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Senator Prods Microsoft On H-1B Visas After Layoff Plans

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the checking-their-priorities dept.

Microsoft 574

CWmike writes "US Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) told Microsoft this week that US citizens should get priority over H-1B visa holders as the software vendor moves forward on its plan to cut 5,000 jobs. 'These work visa programs were never intended to allow a company to retain foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American workers, when that company cuts jobs during an economic downturn,' Grassley wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The letter asked Microsoft to detail the types of jobs that will be eliminated and how those cuts will affect the company's H-1B workers." Reader theodp adds, "On Friday, Microsoft coincidentally announced it would postpone construction of a planned $500 million data center in Grassley's home state of Iowa, although work on data centers in Chicago and Dublin will continue."

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Coincidentally (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587921)

this is a..you know the drill

Republican? (3, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587931)

Surprised a Republican did this. These guys are more likable when not in power, I guess.

Re:Republican? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587991)

Yeah, I was surprised too. Mostly because, though IANAUSACitizen, I had always assumed that the party which supposedly supports less government regulation and more free markets would... You know... Think that what kind of labor a company must keep should be left to markets (who works for cheapest compared to their skills) instead of government regulation.

Re:Republican? (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588189)

1) Everyone is more likeable when not in power.
2) Neither party actually practices what it preaches to any reasonable degree. If you want to vote for a balanced budget, exactly who do you vote for? Tax and spend democrats or borrow and spend republicans? (feel free to translate to non-depression times to make the question fair)

Of course that's a gross oversimplification, but balance is always in the middle, so we see parties break with their stereotypical views on issues from time to time. If anything I'd be more worried if we didn't.

Also not every single member of a party is in complete alignment with the party. I lean left, but I'm still in favor of guns, free markets (to the degree that this is possible while keeping them competitive), and against racism by any name. I fail to see why politicians should be any different, except perhaps more tacit on their views.

Re:Republican? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588083)

I guess every politician who one does not agree with is more likable when he's not in power...

Re:Republican? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588125)

Actually, it's none of the senator's business. Gates and Ballmer should have the right to hire and fire anyone they please.

Re:Republican? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588255)

Even on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. You libertarians are great.

Re:Republican? (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588529)

If there were some suspicion or prove that this is the case, you would have a point. But even in that case it is not work for a senator. Otherwise, yes, they can fire anybody.

What would happened if they actually fired exclusively H-1B holders?

Re:Republican? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588161)

I suggest he is just grandstanding. If you look over his record and positions at http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Chuck_Grassley.htm [ontheissues.org] your opinion might be refined. Or your hair might stand on end...

Republicans are typically pro-American (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588231)

Take for instance Bill Clinton pushed and signed NAFTA. Outsourcing was BIG under the Clinton administration.
Where are all the folks who worked under the Clinton administration? Oh yes, working for Obama.

Re:Republican? (0, Flamebait)

jcookeman (843136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588351)

You're surprised this is Republican?!?!?!?! What America have you lived in? Wake the fuck up you idiot. The Republicans have always tried to protect American values -- and that includes protecting its citizens first. What do you think the whole Guantanamo military tribunal think is all about? And, oh, no surprisingly the Democratic administration has made it first business to tear that down as well. You must really believe all CNN is telling you.

Re:Republican? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588485)

This is none of Congress' business.

Hey! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587963)

Dey tuk our jerbs!

Re:Hey! (5, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587983)

Yeah if they accept giving them the right to work in the country then why shouldn't they work at the same merits as everyone else? I'd assume Microsoft knows better which people they need and want and which they can get rid of than this guy..

Re:Hey! (0, Flamebait)

codepunk (167897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588051)

I have no problem with your logic however here is a way to apply your logic while being fair to the system. The should
be required to add 5000 american worker filled skilled positions before being eligible to hire or employ a new H1B worker.

Re:Hey! (5, Insightful)

evilphish_mi (1282588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588147)

no they shouldn't they should be allowed to hire the best workers for the job.

Re:Hey! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588461)

Exactly how do you enforce that? The best person for the job might be the guy that makes 20K less for that reason alone. I am not gonna single out MS because many companies make hiring decisions this way and it is not good for America or Americans.

