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Microsoft Says H-1B Workers Among Those Losing Jobs

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the define-'fair' dept.

Microsoft 612

CWmike notes that after a US Senator urged Microsoft to lay off H-1B workers first, Microsoft says it is cutting a 'significant number' of foreign workers as part of the layoff it announced last week. But experts say there is nothing in the law requiring a company to cut the jobs of H-1B workers before US workers. David Kussin, an immigration attorney, said, 'In fact, the law is very well designed to say that you have to treat H-1Bs the same as US citizens in all regards.' Another H-1B critic, UC Davis professor Norman Matloff, said the Senator's letter would help their fight. 'If Microsoft doesn't state that they will lay off the H-1Bs first — and they won't state this — then it would be awfully tough for Bill Gates to come back to the Hill and urge an H-1B increase, wouldn't it?'"

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First Post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26620971)

Well, my turn today.

Require pay and benefits parity (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26620979)

It's an easy thing to fix - require that H1B visa holders receive the same pay and benefits for their work as the rest of the workforce. If companies really have problems finding citizens to fill jobs, and aren't just trolling for lower paid wage slaves, then it ought not to be a problem, right?

Man, I'd love to see the tech industry try to talk its way out of that.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Insightful)

ritesonline (1155575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621047)

The biggest danger could be that overseas workers are cheaper to keep therefore 'let's get rid of our own people first' which would really add to the economic problems.

I guess that's why Ms had to be pushed to do the sensible thing.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621499)

That's why OP stated they should require "parity." That way it wouldn't be cheaper to keep H1B holders.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (5, Interesting)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621815)

There should not be workers here on visas. Especially for high-tech jobs.

Give them full legal residency and give them the option to stay instead of sending them home after 6 years and perpetuating the "shortage".

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Interesting)

Shambly (1075137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621061)

I don't see why they should pay more for your services when someone is willing to do it for less. The company is the one suffering if they are missing adequate skill sets for what the task demands. I really don't understand why a company should "hire locally" first when its not in its best interest to do so.

Then let it be fair... (5, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621213)

I mean if you do not see why a company should pay more for my services when someone is willing to do it for less, then I would like to see the following:

Microsoft should outsource management or hire H-1B visa personnel for management positions as well. It will be cheaper for the company too. How about that?

Re:Then let it be fair... (2, Insightful)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621501)

I mean if you do not see why a company should pay more for my services when someone is willing to do it for less, then I would like to see the following:

Microsoft should outsource management or hire H-1B visa personnel for management positions as well. It will be cheaper for the company too. How about that?

Some companies have filled top management positions with non-Americans, when they have proved that they are capable and affordable. Parent is not talking about just programmers or managers. Basically, every company has freedom to adopt means to improve profitability and if that includes outsourcing OR getting more H1B holders, it is their decision. In a 'free trade' world the natural choice would always be "cheaper and better".

Re:Then let it be fair... (3, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621799)

Really? I thought that the company existed to serve the CEO and his hand-picked board of directors. Not the workers, and heaven forbid they look after share-holders (unless the CEO is a founder). That's why CEO pay rises are at the highest level since the Great Depression.

Heck, a CEO doesn't need to outperform their competitors. A company that performs dismally compared to their competitors will still rise or fall (in share price) based on wide-ranging market forces, not whether or not the company was well managed. Any effort the CEO makes will only marginally effect their bonus - so they are better looking defensible than trying to improve profits.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621223)

I really don't understand why a company should "hire locally" first when its not in its best interest to do so.

I didn't used to see why either but somebody who is wiser than I am put it this way: Michael Dell is too cheap to pay for the country that created him

In other words, the United States (for all it's pluses and minuses) got Microsoft/Dell/etc going, why aren't they giving back to the United States? I'm not some hippie liberal douche but I tend to believe that there are more important things than the bottom line. We owe it to future generations not to undercut our own population in the perpetual search for lower wages.

I would also say that this applies to consumers as well as to CEOs. If you aren't willing to buy anything more expensive than the cheap plastic shit sold at Wal-Mart then you are part of the problem.

(And before I get modded troll the 'hippie liberal douche' remark is a South Park reference)

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Insightful)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621333)

Here I was thinking that our society is supposed to be built on competition. If you can create a scompany that can compete and be successful then that's good.

Why should it be different for a country? If they can't compete by providing the skilled labour necessary why should a company be forced into 'purchasing' the less skilled labor?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621439)

Capitalism and employment based on merit and all is fine for most people, until they are sweating - then the government/nanny needs to protect them from any possibility of harm.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (5, Insightful)

tele_player (969525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621729)

Why should it be different for a country? If they can't compete by providing the skilled labour necessary why should a company be forced into 'purchasing' the less skilled labor?

Because it's not fair when companies can shop all around the world for the cheapest prices on necessities (e.g. labor), while the common US citizen cannot shop all around the world for the cheapest prices on necessities, such as food, housing, education and health care. In other words, the competition is between US employers and US labor, and the employers have an unfair advantage.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Informative)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621839)

Shopping around the world for labor and materials ultimately lowers the price of goods. That house, that food, and even that education would get cheaper. Except that our government (and also many governments in Western Europe, IIRC) have strict price controls and anti-competitive rules in many of these sectors.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621341)

They do give back by way of shareholder value. The bottom line drives share prices up enriching anyone having stocks in the company. After all Huntsman Corp is fiction.

