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Feds Consider H-1B Changes After Uncovering Fraud

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the evidently-some-people-lie dept.

Businesses 254

CWmike writes "A Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman said today that the agency is weighing a series of reforms to the H-1B application process, including the use of 'independent open-source data' to obtain information about visa seekers or the companies that file the petitions on their behalf. The move follows a report by the agency that found widespread problems and evidence of fraud in the nation's H-1B program, including forged documents, fake degrees and shell companies being used in H-1B applications. It also comes after the controversy caused by changes to the H-1B rules earlier this year."

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254 comments

H1-B fraud? Tell me it ain't do! (4, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345741)

H1-B fraud? Shell companies? Fake degrees? You mean it really does come down to cheap labor?

I'm shocked. SHOCKED!

Well, not that shocked.

Re:H1-B fraud? Tell me it ain't do! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345771)

It's H-1B, not H1-B.

Re:H1-B fraud? Tell me it ain't do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346871)

You're complaining about that, and not "do?"

MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25347273)

Does this mean we are going to start having immigration raids at Microsoft?

There's a surprise (5, Insightful)

cs668 (89484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345761)

Even if the H-1B program had no fraud it would push wages down in the US by artificially changing the demographic in the workplace.

Older experienced high tech workers are more likely to stay at home with their families. Younger recent graduates are more likely to travel for work/opportunity. They also earn less because they have less experience.

But, it doesn't surprise me that greed leads to fraud in a situation that already drove wages down.

Look at how greed is affecting the economy now. Greedy people want houses they cant afford, greedy bankers want to make money by giving risky loans and turning them over. Greedy companies want to reduce wage costs by defrauding the H-1B program.

It's just par for the course!!

Re:There's a surprise (1, Offtopic)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345921)

There's nothing wrong with somebody wanting an extra room or two to start a family, a home business or private study.

The fault is entirely with the expectation that house prices will continuously rise, or that they should be traded like company shares. Banks were more than willing to provide "jumbo loans" going above a quarter of a million units of currency in the belief that they would get a return on the investment (money deposited after the sale of the property). Any newspaper will have stories about how prices of desirable properties have risen (6K in the 1960's, 90K in the 1980's, 250K in the 2000's). After so many boom years, people came to expect this growth to be normal, and then found themselves in

Re:There's a surprise (4, Insightful)

cs668 (89484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346007)

You're right there is nothing wrong with someone wanting it. But, they shouldn't take a mortgage they can not afford to do it!!

The loans should also have never been offered to them.

Greed at the top greed at the bottom, everyone trying to get a little more.

Same with the H-1B.

Until people get some integrity this just goes on and on.

Re:There's a surprise (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346193)

Thing is, "everyone" was giving out those loans.

And "everyone" was betting via the CDS that the loans wouldn't all go poof at once (like they'd believe that was impossible, I mean just think about it).

And "everyone" was saying it was ok to do all that.

Because "everyone" doing all that got quite a bit of money for doing so - bonuses, commissions etc.

But when it all went "poof", _everyone_ has to pay for it.

Except the trouble is _everyone_ != "everyone".

Re:There's a surprise (0, Offtopic)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346311)

That's precisely the problem, the plans pushed by both McCain and Obama are going to make it a lot tougher for those of us that didn't over extend for a mortgage to buy a house later on. They're looking at ways of propping up the house prices and keeping people in their homes. The problem is that it just makes it more difficult for those that were following the rules and only buying what they could afford to buy later on. As well as allowing people who were dumb enough to buy into it to profit at everybody else's expense.

I think angryrenter.com was one of the places out there that's available to express outrage over it.

Re:There's a surprise (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346449)

There were other potential solutions to the problem, my guess is those other solutions wouldn't have made their friends/cronies as rich ;).

Re:There's a surprise (3, Insightful)

tempestdata (457317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346745)

Its called inflation and is a godsend for a debtor nation like the US. With household debt at 100% of GDP and over $10 trillion on national debt, the policies of this government will inevitably be geared towards inflation. The need to keep inflation numbers low for now is simply to sucker people into lending us money at a low interest rate. At some point in the future, the US will inflate its way out of its debt. (Do you really think we'll ever actually pay back what we've borrowed?) When that happens, those who own debts will benefit, those who hold cash will cry.

Re:There's a surprise (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347339)

Excellent comment.

If anything, Herr Chancellor Paulson is a firm believer in Keynesian economics. So, while a (small) portion of the bailout money maybe taxpayer money, the vast majority of it will be paid through good old fashioned inflation.