Re:Hey! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588173)

So they should hire 5000 workers for their cafeteria or 5000 broom-jockeys so they could get 1 or more German, French, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Hungarian, Japanese... Martian IT specialist?

Or should they just ignore what you said and hire people according to their abilities?
You know... like a business would do.
Not like... say... nationalized company in a communist country somewhere.

Cause aside from despotic tyranny - that is about the only system where a government official can order around a business he/she does not own.
You know... without all that proposing of laws and voting on them and all that other democratic bullshit.

Re:Hey! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588253)

Yeh like that limited liability bullshit - get rid of that unwarranted interference in the rights of corporate officers to fail along with their businesses.

Re:Hey! (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588375)

Here is the deal. Microsoft is an exporter. This means for them to make money they need to have clients outside of the US.

Ideally they would like to stick to HQ in Redmond. But if immigration gets too nuts they will simply go elsewhere.

And what you forget, and this is the problem of America's immigration system, today's immigrant is tomorrow's citizen. I say America has an immigration problem because it gives no priority to skilled immigrants. Skilled immigrants can be in the US for a while, but no longer. That is wrong.

Re:Hey! (0)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588361)

Exactly!

Unless the senator somehow owns or runs most of the Microsoft (perhaps as a major shareholder or as a chief of it's board of directors) - about the only thing he can do is talk about it.
Unless he wants to make it into some kind of a law or something?
You know... like in a democratic society. Not like in the proverbial Soviet Russia.

Didn't people at Microsoft like go to school for whatever it is that they do there, or something?
Shouldn't they like... have a tad more idea how to run their business then a senator from Iowa?

Hey! Here is an idea... Feel free to forward it to the good senator.
How about a government incentive to hire local workforce?
You know... lower taxes, paying for their wages first couple of years, favorable status for government contracts...

What? Sounds much better than just giving away billions to the financial and auto industry...

awesome (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587967)

What's really going to be awesome is when Microsoft, IBM, et al go to Congress for their annual request for increased H1B visas after laying off thousands of American workers.

They will not (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588081)

They are all simply hiring elsewhere.

ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587969)

ATTENTION SHOPPERS: PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. I REPEAT, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS CURRENTLY LOOMING OUTSIDE LOT 4. CONTINUE SHOPPING BUT PLEASE ENSURE YOU LEAVE VIA AN ALTERNATIVE EXIT AS WE ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY IN LOT 4, DUE TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, LOTS 1, 2, 3, 5 AND 6 ARE CURRENTLY FREE OF BAYING NECROTIC DOG PENIS. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. THANK YOU.

Re:ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587999)

Now, see --back in the old days the trolls would have made a clever association between the necrotic dog cock and senators being prodded.

You newfags are a lazy bunch. Barely half a step up from desu spammers, I say.

Re:ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588301)

Go back to 4chan, faggot.

Re:ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588545)

Go back to Digg, moron.

Bud bud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26587973)

Bud bud budbudbud bud budababud bud wery nice day to you budbudabud bud.

...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587975)

I can understand that the well-being of american workers is more important than that of visa-holders to an elected politician. However, the impact of losing the job is much higher for H1Bs, as they usually have to leave the country (within 1 week I think). Considering the fact that these are humans, too, maybe it would be acceptable to lessen these restrictions somewhat, i. e. allow these people to stay in the country for a year if they have the financial means.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Informative)

c0nst (655115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587993)

actually, laid off h1b workers are allowed a 2 month "grace" period to either find a new job or leave the country

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Informative)

Nicolas Roard (96016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588039)

Care to give some links about this ? All I read about the H1B "grace" period is that there is none. (random recent link http://www.isss.umn.edu/H1BEmployment/GracePer.html [umn.edu] ). There's apparently an unofficial 10 day grace period, but that's about it.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Informative)

melstav (174456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588053)

They don't just have to find a new job.

They have to find an employer who is willing and able to sponsor them for either an H1B or a green card.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Interesting)

bahbar (982972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588385)

Having been in this situation a while back, no, there is officially no grace period. As far as I know, it just happens that the administration lets people transfer anyways. I have heard 10 days, 2 months, nothing... I personally had my H1b transfer initiated in the couple of days after my company closed. Technically, you can apply for transfer, start at your new job, and have your transfer denied (or so they say, I never actually heard about a denied transfer). fun stuff!