WHO IS JOHN GALT? (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621343)

So Michael Dell OWES it to us. His hard work, his identifying a need and filling it, somehow makes him indebted to society as a whole because that is what is morally right? So guilt the producers of wealth by claiming that the non producers are the only reason why they were able to produce in the first place.

Have your read Atlas Shrugged? Perhaps you should. The most selfish people in this world are those who demand others to give of themselves.

I am a trader. I earn what I get in trade for what I produce. I ask for nothing more or nothing less than what I earn. That is justice. I don't force anyone to trade with me; I only trade for mutual benefit. Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world. One may never force another human to act against his/her judgment. If you deny a man's right to Reason, you must also deny your right to your own judgment. Yet you have allowed your world to be run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical.

And then there's your 'brother-love' morality. Why is it moral to serve others, but not yourself? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but not by you? Why is it immoral to produce something of value and keep it for yourself, when it is moral for others who haven't earned it to accept it? If it's virtuous to give, isn't it then selfish to take?

Your acceptance of the code of selflessness has made you fear the man who has a dollar less than you because it makes you feel that that dollar is rightfully his. You hate the man with a dollar more than you because the dollar he's keeping is rightfully yours. Your code has made it impossible to know when to give and when to grab.

MOD PARENT -1 adolescent randroid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621429)

Jeez. You're either 18 years old, or you never developed any kind of maturity.

Re:WHO IS JOHN GALT? (2, Insightful)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621667)

I don't believe that Michael Dell owes me anything, I don't work for him.

But for those states that have given his company tax breakes to locate his offices and factories in there cities and towns? Yeah, I think he owes them a little. They cut him breaks that helped him become successful, and he really ought to pay a little of that back if he can.

Those states went without certain tax revenue, and they'll be losing even more if he starts dumping American employees in that state in favor of imported labor at a lower price.

Ultimately I really don't see a problem with Dell dumping local help and not the help he's already imported, but I do have a problem with them dumping local help and then importing NEW help to replace them. That's the same thing as firing union employees and then hiring scabs, except that there is no union making exorbitant demands. If there are so many qualified people out of work, someone will be willing to do that job at the price Dell is willing to pay so they can cover their mortgage and car payments.

Re:WHO IS JOHN GALT? (3, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621921)

I did actually read that book. While I don't hate the philosophy, I'm shocked at the arrogance of Ayn Rand to include 50 page long rants (presented as speeches or arguments by characters). If you want to write a philosophy book, that's fine. But don't pretend your rants are a novel.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621371)

Too late; we've been sold out to China. Globalization tends toward global equality. There simply isn't enough available energy (because we haven't invested in efficiency and improved harvesting and energy management) for us all to live at current American standards. The American lifestyle depends on cheap energy of all flavors; we have not been paying the real cost of energy -- the cash equivalent of the energy deficit we have accumulated makes the budgets of the world's governments look feeble. Once we get a few places in America down to *average* Chinese or Indian village standards this will be clear.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621419)

I think it can be put in simpler terms: When H1B visas were requested and utilized there were many more Americans with jobs. While the workforce market allowed for foreign workers then, it does not necessarily do so now. Foreign and temporary workers should make up the bulk, if not total, of workers laid off now. Don't give me crap about how they spend money here in the USA too. It's about keeping a job, feeding families. Sorry, American families should come first in these hard times. Yeah, I know we just did the bialout shuffle dance, but any company that retains foreign workers while citizens are put out on the street will lose my business, and I will work to ensure they lose business from other citizens.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621709)

So lets take one of these H1B visa holders. They most likely grew up in a country with a much lower GDP than the USA. That country probably used its scarce taxpayers dollars to educate them. Then the US entices them over with its bubble economy and thirst for global labor. So this H1B visa holder ends up paying their tax dollars not to the country that spent its tax dollars educating them, but to the good old US of A. Now when times are tough, you want to kick these guys out on their arses, back to a country that has missed out on the benefit of their tax dollars, which is now faced with looking after them. Globalisation of the labour market - isn't it great how it sucks even more out of the third world than we managed with decades of slavery and natural resource plundering.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (5, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621859)

The people laid off should be the ones with the lowest skill-set, regardless of their location. Or does equality only apply domestically?

If companies lay off their best employees (foreign or domestic) because they're the most expensive to keep on board, those companies will suffer in the long-term, which is good for exactly zero people. I'd argue that companies have been forced to do this in order to help the short-term bottom line for idiotic shareholders who refuse to see R&D as a good thing because it doesn't bring in revenue next week, but it's that kind of stupidity that brought us this situation in the first place.

I'd like to think that most companies aren't so short-sighted to think that getting rid of their highest-paid employees is a good idea in the long term, but they've been forced into a position where they have to do so because it makes the shareholders happy. It's the asshole day-traders trying to ride the stock market to immediate infinite riches that are killing your precious American jobs.

Yes, I'm saying that Americans are causing their own replacement by H-1B foreign workers. Blame Wall St., blame the guys with the annoying accents doing your tech support, blame whoever the hell you want. I'm blaming all of the people happy to get rich at anyone else's expense, probably including whoever manages your 401k.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621441)

If you aren't willing to buy anything more expensive than the cheap plastic shit sold at Wal-Mart then you are part of the problem.