Re:There's a surprise (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346399)

There's nothing wrong with somebody wanting an extra room or two to start a family, a home business or private study.

The other question is: Was there an option to buying a McMansion? Are there enough smaller affordable homes in non-shitty school districts to house the working class? No, but no builders wanted to build the affordable homes because they weren't as profitable as McMansions and the banks were willing to make the loans, so they were able to have potential customers for the oversized houses. The median price of any housing with under an hour commute time to NYC is $450K. [blogspot.com] The median income in NYC is about $48K, so that's ten years wages before tax for just somewhere to raise your family. Yet every new construction project I see is luxury apartments. Back in 2000 the median price was just $148K and the median income was about $40k. [census.gov] So housing was about 3.7 time annual income just eight years ago, and now it is 10 times annual income. The banks offered people the possibility to be in unimaginable debt, and people need somewhere to live, so they got in over their heads, because the only other option was to up root their young family and hope that life was affordable somewhere else. That's not always an option personally speaking, NYC is far and away the best paying play for the career my collage degree is in. I'm 33 and I make over twice the median annual income, yet the only housing I can afford to buy would be a 600 sq ft studio apt. A $300k studio costs $1750 a month mortgage plus a $650 maintaince fee, and would only be getting one room. Two bedroom apts start at about $500K, so now that's $2917 a month mortgage and an $800 maintaince fee, for 1100 sq ft that's a 45 min subway commute to midtown. So when people purchase homes that are more than they can afford, the question of why they did that isn't as simple as "greed" there is a large mount of "need" int there as well.

Re:There's a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346767)

my collage degree is in

So, the degree is in art, not English?

You can get a degree in collage? (4, Funny)

janrinok (846318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346799)

....for the career my collage degree is in....

Look, I can accept a degree in art, but one which covers only collage seems to be rather limited. Does it include the use of different adhesives to stick the pictures to your chosen background? Do you study the pros and cons of using dried leaves as opposed to, say, petals or seed pods?

OK, I'm sorry, but it just made me chuckle to read what you had written.

Re:There's a surprise (1)

cs668 (89484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347129)

Sorry, but that's why I don't live in NY or LA or any of a million places that have a ridiculous cost of living.

But, continuing to stay in those places and trying to swing buying a house there you help to drive up demand and keep the price high.

Re:There's a surprise (3, Interesting)

nbert (785663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345931)

On the other hand lower wages make the US' economy more competitive, which could lead to a higher employment rate. So it's really a two-sided problem.

However, when it comes to real specialists I don't see how low entry barriers will affect wages, because those people will move to wherever they earn the most. If you look at wages for IT-specialists* in Europe for example they are not much lower in Poland than in the UK, even though the general population earns much less in Poland. The reason for this is that if the employers would offer less those IT workers would just move on to Germany, France, UK etc..


*Not talking about the guy who runs the Exchange server or fixes your printer problems.

Lower wages (4, Insightful)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346047)

"On the other hand lower wages make the US' economy more competitive"

If this is true, why don't the CEO's set the trend by taking less? I'm not asking for a lot, just limit you total compensation (salary & bonuses) to something reasonable like a million dollars per year. A million dollars is an amount that many people can't achieve in a lifetime but some CEOs get more than 100 million each year.

Re:Lower wages (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346147)

In a private company the owners or the stock holders decide, directly or indirectly via the board of directors, how much the CEO is paid and it is not just a matter of how much more the CEO is paid than the workers but rather what is best for the company. Someone has to be in charge or lead and you don't want that person to make bad decisions that loose value. So if the corporation has revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars per year what is 20 million to ensure that the most talented CEO available makes the best decisions possible? The difference between a good CEO and a bad one is many times the CEO's salary in revenue to the company. Now I agree that bad performance should not be rewarded, but as a shareholder I want the best possible return and if that means that the CEO has to be paid 20 or even 50 million, dependent upon revenue and performance, then so be it.

Re:Lower wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346213)

But the CEOs have not been leading growth organizations. The CEOs have been committing fraud on an unprecedented scale and getting generously rewarded for screwing the organization and the economy too boot. Odd you never see CEOs jumping out a window unless there is a golden parachute attached.

Re:Lower wages (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346295)

Yes because every CEO is a criminal. If they did commit fraud they should be prosecuted. Putting a limit on their earning is stupidity that won't resolve fraud. In fact if they get paid less their incentive to be thieves increases.

Re:Lower wages (3, Insightful)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346627)

You forgot to add the part where the board is usually composed of other CEO's and friends of the CEO, who happens, strangely enough, to be on the boards of these other CEO's companies. I personally wouldn't mind it so much that these guys were allowed to have their friends choose their salaries if the people who actually do the work had the same luxury.