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588549)

Its not a "Transfer" it's a new visa - but it doesn't count against the yearly limit. If you apply when you are still employed under another H1-B then you remain in H1-B status, and they will issue you a new visa if the company and employer meet the specialist requirements. That aside I have known individuals who have applied before and after they have lost their jobs to be refused ... and of course accepted. Its really in the discretion of the USCIS examiner ... better hope he got laid the night before.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588459)

Sure... And do you thunk that within this ressession 2 months is enough to get a new job...

Welcome to indentured America more likely (H1B1 is that, only camouflaged).

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Informative)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588509)

actually, laid off h1b workers are allowed a 2 month "grace" period to either find a new job or leave the country

That is completely and utterly untrue. You have a 10 day period to leave the country - if you do not have another visa in process with the USCIS BEFORE YOU GET LAID OFF you are considered to be "out of status" after those 10 days and a USCIS examiner is likely to refuse you another visa if you apply for a new job without leaving the country. Being out of status is bad because it will count against you if you ever decide to get another visa or apply for a green card - even ONE day can result in a refusal.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26587995)

We are in the midst of a major economic crisis, and the more Americans who lose their jobs, the worse it is going to get. If a foreign national loses his job and goes back to his country, then his country will take care of him. The US government needs to focus on the US and US citizens right now, and not allow the needs of H1B guests to trump the needs of Americans.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588019)

Why not build a wall to keep all the dirty foreigners out while you are at it, eh?

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588201)

Sure, and let's hire cheap migrant labor to build it!

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588319)

Sure. As long as skilled WHITE construction workers aren't allowed any of those jobs!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opxuUj6vFa4

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Interesting)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588041)

These H1B holders are well-educated. They'd be able to take of themselves. They'll return home and be a huge benefit to their home country. The US, meanwhile, will lose these talents after probably having spent lots of money in educating them.

Remember: the number of jobs is not fixed. A million unemployed but well-educated nerds will probably lead to the next google, Apple or whatever. If you throw these people out of the country, those companies and their jobs are just created elsewhere.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588153)

ah but 5 million educated american workers can't build the next apple or google?

Remember MSFT is asking for more H1B visa's while firing American workers in the USA. In other words they want to replace educated american workers with cheaper educated foreign workers. It is one thing to announce layoffs, it is another to announce hiring of only non native workers to fill the roles of those you just fired.

Of course MSFT is just that kind of bully. expect to see more of MSFT throwing it's weight around over the next few years, as ballmer has no good ideas to throw he throws around his body, (and chairs)

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588207)

"A million unemployed but well-educated nerds will probably lead to the next google, Apple or whatever."

Funny, thousands of highly skilled nerds lost their jobs in 2001, yet...the next Google did not form. Neither did the next Apple. The unemployed nerds just found new employment.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (3, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588399)

You are wrong...

Social networks...

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588555)

You are wrong for two reasons: first of all, social networking websites were getting started during the height of the dot-com bubble, and second of all, the two mostly wildly successful social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook, were started by managers, businessmen, and advertisers, not by highly skilled tech workers (although they certainly employed such people).

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

yumyum (168683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588501)

These H1B holders are well-educated... The US, meanwhile, will lose these talents after probably having spent lots of money in educating them.

Huh?

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588069)

So you're kicking out talented and resourceful people so that you can keep some fat lazy Americans in work?

Yes, that sounds like the best way possible to prepare for bouncing back after the recession.

Oh... I guess stereotyping never works well, yet the H1B are mainly high-skilled workers. Sending them back home only gives their home country, or what ever country they decide to relocate to, an invaluable resource.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588109)

No, throwing out H1B's to keep fat Americans and lazy Europeans in work. MS (along with other companies such as IBM) is laying off over there as well.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588185)

Why the dichotomy? I understand it's fashionable to rag on Americans, but it has no place in rational discussion. 47% of the country are intelligent, hard-working, and self-reliant, not fat or lazy. The rest voted for Sugar Daddy Obama.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (0, Troll)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588305)

Yes because a intelligent, hard-working, and self-reliant would vote for an old man with cancer and a inbred bimbo for a VP that would likely become president. It just makes so much sense!

