over again. The foreign Engineer needs to get another company to hold his VISA, sponsor him after a subjective amount of time, and then keep his position until that greencard comes in.

These are all significant barriers to changing jobs.

Thus Foreign engineers who do want to stay here, the H1B is even more exploitive and repressive. Because they effectively can only stay here based upon the good will of the employer who holds all the cards in their relationship.

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There is a new clock.

Christ in a ****ing racecar :doh:

When I said there was no new clock it was in response to your comment on H1B

If they leave their job, they either need an entirely new H1B visa, with a new six year clock

Changing the argument to talk about the clock for Green cards is irrelevant. There isn't a six year clock associated with Green Cards. Your comment was on the six year clock associated with H1Bs. The six year period associated with H visas is not dependent on how many H visas you have.

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The compromise is that the corporations want an unlimited supply. They accepted a quota to placate the labor interests and anti-immigrant groups.

Well then they still didn't compromise very much. When I entered University the H1B program was limited to fewer than 10,000 workers. When I graduated it was up to 20,000 workers. After my first decade of professional experience that number grew to 60,000. In 1999 it grew to more than 120,000. In 2002-3-4 H1B limitations were raised to 195,000 on the premise that severe shortages of engineers were styfling industry, in reality the NET high tech job market contracted during this period and the H1B visa holders directly displaced American engineers. Unemployment for engineers in silicon valley reached double the national average for general labor. In the late 1990's when they started going nuts importing these indentured labor pool, proponents claimed after a decade of huge visa increases, the "investment" they were making in domestic training would reduce the need for these engineers. Thus allowing the limits to come back "down" to 65,000 levels of the mid 1990's..

The net effect is they supressed the domestic capacity to fill these jobs. Now they are telling use because the market's ability to produce egineering graduates has been so dramatically suppressed; We need to continue importing huge numbers of foreign labor!!!

It's a self propetuating argument.

In realiity we've nearly eclipsed an entire generation of American engineers with this policy. Today we produce fewer American engineers than we did at the eve of this disasterous policy. Why, because kids won't study for industries which don't hire Americans and that's what this policy created.

But if green cards are a more fair system, as you say, wouldn't you expect an even distribution of green cards distributed across the globe? Instead, the only countries maxing out their green card quotas are China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.

I never made the claim green cards were about universal appeal across countries. I said the H1B program wasn't about attracting the best and brightest, neither is the green card program. The green card program is just less exploitive of the foreign worker, and less distructive to American labor.

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It's not all about demand-side exploitation; there is also a difference on the supply-side as well.

The supply-side doesn't command the issue. Congress isn't allowing more H1B's here because western chinese willing to work for a fraction of Americans are demanding it. The demand side commands the issue, and that's why it's relevent to talk about why corporations find H1B's so attractive.

The H-1B visa is a poor substitute for the increase in green card quotas that we need,

Again I think you miss the entire point. We don't need more green cards. There is no shortage of engineers in this country. If wages stopped being suppressed by massive import of cheap labor, wages would raise, and talent would flock to fill those jobs. When the talent pool reached critical mass; wages would find their own mark just like very other American job sector.

The reason I advocate for Greencards is because it exposes the hypocracy of the corporations argument. It denies them what they are really movitated by. The exploitation of cheap labor.

but it does address some real issues. There is a real shortage of American-born scientists and engineers; you can't deny that. For proof, just look at the graduate student enrollments for science and engineering in our universities:

SOLELY BECAUSE OVER A THREE YEAR PERIOD WE IMPORTED 195,000 cheap foreign workers and Americans were nearly unemployable in this job sector.

That's why graduation rates were cut dramatically for CS and EE majors.

30% of our science and engineering graduate students are foreigners with temporary visas. There is a real shortage there that is being filled by foreigners and helping to keep U.S. scientific research at the forefront. We do more science here than we (or really any country) could support using only our own citizens.

Crazy Talk.

Problem with that statement is before 1996 we mostly did that research domestically with our own talent. Today we employ fewer Americans in these engineering fields because all the talent we imported and trained have gone home to India and China and taken their jobs with them. We aren't the biggest software engineering country in the world anymore. India is. And all those Indian engineers are working first or second hand for American companies too.