Why mark you troll for "hippie liberal douche" when this comment is enough? You sound more like a communist that demands people buy what YOU want them to buy. Free will and choice be damned!

Because, after all, Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia, etc. They never bought a Dell computer or contributed to their success... right?

The parent posters comment isn't insightful, unless it's in the context to the posters arrogant and idiotic philosophy of anti-freedoms and repressions.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621567)

Worldwide, how many millions of jobs have been lost because of the computer automation that Microsoft and Dell promote?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621903)

well, I imagine that if the society was run by your kind, we would be stuck on trees debating on the opportunity of evolving the opposing thumb.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621891)

why aren't they giving back to the United States?

What about the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who work for Dell and Microsoft and get a paycheck that supports their family? What about the income taxes they pay?

If you aren't willing to buy anything more expensive than the cheap plastic shit sold at Wal-Mart then you are part of the proble

Unless you're only buying products that are made in america, you're responsible for the american worker who lost his job when the manufacturing plant was moved overseas.

Pay less and tax the difference (tariff) (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621323)

Let the company pay what they want and put a tariff on the good. The most likely effect is it will stop the trade and force the job offshore. At least until we start putting tariffs on imported data. Looks like a new can of worms just got opened.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621425)

Simple answer: They shouldn't.

If someone can do your job as adequately as you can, and will do it for less, then they should get the job.

I've worked with outsourced workers who were located in India, and trust me, there's no functional equivalency there yet. Not even close. but when that person is making $5,000 USD a year or less, their salary covers a multitude of shortcomings.

If your company doesn't do it, your competitors will, which will render your margin much higher than theirs. And if they outlaw it here in the US, foreign competitors will still do it, and thus, you'll still lose.

This is why tampering with market forces is in most cases ill-advised.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621629)

Mmm. Market forces work just fine in a nearly homeostatic state. There's a real choice to be made between cutting costs (bad for the employees) or increasing productivity (good for everyone).

Unfortunately when you throw a market wide open to widely disparate providers - and we're talking about a ratio of 5 or even 10-to-one in salary costs - then market forces dictate that purchasers go for the low cost bidder. Increasing productivity - i.e. training and retaining skilled staff - isn't a realistic option for the high wage bidders; they have to join the rush to the bottom.

That's good for consumers, but not for workers. Unfortunately, a lot of us are workers. What we want - what benefits everyone - is increasing productivity rather than cutting costs. Do you see a lot of that happening in the global knowledge economy at the moment?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621523)

You're right, they shouldn't be required to hire locally. The government, conversely shouldn't be giving them tax breaks, special immigration exemptions, bailouts, and all the other bits of corporate welfare that are regularly given to large corporations like this.

If you want to argue for the "free market" and the laissez-faire approach to letting businesses do whatever the hell they want to, then you had damn well better remember that it cuts BOTH ways. "Free market" also means no handouts.

Its called capitalism (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621823)

I don't see why they should pay more for your services when someone is willing to do it for less.

On the surface that seems true, but it isn't. In any capitalist market there is supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Well understood theory, correct?

In the U.S. workforce market there is ample supply of workers, but the prevailing wage that people need to thrive, you know have a home, wife, children, etc. is fairly high. My health insurance alone, is $14K a year.

So, the government gave a gift to large corporations. With record profits, Microsoft is getting more and more H1B visa workers. This causes a glut of workers on the market and allows Microsoft to pay their workers less. Following suit, other companies can now pay less for the over abundance of workers.

H1B visas are nothing more than "human resource dumping" for corporate america. H1Bs cost less, and lower the prevailing wage. This is undeniable.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Informative)

Veretax (872660) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621067)

Could someone explain to me, why Bill Gates would be arguing for H1-B Visas before congress now? I thought he left Microsoft?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (3, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621153)

The Slashdot editors seem to still be enjoying laying all of Microsoft's faults at Bill Gates' feet, despite the fact that (as you say) he left a while ago.

They seem to be living in a parallel universe.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621215)

Because he still owns several billion dollars in Microsoft shares and it's in his best interest to see that the company is successful?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621427)

Could someone explain to me, why Bill Gates would be arguing for H1-B Visas before congress now? I thought he left Microsoft?

Because he's still chairman of the board.

He's also their lovable nerdy Horatio Alger philanthropist mascot, over which which the senators will swoon. They would not react so favorably if forced to listen to a sweaty chair thrower.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621079)

Unfortunately, really easy. Claim that people do not have equivalent experience, qualification, competencies, whatever, so should be rewarded less (even if they are in practise doing exactly the same job). HR shills justify the impossible all the time...