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (5, Insightful)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588353)

The whole purpose of the H1B program was to bring foreign nationals into the country to work because the company said there weren't enough Americans who could fill the positions. However, if a company is now downsizing then it make sense that if you have a technical position that you need less people for, that the guest workers should be the first ones to be downsized. Logically, you can't claim not being able to find people to fill a position if you just laid off two people qualified for the position.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588415)

Logically, you can't claim not being able to find people to fill a position if you just laid off two people qualified for the position.

Yes you can... Do you assume all employees within the same company are created equally? Some people are more efficient and produce higher-quality work than others.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (4, Insightful)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588557)

That is true. However, the assumption is that if you have two people with the same job description, then that is two people whom the company thinks is qualified to do that job.

Also, since the H1B program is a government program, then they have to hold to the law of the land which assumes that all of the employees are in fact equal (actual work performance not withstanding) which means that the company must justify laying off employees who were filling a job that they are now requesting a H1B visa for.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588085)

I'm pretty sure that Microsoft's "firing criteria" is based solely on the merits/abilities of the individuals in question. They are not going to fire someone just because he's a foreigner, they would much rather fire someone who's local and sucks at his job. That said, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of inept foreigners at Microsoft to fire - but putting pressure on them to protect American jobs? That's just stupid and will lead to Windows 7 being more suxors than before.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1, Redundant)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588105)

Well, I guess we'll now see what H1Bs are really used for. IIRC, the idea behind those Visa was to hire abroad when you can't find qualified workers at home. It would be logic to fire H1B holders and retain the local workers if this was really the basis for hiring those people. Hell, it would be anything but illogical to force companies to fire H1B holders if there are US people looking for jobs and they qualify for the jobs the H1B holders have.

I guess we'll now see whether it really was so impossible to find qualified people at home or whether the H1Bs were a convenient way to get cheap labour.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588165)

It seems like it is not just in soviet russia where govt controls commerce

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588427)

This reeks of anti-competitiveness. MS should be allowed to get rid of their 5000 least productive employees.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (2, Insightful)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588473)

The laid off personnel was good enough to be hired by MS, meaning that they have the necessary qualifications. H1-B allows foreign workers to work only if there are not enough qualified US citizens for the same positions.

If MS keeps H1Bs and fires Americans that would be not only illegal but unethical too. After all MS would be nowhere if the predecessors of US citizens they fire did not struggle to build this country. There are limits to open
immigration policies!

PS: I am a foreign student, soon to graduate and _attempt_ to enter the US job market. I would expect my own country to get rid first of the equivalent H1Bs in a similar situation.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (0, Troll)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588025)

However, the impact of losing the job is much higher for H1Bs,

In business there is always the trade-off between "upside potential" and "downside risk." The upside potential for H1Bs is the pay and the life style in the U.S.A. the downside is rapid loss if they lose their jobs.

Screw the foreigners, send them home. If they can get a green card or become citizens, then "Welcome to America" otherwise, work in your own damn country.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588067)

Not very smart. The success of a nation is a function of the intelligence and education of its people. Giving visas to people with above-average intelligence and education will therefore always be to a nation's benefit.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588159)

Not very smart. The success of a nation is a function of the intelligence and education of its people. Giving visas to people with above-average intelligence and education will therefore always be to a nation's benefit.

That assumes (1) that there is no benefit to employing Americans, (2) That the same level and skill is not available locally, and (3) there is no harm in employing non-resident foreigners.

None of these assumptions are true.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (0, Flamebait)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588337)

Are you kidding? Do you lack reading comprehension?

His point was that bringing in skilled workers from other countries benefits us. The majority of those H1-Bs stay in the USA, raise families, and become Americans after a period of time.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

yumyum (168683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588543)

Not very smart. The success of a nation is a function of the intelligence and education of its citizens.

Ah, that's better.