And after those students graduate, how do you think they get jobs? Many of them will have to get H-1B visas. These people are not working for some shell consulting company or being recruited out of India; they want to live and work in the United States but since there is a very limited number of green cards, their only option after getting their PhD will likely be a temporary work visa.

BS. Most H1B's do not have graduate degrees. You guys want to argue the exceptions rather than the rules here.

Employment-based immigration, whether in the form of green cards or H-1B visas, does bring talent to the United States, and it can help our economy.

I just totally disagree with that statement.... There is nothing about talent in the H1B program. It's entirely about cheap labor. Getting it, keeping it.

the H1B program has been a collosal failure from an American perspective. It's supressed wages and employment, which has resulted in the market producing fewer graduates and less domestic capacity for these jobs.

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Changing the argument to talk about the clock for Green cards is irrelevant. There isn't a six year clock associated with Green Cards.

Yes there is. The H1B visa expires after six years and the foreign engineer must go home. Thus that represents the furthest period of time he can do without a green card if he wants to stay in this country.

Your comment was on the six year clock associated with H1Bs. The six year period associated with H visas is not dependent on how many H visas you have.

My comment was about the leverage the H1B VISA gives to the employer.

That leverage is about reduced access to jobs, and about the subjective clock for obtaining a greencard which begins anew when a foreign engineers is sucessful in changing jobs.

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Pointing out that at least one thing that JMS is saying does match with what I've read, elsewhere.

In the early 200x's, the total number of jobs in the US for engineers went down.

This was one of the things I used to point out whenever open-boarder people on ES would claim that the reason Americans were losing their jobs to foreigners was because those stupid Americans were too lazy to learn employable skills.

The companies who hire engineers were laying them off, at the same time they were telling Congress that they absolutely had to bring in foreigners, because there was a shortage.

When the dot com bubble burst, a lot of IT people lost their jobs. And Congress increased the quotas for H1B, because gee, there just weren't enough Americans to fill all these jobs.

I'm not saying that the program is evil or should be scrapped. I am pointing out that there's ample evidence that the supposed shortages that are claimed as reasons for increasing the programs, in at least some cases, are obviously artificial.

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Well then they still didn't compromise very much. When I entered University the H1B program was limited to fewer than 10,000 workers. When I graduated it was up to 20,000 workers. After my first decade of professional experience that number grew to 60,000. In 1999 it grew to more than 120,000. In 2002-3-4 H1B limitations were raised to 195,000 on the premise that severe shortages of engineers were styfling industry, in reality the NET high tech job market contracted during this period and the H1B visa holders directly displaced American engineers. Unemployment for engineers in silicon valley reached double the national average for general labor. In the late 1990's when they started going nuts importing these indentured labor pool, proponents claimed after a decade of huge visa increases, the "investment" they were making in domestic training would reduce the need for these engineers. Thus allowing the limits to come back "down" to 65,000 levels of the mid 1990's..
The big-money lobbyists won - there is no surprise there.
The net effect is they supressed the domestic capacity to fill these jobs. Now they are telling use because the market's ability to produce egineering graduates has been so dramatically suppressed; We need to continue importing huge numbers of foreign labor!!!

It's a self propetuating argument.

In realiity we've nearly eclipsed an entire generation of American engineers with this policy. Today we produce fewer American engineers than we did at the eve of this disasterous policy. Why, because kids won't study for industries which don't hire Americans and that's what this policy created.

I think you're overstating this suppression effect dramatically. There was a decline in U.S. students going into science and engineering in the mid-90's, but the numbers started going up again after 2000. And you certainly pin things entirely on the H-1B program.

I guess I just don't see the picture of disaster that you're painting. Google is in a United States company, co-founded by an Eastern European immigrant. Yahoo is a United States company, co-founded by an Asian immigrant. Software isn't going anywhere; immigrants are coming to the United States and continuing to build the industry right here.

