Work Visas: Let the Market Rule

The U.S. should let private enterprise determine who gets jobs in the U.S. Work visas such as the H-1B are expensive, so companies will not pay for more than they need. Pro or con?

Pro: Visas Help the U.S. Prosper

When faced with a labor storage, U.S. businesses have two choices: 1) hire illegal workers or 2) send the jobs overseas. Both are detrimental to U.S. workers and the health of the economy. Illegal workers are often underpaid and do not consistently pay taxes. Jobs that could have been filled on shore are instead shipped overseas because of bureaucratic limits. Those lost wages result in a direct reduction of U.S. gross national product, housing starts, and consumer spending.

In the late 1990s we saw thousands of “commodity” technology jobs go overseas. To many observers, it seemed an acceptable trade-off in a fast-growing economy since there clearly was a labor shortage for these jobs in the U.S., and the higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs were staying on shore. Over time, however, as programmer jobs moved offshore, when it came time to replace their supervisors, it made more sense to hire them offshore, too. Soon, more higher-level jobs—manager, tech leader, chief technology officer—went overseas.

Increasing the number of work visas such as the H-1Bs, however, makes a better alternative. They’re for college-educated professionals, with the primary focus on information technology and are limited to a maximum of 65,000 per year, according to U.S. Immigration Support, with costs of approximately $3,000 per year (for government and legal processing costs). The H-1B visas can bring the best and brightest minds to the U.S. Instead, U.S. policies have allowed one sector, companies that outsource jobs to India, to hold approximately 80% of the H-1B visas, which results in a lack of diversity among H-1B visa workers.

Meanwhile the U.S. government has strict limits not only on H-1Bs but also on H-2Bs, for such jobs as migrant farm workers and construction workers—yet there are an unlimited number of work visas available for bagel bakers. While no government can determine the number and type of immigrant workers that will be required, the market can and does very effectively. The market should be allowed to determine the types and numbers of work visas, creating more staffing options while keeping more jobs on U.S. shores and contributing to the U.S. economy.

Con: Why Rob Americans of Jobs?

Under a free-market economy where U.S. citizenship means anything, when faced with a labor shortage U.S. businesses have two choices: 1) offer a higher salary or 2) hire less-skilled workers and train them. Either option would bolster the U.S. economy by strengthening the middle class and income tax base.

A flood of immigrant workers—legal or illegal—upsets the labor market’s natural supply and demand, drives down wages, and displaces qualified Americans from their careers. Low-skilled immigrants deprive teens of entry-level jobs, fueling 15% unemployment plus crime and gang activity.

Between 2001 and 2003, Congress tripled the H-1B quota, giving corporations virtually unlimited access to foreign workers. Rather than stimulating the economy, it caused U.S. tech unemployment to soar upward of 20% by 2004 in Silicon Valley and other areas. Yet in December, 2002, Hewlett-Packard Services (HPQ) chief Ann Livermore declared: “We’re trying to move everything we can offshore.”

And in June, 2003, Microsoft (MSFT) Senior Vice-President Brian Valentine called on employees to “pick something to move offshore today” in his “Thinking about India” presentation.

Microsoft and Google (GOOG) receive thousands of résumés from skilled U.S. citizens per week. Their challenge is not the availably of qualified Americans, but rather how to manage the 100,000 résumés filed in their human resources department.

Visa cost is insignificant compared with wage savings, and many employers pass the legal costs back to the sponsored employees. Incredibly, since the largest H-1B users are overseas consulting firms, non-U.S. entities are literally sponsoring each other for U.S. citizenship.

With 1 billion people desiring to immigrate, a “market-based” immigration system of “admitting anyone with a job offer” would be chaos.

According to a National Science Board report, the H-1B program actually admits 85,000 foreign workers (of which 20,000 are exclusively for non-American graduates of U.S. colleges with a master’s degree or higher) each year—regardless of whether qualified Americans are available—and the L-1 visa allows multinational corporations to bring an unlimited number of less-skilled workers to the U.S. while still paying them their foreign wage scale.

Accordingly, work visas should be limited to those of truly exceptional skill or when no Americans can be found to fill a position—at any wage. The free market would fill the remaining positions.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek.com Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

Colleen

Regarding Paragraph #1: Actually, businesses have a third choice in hiring. Please add:

"#3) Hire U.S. citizens, a unique and novel innovation. The H-1B and L-1 guest workers programs have "reserved" millions of high-value jobs for citizens of foreign countries. Tens of millions of United States citizens are consistently and routinely denied and deprived and excluded from equal employment opportunities during the hiring process."

And please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cNnK2M4OTs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07173/796195-28.stm

Colleen

P.S. Regarding offshoring, whatever happened to the IRS investigation against Microsoft's exporting billions of dollars worth of product out of Ireland--products that were engineered and developed in the USA and therefore taxes owed in the USA. What was the result of the investigation? We never heard anything, except that Bill Gates will be stepping down to focus on doing charity work. Did the IRS force him out?

Dr. Gene Nelson

The H-1B visa program, like other work visa programs, is all about supplying "fresh (inexpensive) young blood" to greedy employer interests.

These programs are an indirect way to undermine U.S. employment civil rights programs, since many immigrants are willing to make the "devil's bargain" of agreeing to very low wages in order to obtain a U.S. visa. The programs facilitate employers' illegal age discrimination, among other problems.

If there is to be any H-1B visa program, it should be one where employers bid in a fair, transparent fashion, with the highest bidder obtaining their H-1Bs. None of this nonsense of a "lottery."

BTW, despite the industry protestations that this program has nothing to do with illegal aliens, it really does. As the March, 2008, CIS Backgrounder by David Seminara, "No Coyote Needed" makes clear, about half of all the illegal aliens are visa overstayers, which include millions who are displacing Americans from "White Collar" jobs. No wonder high-tech employer lobbying organizations such as this one sent a February 27, 2008, letter to House Speaker Pelosi expressing opposition to work site verification as proposed by Heath Shuler's SAVE Act H.R. 4088. http://www.competeamerica.org/news/alliance_pr/Speaker_Pelosi_Letter.pdf

Microsoft is one of the financial backers of this lobbying group. You may learn more about Microsoft's legislative expenditures of about $100 million between 1995 and 2000 to help procure three beneficial (to them) changes to H-1B visa legislation. Please Google the January, 2008, investigative article, "The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit" and select the more readable and engaging PDF version.

k

"Accordingly, work visas should be limited to those of truly exceptional skill or when no Americans can be found to fill a position--at any wage. The free market would fill the remaining positions."

That's not free market--you've already manipulated it, hypocrite.

Robber Barron

If having limits on immigration quotas is "manipulating the free market," then all countries are guilty. Does "k" advocate that all countries remove all immigration quotas--or what is k's point?

Paul

The University of Chicago is surrounded by an African American community, yet there are virtually no scientific researchers in faculty of staff positions from that community. Why? Because the H-1B visa has enabled wholesale discrimination to become legal. All one finds are researchers from the opposite side of the planet. Age discrimination is rampant as well. After 27 years there, I was out retirement benefits.

numen

The very first phrase of the "pro" position is a falsehood. There is no labor shortage. A labor shortage is always accompanied by rising wages, and wages are declining.

The purpose of work visas is to enable age discrimination by replacing older workers with younger ones, and second, to perpetrate "labor arbitrage," to replace workers who live in areas where the cost of living is high--and who therefore require higher wages to survive--with workers from areas of the world where the cost of living is low and who can therefore work for lower wages. The resulting savings go primarily into egregiously high executive salaries and are not passed on to stockholders or customers or higher wages for existing non-executive employees.

random

I can't say that either the pro or con viewpoint really convinced me of anything, because I wasn't really sure of the central point each expert was after. Likewise, both writers made claims that were either contradicted each other or omitted crucial points. From the Pro article:

"When faced with a labor storage, U.S. businesses have two choices: 1) hire illegal workers or 2) send the jobs overseas."

What about training new workers? It's not like underemployed people in the labor market can't be requalified or trained to do something else. Business can encourage more talent by boosting salaries to meet demand and thus create interest in the fields where experts are needed. They can then pluck exceptional students from training programs and colleges to give them hands-on experience and satisfy their labor needs. It's an option. It's been the standard to cope with labor shortages in the past. Why is it categorically ruled out if the best and the brightest (not just the cheapest and most accessible) are what businesses want?

"The H-1B visas can bring the best and brightest minds to the U.S. Instead, U.S. policies have allowed one sector, companies that outsource jobs to India, to hold approximately 80% of the H-1B visas, which results in a lack of diversity among H-1B visa workers."

I'm confused. If the visas are supposed to bring the best and the brightest to the U.S., why is the author lamenting that India has such a grip on H-1B visas?

"While no government can determine the number and type of immigrant workers that will be required, the market can and does very effectively."

The market doesn't predict things very well. It simply responds to immediate needs and has a tendency to gorge itself when possible. Note the Black Tuesday of 1929, Black Monday of 1987, the Dot Bust of 2000, and the subprime and credit meltdown now unfolding. All caused by gorging on the hot investment opportunity at the time to the point of irrational excess.

And what about the ominous churn emanating from Web 2.0 sites and blogs with no business model, virtually no profits but millions in venture capital, big launch and promotional parties and sky high valuations? Let's keep an eye on that. Oh and the commodities market overvaluing oil by 110% or so looks like yet another probable poster child for the market's seeming inability to anchor itself to the fundamentals.

And now from the Con:

"A flood of immigrant workers--legal or illegal--upsets the labor market's natural supply and demand, drives down wages, and displaces qualified Americans from their careers."

So no immigrants allowed, even legal? Sounds like a blanket statement that needs much, much more clarification.