A random collection of smart people working at a company does not make a country better; it may make a corporatocracy better. Having low unemployment among the citizenry should be the goal.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

TheMonkeyhouse (1271112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588133)

Screw the foreigners, send them home.

you do realise that America was founded on immigration? probably your great grandfather. and that immigration (a lot of it through H visas to Green Card to Citizenship) is what continues to help build the country?

without it, the US would country would be full of ignorant gits making comments like that. back to your cave.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588315)

I'm sure he's native American, like most Americans. You can see it in his writing.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588213)

I am glad to know that you want to "screw" me and "send me home". For your information, my life style is western europe would be as good as in the US (probably even better since here it is culturally poor). There is no risk for me to be laid off but let me tell you that you are a completely cliché ignorant, _racist_ american. You are the kind of person who damages the reputation of the US abroad.

Screw you,

AC

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (1)

bryanp (160522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588307)

What? Are you saying that America is somehow superior to their home country? How jingoistic and even racist of you.

Re:...because H1Bs are forms, not people (3, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588363)

I can understand that the well-being of american workers is more important than that of visa-holders to an elected politician. However, the impact of losing the job is much higher for H1Bs, as they usually have to leave the country (within 1 week I think). Considering the fact that these are humans, too, maybe it would be acceptable to lessen these restrictions somewhat, i. e. allow these people to stay in the country for a year if they have the financial means.

The entire H-1B process is reliant on the fact that there are people who have more rights (in this case, American citizens) and people with fewer rights (in this case, non-citizens of the USA). The American citizens have for whatever reasons the right to get jobs ahead of the others. Microsoft is allowed to hire non-citizens if they can prove that American citizens can't fill all the needed positions. Microsoft _wants_ to hire non-citizens because they have fewer rights, so they are willing to work for less money. If these people coming into the USA through H-1B didn't have fewer rights, they wouldn't be willing to work for less money, and Microsoft wouldn't want to hire them.

Whether the situation is fair or unfair is surely worth a discussion, but with H-1B you are only allowed into the USA because Microsoft couldn't find Americans to fill the job. Clearly if Microsoft fires American citizens, then that argument would be moot.

This is Major Tom to ground control. . . (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588055)

I was laid off from my programming job and I have been looking for a job for a year now, and I keep getting passed on. I've even lowered my wage expectations and my references, former managers and coworkers, have a lot of good things to say about me. I am constantly applying through newspapers, monster.com, dice.com, etc. Why is a H1-B holder getting precedence over me? And, why are these companies laying off Americans in favor of keeping the H1-Bs? We have a problem, Houston.

Re:This is Major Tom to ground control. . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588203)

Can't you just write some code for the Linux kernel or something? You don't need to go hat-in-hand to some faceless HR douchebag begging for a few scraps to do that.

On a side note, I just hate recruiters. They all ask the same stupid questions, sometimes even the same question multiple ways in the same interview. One of these cunts called me fishing for a reference for a prospective hire that I worked with 5+ years ago and he must've asked me 5 different ways what the hire's strengths and weaknesses were. I just gave him the same answer 5 times. These guys are nothing more than self-inflated gatekeepers. They do the paperwork version of flipping burgers, read a few fluff pieces on yahoo.com about how to hire new staff, and then proceed to ask you the same question 5 ways. Get over yourself, dude. Recruiter jobs are about as difficult to fill (and just as soul-crushing) as sales jobs.

Technical sales - now there's a terrible job if there ever was one. Can you imagine wading through 4+ years of Calculus, only to be told by your employer that you'll be selling widgets for the rest of your miserable days, and that if your numbers don't improve every year then you're gone? I think I'd really struggle to find a reason to go on at that point.

Re:This is Major Tom to ground control. . . (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588435)

Have you actually thought about WHY you are not getting hired? And fixing those issues?

My wife is a manager and I get to see the other side of things. They don't explicitly go out with the notion, "oh let's not hire X, but hire Y."

They are just thankful that they can get anybody with skills.

Right now there is a REALLY big problem, and a friend of mine says it best.

"Those that you want to hire are not hirable, but those that are hirable you don't want."

He said this because he noticed that there are many who calls themselves programmers, but are 2000 leftovers who got into it because you could make "lots and lots" of money. Hiring a programmer that you want to keep is these days very difficult.

What a joke (1, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588065)

The H1B's that are here are pretty bright. More importantly, the ppl being let go, many be just OK. In the end, MS will start hiring overseas anyhow. Watch what happens with the MSFS group. Just laid off. I am betting that they will hire in CHina for a whole new team.

