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Ask Slashdot: Reasonable Immigration Policy For Highly-Trained Workers?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the must-be-able-to-recite-shakespeare-in-the-original-klingon dept.

Businesses 357

davidwr writes "What are a reasonable temporary-worker or immigration-visa rules to apply to workers whose skills would quickly net them a 'top 20th percentile wages' job (about $100,000) in the American workplace, if they were allowed to work in the country? Should the visa length be time-limited? Should it provide for a path to permanent residency? Should the number be limited, and if so, how should we decide what the limit should be? The people affected are already likely eligible for special work-permit programs, but these programs may have quotas, time limits, prior-job-offer-requirements, and other restrictions. I'm asking what Slashdotters think the limits and restrictions, if any, should be. (Let's assume any policy to keep out criminals and spies remains as-is.)"

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Are the hars working and honest? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225265)

let them stay. Educated immigrants are more likely to start their own business. So where do you want that business to be?

Re:Are the hars working and honest? (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225281)

More importantly, can they spell?

"Hars working", sheeesh.

Re:Are the hars working and honest? (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226013)

It's not their fault, the Queen's English committee folded yesterday [guardian.co.uk] due to the severe apathy towards actually communicating with people.

Re:Are the hars working and honest? (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225621)

Educated immigrants are more likely to start their own business. So where do you want that business to be?

If they're going to pay their workers generously, let them stay.

If they're planning to pay their workers as little as possible (market wages), then it doesn't matter so much where they set up their business.

Remember, it takes two people to create a job, and each side always tries to take advantage of the other. Business owners aren't as saintly as some would make them out to be.

First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225285)

First Post!

I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225297)

Assuming you're not from a country where security issues might be a concern.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (4, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225385)

I was fortunate enough to have a company sponsor me on a H1B. It took me six years of waiting and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees to adjust my status, i.e. go from H1B to Green Card. It's not that easy. The people on the Mayflower would be turned back if they made that trip today.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225509)

I was fortunate enough to have a company sponsor me on a H1B. It took me six years of waiting and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees to adjust my status, i.e. go from H1B to Green Card. It's not that easy. The people on the Mayflower would be turned back if they made that trip today.

I was with you until your hyperbolic Mayflower comment. Half of them died before the first winter was over, and the second half of the trip across the sea was in a relatively small ship fighting gales and nasty seas. You had it easy.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (4, Funny)

daremonai (859175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225579)

I was with you until your hyperbolic Mayflower comment. Half of them died before the first winter was over ...

Obviously, they did not have the appropriate skill set. They should have been turned back.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225787)

There are piles of immigrants hiding in crates and containers, many not making it to the US. Would that be a better analogy? The Mayflower immigrants didn't last the winter because they didn't plan. Granted, there was little information about the New World to plan on, but they didn't even have a bad plan, other than go and hope God provided. The US was founded by ignorant religiously intolerant bigots (they didn't come here for freedom of religion, but freedom for their and only their religion) who form no plans and can't even follow good plans when handed to them on a silver platter. Oh wait, that's what we still have.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226135)

The US was founded by ignorant religiously intolerant bigots (they didn't come here for freedom of religion, but freedom for their and only their religion) who form no plans and can't even follow good plans when handed to them on a silver platter.

You paint the entirety of settlement of the US by one colony. Sorry, but some colonies were most certainly founded under the auspices of religious freedom, having it their original charter.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (2)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225583)

I was fortunate enough to have a company sponsor me on a H1B. It took me six years of waiting and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees to adjust my status, i.e. go from H1B to Green Card. It's not that easy. The people on the Mayflower would be turned back if they made that trip today.

The American Indians wouldn't have suffered as much genocide had they been able to enact and enforce a meaningful immigration policy.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225685)

I was fortunate enough to have a company sponsor me on a H1B. It took me six years of waiting and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees to adjust my status, i.e. go from H1B to Green Card. It's not that easy. The people on the Mayflower would be turned back if they made that trip today.

The American Indians wouldn't have suffered as much genocide had they been able to enact and enforce a meaningful immigration policy.