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

ostomator (581465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621091)

I am pretty sure that H1-B workers need to be paid the "prevailing wage". It is all there in black and white [doleta.gov]. The issue is, and always has been, that individuals need to file complaints for enforcement to occur, and even then the response is to look at an "Authoritative source" for what an appropriate wage is. As stated, the law is it isn't that bad. It only allows 65,000 workers anyway, with an intent for skills that truly aren't available in this country. In practice the consulting shops that recruit H-1B workers, shack them into temporary housing, and get 40% margins on them is a gaming of the system, not an indictment of the system itself. Bob

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

nyvalbanat (1393403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621355)

Yes, the government requires the very loosely-defined "prevailing wage" for H1-B's. But think about it -- how do you determine if someone is a Senior Programmer or just Programmer or a Senior Analyst? These are very arbitrary titles. I was stuck working on H1 visa for 6 years in a position that was way below my aptitude level, which became obvious after I got my paperwork and got out on the market to find out. I started with a 45% increase off-the-bat and now three years later I'm close to making twice as much. Since when does the government know how to set the value of someone's labor?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Insightful)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621133)

As an L1B (not H1B) VISA holder I am in total agreement with you, all this H1B VISA nonsense does not help the likes of me who work (reasonably) hard and contribute a fair some in taxes (very little of my money is used to pay whats left of my mortgage back home).

That said I think it would help America Greatly to setup a special low-pay VISA program that has strict guidelines for what types of job can be performed under it IE Cheap labor for working land/child care/house maids/packing plant jobs no one else would want to do for the money.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (3, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621373)

I think before we setup a special low-pay VISA program for jobs no one else would want, we should employ our own citizens first. Not wanting to do a certain job should not be a valid excuse to sit on your ass and draw unemployment or welfare. Put welfare recipients to work in our fields, houses and packing plants. Subsidize them with food stamps if they can't make it on the wages. There is no reason we should be using immigrant workers for unskilled labor when we have such a large pool of unskilled leaching off the public.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621197)

It's an easy thing to fix - require that H1B visa holders receive the same pay and benefits for their work as the rest of the workforce. If companies really have problems finding citizens to fill jobs, and aren't just trolling for lower paid wage slaves, then it ought not to be a problem, right?

Man, I'd love to see the tech industry try to talk its way out of that.

Ah, with regards to equal pay and benefits, are you certain it is the companys fault?

Prospective Employees A and B are applying for the same job, but B happens to be a single man holding an H1-B. He also knows that while he is trained well and has some experience, one of his competitive edges is he is willing to ballpark a lower salary requirement when asked.

If you have two equal prospects but one is willing to work for $10K less, who are you going to hire?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (-1, Flamebait)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621233)

It's an easy thing to fix - require that H1B visa holders receive the same pay and benefits for their work as the rest of the workforce. If companies really have problems finding citizens to fill jobs, and aren't just trolling for lower paid wage slaves, then it ought not to be a problem, right?

Often times H1B workers make the same or more. If you really want to fix the problem, then American students need to focus more on degrees in science, math and engineering rather then say "art history".

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621253)

There is a shortage, of American tech workers. Many of the out of work onces complaining about this still haven't adjusted to the fact that there tech bubble back in the 90's was indeed a bubble, and are still trying to find Web Designer jobs that pay excess 100k a year to use Front Page.
Unfortunately the truth about tech jobs, is that it is support role position, It is a professional careerer but you are not going to be rich from it, it pays about the same as a teacher, which isn't bad, and allows us to live at middle class levels.

Even when there is a shortage qualified people will still get left out for various reasons.
Poor Resume/Self Promotion skills
Unable to relocate to an area which has more jobs.
Personalities don't match corporate culture
Out of date, or different focus on skills
Just aren't trying.

Just poke around your college especially in the masters levels, for Computer Science and Engineering. Look at those classes listen to the accents of the people talking. Even in MBA classes Americans are just not trying to get smarter and be competitive anymore.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621381)

Just poke around your college especially in the masters levels, for Computer Science and Engineering. Look at those classes listen to the accents of the people talking. Even in MBA classes Americans are just not trying to get smarter and be competitive anymore.

This is [un]fortunately true also in the UK. While I was doing my PhD (in the top 10 Comp.Sci. according to the last RAE) the majority of people doing MsC and PhD were international students. Moreover, the Electric/Electronic Engineering departments was (from what I saw) 80% Asians.

It seemed to me that Britons were more attracted to social, natural sciences and medicine.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (2, Interesting)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621767)

Just poke around your college especially in the masters levels, for Computer Science and Engineering. Look at those classes listen to the accents of the people talking. Even in MBA classes Americans are just not trying to get smarter and be competitive anymore.

Public education is just not trying to make us smarter and competitive. International students come from a more rigorous school system. Remember, we are in the bottom tier when it comes to education in the United States.

We are trying yet it is only to the best of our training.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621775)

True. I'm a J2EE software engineer and even in this massive layoffs season, Sun Microsystems still wants me to work for it, not now but in November (because of H1-B limitations), as a H1-B, and with a reasonable salary. They really lack qualified workforce.

No shortage in the D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621863)

The shortage is really localized though. Here in Detroit where companies are going bankrupt left and right as the auto companies tank, there are lots of skilled engineers and IT workers collecting unemployment and hitting that refresh button on monster.com every five seconds.

Lots of people are leaving the state to find work, but the problem isn't just that people have families or don't want to move, they literally can't afford to move. With the housing crisis so bad in Michigan, you can't sell your house for even close to what it's worth and in most cases you're lucky to sell it for what you owe the bank.

Typically somebody with an H1-B lives in an apartment instead of buying a house, so they can pick up and move to another state or country when necessary.

OK. So how about lettuce pickers and such? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621275)

Lets get those low end jobs protection too.