I never made the claim green cards were about universal appeal across countries. I said the H1B program wasn't about attracting the best and brightest, neither is the green card program. The green card program is just less exploitive of the foreign worker, and less distructive to American labor.
But being less exploitative, shouldn't green cards show less imbalance across foreign countries? Instead, it shows the same bias towards certain Asian countries - you can't ignore the supply-side effects from the emigrant countries.
The supply-side doesn't command the issue. Congress isn't allowing more H1B's here because western chinese willing to work for a fraction of Americans are demanding it. The demand side commands the issue, and that's why it's relevent to talk about why corporations find H1B's so attractive.
Supply and demand are both part of the equation.
Again I think you miss the entire point. We don't need more green cards. There is no shortage of engineers in this country. If wages stopped being suppressed by massive import of cheap labor, wages would raise, and talent would flock to fill those jobs. When the talent pool reached critical mass; wages would find their own mark just like very other American job sector.
It's not about shortage; it's about opportunity. American talent doesn't have to flock to fill the kinds of engineering jobs that immigrants are taking. There are jobs in finance, in law, and entrepreneurial opportunities where native-born Americans should have a significant advantage. Immigrants have always worked the factories, built the railroads, and run our restaurants and groceries. Americans have never shied away from this competition in the past, and it is part of what has pushed us ahead of other countries. Bringing more talent into the country should always be a net positive if the playing field is fair, and we allow them to stay and become citizens themselves.
The reason I advocate for Greencards is because it exposes the hypocracy of the corporations argument. It denies them what they are really movitated by. The exploitation of cheap labor.
It has always been the case that corporations want to exploit cheap labor, but if you give that labor rights (through a green card), we can have fair competition that will push everyone forward.
SOLELY BECAUSE OVER A THREE YEAR PERIOD WE IMPORTED 195,000 cheap foreign workers and Americans were nearly unemployable in this job sector.

That's why graduation rates were cut dramatically for CS and EE majors.

Crazy Talk.

Problem with that statement is before 1996 we mostly did that research domestically with our own talent.

But the statistics don't show a dramatic change in enrollment for graduate students. Enrollment of U.S. citizens in science and engineering graduate school dipped in the mid-90's and grew again after 2000. Foreign-born enrollment had a smaller dip and has continuously grown over that time. This is a long-running trend that isn't nearly as dramatic as you claim. Foreign-born students have been a major part of our science graduate schools since World War II.
Today we employ fewer Americans in these engineering fields because all the talent we imported and trained have gone home to India and China and taken their jobs with them. We aren't the biggest software engineering country in the world anymore. India is. And all those Indian engineers are working first or second hand for American companies too.
Where have you seen that India is the largest software engineering country in the world? As far as I can tell, the United States is still way ahead in that department.
BS. Most H1B's do not have graduate degrees. You guys want to argue the exceptions rather than the rules here.
I haven't found more recent statistics, but this seems to show that as of 5 years ago, about 50% of H-1B's had graduate degrees:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=9965d0676988d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=2c039c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

It is not the exception but a rather large proportion of H-1B's that are highly educated.

I just totally disagree with that statement.... There is nothing about talent in the H1B program. It's entirely about cheap labor. Getting it, keeping it.
Well, if it weren't talented cheap labor, it wouldn't be worth it. Even if we're not talking about PhD's (more than 10% of H-1B's), we're still talking about people with some technical skills. H-1B's aren't sweeping floors or picking vegetables.
the H1B program has been a collosal failure from an American perspective. It's supressed wages and employment, which has resulted in the market producing fewer graduates and less domestic capacity for these jobs.
Well, talk to me when India actually builds a software industry based on something other than supporting American companies. I think you'll be surprised at how long the United States stays on top, because while some immigrants will go back, the best immigrants will generally find a way to stay here and contribute to our economy. It is a formula that fueled the growth of the United States in the 20th century and can continue to do the same if we are willing to do it right and give these people real rights and legal status rather than treating them just as temporary labor.
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Pointing out that at least one thing that JMS is saying does match with what I've read, elsewhere.

In the early 200x's, the total number of jobs in the US for engineers went down.

Do you have a source for that?

The NSF appears to report that, at least by 2006, that market had recovered, and the number of jobs for US engineers was going back up again.

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08305/

I am really just not seeing the total collapse of the domestic engineering market that JMS is implying. Industries are changing and many people are losing their jobs, but it doesn't seem to me that it is particularly worse in engineering than in other fields.

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Do you have a source for that?

The NSF appears to report that, at least by 2006, that market had recovered, and the number of jobs for US engineers was going back up again.