"Low-skilled immigrants deprive teens of entry-level jobs, fueling 15% unemployment plus crime and gang activity."

And where could one find statistics for that? If you're claiming 15% unemployment rates for teenagers and associating that and gang activities with levels of immigration, you better provide some references. Let's also remember that gangs are often found in what's politely known as socio-economically disadvantaged communities that have far more problems than just immigrants' taking jobs they want.

"Between 2001 and 2003, Congress tripled the H-1B quota, giving corporations virtually unlimited access to foreign workers. Rather than stimulating the economy, it caused U.S. tech unemployment to soar upward of 20% by 2004 in Silicon Valley and other areas."

Wait a moment, 65,000 or 85,000 foreign workers per year is unlimited access? For an economy that employs around 200 million people, or some 3,000 times the H-1B limit, that hardly sounds like any kind of unlimited access.

Discrimination

This is discrimination. If you allow people to study in American universities, it is logical that they will want to work here to recover the investment. It is illogical to ask for a high tuition without giving the opportunity of paying it in the same currency.

Ronald

I am guessing that you guys have never really looked at the process for hiring through the provisions of H-1B. It is off-limits for many businesses, since they do not want to hire someone who may not get the visa (success rate for procuring the visa for an applicant after finding a job is 40% to 55%). The other reason most jobs cannot cater to H-1B is that most of these jobs cannot underpay (paying below the industrial average). This makes it protectionist, rather than free market. Last, remember that it is 65,000 of these a year, and this is out of about 150 million jobs. So, you can blame outsourcing and spare H-1B. I understand that Americans should have American jobs, but make sure that you put the blame in the right places.

PC boy

Re "Discrimination": If Switzerland allows tourists to stay in their expensive resorts, isn't it logical that many guests would also like to earn high Swiss wages? So is it "discrimination" for the Swiss to admit tourists but then kick them out without allowing them to get jobs?

Jeff

I have followed this issue for a very long time.

I greatly appreciate the efforts of Senators like Grassley and Durbin, and the tireless efforts of the Programmers Guild.

But this last month's unbelievable political and media snowstorm/snow job to screw the workers in the worst of economies has convinced me that I would never recommend this field to any young person, because at this point, I can't conceive of anything anyone could do that would restore my confidence. It would be like selling tickets for a ride on a hydrogen blimp after the Hindenberg.

Whatever happens--after a country screws its tech and engineering so hard that its citizens abandon the field for a generation--is going to happen, I don't think there's anything that can stop it now.

It's funny, that after replacing our factory workers, our tech people, and next most of white collar (yes, that's you accountants, finance, and HR people who have just stood there and gone along with this crap because it wasn't happening to you yet), we somehow have this "irreplaceable" sacred two-headed cow called "Republicrat" that can't sell us out fast enough.

We replace the citizen, but not the traitor. How can we save a stupid nation from itself?

Vee

EEOC is a totally dead organization; it is a waste of taxpayers money. If only EEOC was strong, then all our (American) jobs would not have gone to the foreigners who are on H-1B and L-1 visas. "Shortage" of labor is all nonsense. We have too many good technical folks without jobs today, and they are available for immediate employment. What the companies don't tell is the cost benefit they get out of outsourcing. Look at IBM. It has 80,000 employees in India; that is a loss of 80,000 jobs in USA. Where are you, EEOC?

P

The fact that big corporations cannot handle a bevy of resumes is absolutely inexplicable. If there is a surplus of resumes from the people in this country, there would be a surplus of resumes even from the H-1B program.

I don't understand how an employer can hire illegal immigrants to do programming jobs. The companies are obligated to the IRS, and all earnings have to be accounted for. Besides, corporations don't resort to such unethical behavior of hiring illegal immigrants.

abhi

Re PC Boy:
Even the Swiss don't expect to be paid Swiss wages or actually want to. Switzerland is a horrendously expensive place and even their high wages don't make up for it. You would be surprised to know that a lot of Swiss nationals are working abroad. You would even be surprised at how many "American" nationals are working abroad. Opportunity doesn't know any nationality

Re Random:
About training or retraining new workers: How do you "train" Americans to get a BS/MS or a Phd in computer science from a halfway decent college, which should be the bare minimum to get into a company like Microsoft? I expect MSFT to have some standards other than that--like having a decent GPA, say, above a 3.5 or 3.6.

Jeff

The saddest thing is, it's not that American citizens failed to produce enough wealth for corporations; they actually produced too much--so much so, that one man can go to Congress, be the sole witness, and dictate legislation and emergency powers to increase visas from homeland security

In the councils of government, we have failed to guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the technology industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power was ignored and has occurred.

We have let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We have taken it for granted. An asleep and ignorant citizenry failed to compel the proper meshing of the technological machinery of economics with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty could prosper together.

JCSmyth

Ms. Melberg,

I read your argument several times and have come to the conclusion that you don't even believe it yourself. You start out saying that in a free-market economy, allowing workers in and American companies to outsource in a laissez-faire manner is acceptable.

Then you say, letting any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to come to work in the U.S. is better than having the work outsourced and that the government has strict limits on how many are acceptable, which appears to indicate you believe in limits.

Additionally, you admit that "The H-1B visas can bring the best and brightest minds to the U.S. Instead, U.S. policies have allowed one sector, companies that outsource jobs to India, to hold approximately 80% of the H-1B visas, which results in a lack of diversity among H-1B visa workers."

You seem to be saying this is not a good thing. I would agree: The lack of diversity is in Americans/women/older workers/African Americans/Native Americans now employed in the tech sector as compared to 1990 numbers, due to this very situation.

Finally, you say there are strict limits on the number of some types of workers who are allowed in and none for "bagel bakers." First, as nearly anyone who works in the technology sector will tell you, those strict limits you reference are blatantly exploited and ignored. Second, as far as the ability for foreign bagel bakers to arrive onshore en masse, I doubt that is true for no other reason than if it were true, Bill Gates and his den of traitors would have a whole army of cheap labor "bagel bakers" already working for him.

Dr. Gene Nelson

Here are some statistics from a government organization, the National Science Foundation (NSF), which has apparently become focused on insuring a glut of scientists and engineers, much to the detriment of the career prospects of most U.S. scientists and engineers.

The recent NSF statistics that show at least three science and engineer graduates are chasing after one position. I believe that the situation is much more grim now, as the mass terminations since 2000, facilitated by offshoring and outsourcing have diminished available openings. The H-1B visa cap was more than 195,000 annually during fiscal year 2001-2003. (See my earlier posting referencing some of the political corruption behind such a high cap.) Currently, the cap is 85,000 per year. Remember that the effect is cumulative, as most of these visa holders will remain in the U.S.

From 1950 to 2000, employment in science and engineer occupations grew from fewer than 200,000 to approximately 4.8 million workers. Fifteen million workers in 2006 had a science and engineer degree as their highest degree, and 17 million have at least one degree in a science and engineer field.

On a related note, as to why the science and engineer and programming jobs are really not vulnerable to offshoring, think of the parlor game "telephone." In that game, the first participant whispers something to the second, and the process is repeated until the message is returned to the origin, usually with much laughter. Core business processes cannot tolerate such problems in communication. Communication problems may be resolved by person-to-person communication. Thus, the H-1B visa program was created by employers to import inexpensive and pliant labor. Of course, as "high-tech" production is moved to low labor cost nations, eventually the research and development jobs also follow, much to the detriment of the U.S. middle class. The H-1B visa program facilitates the flow of intellectual property to these nations, further contributing to U.S. job loss.

numen

"Random" asks some good questions, so I will deal with a couple of them.

What about training new workers?

Excellent question. I spent fourteen years as a corporate trainer. They ought to train, and it would absolutely solve the problem, but they all laid off all their training departments during the era of the great downsizing, when they decided to keep a small core of permanent employees and employ a raft of contract workers who are brought in for a short term project and then dumped. They pay H-1Bs so much less than Americans that they can put up with a bunch who lie on their resumes and still same money. (Until the project bombs, but by then the managers have transferred to another department to avoid the coming blame.) The only training corporations give now is "Dress for Success (in your next job interview)" and "How to Write Your Resume (when we lay you off)."

If the visas are supposed to bring the best and the brightest to the U.S., why is the author lamenting that India has such a grip on H-1B visas?

Because "best and brightest" is a deliberate lie. Most H-1Bs are brought in under the classification "entry level" or (barely) "experienced," and very few are classified as either "qualified" or "fully competent." India has a "grip" because the government gives away the H-1Bs by lottery instead of by quality, so whoever puts in the most applications has the best chances, and many, many India-based body shops flood the process with applications, and those who actually want the "best and brightest" instead of some random newby are crowded out. We could fix that by holding an auction, and it would be incredibly quick and inexpensive to do so. But if they actually did it, then they would have nothing to complain about.

So no immigrants allowed, even legal?

Note that a "flood of immigrants" was specified, because the H-1B proponents specifically want an unlimited flood to lower wages for all U.S. workers. Things would change if they actually had to prove there are no U.S. workers capable of doing their job (see "auction" above for a way for them to try to prove it). Also note that for those who are genuinely the "best and brightest," we already have the O1 and EB1 visas (and there are absolutely no quotas for them, but they have to be able to prove their worth--oops).

An economy that employs around 200 million people, or some 3,000 times the H-1B limit

Several people asked about this. Because of the lottery instead of auction and because the Indian body shops flood the process, most H-1Bs are in information technology, which only employs a few million people. Since the H-1B visa lasts six years and then can be extended indefinitely if they apply for a green card, and because the limit was 195,000 for years instead of the 85,000 at the moment, there are about a million or more here at any one time, which means a third or more of all IT jobs available. That's a huge percentage of my friends who used to be programmers or systems administrators who are now forced to be truck drivers or nurses or school teachers or Wal-Mart greeters because employers refuse to hire them when they can get an H-1B, because our legislators upped the guest worker visa quotas just when the dot-com bust happened. And now as the economy is about to go bust, they want to do it again to put the final nail in the coffin of any American who wants a career in IT.