After all we want to be fair.

I can talk my way out of the scenario you presented easily.

1. You won't move
2. You don't have the skills I need
3. You think your worth more than I think the job is
4. Your attitude sucks (by your posting I doubt I'd want you around, sound like a fairness whiner

Really, #1 and #2 are big reasons why H1-B work so well. People go where the jobs are, people with families rarely do, or worse act insulted if asked to.

The majority of jobs people bitch about H1Bs taking aren't being filled by locals because too many are not local to the job or they don't have the skill. Toss in people with chips on their shoulders and I am going to look at people who are EAGER to work and do good work.

Too many see their job at 9 to 5 regardless if it is not. Look, I am on salary. If something comes up I am not beyond putting in more than forty to get the job done. Those things happen. The problem is too many people I have worked with don't think like that and then wonder why they get passed over or go first.

It sucks.

However those jobs are not ours to dictate who they go to. If I create the job opportunity I can decide how it is filled. Whats next? Assigning people to jobs even if they don't qualify all to meet some arbitrary quota? We know what happens when that is done.

Offer citizenship to H1B holders (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621279)

Personally, I think the US should take advantage of being able to import skilled workforce. Most H1B holders are the types of people we want living and innovating in our country. In the long run as citizens, they would likely create more jobs than they "steal". I'm all for granting the opportunity to become a citizen to anyone that graduates from an accredited US university graduate program (maybe limited to science and math, but ok with all). Leverage our leadership in university education to create a larger pool of domestic talent.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621379)

Yes. And let them stay as long as they want, rather than kicking them out to bring new H1Bs in to replace them. That's pretty much a formula for accelerating the movement of tech jobs overseas, taking inexperienced engineers, showing them the ropes, and sending them back to offshoring outfits in places with low wages.

I don't want to frame this as a kind of nationalistic struggle, but India and China don't need a US funded technology and tech jobs transfer program, which is what H1B really is. They are quite capable of developing their own, robust indigenous industries.

If a talented and educated person wants to move here for a while, and can support himself, I don't think it hurts us very much if at all. If after a few years he decides he'd like to stay here, that's good. Productive people create wealth, and wealth creates jobs. The very best create companies, even industries.

What's really bad for the country, not just American engineers looking for a job, is a revolving door program which drains the country of experience gained by work being done here. The knowledge gained by work is a capital resource, and kicking H1Bs out who want to stay here is like sending boxes of cash out of the country.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621491)

Are you prepared to lobby for that? Are you prepared to go up against both the employers who use these programs to drive down wages and the whiners who can't compete with immigrants?

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621385)

Since discriminating is already illegal on basis of race, which is a protected class by federal law, wouldn't the legal conventions to which you refer seem to already be in place?

I believe that Grassley and others are requesting these companies open themselves up to discrimination suits. I see no reason why a concerted effort to eliminate all H1 jobs before others would result in any fewer lawsuits than say, eliminating all the workers over 45 first, or all the pregnant women who are likely to have enormous health care costs in the near future.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621387)

It's an easy thing to fix - require that H1B visa holders receive the same pay and benefits for their work as the rest of the workforce.

It's already required. [wikipedia.org]

Employers must attest that wages offered are at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or alternatively, pay the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment, whichever is greater.

You're ignoring two things:
1. Companies have ways of working around this rule. This typically involves saying that the visa holder has skills not available in the U.S. workforce.
2. By importing workers, the company effectively shifts the supply curve [wikipedia.org] and lowers wages across the board.

I will also add, laying off foreign workers first is a form of protectionism. [wikipedia.org] Protectionism is never a good economic policy.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

sledge_hmmer (1179603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621399)

I've said it before (see my last comment on the H1-B article a few days back) and I'll say it again. The lower pay for H1-Bs seems to be a problem that is especially prevalent in the IT industry. I am on an H1-B in a non-IT company and I get the same pay and benefits as any other employee.

Also, most of my friends that are on H1-Bs in my company and others get paid market rates or above. I know this is only anecdotal evidence, but it really annoys me when people think that all H1-Bs are poor desperate souls that are clawing with everything they've got to keep a job.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

EatHam (597465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621413)

There already is a requirement that H1B get paid according to the prevailing rates. Not necessarily within that company (a company could have a policy to pay 110% of prevailing rates, but pay the H1B holders 100%), but you can't just hire an H1B engineer and pay him minimum wage.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621495)

Why are you so sure H1-B visa holders are paid less than the rest of the workforce?

There is quite a bit of competition over this limited number of visas, so a lot of them are rather highly qualified, and paid accordingly.

I don't see any evidence that the H1-B program has a depressing effect on engineers wages. Typically, an American engineer is paid two or three times as much as his equivalent in western European countries, which either don't have H1-B type positions, or are unable to attract the highly qualified engineers to fill these positions.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621691)

I expect to be paid exactly the same as everyone else: A compromise between how much I want and how much my employer is willing to spend, called "how much I'm willing to be paid"

There is no policy which says "foreign workers can be paid less", it's a simple fact that foreign workers are willing to accept lower pay, and that's okay.

-- a foreign worker who low-balled to get his current job, and is really hoping for a raise about now.