They were doing pretty well at "enforcing immigration policy" when the Vikings tried to move on from Greenland and settle North America. It was disease that reduced their numbers later and made them vulnerable to the bible thumpers.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225703)

You try enforcing any policy while you're rapidly dying of diseases you have no immunity for.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225601)

>>>The people on the Mayflower would be turned back if they made that trip today.

And America would still be controlled by the Indians. Lax immigration policy is never a good idea, because the people you greet as friends, will then go all-out war against you in the 1800s, and force you into reservations.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (3, Informative)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225899)

It took me six years of waiting and thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees to adjust my status
Too little too late but you could have just done 6 years of waiting and zero dollars of lawyer's fees. The information on the process is all out there and free. There are filing fees and waiting periods, but the lawyer, despite what they might tell you, doesn't get it done any faster or better.

Re:I wasn't aware it was hard for them getting in (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225943)

Mod parent up. The notion that some people on Slashdot portray of an easy life for H1B workers is a complete falsehood.

Unless you have a masters degree (or equivalent), you will most likely be in the system as H1B status for years. This means that:
* You need somewhat of a life here, but if you lose your job for any reason you need to leave in ~10 days, which may involve selling property (cars), and ending lease agreements. If you take too long to leave you may be barred from re-entry. Technically the 10 days is not legally granted to you, but generally overlooked.

* If you manage to/have to change job and were in the middle of a green card process, you will have to start over again. Changing jobs isn't easy, you have a very limited set of options if you need to do this.

* You probably won't see any family for a while. You're unlikely to get time off any time soon to return home, and when you do you may very well need to spend part of that time traveling to embassies for visa interviews that are not necessarily anywhere near your home, even if your status was fine before your travel.

* Depending on your home country, tax situations can be complex

It kinda is (1)

cannonm (2654691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225463)

Even from a company like Ireland or Canada, there are quotas. The quotas change from year to year (by country) based upon greater need. It's a logistical nightmare that pays terribly because it can cost you quite a bit of money in government paper pushing just for a chance to get on a list only to not get the spot.

A few thoughts (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225305)

We should favor workers who are looking for permanent residency. They are good for the economy and the community.

We should make sure it costs no less to hire a foreign worker to work in the US than it costs to hire an existing resident.

We should not be using foreign worker visas to train people as a prelude to off-shoring.

I'm wondering if an auction system for tech visas would work out.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225351)

The tech worker visa auction thing just might work. The trick would be to keep the cost of a visa at a level that just barely makes it unprofitable to screw with the system (to bring in lower-paid foreign workers or as you said, just bring them in as step one of an outsourcing plan) while still being affordable enough that any company seriously looking to hire someone from another country could easily stomach paying for the visa.

Let them all in (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225547)

I can empathize form where you are coming from, but you are ask subjective question where people give the wrong answers.

  Even the simple one on permanent residence. I worked on a study on Scandinavian immigrants to the US in the late 19th century. Over ½ said they were going to return. Almost none did. The predictive power just was not there. I am going to rely on antidotal evidence but I still think it holds true. People come to the US with plans and after 5 years those plans almost always gets turned around.

Then you start asking the tougher subjective questions – Are these people going to take away “Native” American jobs away from us – or at least lower our pay. The answer is always going to be yes. That being said, we are a nation of immigrants – it is one of the ways we constantly reinvent ourselves to meet the new challenges of tomorrow. I can’t imagine an immigration bureaucrat being able to guess who will kick off the next great revolution.

If somebody can earn 100k I would rather have them work in the US and have them shave 5k in salaries for a “Native”. They will pay taxes and add vigor. The other option is to let them stay where they are – and let them invent the next big idea outside of America.

Re:Let them all in (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225987)

Shaving $5k off "native" pay isn't a bad thing. I'd vote for eliminating all quotas over a 5 year period (giving the market some time to absorb any change in immigration).
Rules:
1) must have an advanced degree capable of pulling in $100,000 or more per year in the US market.
2) No violent convictions.
3) No pre-existing medical conditions (TB, AIDS, smoking, cancer).

They are issued two 6-month visas and four 1-year visas (not at the same time, but sequentially), where they must be employed at $100,000 or more and have no criminal convictions of any kind (I used to have to put in "other than minor traffic tickets" but Texas finally decriminalized traffic tickets sometime after 2001, when I moved away, and I think they were the last where 1 mph over the limit and such was a criminal misdemeanor).