(Note that the question about teens refers to "illegal" immigration, not guest worker visas. That is a very different question, although the same rule of excessive supply to shrinking demand applies.)

H1B debate

I have a great solution for Americans who hate educated legal immigrants. The U.S. government should put a total freeze on any immigration to the U.S. for about 10 years.

Let the fun begin. What we will see is two things. Costs will go up as local Americans will charge so much, or mass outsourcing of jobs as they won't be able to find enough qualified people in the U.S.

I go as far as saying, "I dare the U.S. government to do it." They know better and would refuse to a freeze.

I am all for it. American critics will then get a reality check.

Bruce de la Vega

The trouble is that the USA is not faced with a labor shortage. We've been producing far more bright, innovative, knowledgeable talent across the board than we've been employing. The "shortage" claim is fraudulent, and initiation of force and fraud is not allowed in a free market.

Remember that it is more than 100,000 of these H-1B visas per year. Yeah, sure, the official limit is 85,000, but for years more than 100,000 applications have been approved by USCIS (and they've been rolling over the thousands of little-publicized unused H-1B visas each year to the general H-1B allotment for the next), and more than 100,000 visas issued by the State Department. Then you must remember to add in the hundreds of thousands of F (student) visas with OPT and other work riders, 10,500 E-3 visas, unlimited J (exchange work) visas, unlimited L visas, and the abuses of the O visas these last few years to bring in less than stellar intellects and talents.

BLS says that's more jobs than they expect to be created each year from now to 2016. So, if the market were working, we'd expect to hear about tens of thousands of low-skilled guest-workers here on H-1B and other visas being shipped out early.

Bruce de la Vega

As to the price of H-1B visas, they would be underpriced if they cost $30,000 apiece. It costs more than that to conduct a proper background investigation.

Mike Rothschild

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Urban League, and the Rand Corp. have shown conclusively that there is no shortage of tech workers. If the H-1B users would advertise their jobs, our government would know this. The H-1Bs are no smarter than their American counterparts. If the H-1B users would submit to auditing of the
H-1Bs, we would know this, too.

Kudlow

I have lost much respect for Corporate America. The primary focus is only to increase the CEOs' compensation, with secondary allegiance to shareholders, and no responsibility of corporate citizenship to employees and communities and the USA, which hosts their operations.

They have become the greedy "takers" in our society, who pay minimal taxes, and hire few U.S. employees, so one can reasonably ask what good are they to the USA?

Give American workers the same opportunities of the free market that the U.S. Chamber wants for business. If there is a labor shortage, then U.S. citizen workers should benefit from their career path instead of being short circuited with unlimited immigration.

max

Allowing an ever increasing number of H-1Bs will certainly drive the best and brightest American college students into careers other than science. The H-1Bs that have been entering the United States lately are not the best and brightest but are average in ability and skill. The tech industry is hot in India and is allowing the truly exceptional talent to earn better compensation in their own country. Where will that leave the United States? Falling behind the rest of the world due to our abundant numbers of average talent. CEOs are concerned with their job and the next quarter's financial results and not what is best for the rest of us. If you do not think that is true, open your eyes and take a look at the subprime banking debacle. Those banking CEOs are taking their bonuses to the bank and leaving the rest of us to deal with the mess. Well, I guess its the tech CEOs' turn to squander what this country has taken decades to build. Mr. Berry offers a solution that is best for the country.

Khengsiong

Kim Berry's concept of free market economy assumes that the U.S. has a "closed" economy. Unfortunately, America is part of the larger global economy. If Microsoft licenses its software in India, you can't stop them from hiring in India. Now Americans must choose between immigration and offshoring.

Depressed

One problem I always see is that H-1B visa laws are taken at face value and no one believes that they can be cheated. The problem is foreign companies acquire H-1B visas for their employees and send them here to be contracted out. They are paid there, and the US company pays a fee for their services. No taxes paid out in a paycheck from the H-1B visa holder, because his check is signed by his home country's company. If the job dries up, they are marketed out. An American company might be paying competitive wages to a temp company, but I am pretty sure the worker is not getting a competitive wage. I might be wrong, but if a person is hired via a contract company, it is up to the contract company to ensure they are eligible to work in the U.S. So a foreign company marketing an expired visa holder doesn't seem too far fetched to make a buck. In my opinion the government really needs to start showing they are serious about getting American people qualified for the jobs and not driving its people away from these professions. As someone posted earlier, no job is safe from being outsourced or replaced by imported cheaper labor. Maybe our government needs to be outsourced; it appears we don't have enough qualified people to run this country.

a voter

I would like one Congressman to explain the basis for the law that is allowing 65,000 U.S. jobs to be given to foreign workers even when Americans are available to fill the jobs.

BitterAsian

Seeking the best talent for the lowest price is a key attribute of capitalistic endeavor. You knew it all along, but it was all kosher as long as you felt cool toting your iPod and wearing your Nike and the workers were far off in China, dying from the business practices that produce your cool.

Now the very same principle comes home and you wake up?

I have two strange concepts for you: Every human being desires the same. Every human being deserves the same.

Just as you did not feel any guilt as long as it was not you affected by the business practices of those who supplied you with your materialistic opium, neither will the workers (skilled, illegal, whatever) need to feel guilty to earn legitimately what they deserve by supplying the same service as you to your capitalist masters at a more competitive price.

If you still wonder, "Then what does it mean to be an American citizen? Don't I deserve protection?":
Remember that capitalism, per se, does not discriminate based on boundaries, color, religion, or sex. It is only based on two variables: demand, and supply. If you have been fooled into being patriotic, it has been because that must have helped someone make money.

You still have a way out: Open a business, learn to run a business. Learn to think for yourself and compete in today's world without the idiotic assumption that you deserve more because you are American.

Asians still have to fully understand the second principle I stated above, that they deserve just as much, and are right now still open to being ordered around by American managers.

sinbad

Americans: This is all part of globalization. You can't stop it.

Michael

If we'd adopt a few changes, the "worker shortage" would mysteriously disappear. Since all push free-market principles, Ryn Melberg should actively support them: 1) Allow full portability. Right now, if an H-1B is hired they're deported--that makes for compliant workers; let them get canned or quit with no downside, 2) Kill the lottery and move to an entirely wage-based system: whoever pays the highest wages gets their visa, 3) prohibit consultants from the program: only allow H-1B's to be used for employees working on a product (not a service) and working directly for the producer of that product. Of course, we all know the H-1B program is not about the "best and brightest" but about the continuation of the Indian "body shop," a disgraceful version of modern slavery that preys off of both U.S. workers and immigrants.

cloud9ine

With reference to below, if you allow foreigners to study in U.S. universities, you would want them to work here, then train them and send them back or to a competing country.

"This is discrimination. If you allow people to study in American universities, it is logical that they will want to work here to recover the investment. It is illogical to ask for a high tuition without giving the opportunity of paying it in the same currency."

The H-1B rules need to change. Let them stop the body-shopping. But the body of advanced degree holders in science, math, and engineering is mostly foreigners. H-1B needs to be modified to make it easy for them and hard for anyone with less than a U.S. master's degree to work here.

Cee

Discrimination,
A student visa requires that the individuals applying demonstrate their ties and intention to return to their home country as well as their ability to pay for their education. The individual who attends a U.S. university with intent of remaining in the U.S. is lying in order to obtain the visa enabling him to do so.

Individuals who attend U.S. universities should be required to return to their home country for at least as long as they studied here before being permitted to return as anything but a short term visitor.

What is morally right about taking the "best and brightest" from Third World countries who are in dire need of fundamental services, and so that some company catering to the developed world can create some new product that will not be needed, afforded, or used by the vast majority of the world's population. The purpose of funding the education of foreign students is so that they can return to their homes and improve the lot of their countrymen.

Let me propose an alternative to the employment-based preferences. Until every person on the planet has safe water, adequate food and shelter, and basic medical, educational, and transportation services, there should be a prohibition on the use of education as a preference for immigration to the U.S. All immigration should be a lottery similar to the current diversity visa. There would be no preferences either for extended family or for employment.

The student visa program will be successful when those who have the opportunity to study abroad use it for the exchange of ideas and not as a means to improve their chances for employment opportunities in their host country.

Falcone

America is well on its way to Idiocracy, great film by the way.

Maccabees

"Let the market rule"? Are you kidding? Why not "let the market rule" when it comes to illegal drug sales? Why not "let the market rule" when it comes to prostitution? Why not "let market rule"? Because we are a nation of laws. Without law, there is chaos. Follow the law, then let the market rule among the legal options remaining. Illegal immigrants must go. If Americans must be paid more to do certain jobs, so be it. But follow the law; then let the market rule.

factory worker

Khengsiong: You say we must choose between immigration and offshoring, but offshoring follows cheaper labor, independent from immigration. Also, Nike hires child "slave" labor in China, so must the U.S. choose between importing child labor and offshoring? Your conclusions are not logical.

random

"Note that a 'flood of immigrants' was specified, because the H-1B proponents specifically want an unlimited flood to lower wages for all U.S. workers."

Not really. You have to remember that most H-1B proponents only care about two things and that's saving money and getting the job done quickly. If a competitor is making the same widget for a few pennies less, they want to make it for a nickel less and file to get H-1B workers wh"Note that a 'flood of immigrants' was specified, because the H-1B proponents specifically want an unlimited flood to lower wages for all U.S. workers."