Re:Lower wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25347235)

Take Sun for example...oh, wait

Still hasn't recovered from the dot com bust, but yet the current CEO and the previous CEO are still raking in millions per year.

Re:Lower wages (2, Interesting)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346519)

If this is true, why don't the CEO's set the trend by taking less?

Because CEOs are important. No board of directors wants to skimp on the CEO offerings, let they get a "cheap" one that runs their company in the ground.

But, there have to be some limits. While paying $dirt means you won't get a good CEO (even for large values of $dirt), paying $bucks doesn't guarantee you a good one, either. The idea is to pay CEOs for their performance, just like any other employee.

Problem is, how do you measure a CEOs performance? If a company has a great year, was it just because of a good economy? Would that year have been just as great if the CEO did nothing? How about if the company has a bad year? Is it the CEO's fault if oil prices quadruple and the financial markets tank? Do you just measure "attendance" and say "thanks for showing up - here's a check?"

Boards are getting better at this. CEO turnover is high, and the anti-"golden parachute" clause in the bailout bill has encouraged a lot of boards to axe those clauses. Even if they aren't subject to conditions of that bailout, they want to be seen as proactive so as to avoid more government intervention.

Re:Lower wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346641)

If this is true, why don't the CEO's set the trend by taking less?

Because CEOs are important. No board of directors wants to skimp on the CEO offerings, let they get a "cheap" one that runs their company in the ground.

As opposed to the expensive ones who have done the same? CEO compensation is so outrageous that it's divorced from performance - have a good year and get $450 million; have a bad year and get $300 million - and your cost of living is about $25 million, so you're set for life. And if that compensation is in options, you've got reason to make the stock look good around the times of your "scheduled" sales.

Re:Lower wages (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346845)

As opposed to the expensive ones who have done the same?

Well, as I said, "paying $bucks doesn't guarantee you a good one, either." Boards have always been looking at pay-for-performance, but getting the "pay" part down better than the "performance" part.

But, if you pay dirt, you will get a bad CEO. If you overpay, you may get a bad CEO. The solution is high turnover, which is why boards are eager to get rid of "golden parachute" packages, especially with how the bailout bill was worded.

Re:Lower wages (3, Interesting)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347319)

"But, if you pay dirt, you will get a bad CEO. "

Who says so? I'm not saying pay them dirt (which is what the janitor gets) just pay them reasonably. 100 million does not guarantee that you will get a good CEO. Conversely, paying 1 million may get you a good one because you might get one that looks at things differently. Often the amount paid for someone (or something) is not related to the price you pay.

Re:Lower wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25347325)

But, if you pay dirt, you will get a bad CEO.

Kinda like that $1 a year salary that Apple guy makes. No way that company makes any money.

Re:There's a surprise (2, Interesting)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346125)

Some karma burning time for me.

In US it is easy to fire underperformers, but not in Canada.

With personal experience I can say that the kind of money we wasted^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hspent in hope to bring some morons in Canada to a level of a programmer, we could have easily built another Cisco, with the help of Indian programmers. I do that now, having learnt my lessons, and I am happy I did that. It is much easier to pick good skilled among those 1 billion people and bring them to our standards than risking my projects.

My 2 cents.

ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (4, Insightful)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346171)

America has forgotten that it built its success on the back of the geniuses that migrated there. The Manhattan project, for one, is an example of America's prodigious talent-attraction while Germany was burning people down. Here's a quote from a Lexington piece [economist.com] :

when it comes to immigration they [congress] are doing exactly the opposite--trying their best to keep the world's best and brightest from darkening America's doors.

Consider the annual April Fool's joke played on applicants for H1B visas, which allow companies to sponsor highly-educated foreigners to work in America for three years or so. The powers-that-be have set the number of visas so low--at 85,000--that the annual allotment is taken up as soon as applications open on April 1st. America then deals with the mismatch between supply and demand in the worst possible way, allocating the visas by lottery. The result is that hundreds of thousands of highly qualified people--entrepreneurs who want to start companies, doctors who want to save lives, scientists who want to explore the frontiers of knowledge--are kept waiting on the spin of a roulette wheel and then, more often than not, denied the chance to work in the United States.

This is a policy of national self-sabotage. America has always thrived by attracting talent from the world. Some 70 or so of the 300 Americans who have won Nobel prizes since 1901 were immigrants. Great American companies such as Sun Microsystems, Intel and Google had immigrants among their founders. Immigrants continue to make an outsized contribution to the American economy. About a quarter of information technology (IT) firms in Silicon Valley were founded by Chinese and Indians. Some 40% of American PhDs in science and engineering go to immigrants. A similar proportion of all the patents filed in America are filed by foreigners.