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08305/

I am really just not seeing the total collapse of the domestic engineering market that JMS is implying. Industries are changing and many people are losing their jobs, but it doesn't seem to me that it is particularly worse in engineering than in other fields.

The first thing you do is ask me for a source that says the numbers went down in the early 200x's.

You then point to a source that says that by 2006 they had recovered.

You then continue with "I am really just not seeing the total collapse of the domestic engineering market . . . "

Neither he nor I have said "total collapse". He has said that the employers were demanding huge increases in H1B quotas, claiming a nationwide shortage, at a time when the jobs were going down.

As to your request for some links, though. Trying to Google things is getting me lots of hits that don't talk about what I'm looking for.

But I have found this, from the NSF, which talks about "Science and Engineering" employment. It does have some data. (I'd recommend looking at figure 3-4, which shows a decline in the total number of "S&E" jobs between 2002-04.

This PDF (from "The Peterson Institute for International Economics", who I've never heard of) has a table on page 7 (quoting BLS statistics) showing that "Architecture and Engineering Occupations" (BLS lumps those categories together) lost 164,000 jobs between 2000-02.

This story, from Chemical and Engineering News, says that Engineering employment declined between 2000-02, but it also mentions something I hadn't seen mentioned before:

Since World War II, there have been nine cycles in employment of big booms and little busts with long periods of solid growth followed by much shorter periods of downward adjustment.

For the first eight of these, as measured by private payrolls, the booms lasted an average of 66 months. The bust periods of actual job decline averaged 12 months. This decline was followed by an average 13 months to regain the previous peak-for a hiatus in overall job growth of 25 months. This pattern is very similar if measured in terms of BLS's data for total payrolls.

The latest downturn in private payrolls starting in 2001 lasted 29 months. It then took another 22 months to regain the 2001 level, for a total of 51 months before breaking back into new high ground.

The question is: Was this unprecedented hiatus in employment the result of a unique combination of factors, including the inevitable and unavoidable end of the 1990s boom, the spate of corporate scandals, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and against terrorism?

From that, what I pick up is that maybe employment was due to shrink a bit. But that it may have shrunk more than the previous shrinkages.

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Pointing out that at least one thing that JMS is saying does match with what I've read, elsewhere.

In the early 200x's, the total number of jobs in the US for engineers went down.

Not only did the net jobs go down ( fewer total people working in the field)..... but the # of H1B's entering the country per year trippled tripled from 60k - 195,000 in 2002-2004? (**)

Picture that the job sector is contracting, Americans are getting laid off. And they still import nearly 200k foreign engineers who all find work immediately!....

Obviously in those situations every H1B that came here not only denied an unemployed American a job, They meant the American occupying that job got laid off and likely couldn't replace their job.

Those were the days I saw engineers loose their homes (3 people I knew). Work in restaurants as waiters for rent money. I purchased two cars from former engineers who found work selling cars in Tysons.

I know an engineer who started a jewlry store because she believed the engineering field would never return. I personally went abroad to find work and spent a year in the middle east.

Larry honestly, tell me one thing I've said you think is untrue and I'll work to find you a link. I've given empiracle evidence on the wages thing. Is there anything else you question?

This was one of the things I used to point out whenever open-boarder people on ES would claim that the reason Americans were losing their jobs to foreigners was because those stupid Americans were too lazy to learn employable skills.

Right, Has nothing to do with skills. It's about cheap labor.

The companies who hire engineers were laying them off, at the same time they were telling Congress that they absolutely had to bring in foreigners, because there was a shortage.

When the dot com bubble burst, a lot of IT people lost their jobs. And Congress increased the quotas for H1B, because gee, there just weren't enough Americans to fill all these jobs.

exactly.....

I'm not saying that the program is evil or should be scrapped. I am pointing out that there's ample evidence that the supposed shortages that are claimed as reasons for increasing the programs, in at least some cases, are obviously artificial.

I'm saying the program is evil and should be scrapped. There is a legitamate reason to allow some foreign engineers in the country. But not on the scale of 60,000; certainly not on the scale of 200,000.

Engineers were victems for this model because their wages were high enough to justificy it from the corprate stand point and they weren't organized labor wise enough to stop it.