At the end of those 5 years, give them a green card or citizenship or something like that. It would suck for those who would make $102,000 in today's market, but $95,000 in a market filled with others like them so that a quota would help them, but the real effect is that the $110,000 per year jobs would settle in around $100,000 per year, and immigrants looking to move to the US would aim for the $150,000+ jobs for the extra cushion.

If 1,000,000 can get in after 5 years (no quotas), then let them all in, they'll make $100,000,000,000 minimum (taxes and economic value).

My "fix" for H1-B was always to charge the same for the visa (to the sponsoring company) as it would take to train someone into the position. Then train someone into that position and revoke the H1-B visa. I'm not sure it would have the effect I'm desiring, that companies would begin training themselves, rather than outsourcing the training to the US government, but I'm sure someone smarter than me could fix that.

Re:Let them all in (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226083)

People come to the US with plans and after 5 years those plans almost always gets turned around.

I know many people for whom it is the other way around. They wanted to stay and left for another country anyway.

Same reason: things change and shit happens.

When you look at inner country moving. Some people move around all the time, others will die in the house they were born in.

If you go from Kansas to Silicon Valley, are you not taking away the job of one of the locals?

So Basically What You're Asking Is (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225331)

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Should now read:

"Give me your inventors, your geniuses,
Your bored singletons yearning to spur economic growth,
The fertile intellects left from your teeming chaff.
Send these, the able, patent-ers to me,
I lift my GDP beside the golden door!"

Let's face it, work visas are handed out like bouncers controlling admission to a club. You are asking these questions that sound like they treat people with respect and offer them opportunity but what I hear is basically: Are you going to be a net positive for the United States? And how do we accurately measure the Nikola Teslas and Yao Mings from the Dr. Nasser al-Aulaqis (Fullbright Scholar and father of Anwar al-Awlaki).

You know what? It's a dirty business and I don't want any part of it. In my own humble opinion, it's unethical. Your questions sound like "Can we implement a brain drain on the rest of the world with little or no risk?" I think it should be all law-abiding individuals or none and, despite 9/11 and the Mariel Boatlift [wikipedia.org] that consisted of criminals and mental patients, I personally lean toward letting everyone in unless they are known to have committed or been convicted of crimes in their country of origin that are 1) credible sentences and 2) also misdemeanors or higher in the United States.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225373)

a 'top 20th percentile wages' job (about $100,000) in the American workplace, if they were allowed to work in the country? Should the visa length be time-limited? Should it provide for a path to permanent residency? Should the number be limited, and if so, how should we decide what the limit should be?

And while we're at it:

"A top-20th-percentile wage" sounds an awful lot like "prevailing wage" for someone in the tech industry, which is a requirement of the H-1B programme. "A limited time", "A path to permanent residency", and "a limit on the number who can apply under it", are also all part of the H-1B programme.

In other words, if you "hate dem cheap H-1B immigrants pushin' down are US programmin' jerbs and wages", but you would answer "yes" to all four requirements, you do support H-1B (or something very much like it), you just don't know it yet.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225455)

America wasn't founded by god damn law abiders.

We should look at the 'crime' and decide if they were breaking a 'stupid law', if so they are in.

For example: We don't want to reject someone just because they are ambitious enough to build and operate a still. I'd go so far as to reject anyone from a dry (e.g. saudi) or overtaxed (e.g. all of Scandinavia) country that didn't have a conviction for bootlegging. I'd accept them only if they could prove they had 'got away with it'.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225969)

Ah, the old trap of rejecting someone for doing everything by the book... yes, I've met your sort on my path to U.S. Citizenship. Thank you for your contribution.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225467)

It's not only a brain drain, it's a huge drain on the original country's economy. Typically you siphon off someone with a bachelor's degree, who's gotten 13 years of primary education and 4 years of college paid by the economy of the original country. The US throws in a couple of years of grad school and gets a highly productive part of the economy at lowest cost. Spoken as a guy who came to the US for a one year post-doc and somehow got stuck...

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225731)

On the flip side

You have somebody who send back remittances
Make come back and bring additional skills.
Creates demand and excitement for education, encouraging more people to enter the field.