Re:What a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588439)

From my experience the H1Bs are all talk. For some reason, they don't know how to apply what they learned to building stuff.

I think it will help (2, Funny)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588073)

All those laid off workers can help with Open Source development while they're on unemployment. It sounds like a win to me.</humor>

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588077)

Microsoft is a business - not a government entity - they have the right to layoff whomever they wish to meet their corporate goals. If its an H1-B holder fine - if its an American Citizen - fine.

The government and elected officials have ZERO right, responsibility or ABILITY to interfere.

For all the knee jerk 'layoff the foreigners' reactions. Consider this - H1-B holders pay American taxes but don't get the same 'withdrawals' as a citizen from the system. They in fact generate more revenue for the US Government than American Citizens.

Written as an Anonymous Coward to avoid hate mail and death threats.

Signed
The Voice of Reason

Re:Anonymous Coward (5, Insightful)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588401)

Actually, I would have to go back and read the way the law is written, but the Senator has a valid point in regards to this situation. You can't really sit there and lay off a large number of technical people and then say that you can find people those same technical skills to do the job and ask to bring in guest workers from out of the country.

Microsoft might be allowed to layoff who ever they want to, but on the same token the government is able to deny H1B applications from Microsoft as well.

What's the point? (2, Interesting)

ANCOVA (1175953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588079)

Let's be clear here. We are talking about H1B program, not outsourcing. Companies outsource entire department to save costs, because they can pay less to equivalent workers overseas. On the other hand, when sponsoring a H1B visa, the employer has to show that the guest worker gets the prevailing wage, on par with all the "similarly qualified" U.S. citizens in the same business. On top of that, the government increases the application fee every now and then to make it costlier to hire H1B workers. In general, it's actually more expensive and difficult to hire a truly qualified H1B employee. Nobody would hire a permanent employee holding H1B visa unless they can't find anyone else equally competent. If anything they've probably already prioritized the H1B holders in their layoff plan, because it makes business sense.

H1Bs are wrong (5, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588111)

The "guest worker" program is nothing more than a gift to large corporations to get cheap labor that is almost an "indentured servant."

Seriously, what employer wouldn't want to be in the position to employ reasonably killed labor that *HAS* to work to to say in the country. They are a lot easier to intimidate. They can't raise labor issues for fear of having to leave the country.

H1Bs come to the US. Work for less than the prevailing wage. Are not "citizens" and do not have the same rights. Can be easily intimidated: "Don't want to work on the week-end without pay? Your fired, now go back to your own country."

Then if they lose their jobs, not only do they have to leave, but they have to pay to leave. Lose their last month's security deposit on their apartment because they have to break the lease.

H1Bs reduce the prevailing wage, exploit foreigners, and are generally bad policy for middle class.

As for Microsoft, or any employer, *all* H1Bs should be dispensed with *before* any american gets laid off.

Re:H1Bs are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588219)

What makes you think H1Bs are paid less? It costs more to the company to sponsor H1Bs as opposed to less.

Re:H1Bs are wrong (1)

TheMonkeyhouse (1271112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588223)

i think you are thinking of abuses of the H1B program.

as with any program there are people who take advantage of the situation and of other people and bend the rules, but that is not he general case that i have come across, or at least wasn't when i was on my H1B (from Scotland).

i knew doctors and physicists and other engineers etc, all of whom were highly skilled and well paid for moving to the US and it was not even close to the situation you describe.

However, i do see the trend to use the H1B to complement or as a an alternative to outsourcing by bringing cheap workers in IT from a specific country (or 2) to the US and treating them as you describe. This must not be taken as a general rule as to how the H1B program works and is handled.

I agree that this has to stop.

Re:H1Bs are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588443)

These are not abuses so much as they are common place. I don't think most of the posters here have done interviewing and hiring to a large enough extent to offer an educated response to this issue. H1B workers are absolutely exploited and they themselves exploit the situation as well. Many of them are here for years without working under their visas. Because management of these visas is so poor, they are allowed to get a job years later and not be deported.

H1B is about getting employers the skills they need when the skills aren't available locally. It is also a TEMP program. Nobody states the purpose better than Grassley himself:

The purpose of the H-1B visa program is to assist companies in their employment needs where there is not a sufficient American workforce to meet their technology expertise requirements. However, H-1B and other work visa programs were never intended to replace qualified American workers.