(**) This is why all the H1B hulaballu. this massive H1B increases really hit their height 6 years ago. Industry justified this trippliing of the VISA's with the claim that it would only be temporary. Today the limitations have contracted again to 65k. Since H1B's VISA's are only good for 6 years, his means 120,000 trained foreign engineers are leaving the country every year. And Industry can't replace those guys with new cheap labor.

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Do you have a source for that?

The NSF appears to report that, at least by 2006, that market had recovered, and the number of jobs for US engineers was going back up again..

I'm still waiting for a single independent study which documents a shortage of American engineers in the late 1990's- 2004?

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From that, what I pick up is that maybe employment was due to shrink a bit. But that it may have shrunk more than the previous shrinkages.

There were two huge hits to the computer world in the 21st century. The dot com bust, and the Y2k fiasco....

Many computer folks were employed doing Y2k preventative work on large legacy systems. When the 21st century started those people mostly hit the streets.

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Ok, So here is the 5 minute synopsys of Norm Matloff's Testomony before congress in 2009 on the H1B program...

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html#summary

  • Two congressional reports and a number of academic studies have shown that H-1Bs are often paid less than Americans.

  • Underpayment of H-1Bs is usually done in full compliance with the law. The problem is primarily NOT one of lack of enforcement or fraud. Instead, the problem is gaping loopholes in the law.
    For example: The law and regulations do not require that the prevailing wage account for "hot" technical skills. These command a premium of 15-25% in the open market. Thus one can see immediately that the government prevailing wage is typically lower than the true market wage. Thus the prevailing wage law is no protection for U.S. workers, and since the DOL PERM data show that most employers pay only the prevailing wage or very near it, it is clear tha most employers are underpaying their H-1Bs.

  • The use of foreign workers for cheap labor pervades the entire tech industry, INCLUDING the large, mainstream firms, and INCLUDING the foreign workers hired from U.S. universities. It is NOT limited to the "bodyshops."

  • Age is a core H-1B issue. Most H-1Bs are under 30, and since younger workers are cheaper than older ones in both wages and health care costs, employers use the H-1B program to avoid hiring older (i.e. 35+) Americans.

  • There is no tech labor shortage. No study, other than those sponsored by the industry, has ever shown a shortage. HR departments routinely exclude CVs of applicants they deem "too expensive"--those that are over age 35. (So managers never see these CVs, and mistakenly believe there are no applicants.)

  • Shortage arguments based on comparison of American K-12 math/science scores to those of other nations are red herrings, based on misleading averages. It is also rank hypocrisy, since the same employers who claim that "Johnnie can't do math" are laying off tens of thousands of Americans who had been top math/science students when they were kids.

  • The world's "best and brightest" should be welcomed, but only a tiny percentage of H-1Bs are in that league. Meanwhile, the H-1B program results in many of our own best and brightest U.S. citizens and permanent residents being squeezed out of the market once they accumulate 10 years or so of experience, and worse, many top college students are discouraged by H-1B and offshoring from pursuing the field in the first place. In other words, H-1B is causing an internal brain drain of American talents.

  • Though the industry lobbyists claim that the importation of H-1Bs avoids the offshoring of work, the visa is actually used to facilitate shipping the work abroad.

  • The National Science Foundation, a key government agency, actually advocated the use of the H-1B program as a means of holding down PhD salaries, by flooding the job market with foreign students. The NSF added that the stagnation of salaries would push domestic students away from PhD study, which is exactly what has happened. Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan has also explicitly advocated the use of H-1B to hold down tech salaries.

  • The per-capita rates of entrepreneurship and patents among immigrant engineers have been similar to, or lower than, those of natives. Indeed, Prof. Jennifer Hunt, much cited by the industry, found that

    After I control for field of study, in the middle graph, and education, in the bottom graph, both main work visa groups [i.e. H-1Bs who came directly to the U.S.] and student/trainee visa holders [H-1Bs who first came to the U.S. as students and later entered the job market under the visa] have statistically significantly lower patenting probabilities than natives...

    Thus the displacement of the American workers has not produced a net positive effect.