These bright foreigners bring benefits to the whole of society. The foreigner-friendly IT sector has accounted for more than half of America's overall productivity growth since 1995. Foreigner-friendly universities and hospitals have been responsible for saving countless American cities from collapse. Bill Gates calculates, and respectable economists agree, that every foreigner who is given an H1B visa creates jobs for five regular Americans.

There was a time when ambitious foreigners had little choice but to put up with America's restrictive ways. Europe was sclerotic and India and China were poor and highly restrictive. But these days the rest of the world is opening up at precisely the time when America seems to be closing down. The booming economies of the developing world are sucking back talent that was once America's for the asking. About a third of immigrants who hold high-tech jobs in America are considering returning home. America's rivals are also rejigging their immigration systems to attract global talent.

Canada and Australia operate a widely emulated system that gives immigrants "points" for their educational qualifications. New Zealand allows some companies to hand out work visas along with job offers. Britain gives graduates of the world's top 50 business schools an automatic right to work in the country for a year. The European Union is contemplating introducing a system of "blue cards" that will give talented people a fast track to EU citizenship.

The United States is already paying a price for its failure to adjust to the new world. Talent-challenged technology companies are already being forced to export jobs abroad. Microsoft opened a software development centre in Canada in part because Canada's more liberal laws make it easier to recruit qualified people from around the world. This problem is only going to get worse if America's immigration restrictions are not lifted. The Labour Department projects that by 2014 there will be more than 2m job openings in science, technology and engineering, while the number of Americans graduating with degrees in those subjects is plummeting.

As the economy tanks, a brain drain of highly talented people is to be expected. History is deciding to punish America for this gigantic mistake almost as soon as it happened.

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346411)

I agree completely. Yes, immigration does have its downsides. Letting in an additional 10,000 foreigners to work in or immigrate to the U.S. should, in the short term, increase competition. But the long-term payoff is potentially huge. If just one of those immigrants turns around and helps found a major company like Google (co-founded by Sergei Brin, whose parents immigrated from Russia when he was six) the job creation by that company, and indirect job creation caused by economic benefit to other companies, will vastly outweigh the short-term losses.

Unfortunately, we're losing sight of that because of post 9-11 hysteria. Yes, some of those foreigners might want to blow up your house. But I'll bet that the vast majority just want to work hard and to see their kids do better than they did. Ivy League schools are just packed with the children of immigrants for that reason. And I'd be willing to bet that the people who legally arrive in this country are vastly less likely to cause problems than the average American. We have no shortage of home-grown murderers, drug dealers, serial killers, sexual predators, white collar criminals and domestic terrorists... it's arguable that a group of carefully screened legal immigrants is vastly less of a threat to the American way of life than a group of average Americans.

H-1B workers are NOT "immigrants" (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346701)

There is a big flaw in your reasoning. H-1B workers are NOT "immigrants". They are "guest workers". Thus, your founder examples are misleading. If they were made immigrants, maybe companies would not treat them like indentured servants.

Further, even if visa workers benefit the average person in the US (perhaps disputable), it may still hurt those in *specific* careers. Foreign cars don't help factory workers in Detroit, for example, even if it benefited car consumers in general.
     

Re:H-1B workers are NOT "immigrants" (5, Insightful)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347331)

You are correct, it's a non-immigrant visa, but it has the capability to lead to a green card with sponsorship which many other types do not have ... and just to correct you, it's a "specialist worker program" not "guest worker". Guest worker is a term typically applied to people who undertake non-specialist labor such as farm labor work at harvest time, these are not eligible to become immigrants. To have a H-1B you need a degree in the field relevant to the job you are applying for (or 12 years expertise).

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346757)

I completely agree... if we turned down educated and hard working immigrants, it'll hurt us more in the long term. The next administration needs to take a close look at the legal immigration process and should make it easier for an highly skilled immigrant to get permanent residency

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346829)

But the long-term payoff is potentially huge. If just one of those immigrants turns around and helps found a major company,

Yes, of course. This would only be possible by an immigrant.

There's nothing wrong with *legal* immigration (2, Insightful)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346461)

America has forgotten that it built its success on the back of the geniuses that migrated there.

Not really. The real problem is that certain people are blurring the distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

What really pisses me off in the current public "debates" regarding immigration and housing loans is that the people who are getting screwed the hardest are the ones who have obeyed the law and applied common sense.