Not really. You have to remember that most H-1B proponents only care about two things, and that's saving money and getting the job done quickly. If a competitor is making the same widget for a few pennies less, they want to make it for a nickel less and file to get H-1B workers who look like they can do the job. What that does to wages in America overall is of no concern to them. All that matters is their own company's savings and what the shareholders think of cutting costs. It's a vicious cycle of cost-cut desperation for a quick jolt at quarterly report time.

It's also a symptom of putting quantity and cost before quality. Many IT managers and managers of highly trained experts don't really understand what it is the experts under them actually do and form misconceptions about what is and isn't a "commodity job." It seems impossible for an IT executive to grasp that a developer isn't just a source of code to make a piece of software work, but also a crucial player in design and is responsible for the logic behind how the software works. He (almost always he) just thinks that anyone who can write a command in C# or VB is automatically qualified and ready to be a developer.

Then I and my counterparts have to spend years untangling the spaghetti code, bad logic, and vast number of bugs that comes out of underqualified contractors' attempts to write software on a totally unrealistic deadline set by a body shop to win an executive's business. The executive thinks that he's saving the company tens of millions and blames the IT department when the hackers the body shop provides aren't up to snuff and the software has to be fixed for years on end before it's even operational, much less reliable and functional. He doesn't want to hear that he's been taken for a ride, and justifies the rate at which his savings evaporate as problems with his IT department.

Then he contracts the body shop yet again to "streamline the IT process" and it sends over more poorly trained so-called experts who ignore everything said to them and proceed to sell more stuff from the body shop's service portfolio. Meanwhile the executives are only fed good news by managers, and their lack of understanding of what it really takes to make things work gives the body shops' salespeople in expert's clothing an advantage to keep milking their victim company for profits.

Moral of the story: Train your own workers. Focus on quality. Be willing to put serious up-front investment of time and money into your new software. Listen to the rank and file specialists. Your costs will always be less than putting yourself in the hands of a body shop that promises to do everything you need done in ten minutes and for five bucks.

This isn't theory. This is what I've seen happening today. I'm not a fan of what's happening in the H-1B system not because I'm against immigration (hell, I'm an Eastern European immigrant myself) or because I'm xenophobic or protectionist. It's because the system and managerial thinking behind it is being used for the wrong reasons and in the worst possible way.

"Note that the question about teens refers to 'illegal' immigration, not guest worker visas."

Actually, the author clumped all immigration, legal and illegal, in his complaints and claims. He called the immigrants in question low-skilled, not illegal. From that point on, his claims became rather hard to believe. From 15% unemployment among teens and 20% unemployment in Silicon Valley, one wonders where he got his numbers.o look like they can do the job. What that does to wages in America overall is of no concern to them. All that matters is their own company's savings and what the shareholders think of cutting costs. It's a vicious cycle of cost-cut desperation for a quick jolt at quarterly report time.

It's also a symptom of putting quantity and cost before quality. Many IT managers and managers of highly trained experts don't really understand what it is the experts under them actually do and form misconceptions about what is and isn't a "commodity job." It seems impossible for an IT executive to grasp that a developer isn't just a source of code to make a piece of software work, but a crucial player in design and is responsible for the logic behind how the software works. He (almost always he) just thinks that anyone who can write a command in C# or VB is automatically qualified and ready to be a developer.

Then I and my counterparts have to spend years untangling the spaghetti code, bad logic and vast amount of bugs that comes out of under-qualified contractors' attempts to write software on a totally unrealistic deadline set by a body shop to win an exec's business. The exec thinks that he's saving the company tens of millions and blames the IT department when the hackers the body shop provides aren't up to snuff and the software has to be fixed for years on end before its even operational, much less reliable and functional. He doesn't want to hear that he's been taken for a ride and justifies the rate at which his savings evaporate as problems with his IT department.

Then he contracts the body shop yet again to "streamline the IT process" and it sends over more poorly trained so-called experts who ignore everything said to them and proceed to sell more stuff from the body shop's service portfolio. Meanwhile the executives are only fed good new by managers and their lack of understanding of what it really takes to make things work gives the body shops' salespeople in expert's clothing an advantage to keep milking their victim company for profits.

Moral of the story. Train your own workers. Focus on quality. Be willing to put serious up-front investment of time and money into your new software. Listen to the rank and file specialists. Your costs will always be less than putting yourself in the hands of a body shop which promises to do everything you need done in ten minutes and for five bucks.

This isn't theory. This is what I've seen happening today. I'm not a fan of what's happening in the H-1B system not because I'm against immigration (hell, I'm an Eastern European immigrant myself) or because I'm xenophobic or protectionist. It's because the system and managerial thinking behind it is being used for the wrong reasons and in the worst possible way.

"Note that the question about teens refers to 'illegal' immigration, not guest worker visas."

Actually, the author clumped all immigration, legal and illegal in his complaints and claims. He called the immigrants in question low-skilled, not illegal. From that point on his claims became rather hard to believe. From 15% unemployment among teens and 20% unemployment in Silicon Valley, one wonders where he got his numbers.

Bob

It is never the fault of the young men or women who would like a better life for themselves and their children. To blame them is to not see the whole picture. I have written on this subject on other forums and wish to do so here.

To my brethren overseas working for U.S. companies through outsourcing: The companies over here do not--repeat do not--care about any hardships you have to endure working on their behalf. If they could work you longer and harder for less money, they would. CEOs and Wall Street look upon you as a commodity. Hell, they don't even care about their own country (and in some recent cases, their own families). Money, plain and simple, is the only God in their life. They worship that. If they could sell their own for money, the slave market would be open. And who knows, it may be coming.

Falcone

A voter,
Americans simply can't fill a lot of the jobs on the market. Americans are more suited for certain occupations than others. Relative to peers around the globe, U.S. kids are just not made for science and math. You might counter that the best researchers are Americans. Granted, half of those brilliant American minds are probably immigrants who you are trying to bar from entering the U.S. in the first place; the other half is happily employed already and simply cannot pick up the slack for the cerebrally challenged. Do you really want Average Joe to look after your retirement fund?

By the way, I absolutely abhor it when immigrants cheat their way in though, despite bad immigration policies.

Mia

There is nothing moral about the H-1B visa program and how it's abused. Moral isn't about hiring cheap foreign workers, then making the U.S. worker train the H-1B replacement on the way out of the door. Globalism in its present form isn't providing the majority of Americans with anything except cheap imports from China. It is providing a few with rock star salaries, though. Globalism as it is now is not moral--it could be a wonderful tool to spread trade and productivity throughout the world but not in its present form. See the Prudent Bear link article--it says it all: http://www.madnamerica.com/offshoring.htm.

Amit

Since when did this debate become about body shops, the cost of H-1B, or economic issues?

In case the authors forget, the debate has always been about U.S. immigration policy. It is best addressed as such without dragging in extraneous issues.

------------------------------------
http://www.numbersusa.com/text?ID=802

October 10, 2001

Ten Principles of Immigration
By John Miano, the Programmer's Guild

1. The purpose of immigration policy is to benefit the citizens of the United States.

2. As immigration shapes the country, immigration policy should be set by action, not accident.

3. Policy is set by laws that are enforced.

4. There is no legal right for non-citizens to remain in the U.S, whatsoever. Non-citizens enter the United States as guests and may be removed at will by the government of the U.S.

5. The U.S. should keep track of guests while they visit.

6. Those who enter the U.S. illegally or remain beyond the terms of their visas are criminals and should be regarded as such. Anyone doing so should be permanently barred from entering the U.S. for any purpose.

7. Guests who will not be accepted for return to their home countries may be detained by the government until such time as their home country or suitable alternative country will accept them.

8. Adjustments of status must take place in the applicant's home country. The only purpose bouncing among the alphabet soup of visa categories serves is to feed immigration lawyers.

9. There must be numerical limits on immigration. Numbers determine funding. If funding is set at one level and the number of people allowed is set at a higher level, you have a mess.

10. It is not possible for everyone in the world to live in the United States.

Bob

Can you think of it this way: Do you want your children to study and graduate with a degree for which there are no jobs? That is why there is no technology base being turned out in the U.S. And I do not believe any group of people have the market cornered on any science or mathematics (or gender either). Here is another simple point that needs to be made. Stockholders are trying like hell to rein in CEO and other executive pay and make them tied more to performance. The entire financial community is fighting this. And as a friend of mine said, "The wealthy think their way of life will never change. If someone else runs the country, they think they will be safe. They forget when a new power comes in, the rich are the first to go."

Kim Berry - Programmers Guild

Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Some people have asked for references:

Unemployment rate of more than 15% for young Americans:
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_369.asp

20% unemployment, half of the Californians working in tech in 2000 have left the field:
http://www.library.ca.gov/sitn/2004/0478.htm#S4498

Same reference 7th article:
http://republican.sen.ca.gov/opeds/99/oped2403.asp
(SJ Mercury News has taken down its original article just recently.)

James

"We the people" are the only ones responsible for any of this. If we weren't so greed driven we wouldn't be in this mess. We all feel so entitled to more. How much more? No certain amount, just always more, more more. When the private corporations and small businesses alike are no longer able to produce acceptable profit margins for their stock holders, they have to seek cheaper overhead, i.e., rising hourly wages and insurance costs. Don't lie to yourself--the dollar is the almighty bottom line. Quit asking for raises and better health insurance. Get out and vote rather than whining about not being able to make a difference (all I ever see are short lines at the polls). The next time you feel compelled to moan about the USA losing its industries one by one, take a look inward and a step back. Rome is burning all around us, and only you can stop it.

Karthik

One of the reasons outsourcing thrives in Corporate America is the American public's needs. American employees demand way too much liberty in regard to their job. Lots of my American colleagues work three days a week; they use the working from home option frequently, rarely work nights if needed because of project criticality. Corporate America needs workers 24/7 to run its operations. Hence it finds hard-working Indians even if they are less qualified to be better than good American employees.