Re:H1Bs are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588259)

No no no. I'm on an H1B, I make more money than most Americans at my company, and that's because I'm a much more productive developer. During layoffs we get rid many of the unproductive people whether they are Americans or not.

Re:H1Bs are wrong (3, Funny)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588339)

Seriously, what employer wouldn't want to be in the position to employ reasonably killed labor that *HAS* to work...

In my experience the dead do not work whether they need to or not.

and how will it be different from amnesty? (0, Flamebait)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588407)

Because it is coming. There are too many potential voters for either the Democrats or Republicans to ignore. About everything you claim that H1Bs did can be applied to current illegal immigrants who will most likely within two years be granted amnesty. Or does this only account if it affects jobs at "our" level?

I disagree with the Senator on the stand point of that if it makes the business better long term then they need to be able to keep people who are here legally. Protectionism is wrong at any level. It is the consistent meddling in business that has led to the current failure in lending markets, higher prices (sugar is the grand daddy of them all), and upcoming docket of lawsuits because of new laws coming which purposely allow people to sue from time began over offenses.

No, there is no difference between this and amnesty except it bites those like us. Why protect ourselves if we won't protect lower income workers or do they not count except during elections?

Re:H1Bs are wrong (5, Insightful)

bahbar (982972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588441)

Funny, during my H1b days, I always thought I was paid at least as much as my colleagues. I went through my company closing, and had support of everybody around me. I worked for 3 different companies in 5 years (a couple of big ones), and never once was felt pressured as an H1B. What do I know, maybe I am the exception?

Re:H1Bs are wrong (2, Insightful)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588503)

Yes, that will teach them!!! Err.. wait, who are we punishing again? The employers who will merely outsource the whole division or to the families of those H1-Bs who just got laid off. Or do we care?

The concept of a global workforce is not one that goes away as the global economic tail winds shift. Regardless of whether politicians all of a sudden grow a conscience or not.

I am on an H1-B. I have been here for the last 9 years, and though I have seen poverty that is far more dire than that around me currently, I am not insulated against what goes on around the country. People who were paid 50k before are pizza delivery guys now, the shame that comes with the inability to afford the basic necessities for your kids, plays all across communities around the country.

But how do you ever plan to make all of them right, by getting rid of all the immigrant families here now?

Re:H1Bs are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588513)

Duh, this is nonsense. This is theoretical construct out of thin air that seems to have little with practice in companies like Microsoft. I'm from Russian citizen not anywhere near resident status; I am not sure about the compensation but it's above market average for sure, package & attitude is good, and even though I never had a reason to raise a labor issue, I wouldn't be reluctant to if I needed...

They didn't want to hire American's in the first p (5, Informative)

htnmmo (1454573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588143)

Some of these companies didn't want to hire Americans in the first place according the Programmer's Guild.

Here's a video showing Immigration Attorney's explaining what companies need to do to get around the laws and hire more H1-Bs.

Basically, create impossible job descriptions and then go oversees since no American would qualify.

I've worked with and managed a few H1B programmers. Some where very talented. Some were hired just because they were cheap. They were no better than any random American college grad. They were just cheaper.

Both the American and foreign born developers worked hard and there were good and bad in both. It all boils down to money.

Most of these companies depend on American consumers to survive, but if everyone decides American workers are too expensive to hire, they're not going to have American consumers to buy their products and services.

Here's the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU&feature=channel_page [youtube.com]

Re:They didn't want to hire American's in the firs (1)

Penguin Follower (576525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588373)

Mod parent up.

American protectionism? (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588163)

How come when everything is going alright the free market reigns supreme, but the second peopel are getting laid off the American workers get priority. It seems no one actually considers the workers that aren't from America have had to move from their home to come and take this job- yet they, the ones who actually did make sacrifises should be the first to be thrown over board. If it's really a free market then the fact one worker is foreign and one isn't should have no effect on which one gets fired. In fact all other things being equal the foreign worker is prefered because they've demonstrated how much the job means.

Re:American protectionism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588221)

No no, you got it all wrong, when it's done in Europe it's called protectionism, when done in America it's still called free market...