Re:Require pay and benefits parity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621835)

The law is suppose to require this already as part of Labor Certification requirements for H1Bs. H1, L, TN, and other visa should not be targeted as Layoff the foreigner first. It should be Layoff the inefficient first.

Let the market rule. (1, Insightful)

rwiggers (1206310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26620995)

If you are so eager to say no regulation and let the market define for everything else, why aren't you when it affect you position as well? Market regulation only useful when it's for someone else?

First post?

Re:Let the market rule. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621137)

market forces are not in play when you can get some desperate Indian to work for half of what a similarly skilled American will. That said yeah I agree with you screw the government and its intrusiveness. Markets will solve this problem. shoot let them do whatever they want to to make their products. Walmart, GM, Ford, heck all the companies that are tanking are doing it. Long term success needs long term customers. So let them just keep on outsourcing all the luxuries in America in the name of profit. In the end they will have no customers and their assets will tank faster than the currency.

Oh, and before you try to feed me this computers are a necessity crap. There are only three food shelter and clothing...

Not tought to urge an H-1B increase after rec'sion (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621077)

'If Microsoft doesn't state that they will lay off the H-1Bs first â" and they won't state this â" then it would be awfully tough for Bill Gates to come back to the Hill and urge an H-1B increase, wouldn't it?'"

During the recession yes, and rightly so. I don't see any problem if there is a shortage situation when the session ends and they urge for more visas. I am no M$ fan, but they seem to be doing the same as everyone else has to; lay people off when there is less work then take them on when there is more.

Re:Not tought to urge an H-1B increase after rec's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621189)

Microsoft largely sets their own level of work. They are willingly cutting projects and reducing staff, not because the "invisible hand" is decreasing demand but because the chair throwing hand has mismanaged a company.

What real work gets done at Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621111)

I'm not trolling, but what real work gets doen at Microsoft these days? Does is take tens of thousands of engineers to make essentially cosmetic changes to an Operating System or a word-processing application?

Out here in India the only employees one gets to see from Microsoft is the legal team; not the sales-people or MVPs. Except for CD-packaging and license printing; I cannot think of any sphere of activity that requires lots of manpower at Microsoft.

Re:What real work gets done at Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621131)

I'm not trolling, but what real work gets doen at Microsoft these days?

Think of all those poor patent lawyers, PR-Fud men, and so on out of a job.

Re:What real work gets done at Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621207)

Think of all those poor patent lawyers, PR-Fud men, and so on out of a job.

Those are the types who will never be out of employment atMicrosoft, I presume.

Re:What real work gets done at Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621265)

I'm not trolling, but what real work gets doen at Microsoft these days? Does is take tens of thousands of engineers to make essentially cosmetic changes to an Operating System or a word-processing application?

Yes, it does. Here let me break it out for you. You've got a small platoon of roughly 30 Programmers, and the other 9,970 people are in Marketing.

Hey c'mon, cut them some slack. It takes a lot of work to polish a turd, differentiate it with "Premium" and "Ultimate" levels of 3D turd-ness, and sell it with MSRP pricing at 3x what the market will bear.

Re:What real work gets done at Microsoft? (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621869)

... but what real work gets doen at Microsoft these days? Does is take tens of thousands of engineers to make essentially cosmetic changes to an Operating System or a word-processing application?

You're obviously trolling.
 
You're probably one of the believers that think Windows 7 is just Vista with a new face.

Wait... is this emeek?!

Let Microsoft import as many people as they like (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621125)

The United States wants to be the leader in technology, but it won't encourage kids to go into science and engineering, and won't let many talented and better educated foreigners come and work at their companies.

And then they bitch and complain when companies like Microsoft move jobs to other countries that either do have the people they want, or will let those people come and work there.

Re:Let Microsoft import as many people as they lik (0, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621245)

Don't forget the part about ignoring 20 million unskilled illegal immigrants.

Re:Let Microsoft import as many people as they lik (0)

gabrieltss (64078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621319)

If I saw my mother or father or anyone I knews mother or father (who worked in a technology field) losing their job to someone from another country because they were "cheap labor" I sure as heck wouldn't go into that field either. The fact of the matter is corporations are greed centric. Management feel they should get all the money and perks and those below them should get $h!t! I wonder if they would change their tune if suddenly the Board of Directors said "we are going to save moeny by outsourcing ALL management in the company. Heck they would save more than outsourcing the regular employees. Look what a CEO and Executive level management make compared to regular employees. I KNOW I could find someone from India that would do the same job for 1/3 what they are doing it for. Heck I would do ANY fortune 500/1000 companies CEO job for HALF what they are doing it for right now! And probably do it a heck of a lot better!

Re:Let Microsoft import as many people as they lik (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621855)

And yet you haven't been hired to do just that. Why do you suppose that is?

Re:Let Microsoft import as many people as they lik (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621357)

That is so true. The university i am working in (somewhere in new england) has a bunch of foreign grad students. I would say that about 80% of them are foreigners. I am myself a postdoc and a foreigner, all but 2 postdocs are foreigners. Americans should see the things straight: without foreigners research in the US would take a big hit. I do not understand those xenophobic republicans bitching about us. There is nobody to replace us. The foreign postdocs got hired because there was no american up to our job. Not surprising as few get a PhD anyway. Of course getting a green card is awfully hard and guess what, people do not really like being treated like disposable toilet paper.