Venkat

Let's have some of your jobs for us. America is a land of dreams. Why don't you give some of your money to a Third World country? America will only lose most of its IT developers. However, you guys are still very rich and powerful, and Americans still can find opportunities other than in the IT field. It is not good to be too powerful.

POed Lib

The Chinese and Indians come here because they have no undergraduate student debt. If U.S. students had less expensive undergrad institutions, supported by the fed and states, they would be able to apply to grad school. As it is, the Chinese and Indians have an unfair advantage as their undergrad costs are much much lower.

David

I worry about the effect on American kids from the past, present, and future importing of labor. This is a crutch that creates a serious inadequacy in preparing Americans to fill jobs in the future. I don't think there is much of a shortage at present, but I think the de-motivation of the education system is a problem on all levels. Why should a state have a good higher education system if so many of the workers will be coming from abroad? Isn't it cheaper to educate someone in India, where the costs are so much lower than it is to do it in the U.S., where it is very expensive? Besides, we don't even have to pay if the educating is done before the individual reaches the U.S. What a cost savings.

There are all sorts of objective measures that say the U.S. education system is getting worse and worse. More and more kids are in special education. The educational quality received by the ones who aren't is lower and lower. More and more emphasis is placed on meaningless test scores as opposed to a true education. There is none of the concern for science education that first started in the U.S. back in the 1960s and served the country well, paying dividends almost immediately. If we went back to that kind of emphasis, it, too, would pay dividends immediately. It's not true that the only way to address a potential shortfall is to import foreign workers.

Alan Greenspan

Allowing more skilled workers into the country would bring down the salaries of top earners in the United States, easing tensions over the mounting wage gap, Greenspan said. "Our skilled wages are higher than anywhere in the world," he said. "If we open up a significant window for skilled workers, that would suppress the skilled-wage level and end the concentration of income."

TiredOf CorporateBS

So the pro side thinks that unlimited visas is the way to go, because that would be a free and unencumbered market? It seems to me that a free market would be one where the wages rise to the level that the native population would be interested in the jobs. And to do that, it has to be free of wage depression caused by the importation of cheap labor. So I'm for the free market--and that means no visas at all.

TiredOfOutsourcing

You guys are complaining about H-1B visas, which have a limit of 65,000 per year. Has anyone given any thought to the way the L-1 visas are being misused? There is no cap for L1 visas. L1 visas are meant for intra-company transfers, i.e., if you have a company abroad, you can temporarily move your employees to your offices in the U.S. But the way Tata, Infosys, and other Indian companies are misusing them is by placing their employees with clients in the U.S. By placing their employees at a XYZ client instead of their own offices in the U.S., the Indian companies are completely breaching the L1 visas. To add to that, poor U.S. employees are being asked to train their own replacements. That is disgusting. In addition to that, millions of jobs are being outsourced to India, which makes the H-1B visa numbers trivial. If the U.S. government doesn't wake up, soon the middle class in America would disappear. Every economy needs a balance. The only jobs left in the U.S. would be lawyers, physicians, nurses, firemen, and cops until those fields are saturated . What is the average American going to do? Sell burgers? Wake up, America, before it is too late.

YellowJacket

I am an Indian national studying at one of the Top 10 engineering and computer science universities in the U.S. I am about to graduate within the next couple of weeks, and I got a very good job with one a highly reputed software company here. I think getting a job for programmer here in the U.S. is very easy, but not everybody wants to be a programmer, especially Americans. I have met several friends here at my university who had experiences working with companies like IBM, and they really got frustrated with the kind of work they were doing there. Most of the Americans want cool jobs where they can design stuff and create their own company someday. Americans want their work hours to be extremely flexible. There are very few jobs out there that are so-called "dream jobs" with companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Electronic Arts, etc. Americans don't want to work as software test engineers with companies like Microsoft. Most of the Indian or Chinese students are willing to take software test engineer jobs, because they think it pays them well.

Companies like Microsoft are huge corporations whose products have matured, and most of the work available with such companies is either maintenance or testing of the existing products. Americans want jobs in departments like design, marketing, management, where there is no headache of developing and debugging the code. Americans want too much of a relaxed work environment and also want higher salaries. I think Americans have very high expectations.

In my university, there are numerous job opportunities with some of the best companies in the field. These companies regularly visit the campuses for career fairs and career sessions, but it seems Americans somehow miss these sessions or are unaware of such activities. I think Americans are so lazy that they want recruiters to come to their house to give them the invitation for interviews. I know American students here are very brilliant, but I think they are not seriously paying attention to such job search activities on university campuses across the country.

So in my opinion, to fill up these uninteresting but important jobs, American companies will have to go for Indian or Chinese students who are more willing to take these jobs.

Jonathan Goodman

Most of the revenues of the companies in our beloved U.S. are now coming from abroad, Asia included. Putting restrictions is putting restriction on the profit flow back into the U.S. and creating more products. Eat rice, drink sake, and chill for a moment. We should be increasing the visa limits by a few 100,000 more to keep new companies popping up.

Mathew Thomas

It's clear as daylight that Corporate American companies do not find math, science, and computer graduates to stay abreast of worldwide technology and concomitant global competition. If they did, they'd hire American citizens. The problems can be resolved if America produces more and more graduates. Alas, in this great country of land and opportunity (the land of immigrants), many American kids drop out of college for multifarious reasons. This, I believe, is the primary reason Corporate America looks for talented minds from Asian countries.

Also, America seems to have two faces under its hood. Most of the products that are sold in America are not made in America. For example, check the tag on your shirts and trousers, laptops, and electronic products. Most of the products are manufactured in developing countries at a cheaper cost and are sold at retail prices affordable by the rank and file. Did American citizens think about it? Why can't American companies manufacture most of the products in America? Can American companies make shirts and trousers and sell them to the rank and file between for $10 and $40? I doubt it.

In the era of globalization, American companies will do anything to cut costs and increase profits even if it means outsourcing to emerging countries. This is the reality check that all Americans face, but are not able to accept.

Dr. Lee

People, where are you getting all your information? To put it simply, there are not enough American scientists out there. That is, postdoctorate scientists with specialist skills. Many jobs in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries simply cannot be filled because there is a lack of specialists in these areas. There maybe American candidates, but they do not have the necessary skills to do a job that requires higher training. The number of Americans going into higher education in science has been declining year after year.

I also have news for you--H-1B workers do not get paid less than their American counterparts. And they also pay taxes--I know because I, too, used to be H-1B worker.

Being in the biotech industry, I know how hard it is to recruit good candidates. For instance, we found a well qualified foreign worker for a postdoctoral level position a month ago. Because of the H-1B shortage, we couldn't hire him. This position has already been advertised for five months. We are in desperate need, but there is simply no American candidates who have the skill set that we need. And no, they cannot be trained on the job since there is nobody else with the same skill set that we're looking for in the company to train them.

I agree that the H-1B visas should not be going to Indian tech companies. There should be a separate category for the tech sector and the biology sector. That would limit the number of visas going to the Indian companies. Hopefully then there will be more visas for the biotechs and the pharmaceutical companies that need foreign workers.

Joanne

The U.S. should do away with the H-1B visa. All it does is replace American workers with cheap workers from around the world. That's all there is to it.

get real

I think it's time people stopped being crybabies and started working harder. Get a life.

R

It is not correct that H-1B holders are paid lower salaries; they get competitive salaries. But since the majority of the project gets offshored with the arrival of each H-1B, the overall cost goes down.

Indian IT companies still mostly do the monotonous maintenance jobs. There is not much scope of screwing up the code or design here.

Although there are enough unemployed IT workers in the U.S., there is a still a shortage of "skilled and qualified" IT professionals. India just produces too many more IT graduates per year than the U.S. The top students, especially from ITs, find it easy to land good jobs in U.S. organizations like Microsoft and Google.

Americans have to live with the outsourcing phenomenon. It has helped their companies cut the IT budgets, and they are the indirect beneficiaries through the stock holdings. Outsourcing is part of globalization. American companies have to know that India will form a good market for their products, and it is not easy to say that work visas have to be stopped without looking at the complete picture of globalization.

Random

Dear Cry-Babies,
It's funny to see the birthplace of greed and capitalism shudder at the thought of competition.

Another key word is productivity. Tomorrow when you go to your workplace, take some time off (though you shouldn't) and objectively analyze yourself and your co-workers.

It's a myth that you work hard. Thank the baby boomers for the U.S. as it is today. The average 20-something American Joe is lazy, unambitious, and so very vain.

So stop whining, stop browsing the Internet at work, and stop yakking on the phone. Honestly, the company doesn't care about your personal life, and rightly so.

So dear cry-babies, start working hard.

Asif

I negate today's topic of H1-B and offshore outsourcing on the premises of: First, the H-1B program causes a loss of jobs to workers here in the United States. As companies face cheaper prospects, students and workers here feel rejected. Technology jobs are lost; therefore, a competitive advantage is lost. The United States should be worried about loss of such jobs because of the loss of a competitive advantage. Further, shirking occurs by such students who get hired and other companies who perform such work.

It is for the above and other reasons that I oppose the H-1B program and offshore outsourcing.

Bala

Foreigners are hired not because they get low pay compared to American citizens. They are hired because they are more talented, more flexible, more adaptable, etc. H-1Bs are better than outsourcing jobs to other countries.

random

"Some people have asked for references."

I would be one of those people. No relation to the other Random, by the way. And after examining the links I'm even more perplexed by Kim Berry's assertions. The first link, which claims to show 15% unemployment for teens, shows teacher to pupil ratios in schools instead. I'm not sure how that relates to unemployment among teens or how it links that unemployment in whole or in part to immigration.