That's just wrong.

look at history (4, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346537)

So if Einstein, von Newmann, Szilard, and a HUGE HOST OF Others had decided to build the A-Bomb for the fuhrer, America would have been just as successful during the past decades? PLEASE.... A nazi Germany with A-Bombs would have taken over Russia and Britain easily. America would be farther geographically, but after some mushrooms in the sky morale would be so low that surrender would be inevitable. Of course, gladly, we will never know. But to imagine that it's good policy to keep out the most talented people in the globe is to repeat but one of Hitler's mistakes. Ok, I get the Goodwin prize today, I guess.

Re:look at history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25347207)

Maybe we wouldn't have had this housing crisis then.

I kid! I kid! 8-)

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346469)

Talent-challenged technology companies are already being forced to export jobs abroad.

That statement right there is the flaw in your rationale.

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346573)

If at least those foreigners were able to write on something close to understandable proper English, I won't have anything against them coming to work in the United States.
But, as your post shows, the other countries are just throwing their illiterate garbage over us.
So, go back to the tree you used to swing at...
America is for Americans, the rest can go back to their countries and die of starvation, as far I am concerned.

Re:ALL YOUR GENIUSES ARE BELONG TO US! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347151)

The Manhattan project, for one, is an example of America's prodigious talent-attraction while Germany was burning people down.

The people that came over to support the Manhattan Project came and stayed. The H-1B visa program brings them over for 3 years, trains them to build nuclear weapons and then sends them back home to live in mud huts. Where they are oppressed by the politics of their former employers and eventually lash out against them.
 

Re:There's a surprise (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346335)

We don't need lower wages, we already beat the hell out of the rest of the world on efficiency. Wages are supposed to rise and efficiency rises. That held up pretty well until a few decades ago. I'm not sure when exactly, but it was sometime in the late 70s or early 80s that that started to go south.

Having an income gap isn't in and of itself a problem, but when you look at what the people at the bottom are having to put up with because they're not being paid enough, that's a problem. The numbers frequently stated for inflation are bogus, and only include portions of the cost of living.

I've seen people suggest that a 150k mortgage isn't appropriate for a family of four making 40k, but the reality is that in some parts of the country a family will be spending more than that just to rent. And yes that does include most of the additional costs of owning.

Re:There's a surprise (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346525)

On the other hand lower wages make the US' economy more competitive, which could lead to a higher employment rate. So it's really a two-sided problem.

On the other hand lower wages make the US' economy more lopsided, which could lead to a higher amount of wealth concentration.
Sure the employment rate might be higher, but the employment rate on a slave plantation was 100%, that didn't make it a great place to work. High wages and lower wealth concentration make for a strong middle class; which leads to lower crime, better education, and better economic diversification. Take a look at life in countries or even US cities without a middle class, that's where "lower wages for economic competitiveness" leads. Sure maybe the GDP would go up, but if 90% of the population is getting less take home pay to make that happen, why is that touted as a good thing? Even the elites who profit more would have to live with higher crime and more social tension. If you want that move to Sao Paulo or Mexico City.

Republicriminals? No Way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345953)

OMG, waste/corruption/fraud in a program run by conservatives? That's unprecedented!

Re:Republicriminals? No Way! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346055)

And this is why the government is out of control. People would rather blame "the other side" than call a spade a spade.

Re:Republicriminals? No Way! (2, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346345)

Not conservatives but Neocons, personally i don't see much difference between being anally probed by big government, big religion or big business; at the end of the day I feel violated and am expected to kowtow to the fuedal lord du jour.

Re:There's a surprise (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346341)

> Greedy people want houses they cant afford

Ordinary people know that if they want to be able to retire at 65 they need to own property and have their mortgage fully paid otherwise they won't be able to afford healthcare.

Re:There's a surprise (4, Insightful)

cs668 (89484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346601)

Exactly so they should buy a house they can afford or rent. I am sick and tired of people making excuses for "ordinary" people. The people who gave the loans suck, the ones who took ones they could not pay suck too.

If you can't afford to buy a home then rent an apartment. I rented for 6 years after college. Didn't want to, thought it was a waste of money. But, it's what I could afford. Then when I could afford to buy a home. I bought one that I could afford to make the payments on.

Everyone is looking for a get rich quick scheme. Or wants to look richer than they are by taking a negative interest mortgage and maxing out their credit cards rather than living within their means.

American financial habits have to change or the $ will eventually be worth nothing. The consumer culture has to change or we will all be broke.