Re H1B should go first (4, Insightful)

anand78 (832850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621237)

I agree and disagree with this. You have to be in an H1B shoes to appreciate this. I have seen folks laid off as H1B with unsold houses and cars. They had to just get a ticket, and leave the country. Barring the Native Indians, I think it is a hypocrisy on most Americans. Would you be here commenting, if the same was done to your forefathers. Being an Asian with H1B is taking jobs, but being from Europe, it is heritage.

Re:Re H1B should go first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621565)

but being from Europe, it is heritage
Ah but there is the rub. They WANTED to come here and live the rest of their lives.

H1B does not necessarily want to do that. If they do want to be here the rest of their lives they are doing it wrong... You want a green card...

Re:Re H1B should go first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621773)

> H1B does not necessarily want to do that. If
> they do want to be here the rest of their
> lives they are doing it wrong... You want a
> green card...

Uhh ... you're wrong. For many people, the H-1B *is* the path toward getting a green card. i.e.,

"Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning an H-1B holder can have legal immigration intent (apply for and obtain the green card) while still a holder of the visa. In the past the employment-based green card process used to take only a few years, less than the duration of the H-1B visa itself." (Source: Wikipedia)

As a Canadian who has lived & worked in the States, I can affirm that it's not at all unusual for [high-tech] workers to hold H-1Bs while they wait for their green cards. The H-1B allows such people to live in the States long enough to adjust to the lifestyle, establish a source of monetary income, and that sort of thing. Think of it like a "try before you buy" -- it's not an unreasonable way to go when you're making as big a decision as changing your home country & citizenship.

Re:Re H1B should go first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621785)

Great and you know how easy it is to get a green card, right?

Re:Re H1B should go first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621687)

Being an Asian with H1B is taking jobs, but being from Europe, it is heritage.

Perhaps that perception exists because the level of quality for a lot of Asians doesn't quite match that of their European counterparts.

Problem is at the Government (1)

cheap.computer (1036494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621241)

It takes 8yrs for an H1B to become a permanent resident, for something that should realistically happen over night or in 24hrs. Bureaucracy accounts for most of the time taken. If H1B workers are quickly moved to permanent resident status we wont have issues wrt to unfair or unequal compensation. Corps will be forced to compensate US citizens & others fairly. Mr Bill runs a business not a social service program, he will hire those who work for less pay. Don't blame Mr Bill, blame your friendly bureaucrats.

What a nice "code name"... (-1, Troll)

climenole (1445167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621289)

H1-B ? What a nice name... During the Viet Nam war the vietnamese also has been nicknamed a similar way: OHB oriental human being... Isn't a form of depersonnalisation of poeple? Stick a such "code name" on poeple allow to deny their individuality IMHO. What your "code name"? Like it? :-S

Re:What a nice "code name"... (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621473)

Yeah except as rare as it is some H1-B visa immigrants actually DO come from Europe and such... I'd be willing to bet its something like 1% of all of them though.

Know what disgusts me ? (5, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621359)

Heh, H-1B workers don't vote. Now of course, if the senator had asked them to fire gay people first...

The gut reaction of many slashdotters to migrant workers is simply disgusting. It combines basic misguided tribalism ("Yeah we're in the same group of 300M people") with a rent seeking behavior ("I want a higher wage at the expense of the consumers")

I won't even get started on the total immorality of the concept that the govt grants you or not a "right" to work for a willing employer, grants you or not a "right" to rent a house from a willing landlord, etc.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (0, Flamebait)

NVP_Radical_Dreamer (925080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621511)

That is one of the worst analogies I've ever heard. You are honestly trying to compare being gay to being a foreign worker? By letting the H1B workers go first you are trying to protect the interests of your natural born citizens. By letting gays go first you are just being an asshole and closed minded.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621751)

And that's called protectionism. Last recession that America turned to protectionism turned into a nice depression. Good luck.

Note: I know it was protectionism on other markets, not the labor market.

As an european working in Europe I will have yet another reason not to go to the Americas for any job, knowing that I would be treated as a second class citizen. If every foreign individual with skills made the same you will be left with an impoverished country.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621797)

That is one of the worst analogies I've ever heard. You are honestly trying to compare being gay to being a foreign worker?

By letting gays go first you are trying to protect the interests of your proper citizens. By letting the H1B workers go first you are just being an asshole and closed minded.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621669)

"Yeah we're in the same group of 300M people" - No, we are not! We are people, but we are not in same group.

Government does not grant employment to people that are citizens of it's country, nor right to rent or own house.

Every citizen works for his/her country, pays taxes, defends their country, votes for politicians and shapes their country's culture in one way or other.

People on H-1B are not part of this country, but part of companies that hire them. I know it sounds harsh, but if we (USA) have high unemployment rate, it would be unfair to hire people from other countries and let our people struggle.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621819)

No, we are not! We are people, but we are not in same group.

Yes I was being sarcastic.

Government does not grant employment to people that are citizens of it's country, nor right to rent or own house.

So if you're not a citizen (the govt thinks you're not cool enough to be in the club) it will prevent you from renting a house to a willing landlord or work for a willing employer. WTF !?