The second and third links also don't support the 20% unemployment statistic for Silicon Valley. Instead, they say that half of Californians working in tech have left the field altogether and about 28% are earning significantly less in other industries while those left in the Valley are facing wage gaps. There is no 20% unemployment figure in either the quotes or the presentation.

It makes sense that fewer workers in tech are earning less after the dot bust of 2000. At the time, wages, company valuations, and intangible assets like domain names and business-card style Web sites were vastly overinflated. Most Web companies had poor business plans, made no real products or provided real services and if they did, they couldn't attract nearly enough customers to keep from closing down. In the crash and subsequent tightening of belts, of course tech workers are being paid less. It's somewhat myopic to blame only outsourcing or H-1Bs for reductions in hiring and pay for tech workers after a massive, recession causing bubble burst just a few years prior.

DW

It is hard for me to believe that it is beneficial to Americans and the American economy to prevent educated workers from coming to America to enhance American companies and the American economy. These foreign workers bring new ideas and a strong work ethic and pay American taxes. In most cases, they become American citizens over time, and add to the diversity and greatness of America. Some go on to start American businesses, which also contribute to the U.S. economy. Living overseas, I can see very clearly that China, India, Vietnam, and many other countries are working hard to create welcoming environments for large U.S. companies to outsource in areas as diverse as finance, software, creative design, and more. U.S. companies outsourcing in foreign countries pay taxes to foreign governments. The workers pay taxes to the foreign countries. It is also clear to me that the workers at these U.S. companies do not stay long but take what they learn and start their own businesses, which compete with U.S. businesses. These are foreign businesses, not American. Americans need to wake up and see what is happening globally. America was built on immigrant labor, and if we restrict the flow of skilled workers, America gives up a great competitive advantage.

Dave

The problem is not that Microsoft, HP, IBM, Yahoo, or Google is hiring H-1Bs but rather that TCS, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, and Satyam can bring in thousands of programmers on H-1Bs for a couple of years so they can learn the work and then take it offshore.

Can TCS, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, and Satyam keep those jobs in America? Will they set up their development and service centers in America?

max

The new H-1Bs are not the best and brightest. The H-1Bs entering this country are new grads with little experience and hence no new ideas.

ABOLISH H1-B

H-1B/L-1 is a manipulation of the supply side of the free market.

Michael

It's capitalism at its finest, just that while America enjoyed the good side of it all these years, now it is facing the negative side of it.

For more than 30 years the best and brightest Indians have been moving to the U.S. from the IITs (just Google the number of successful silicon valley startups, etc. Everyone knows all that), and the American companies loved them because they made them a lot of money. Obviously they moved here from India because it was a miserable life there with no opportunity. It was such a well known phenomenon that every school kid in India had heard the term "brain drain." In an impoverished nation like India, the government paid for the IITians education, and right after that they all left the country, giving nothing back to India.

Today the salaries have gone up so much that the same American companies are moving the same jobs to India, because it costs them much less and they still improve their bottom line. Either way the companies win. I'm not saying that every Indian is an IITian or even as good as an American, just that the economics of it make more sense to the capitalist companies. This is a business, people. They are out to make money, not to give you a job. Its as simple as that.

Nowadays everyone in India has heard the term "reverse brain drain." As the standard of living goes up in those countries (hard, because of massive population), the American companies might see sense in moving it elsewhere, maybe even back to the U.S.

So how do you as an American programmer survive this? Simple. Do what every educated Indian has been doing for the past 30 years: Move overseas. If that is too hard, well then you might have noticed that the companies in question are all American. So become a stockholder, and you can sit at home and reap the profits, maybe write some code to say "Hello, world" in the meantime.

fair play

So what about the U.S. lawyers lobbying to enter the Indian market?

At the end of the day, it's about competitive advantage. Whoever can do it best, should do it. The U.S. has benefited greatly from foreigners and has been able to leverage that to expand the technology and their market share worldwide. Think Hotmail, Yahoo, Pentium chip, Bose speakers, Sun Microsystems--all founded or co-founded by immigrants.

I say let the market rule.

Work Hard.

Working hard is the only option for everyone. Cribbing and complaining are the worst things to do. Only the creative will survive. The mundane will always do the bull work. Be creative, and work hard.

Frank

Many people are posting here without really having dealt with this. I can tell you how it worked for me personally. I interviewed at a company in Los Angeles. I interviewed at a couple dozen companies around that time, which was right after the dot-com bust. This was right before they lowered the H-1B limit. As so with nearly every company in the area (which is No. 2 now for tech after N. California), pretty much all tech employees are foreign. At one company they might be Russian, at another India, at a third Arab. At this company, they were young Indians, looked like teenagers. I was asked questions that made little sense, which is also common at other companies. It was obvious that they had no intention of hiring me and would probably badmouth me back to HR. The HR people are all Americans, and if you're American, you also have to go through them, which is not easy. They check your references and background. The foreign people are hired through a third party. How is it even possible to check their background? So I sent an e-mail to HR after the interview and told them I thought it was a scam and their tech department was taken over by Indians. The head of the company wrote back, basically calling me a racist and vowing I would never work for him. This guy later sold the company for many millions (he should be shot in the head like the Chinese do to traitors). So I started checking and found a Web site that gave details on H-1Bs. Sure, enough the company had taken more visas than they had employees. I had a few more experiences like this, and I stopped looking for a tech job. During the dot-com boom, I worked for several different companies and most of the tech workers were Americans or people who had been here a few years, but I doubt if any of them are working in tech now. This new group can't work with Americans, because they do things their own way and have no interest in changing. They violate any number of laws including overtime. In California, the laws on overtime are very strict but never enforced in this area. If you try to complain about this, they will call you a racist and attack you. At this point, the struggle for these jobs is over. They're gone. But that doesn't mean it's over. Laws were broken here. Governments violated rights of citizens. Many people committed treason. Either this is resolved legally or it will come back in violence.

Kim Berry - Programmers Guild

Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:

"Random" wrote:
1) "after examining the links I'm even more perplexed by Kim Berry's assertions. The first link, which claims to show 15% unemployment for teens, shows teacher to pupil ratios in schools instead.

Sorry, I still see unemployment rates at this link: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_369.asp

"Random" continued:
2) "The second and third links also don't support the 20% unemployment statistic for Silicon Valley. Instead, they say that half of Californians working in tech have left the field altogether and about 28% are earning significantly less in other industries while those left in the Valley are facing wage gaps. There is no 20% unemployment figure in either the quotes or the presentation."

We dispute how the government calculates the formal unemployment rate: If an unemployed programmer is working at McDonalds or Circuit City--even if they are sending out hundreds of resumes--they are not "unemployed." The quote above speaks for itself--28% of tech workers were forced into lower-paying industries.

Here is another reference supporting up to a 31% "unemployment" rate--or "31% of U.S. programmers unable to find work in the field, even though they might be collecting shopping carts at Wal-Mart": http://www.programmersguild.org/docs/bls_150000_programmers.htm

"Random" continued:
3) "It's somewhat myopic to blame only outsourcing or H-1Bs for reductions in hiring and pay for tech workers after a massive, recession causing bubble burst just a few years prior."

Response: "Random" has entirely missed my point. My point was that "market-based caps" do not work, because even when 31% of U.S. programmers could not find employment within the their profession, industry continued to flood in H-1B programmers. The second point is that increasing H-1B quotas won't stop offshoring, because even when the H-1B cap was not being reached--and 31% of U.S. programmers were seeking programming work. Microsoft and HP and others continued offshoring.

Fact: Industry continues to bring in H-1B workers even when 30% of U.S. programmers had been pushed out of the profession. Accordingly, "market-based caps" do not work and would not protect U.S. workers. Congress' primary duty is to protect Americans, not to provide cheap labor flow for poor Bill Gates.

Kim Berry - Programmers Guild

Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:
Several people have posted disputing that H-1Bs are paid less than U.S. workers. Besides the numerous studies showing a gap in excess of $10,000, we have this admission by a major H-1B employer: http://programmersguild.blogspot.com/2007/05/india-now-denies-their-prior-admission.html

Tata Consultancy Services vice-president Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas. "Our wage per employee is 20% to25% less than U.S. wages for a similar employee," Vandrevala said. "Typically, for a TCS employee with five years of experience, the annual cost to the company is $60,000 to $70,000, while a local American employee might cost $80,000 to $100,000. "This (labor arbitrage) is a fact of doing work onsite. It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that. The issue is that of getting workers in the U.S. on wages far lower than the local wage rate."

Kim Berry - Programmers Guild

Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:
Bala wrote: "Foreigners are hired not because they get low pay compared to American citizens. They are hired because they are more talented, more flexible, more adaptable, etc."

What does "flexible and adaptable" mean? In my observation it means being willing to work nights and weekends without compensation.

I addressed "low pay" in a prior response. Furthermore, in every case of an H-1B getting hired that I've personally witnessed in the past few years, a key factor was that "the H-1B had a lower bill rate than the U.S. applicants." I have never witnessed a case where only H-1B applicants had the necessary skills.

Regarding "more talented": We could probably flood in men from Eastern Europe who would be "more talented" (stronger, younger) than our average police and firefighter recruits. We could probably find foreigners in all professions that in some way are "more talented," such as professional chefs from China willing to work at Taco Bell. But we don't do that in other professions. So why has the U.S. government singled out U.S. computer programmers to have to compete with the entire world for U.S. jobs?

"More talented" is often subjective. Who is "more talented"? A person with a BS from a state college and one year of Oracle/Web development experience? Or a person with an MS from Stanford, but no experience? And so on for possible variations of "talent" that arise when sorting through the dozens of resumes that typically arrive for a single job ad.