Grrr! Stop stereotyping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346777)

I'm an H1-B Worker

Age: 40
Nationality: Canadian
Education: Master's degree
Industry: Tech/Telecom
Salary: $135,000

Other than marrying an American (not an option), or the Lottery (which Canadians aren't eligible for), an H1-B is the only path available to get a Green Card.

Re:Grrr! Stop stereotyping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346919)

I'm an H1-B Worker

Age: 40
Nationality: Canadian
Education: Master's degree
Industry: Tech/Telecom
Salary: $135,000

And in what job market do you reside? In silly valley that's not a very respectable salary.

The bottom line is, there are US citizens who can do your job. Get the fuck out and go back to your socialist paradise.

Re:Grrr! Stop stereotyping! (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347123)

The bottom line is, there are US citizens who can do your job. Get the fuck out and go back to your socialist paradise.

Right, and people that can do his job already have a job.

You might be confusing employment with entitlement. Personally, I already pay more in taxes than an average person earns a year; I don't owe you a job on top.

Re:Grrr! Stop stereotyping! (2, Informative)

cs668 (89484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347113)

With your masters you should be smart enough to know that not everyone falls within the standard deviation....

Your not typical and if you think you are your not being honest with yourself. There are some older, experienced, legitimate H-1B workers. I never said there were not. But, the vast majority of them are fresh from school and drive down the prevailing wage.

Fraud involving cheap labor? (3, Insightful)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345791)

No! It can't be! paying a resource 10k USD/yr to replace a 70k/yr resource offers a lot of incentive to skirt the rules. You would have thought that the sub-standard work would have been outrageous enough, but companies keep offshoring.....

Re:Fraud involving cheap labor? (4, Insightful)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346011)

Some companies find it cheaper to outsource the programming offshore with the expectation that the local staff will have to "fix" the program when it gets back to the USA.

It is still cheaper for companies to pay 10% of the prevailing wage oversees for 90% of the desired result and have a few highly paid talented programmers clean up the mess that they receive.

I have visions in my head of hundreds of programmers chained to their desks with taskmasters standing above them with whips shouting "Faster, code faster".

Re:Fraud involving cheap labor? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346157)

I have visions in my head of hundreds of programmers chained to their desks with taskmasters standing above them with whips shouting "Faster, code faster".

The galley scene in Ben-Hur [imdb.com] comes to mind...

Re:Fraud involving cheap labor? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346527)

What does H1-B have to do with offshoring, and what H1-B worker gets paid 10k/yr?

Re:Fraud involving cheap labor? (1)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346839)

Directly nothing, but it is the other side of the same coin. It is rational for a company to attempt to reduce the cost of doing business by hiring the cheapest labor possible.

However in the global race to the bottom the workers generally will suffer and the only winners will be those that already have most of the marbles.

Best way to change H1-B program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345827)

Eliminate it. Good luck with that under an either Democrat or Republican administration!

Why reform? (5, Informative)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345859)

Right, ain't NO SHORTAGE (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346737)

Amen! Mod parent up to the clouds. There is no objective evidence of a "shortage". It is a lobbyist gimmick for cheap labor pure and simple.

Sure, some companies complain about finding an exact fit, but that's because they are unrealistically expecting an exact fit. Pay for somebody smart and flexible enough to adapt.

Two word report summory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345995)

"Well Dah."

Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346005)

I have heard from friends in India that it's not uncommon to get 3-4 different passports in order to skirt the laws here. Apparently a fake passport with a different name costs about the equivalent of $200.

That this is allowed to be successful at all tells me that the Biometric data that the Feds collect upon entry to the U.S. is apparently rather useless. They are collecting it; but not using it at all in order to stop fraudulent entry.

Re:Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346059)

It's not intended to stop fraud, it's intended to (best case) help catch the terrorists, or (worst case) make it look like they are trying to catch the terrorists.

Nevermind that simply not doing what pisses the terrorist-inclined populations would be a cheaper and safer path.

Re:Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346107)

That cat is long out of the bag. You piss off 3 or 4 generations, and you become eternal evil in their mythology.

Re:Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346357)

Nevermind that simply not doing what pisses the terrorist-inclined populations would be a cheaper and safer path

At the risk of raising a Gadwin, I must say that the only way of not-pissing the terrorist-inclined populations would be to finish what Hitler left half-done.

Re:Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (0, Troll)

msromike (926441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346451)

Prey tell what would that be, having the population of the US convert to Islam? That is the only end point in their theocracy.

Re:Interesting that Biometrics isn't in use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346657)

Becouse invading their countries and installing puppet regimes is totally something we can't give up.