  • Proposals to establish fast-track green card programs to retain the foreign workers are misguided. First, in the EB-1 green card category, which is for outstanding talents, waits are short. Second, and more importantly, the foreign workers are mostly young, and would still crowd out American workers of age 35+ even with green cards.

  • Other than a minuscule exceptional category, H-1B employers are NOT required to try to fill the jobs with Americans before hiring the foreign workers.

  • The claims that each H-1B creates four new jobs are based on faulty statistical analysis and are obviously fallacious anyway. Filling the jobs with qualified Americans would have the same job-generating effects.

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Here are some other good articles by Professor Norm Matloff of UC Davis on the H1B program....

H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest

http://www.cis.org/h1bs_not_best.html

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform[/i]. "]

100 pages and 300+ footnotes, the most extensive study I've read on the H1B topic.

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/MichJLawReform.pdf

Article on the effect of the H1B program on the American IT workforce..

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/CACM.pdf

No matter what kind of globalization of IT one considers—whether offshoring

the work or importing foreign workers to the U.S. under the H-1B and L-1

work visa programs—the losers are U.S. programmers as well as the overall U.S. economy.1

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But the statistics don't show a dramatic change in enrollment for graduate students. Enrollment of U.S. citizens in science and engineering graduate school dipped in the mid-90's and grew again after 2000. Foreign-born enrollment had a smaller dip and has continuously grown over that time. This is a long-running trend that isn't nearly as dramatic as you claim. Foreign-born students have been a major part of our science graduate schools since World War II.

Actually since I'm the only one required to support his facts I'll again disagree with your claim.

see page 40 from the Michigan law review article on H1B's from 2003

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/MichJLawReform.pdf

Contrary to the industry lobbyists’ claims, enrollments in computer science have risen and fallen in almost exact correlation with

the job market in the field.

I haven't found more recent statistics, but this seems to show that as of 5 years ago, about 50% of H-1B's had graduate degrees:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=9965d0676988d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=2c039c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

It is not the exception but a rather large proportion of H-1B's that are highly educated.

Couple of thoughts here...

First off a recent US government study I have already quoted showed that 20% of H1B applications lied about edication, experience and training. More than half of those were considered outright fraud.

http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/report1.pdf

Second thought... More than half of all H1B's who come here fall into labor catagories of entry level or barely qualified. Only 11% fall into catagories of fully experienced...

http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/wages.cfm

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Very few of H1B's are senior level when they first come here.

Well, if it weren't talented cheap labor, it wouldn't be worth it. Even if we're not talking about PhD's (more than 10% of H-1B's), we're still talking about people with some technical skills. H-1B's aren't sweeping floors or picking vegetables.

Sure it would. To quote one of my clients. I don't care if they have to do it ten times. Their still cheap keep giving them work. That quote actually was about offshoring, not H1B's but it shows the mind set.

If you can save huge money, Companies will make concessions quality.

Well, talk to me when India actually builds a software industry based on something other than supporting American companies. I think you'll be surprised at how long the United States stays on top, because while some immigrants will go back, the best immigrants will generally find a way to stay here and contribute to our economy. It is a formula that fueled the growth of the United States in the 20th century and can continue to do the same if we are willing to do it right and give these people real rights and legal status rather than treating them just as temporary labor.

Used to be most H1B's desired to stay here. That all changed in 2000 (roughly)..... Today most H1B's don't stay here. They go home and take their jobs with them. Some still stay though. I have many friends who were former H1B Visa Holders.

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Now, JMS, there's another statement you're making that I suspect I'll disagree with, and that the arguments about engineers with postgraduate degrees.

I've been hearing for decades that it's almost impossible for companies to hire people with postgrad degrees in engineering, because Americans overwhelmingly don't stay in school after their BS. Every engineering school I've been in (I've dropped out of two), every single grad student has been a foreigner.

(I've had engineering professors make the same statement to me.)

The reasoning for this, that I've read, is that in the US, the salary for a BS fresh out of school is pretty much the same as the salary for am MS fresh out of school. 20 years down the road, the guy with the MS will likely be making more, but most Americans don't want to put in two more years of unpaid (in fact, debt-paid) labor for the chance to make more money, 20 years down the road.

In short, I've heard from multiple, impartial sources, for decades, that there's a real shortage of Americans with postgraduate engineering degrees.

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