Venkat

To @Dave:
That's globalization. By rotating employees from U.S. to India and India to U.S., it will provide more human resources for U.S. companies at cheaper prices. After rotation, the employees will have knowledge in business process and industry domain knowledge. As a result, the companies will be able to even offer services at cheaper prices by offshoring them.

Frank

This argument that foreigners founded all these major companies is repeated again and again based on false information. Bose is a new one I haven't seen before, so I looked it up and although the founder's father was from India, he was born here. In most of the other cases, these guys came here as children. If you can't speak the language of the country you were born in, it's hardly accurate to call you a foreigner, whatever your legal status. This reminds me of Hollywood, where everyone involved in a film puts that on their resume, so you have these credits that last 10 minutes. There have always been foreign people in tech, but the last few years have been something else and H1-B is the problem. Another problem is allowing foreign students to take over our engineering schools. There's an interesting history in that. Back in the 1930s, the Eastern Europeans dominated the study of psychology. So most of your professors in that field in the U.S. came from East Europe and spoke with strange accents. Americans deferred to their expertise and as a result states like California set up "mental hospitals" where citizens that had violated no laws were lobotomized, forcibly castrated, and given "shock therapy," which was developed by these foreigners. What do you think the future of tech is if we let foreign people control it? Some are particularly nice if you are their boss, but wait till they are your boss. Then it will be too late for you.

Michael

Yeah, think Yahoo. Jerry Yang is a basket case. Yang technically founded the company, but it was taken over almost at the beginning by Tim Koogle--a great, American entrepreneur--who built it into the house that Jerry killed. Hotmail was a well-documented accident, quickly acquired by Microsoft, a company founded by Americans Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Microsoft's primary rival is Apple, a company founded by Americans Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. As for Google, the primary search algorithm isn't called Page Rank, as in Larry Page, for nothing. Your Pentium chip comes from Intel, founded Gordon Moore, of Moore's law; he was born in San Francisco. As for Sun, Scott McNealy is born in the U.S. That isn't to say immigrants aren't helpful: Sergey Brin, Andy Grove, and Vinod Khosla are all great contributors (though they're outweighed to some extent by Jerry Yang, a managerial disaster). In any event, none of the great immigrant business leaders came here to work for an offshore body shop.

What a drag!

"Kim Berry - Programmers Guild
April 25, 2008 04:19 PM
Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Some people have asked for references:
Unemployment rate of more than 15% for young Americans:
http://nces.ed.gov/"Kim Berry - Programmers Guild
April 25, 2008 04:19 PM
Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Some people have asked for references:
Unemployment rate of more than 15% for young Americans:
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_369.asp

20% unemployment, half of the Californians working in tech in 2000 have left the field:
http://www.library.ca.gov/sitn/2004/0478.htm#S4498
Same reference 7th article:
http://republican.sen.ca.gov/opeds/99/oped2403.asp
(SJ Mercury News has taken down its original article just recently.)"

Mr. Berry,
I, too, was interested in your articles and how they validated your claims for an abolishment of H-1B. And as "Random" posted earlier, I am also unsure whether you actually read the said links you posted as references before making your claims.
Your claims of 15%+ unemployment for young Americans (16-24 years old) is completely irrelevant to this discussion. The data tables from NCES show that unemployment for 16-24 years old Americans with bachelor's degrees and above is around 5%. The 15% figure you quoted is for high school graduates or under. Is that really the level of skills and talent you want to compare with H-1B's, all of whom have to have a minimum of a BA, and at least 40% have a master's degree or above?

Your next link is relating to a 20% unemployment for Bay Area Californians after the dot-com bubble bust. The ppt file was created in 2004 and referenced 2003 and earlier data. The dot-com bubble, like any other bubble, was characterized with unprecedented and unsustainable increases in wages, bonuses, and other forms of remunerations. This id precisely why it was a bubble. Comparing current day wages with wages driven up by speculation and unsound practices (therefore the bubble and the bubble bust) is really the dumbest argument to use when you and your guild are advocating a protectionist policy.

I may have a vested interest in discarding your arguments, (I am an H-1B with two master's degrees and a non-IT specialization), but seriously, people, take your proclamations at face value and carry on the anti-immigrant tirades. I am trying to be polite and refrain from calling you names, but yours was amongst the dumbest analysis I have seen in a long time.
programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_369.asp

20% unemployment, half of the Californians working in tech in 2000 have left the field:
http://www.library.ca.gov/sitn/2004/0478.htm#S4498
Same reference 7th article:
http://republican.sen.ca.gov/opeds/99/oped2403.asp
(SJ Mercury News has taken down its original article just recently.)"

Mr. Berry,

I, too, was interested in your articles and how they validated your claims for an abolishment of H1B. And as ‘Random’ posted earlier, I am also unsure whether you actually read the said links you posted as reference before making your claims.
Your claims of 15%+ unemployment for young Americans (16-24 yo) is completely irrelevant to this discussion. The data tables from NCES shows that unemployment for 16-24 yo Americans with Bach. and above is around 5%. The > 15% figure you quoted is for high school graduates or under. Is that really the level of skills and talent you want to compare with H1B’s, all of whom have to have a min of Bach, and atleast 40% have a Masters degree or above?

Your next link is relating to a 20% unemployment for Bay Area Californians after the dot-com bubble bust. The ppt file was created in 2004 and referenced 2003 and earlier data. The Dot-com bubble, like any other bubble’s, was characterized with unprecedented and unsustainable increases in wages, bonuses and other forms of remunerations. THAT is precisely why it was a bubble. Comparing current day wages with wages driven up by speculation and unsound practices, (therefore the bubble and the bubble bust) is really the dumbest argument to use when you and your guild are advocating a protectionist policy.

I may have a vested interest in discarding your arguments, (I am a h-1B with 2 MS and a non-IT specialization), but seriously, people take your proclamations at face value and carry on the anti immigrant tirades. I am trying to be polite and refrain from calling you names, but yours was amongst the dumbest analysis I have seen in a long time.

Shanks

With 1 billion people desiring to immigrate, a "market-based" immigration system of "admitting anyone with a job offer" would be chaos. Where is the stat coming from?

random

"This guy later sold the company for many millions (he should be shot in the head like the Chinese do to traitors)."

Wait, just because somebody didn't want to hire you, he should be shot in the head? Do you have any idea how many people would have to be lined up in front of a firing squad, which would rival in size all of the troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq if job seekers would follow your train of thought? Allegations of taking advantage of foreign nationals to enrich oneself is hardly treason. It's not even a fact. It's an accusation.

I'm also not sure how you would expect "taken over by Indians" to be seen as anything but a racist slur. A Japanese job seeker complaining about the place "being overtaken by Americans" in a post interview note to Sony would come off the same way. Hiring foreign nationals to--as you allege--abuse them is a corrupt business practice and probably illegal. But it's not treason unless the company was a front for a clandestine intelligence-gathering operation of another country.

Treason is a serious charge that applies only to those who undermine the security of their own country. Choosing not to hire a particular American or running a body shop don't expose the country's defenses to a foreign enemy.

Fintan Lynch

If the H-1B visa issue is controlled; the corporate will just outsource. The real problem for now is ensuring that imported tech workers are paid the going rate. Then tackle the outsourcing problem. The two issues are being played off each other, thus confusing the issues.
Fintan.

What a drag!

Writer Kim Berry responds to reader comments:
"Random" wrote:
1) "after examining the links I'm even more perplexed by Kim Berry's assertions. The first link, which claims to show 15% unemployment for teens, shows teacher to pupil ratios in schools instead.

Sorry, I still see unemployment rates at this link: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_369.asp

The tables show 14.4% unemployment in 2006 for Americans 16to 19 years old and 8.2% unemployment for 20 to 24 years old. However, these are unemployment figures for all employables, irrespective of whether they did/did not pass high school or have a degree. I wonder why you are using that figure as an argument for "H-1B's displacing Americans"?

Surely, you are not going to blame high-school dropouts' unemployment on us fore gin workers?

Second, say, someone who is an IT professional loses a job during the tech recession. Are you seriously claiming that the said professional will be forced to flip burgers at McDonalds if he could not find a job in IT? Methinks, you use these examples as hyperbole to get everyone else riled up at the "perceived" injustices.

Last, the other link you provided regarding Californian programmers provides data from 2003. Everyone knows the cause of a bubble is speculation and its characteristics include unprecedented and unsustainable rises in values (be it property prices, salaries, stock prices, etc). When a bubble bursts, markets typically align themselves to a stable state. Expecting a salary commensurate with pre-burst levels post-burst and then blaming others for not finding a job is seriously irrational.

Frank

"I'm also not sure how you would expect 'taken over by Indians' to be seen as anything but a racist slur."

Fact are facts. It's obvious when you have a situation where the entire tech department came from the same place half way around the world that this isn't natural. There's such a thing as free speech that is more important than civil rights, which in any case don't fully apply to H-1Bs. What this company did was abuse the H-1Bs, but the real crime was in attacking me. Incidentally, they did launch a campaign after that (I saw the ads) to recruit Americans, but it's hard to do when Indians are already in control. This is the problem with tech. You can't undo it when it gets to some point. I'll probably never work in tech again. As far as telling me I shouldn't call someone a traitor: The guy is a traitor, and so are the people in the government that allowed this to happen. No other country would look the other way in regard to this (unless you bribed them substantially, which may be what is happening here). There's no doubt in my mind things will continue as they are until some people are literally executed. As for the Indians, there's nothing in an H-1B visa that says they have to be loyal to America. That people expect them to follow our way of doing things is not only naive but also insulting to them. Why would they be loyal to America?