People on H-1B are not part of this country, but part of companies that hire them. I know it sounds harsh, but if we (USA) have high unemployment rate, it would be unfair to hire people from other countries and let our people struggle.

You're free to hire only Americans, but telling companies who they can hire or not hire is tyranny. Besides, unemployment has no correlation with immigration.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621841)

I know it sounds harsh, but if we (USA) have high unemployment rate, it would be unfair to hire people from other countries and let our people struggle.

Unless your people lack the qualifications for the available jobs, or are unwilling to take them ("I'd rather be on welfare than flip burgers!").

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (-1, Troll)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621725)

Foreign workers have up until their arrival in no way contributed to America, it's economy or culture. There is nothing wrong with tribalism (to use your words). We as a culture and a people form a unique entity that is certainly correct in seeking to prosper.

As my children have rights by being my children that exceed the rights of other children, so Americans also have rights that exceed those of Non-Americans when in this country.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (2, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621889)

Rights are not privileges, they're rights. You don't need to have contributed anything to have the right to work, it's not a reward, it's a natural right.

You're the kind of asshole that prevent lovely associations between employers and employees. Mind your own fucking business will you?

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621763)

I think that we all should have a healthy wage at the expense of the shareholders.

Re:Know what disgusts me ? (5, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621843)

What disgusts me is the double standards. America was and is the land of the immigrants and dreams. The country was born out of immigration. America is proud of the American Dream, IMHO H1-B visa holders carry the torch of that dream more than born citizen. They come to this country in that hope. Unfortunately the dream is being hijacked by a few rick business men on the top for cheap labor that is willing to throw in 120 hr weeks.

If you really want to fix this, then transform the H1-B program and give the H1-B visa holders right equivivalent to that of greencard holders. The problem will mitigate itself. All of a sudden the employers will realize that immigrants are not slaves and if u lower wages and expect 120 hr weeks, they will find a better opportunity. Also remove the concept of "sponsor" for H1-B. Sure a employer can sponsor, however an immigrant steps into US, he is free to work anywhere.

This will level the playing field for Americans, as employer will really find a local before he attempts H1-B.

Bizarre and paradoxical contradictions in ideology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621581)

The United States currently is experiencing, and has in the past experienced, a high stream of illegal immigrants from Latin America. There is no drive for a mass expulsion. If anything, the drive is for a mass legalisation. Anyone who argues for mass expulsion of illegal immigrants would likely find it impossible to find work anywhere in Hollywood (as evidenced by the massive boycott of Republicans earlier last year).

Yet at the same time, arguments come - very often from Democrats - for stopping the skilled worker migrant programmes.

How can the same people argue that the fences against skilled workers should be high, while the fences against unskilled migrants should be low?

If a person immigrates illegally from Mexico, and over 5 years educates himself through public institutions to achieve a high level of IT skill, and proceeds to "take a job that would otherwise have gone to an American" - then that is the pinnacle of what humanity can achieve.

Yet if someone lives in India with a high level of IT skill and wants to come to America to live and work there, to "take a job that would otherwise have gone to an American" - then that is traitorous to America to allow.

How can you reconcile these two extremely different perspectives without brain explosion? How do you define human rights, to allow them to coexist?

Work in the engineering field... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26621637)

I work at a nuclear power plant. We need engineering backgrounds like crazy. They literally just aren't there. We haven't turned to H1B Visas, we turn to contracting. It's quite possible the contractors are H1B, but we don't generally see them, just their engineering designs and such. My company goes around looking for engineering students all over the country that want to work. There just aren't enough graduates.

We are in a constant state of hiring, especially with the workforce entering retiring age in very large quantities(30% or more in less than 4 years). There just aren't enough graduates to go around. This definitely helps my income, because the company will gladly pay to keep my skill set right where it is.

Being a hard working 20-something, I find 1 problem with my own generation. We're lazy as heck. I'm not seeing this laziness with the older generation. Sure, ever generation has had a problem they have to work through. But can you really work through laziness? Lazy is also a very destructive problem. If my generation is going to wake up at 30+ and realize their mistake, it's getting a bit late to go back and fix it after having a dead end job at McDonald's for 10 years, assuming they weren't so lazy they stayed employed for 10 years after high school.

20-somethings on a large scale want something for nothing. I'm not surprised at all about the H1B Visas and companies trying to justify them. Go visit an engineering class and look at how many are actually US citizens. The numbers are only getting smaller. In my opinion my generation needs this recession(I'm expecting it to be a very long painful depression) so we can see that we have to work for what we have. Nothing is given away for free. It's just too bad that my parents are approaching retirement age, and their retirements are dwindling fast from this economic downturn.
A large part of my reasoning for seeing this as a long and painful depression is simply the bumbling idiots with no skill set wanting big bucks to watch TV. They have little/no motivation to work for anything, and feel that everything can(and should) be given to them with little effort on their part. 4+ years of college is "more committment" than my generation can handle.

My generations motto:

If it can't be earned in short order, it clearly isn't worth having.

Glad the question is being asked at all (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26621901)

I'm not sure about how I feel about this. I tend to like free and open borders. On the other hand I think making hiring decisions based almost solely on data that can be stuck into Excel is a bad thing.

How ever I am very glad to see this being discussed in a very public forum (US Senate) vs. just on tech sites like Slashdot.

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