Asshole.

h1b and L1 (5, Interesting)

slmdmd (769525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346013)

People often mistake L1 to be H1. L1 is a visa for inter company transfer. It means any one can be employed at India/China office and then will be transferred to work in usa office. The Embassy interview for L1 is just a formality. There is virtually no educational qualification criteria/check for L1. So even a 12th pass guy comes in on L1 visa then he is posted at various clients. There is no limit on number of L1 visas. H1b's have a 65000 yearly limit. H1B embassy visa process is tough, education qualification is 16 years education plus experience. While we all are crying about h1b, the companies recruit any one with ok english in india, after working for 1 year in india they are sent here on L1. I have not heard of any rejections in L1 applications.

L1 is the loop hole. It is the top secret one. I agree that there are about 30% h1bs who fake their experience(h1b criteria is 16yr edu + 3 years minimum work exp or 15 yr edu + 6 years work, 1 year education = 3 year work). 90% people on L1 have 15 year education or less and just 1 year exp. In any economy downturn h1bs are the first to be fired because 90% of them work on corp to corp contracts which are very expensive. Example for a unix admin - 100+ per hour is paid by company A to vendor V, V keeps 35% and gives 65 to H1B holding company H, H pays about 30 to the employee who is new in USA or 40 if he is more than 2 years old in usa. H1b end up getting exploited till GC(6 to 8 years). L1s too get exploited but they are happy because they are rotated every year. So they have less expenses(no need to buy car or family home) in usa and carry all money as savings to india/china.
Since h1b corp to corp is expensive, candidate has to be really skilled, but some do manage by changing clients(A) every 3 to 6 months by slipping through a phone interview(some one else giving the phone int in their name). On being found out they are fired in 3 to 6 months. Yet they manage to settle in low tech areas like managing remedy tickets etc in about 2 years of hire-fire cycle. So in downturn, h1bs are fired first, then the citizen employee and are replaced by L1. L1's don't get overtime pay. They get about 3 to 4 k per month and yet that is a very good money because in india they get max 1k per month for 1+ year experience.

sure (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346065)

Let's make the rules even more complicated. Nothing helps to combat fraud and "technical violations" like some extra 70-80 pages of documents.

I met a waiter on an H1-B (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346071)

In fact, he said several of the waiters at this (unnamed) establishment were on H1-Bs. I believed him, but maybe I was too gullible.

For those who say H1-Bs are an excuse to pay low wages, I've hired several foreigners on H1-Bs, and they make a ton of money. They make more than the Americans I've hired (because they're more qualified) and a lot more than the TN-1 employees we have.

Re:I met a waiter on an H1-B (2, Informative)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346153)

And this is honestly the point, isn't it? The folks that you have hired on H-1B's were willing to relocate (for whatever reason) and here they are, well-qualified, doing the jobs that they were hired to do.

Re:I met a waiter on an H1-B (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346541)

In fact, he said several of the waiters at this (unnamed) establishment were on H1-Bs. I believed him, but maybe I was too gullible.

Actually, I would believe it. I've talked to such people who told me of their plans to do it and I've heard too many other related stories of OFWs that corroborate to disbelieve them all.

I'll bet you anything that 1) they had to pay for their job[1] and 2) they are not making anything near minimum wage.

[1] It's typical for an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker and that's an official term) to pay the first two months wages to the agency that arranged the employment.

Culture (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346089)

Brown people scheming and lying to the US Government in order to make a buck? Say it ain't so !!

You are racist and divisive. (1, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346121)

Saying that people from India are breaking the law and saying that people from India are brown is racist and divisive. So is saying that people who come into the USA illegally are illegal aliens.

Re:You are racist and divisive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346231)

I am appalled to read this and will never come to this site,This is the quality of people this place has come down to!

Re:You are racist and divisive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25346517)

Saying that people from India are breaking the law and saying that people from India are brown is racist and divisive. So is saying that people who come into the USA illegally are illegal aliens.

Er: people from India ARE brown. That's no more racist than saying people from Iceland are white.

And people who enter the US illegally are illegal aliens, as defined by the law. If they aren't, what are they? Legal aliens?

stings (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346119)

What they should do is run a continuing sting program, where undercover INS agents apply to jobs that these companies apparently can't find American applicants to fill.

So when that recruiter looking for (2, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346151)

So when that recruiter called me in 1988 looking for someone with 10 years of DOS programming was really a company trying to justify an H1B? Say it ain't so.

Make them buy stocks! (2, Insightful)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346155)

The least they could do is require H1-Bs to buy a portfolio of stocks and keep it all until they leave the country. I'm sure Wall Street would approve of this plan!