Frank

Many posters refer to different employment rates, but this is a deceptive area. Tech workers are typically smart and motivated, so when they don't get hired they do something else. They don't show up in unemployment for long. In the case of the dot-com bust, many quickly left the state or moved into real estate or finance. This doesn't mean everything is hunky. These people lost their careers, which they had spent time developing. Some of them might be better off. I think the founder of Amazon is a former programmer. Others might not be able to move around so easily. I think there were a few cases where they went back to work and shot the place up. Of course, in the long run this destroys tech and engineering in America. So they want some new government program to encourage tech. Seems like they've had these programs for awhile now with no success. They should just spend the money on plane tickets home for these H-1Bs. And yes, this will end violently. You don't destroy the most powerful nation on earth with little powder puffs. Even the Soviet Union unleashed violence in its collapse, although in that case there weren't too many people sad to see it go. Millions of Americans would gladly die for their country.

Frank

The subprime mess is already affecting my mortgage payments, and hence my frustrations. I am losing sleep over losing my job due to panic attacks. Hence I'm venting my frustrations here.

random

"Sorry, I still see unemployment rates at this link."

And I'm sorry, Mr. Berry, but I still don't. Only pupil/teacher ratios. And then there is still the fact that you haven't substantiated your claims that this unemployment is caused by immigration and that this in turn fuels gang activity. Naming these three things in one breath does not a correlation make, so even if we were to take your claim of 15% unemployment as true and blame my inability to see these numbers on a tech issue or a visual handicap on my part, you still need to prove the other two parts of your claim.

"We dispute how the government calculates the formal unemployment rate: If an unemployed programmer is working at McDonalds or Circuit City--even if they are sending out hundreds of resumes--they are not "unemployed." The quote above speaks for itself--28% of tech workers were forced into lower-paying industries."

It's very misleading of you to count those people who have left the tech field and took a lower-paying job as unemployed, especially in light of the fact that tech salaries were vastly overvalued during the dot-boom. When the industry contracted in the wake of the 2000 recession, of course a significant number of former tech workers had to find another job. Less revenue and fewer companies means less demand and less money being earned by each worker.

What you did was to disregard the official definition of employment to create your own, one that need not be bound by official statistics. Also, what about analysts and testers? They're the most sought-out tech employees now, and the demand for them is growing. Is your crusade for fairness in tech hiring only applicable to coders?

"Here is another reference supporting up to a 31% 'unemployment' rate--or '31% of U.S. programmers unable to find work in the field, even though they might be collecting shopping carts at Wal-Mart'"

Very nice try, but that link is to your site. With your definition of what counts as employed or not and filled with what can only be described as hyperbole. And again, how many programmers are needed? Could it be that after the dot bust, there are fewer programmers being sought not just by H-1B visa users, but by all companies, period?

You based your claim here on the fact that the BLS supposedly doesn't dispute that 20% of former programmers are no longer working as such. You immediately call them unemployed regardless of what field they occupy and their actual pay discrepancies with today's programmers and tried to justify a now 31% rate. First it was 20% and now it's 31%, so I'm wondering how high you'll go.

You see, to mere mortals, when you say that 20% of some profession are unemployed, we consider it as 20% of people in the profession being totally out of work.

"My point was that 'market-based caps' do not work, because even when 31% of U.S. programmers could not find employment within the their profession, industry continued to flood in H-1B programmers."

Again, your 31% state is nebulous at best and is based on the assumption that if a programmer used to be a programmer and after the dot crash he found another job, then it must be a complete disaster. He's flipping burgers at McDonald's and pushing carts for minimum wage.

What about tech workers who stayed in the industry and had pay cuts? I know many developers who used to make north of $100,000 now making $80,000 or so as they had to find new jobs as the market valuations and salaries descended to more reasonable levels. Their cut in pay is all Tata's and Wipro's fault? The dot bust had nothing to do with it?

"The second point is that increasing H-1B quotas won't stop offshoring, because even when the H-1B cap was not being reached--and 31% of U.S. programmers were seeking programming work."

Another fallacy. How do you know that the same questionable 31% stat you've started throwing around represents programmers seeking coding work? So now we've gone from 20% unemployment in Silicon Valley (which you haven't proved) to 31% of all programmers out of work, pushing carts at Wal-Mart and desperately seeking to get back into the evil tech companies giving away their jobs to Indian body shops. That's quite a leap.

"Fact: Industry continues to bring in H-1B workers even when 30% of U.S. programmers had been pushed out of the profession."

So this is a fact now despite your own own links placing it at 20%, 28% and then 31%? So which one is it; 20, 28, 30, or 31?

"Congress' primary duty is to protect Americans, not to provide cheap labor flow for poor Bill Gates."

Right. But you see, Congress's duty is not to guarantee you a job as a programmer. When we say that Congress has to protect Americans, we're referring to its Constitutional job to declare war on hostile states, fund the military, and prosecute criminal groups and networks. Nowhere does the law state that Congress must intervene to make sure you keep your job as a software programmer because as you seem to put it, you would be doomed to flip burgers and push carts at Wal-Mart if something were to go awry. Being a programmer is not an inalienable right. It's a possible career.

random

"There's such a thing as free speech that is more important than civil rights, which in any case don't fully apply to H-1Bs. What this company did was abuse the H-1Bs, but the real crime was in attacking me."

The company was abusing H-1Bs and making them work overtime for slave wages. But their real crime was getting mad at you when you told the company they were being taken over by Indians. No, not the whole overworking foreigners thing that smacks of wage slavery and is illegal but the owner's reaction when you told them that they had too many Indians. How terribly humanitarian of you.

And how do you know they were abusing H-1B workers? How do you know they were all H-1B workers? And if you see that a company might be committing a crime, why didn't you report them to the A.G.?

"As far as telling me I shouldn't call someone a traitor: The guy is a traitor, and so are the people in the government that allowed this to happen."

First and foremost, I never defined who you could and couldn't call a traitor. I simply pointed out that your position of advocating lethal force against people who weren't obliged to give you a job and didn't give you one, is rash and highly questionable. Just because he didn't give you a job doesn't make him a traitor. And just because lawmakers (who are not supposed to guarantee you your desired occupation anyway) doesn't step in command-economy style to give you a job, doesn't make them traitors either.

You couldn't find a job you liked, so you're going around accusing people of doing the equivalent of selling nuclear secrets to another country or broadcasting vicious and demoralizing messages to U.S. troops on behalf of an enemy state. Are you perhaps being just a tad irrational?

confused

My two cents: I think average American people are to blame for such a mess. They wear two hats, one as investors and another as laborers/workers/employees.

As investors, they don't care what the corporation does as long they churn out profits of billions of dollars. The same American blue collar workers are members of big pension funds, which have investments worth billions of dollars in these corporations.

Now as a laborers/workers/employees, they are concerned about their job safety when these same corporations for the sake of profits are firing them.

What a sad state.

Balaji Viswnathan

I don't know if many of the readers here go through Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The last 20 years, U.S. unemployment was consistently decreasing and it is near the historic low rates of around 5%. How is this possible if I were to believe your assertion?

And while unemployment was decreasing, inflation came down to historically low levels and one-fifth of the 1970s levels. Low inflation means higher standard of living. A lot of products are much cheaper both in real and nominal terms than 30 years ago. How can inflation reduce to such low levels while unemployment was also decreasing?

While the Americans keep complaining about the H-1B, they need to look at the statistics to see that the unemployment rates and inflation were decreasing while wages were increasing in the last 25 years.

You can go to bls.gov and customize the data tables.

Venkat

The current unemployment rate for India is 8%. It is globalization, and the U.S. needs to share the same percentage of unemployment in the world.

Fintan Lynch

Dell Corp. has just made a 1,500-staff reduction here in Ireland at a time when, I imagine, computer sales should be booming. I suspect that they will outsource this work.
Fintan Lynch.

Unbiassed

The better students in India either go for higher studies or join elite companies like Google, Cisco, and Juniper.

Companies like Wipro, TCS, Infosys, and CTS recruit from lowest-ranked colleges from India, train the junk graduates, and pay them peanuts for their service. And then, in order that they not leave and join their competitor, they send them to the U.S. This is the H-1B story as I have seen it.

In order to get quality workers, the U.S. government should give H-1Bs only to those foreign nationals who have graduate level degrees.

lawstud

Get rid of stockholders. Make these companies privately owned to get rid of the incentive to race to the bottom.

Wage equalization: It's BS. Eventually there will be no more middle class in this country except for successful professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants. There will be the working poor and the super rich who own everything.

Even minimum wage jobs in this country are being fought over. Employers do not want to hire Americans. The law should require that, to do business in this country, you must hire Americans. After all, Mercedes and BMW are required to build factories over here, because they are limited to 25,000 imports a year from Germany.

Defense contractors are required to build in America most of the time. Notice that the European defense firms build U.S. offices in order to get defense contracts. Requirements to build in America work for U.S. workers. "Labor storage"--there is not a freaking labor shortage.

U.S. companies deny Americans only to be able to get past the law and then hire cheaper illegals or visa workers, who should be illegal. There are plenty of qualified Americans who can fill these positions. The companies just do not want to pay them those wages. These corporations are anti-American.

Junior

As the child of immigrants, I am shocked and offended by the attitude of some of the immigrant posters in this discussion. (Even the ones who use American names and then give themselves away in the way the write.) You sound like arrogant, ungrateful louts. Don't fool yourselves: You are not brilliant gifts to America. You are cheap labor brought in to assist in the exploitation of American citizens by large multinational companies. The moment those companies find workers who are cheaper and more exploitable than you, you will be tossed out of your cubicles like last week's supper. Don't like it? Don't like my attitude? Fine. Go home and make your own countries great. The world will be better for it.

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