Re:American protectionism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588313)

It seems no one actually considers the workers that aren't from America have had to move from their home to come and take this job- yet they, the ones who actually did make sacrifises should be the first to be thrown over board.

The reality is that is a risk the foreign H1B worker willingly accepts by moving to this Country to take a job.

To the best of my knowledge no worker, domestic or foreign H1B, is guaranteed protection to their job in an economic slump.

It only makes sense that our Politician's (rightly) ask this question when large companies, such as Microsoft, layoff large numbers of US workers.

Didn't Bill Gates, last May, petition Congress for an increase to the number of issued H1B visas? It would appear than, that this increase is potentially at the expense of US workers.

I, for one, thank this guy for having the guts to bring up the question. Now lets have some discourse on the subject.

Ballmer to Grassley... (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588197)

"Quit rocking [iowamicrosoftcase.com] our [qctimes.com] boat [senate.gov] , or we'll take our toys [pcworld.com] and go home."

At least he's not throwing things this time.

Take Micro-micro soft and (0, Flamebait)

grolaw (670747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588233)

tax them out of existence. This is the company that set the record for "permatemps" who were really full-time W-2 employees. Off-shoring codeing - skipping over qualified US workers...

And, creating the most insecure OS in history...

Time for MS to end the charade and fold up shop - their stock is BS and the Unix/Linux world can pick up and correct the decades of MSFT errors.

Off them with extreme prejudice. No more bloated MS OS - this is a good thing!

It was never intended to WHAT? (0, Flamebait)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588247)

I don't know anything about this senator, but clearly he is either a moron, or he thinks the American people are stupid.

How can anyone be dumb enough to think that this isn't exactly what the legislation was designed to allow? I suppose next senator Grassley is going to tell us that the legislation that gave tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas was not supposed to put Americans out of work.

I agree with this move (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588251)

Don't get more wrong I don't think kicking intelligent immigrants out so some lazy American can have a job he can't do right is a wise move.

However a jobless immigrant goes back home. A jobless American has to get help from the government and becomes a drain on the system because of that and the fact they're not paying taxes.

So to alleviate the tax burden on those that still have a job in the overly in debt nation it makes sense to ensure as many tax payers and people eligible for government help are working so they are paying taxes and not living off tax payer money.

Visa workers RULE for employers! (1)

Nothing's on (1455493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588275)

The main issue is MS losing 5,000 jobs for he first time in ever! Naturally the first jobs to go won't be American jobs on American soil!

As for the Visa workers, they knew full well this day could come and any repercussions were signed for in advance. It's all part of the work Visa and the reason for employing imported people on Visa's...

Why talk about H1Bs when ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26588491)

... many more jobs can be created by closing Microsoft's global offices and bringing those jobs back to the U.S. Dare Sen Grasso propose that ? It will lead MS to extinction even faster.
Seriously, guys. We invented globalization. we better deal with it.

And if you just think it through, imagine what's most likely to happen after you got rid of the H1Bs.

The guy goes back to India and Microsoft hires him in Hyderabad or wherever for $20K instead of $100K. What taxes he pays go to the Indian government instead of the U.S. (H1Bs pay all taxes here, including social security and medicare.) Said engineer becomes an entrepreneur in 10 years and invents a product or starts a company that kicks Microsoft's butt, this time creating all the jobs in India.

Be careful what you wish for. (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26588499)

I think bringing in foreign tech workers is fine. The problem is sending them back home.

By the logic that says that bringing foreign tech workers into the US is bad for US tech workers, a software engineer would be better off looking for a job in Flint, Michigan than San Jose, California, because there are so many software engineers in San Jose. The problem with this reasoning is that the number of software engineers in San Jose attracts companies there, and those companies create jobs. Having other engineers around means you get a smaller proportion slice of a much, much larger pie. And the very best engineers don't just consume jobs, the create new industries.

The real fault with the H1B program is that it is structured in a way that encourages companies to offshore jobs. You bring a cohort of junior engineers in from India, have them gain experience in your field and product, then you kick them back to Banagalore, a ready made outsourcing team. Making employers shed H1Bs will only accelerate the loss of US jobs, giving US workers a larger proportion of a much, much smaller pie.

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