Re:Make them buy stocks! (2, Informative)

Arkem Beta (1336177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346793)

Actually there's a different US visa for people who own American stocks. The E-2 Investment Visa is for people who have significant US investments(usually more than US$100,000) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-2_visa [wikipedia.org] The visa is a non-immigrant visa valid for 1 year, renewable until the holder divests himself of the investments.

I don't think they understand what open source is. (1)

zmjjmz (1264856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346159)

"independent open-source data" sounds more like them trying to open up the source code behind H-1B than what they probably mean, which is "citizen gathered information". I know that the OSS model kinda includes it, but open-source is becoming a buzzword again and is apparently being used incorrectly to describe community efforts.

Make sure Grigsby & Cohen and such feel pain. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346385)

For law firms that have used immigration law against citizens, I hope they make it hard if not nearly impossible for them to do "requirements that exclude every citizen by design" anymore.

H-1B? (1)

Kennego (963972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346633)

If you're like me and have no idea what H-1B is, wikipedia has you covered:

"The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States... It allows U.S. employers to employ foreign guest workers in specialty occupations."

From an actual H1B holder (5, Insightful)

MarkKnopfler (472229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346653)

I have been living in the US for less than a year now. I have been working for more than ten years. This is the first time that I have been living in the US. Here is what I think of the whole matter.

1. The H1B program, in spirit is a wonderful, clever thing. I have lived and worked in Europe, Japan and India. I love to travel and take in new experiences. Thanks to the H1 program, it allows for me to actually live and work here. In all honesty, it has been a great experience.

2. The H1B program allows for _american_ companies to actually fill in a labour gap as and when required.

3. Does the H1B program get abused as the article states ? Absolutely. I have seen it happen myself. There are huge number of shell companies ( called consultants ) out there who are absolutely flooding the H1B channels with applications for requirements which do not exist. The article is spot-on with its observations. The biggest victim of this whole thing however is the H1B program. Due to this channel-stuffing, legitimate american companies cannot actually recruit an employee when it is _really_ required since the quota has already been filled by fraudulent/redundant applications. These redundant and fraudulent applications really really need to be stopped for the H1B program to actually deliver what it actually set out to deliver.

4. There is a lot of talk about salaries and cost, and this is what I think. The H1B program is a cleverly crafted law in some ways. The H1 application belongs to the employee and and not the employer. The employee is free to change his employers as and when he or she wants to. If an employee thinks that he is being paid less than the market value, he or she is free to seek out an employer who will pay him as much as he or she deserves. The free market will, at the end of the day take care of it. Also if there is a company which pays its employees based on his legal status and not his skills and ability, please do not consider working for it, whatever might be your legal status.

5. In my professional career, I have worked with some of the biggest bozos and some of the most exquisitely talented engineers. Race or geographical location had absolutely nothing to do with their abilities. There are smart people and idiots everywhere. Supposing that a H1B worker to be inferior in terms of ability, is not a very clever viewpoint.

Dunno about your intentions on posting, but... (0, Flamebait)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346727)

2. The H1B program allows for _american_ companies to avoid using citizens who would normally be qualified

Corrected for accuracy.

The H1B program is a cleverly crafted law in some ways

I believe several law firms would agree. Their business is to make sure no citizen can get the job, and must be stopped.

Race or geographical location has everything to do with their abilities

You are aiding and abetting people who wish to make citizenship in the US a burden.

The free market will, at the end of the day take care of it

Such things do not exist in the form you think they exist.

Does the H1B program get abused as the article states ? Absolutely. I have seen it happen myself. There are huge number of shell companies ( called consultants ) out there who are absolutely flooding the H1B channels with applications for requirements which do not exist.

When citizenship is no longer burdened by labor consultants that abuse this, then immigration can be considered. Otherwise:

Stay Home.

Re:Dunno about your intentions on posting, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25347037)

Hey seth: you are a bigot.

Doing the math for fines (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347115)

97000 applications times 21 percent comes to 20370 cases that businesses need to be fined. Now I'll pick a totally random number of 700 billion dollars, and divide it by 20370. Each business involved should be fined 34,364,261 dollars and 18 cents per bad application.

Re:Doing the math for fines (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347309)

Nice governmental bailout plan, I totally support it. But you are only taking into account one year of H-1Bs and this has been happening since the H-1B program was started. So my totally random guess would be that we can make this a lot cheaper of the businesses committing fraud, maybe even as low as a few thousand per violation. If they share the fines with the recruiters, and legal firms helping to perpetuate the fraud and it should a reasonable fine. But alas, the chance of some major corporate in the US being fined for fraudulent activity is pretty slim.
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