IIRC, in the field of nursing, the tipping point is 20%. There have been studies trying to figure out if educating nurses for oversea work helps the local economy. If less then 20% of the nurses head overseas, then the county has more nurses then it would normally have.

As Gandhi (?) said – Better a brain drain then a brain in the drain.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225501)

I don't think "Give me your tired, your poor..." was ever said out of the goodness of the nation's collective heart. It was said at a time where we had factories that needed workers. Now we have workers that need factories.

100 million (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225819)

If we imported a bunch of poor people we would have factories again. Cheap labor would bring them back. About 100 million people want to imigrate to the united states. We have plenty of room and food for them. Not sure if we have water for that many people. Short term you would have a lot of disruption. People would lose jobs. Wages would go down. There would be deflation on the dollar. Lots of oppurtoonity as well. Local buisnesses would be able to sell goods and services to these people.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (2)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225853)

I don't think "Give me your tired, your poor..." was ever said out of the goodness of the nation's collective heart. It was said at a time where we had factories that needed workers.

Good point.

Now we have workers that need factories.

True. So let's bring in people who will eventually contribute to the consumer demand that will make building more factories (or service industry places of employment) here profitable.

Furthermore, don't make it short-term. If we limit them to a short period of time here, they will send all their money to their home country, and then go back. Instead, make a work visa here conditional on applying for citizenship. Sure, they may send a lot of cash back to their country of origin... but their kids probably won't.

Re:So Basically What You're Asking Is (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225575)

the Mariel Boatlift that consisted of criminals and mental patients,

But the criminals were often political prisoners, who weren't in for violent crimes, and a large percentage of the asylum inmates were committed due to "mental illnesses" such as homosexuality. It would be like getting sent criminals and committed from the USSR and getting Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

With unemployment where it is at, send them home. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225357)

We have lots of citizens who need jobs. Send the foreigners home. Locals may need training, but let's get them working again.

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225435)

We have lots of citizens who need jobs. Send the foreigners home. Locals may need training, but let's get them working again.

Read my lips. No amount of training is going to bridge the shortage of skilled workers in the USA. Until something is done that actually addresses the problems in your education system this is always going to be an issue.

Oh, and there's plenty of work available in the fields picking fruit, but only foreign workers will do it.

education system what on the job skills that can't (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225481)

Education system what on the job skills that can't be done in the class room or the lack of entry level jobs so people can work there way up.

shortage of skilled workers some times comes from people what a overload of skills that NO one has.

more apprenticeships are needed college for all is (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225499)

more apprenticeships are needed college for all is a issue with the system as is.

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225647)

Read my lips. No amount of training is going to bridge the shortage of skilled workers in the USA. Until something is done that actually addresses the problems in your education system this is always going to be an issue.

The education system is far from perfect, but there seems to be a lack of entry level positions that would help aleviate the problem. Basically Corporate America complains there is a "talent shortage" but then does nothing about it.

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

talldean (1038514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225817)

Junk degrees in college are an issue here, and they aren't helping much of anyone. College loans are available to all, but they're not quite enough to pay for a top-tier engineering school. College loans are available to all, but they subsidize comparative medieval literature majors just the same as electrical engineers. We need more of certain professions, but we aren't actively helping people go into those professions any more than a random pick on a dartboard. We also explain to high school students "you can do anything!", when in the real world, some careers are *enormously* harder to pursue than others.

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225857)

I agree. But I know people with STEM degrees who have difficulty finding meaningful work. It seems to me that if you have less than 5 years or so of professional work in very specific areas in addition to a relevant degree, that you're SOL

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

Tog Klim (909717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225861)

ALL unemployed people aren't stupid, they can learn. Even the older tech workers. Tech companies just want to pay less for foreign.

Re:With unemployment where it is at, send them hom (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225951)

What does an employed person care if their customer is foreign or not? If I change a tire on a foreigners car I still get paid the same. A foreigner eats the same fast food, rents the same property, and uses the same movies theaters as a citizen. Bringing them into the country levels the playing field for American workers. A foreigner earns the same wage and recieves the same benifits when here. At home they get paid less and regulations are looser for the environment and safety. At home their paychecks go to foriegn buisnesses for foriegn goods. More people does not equal less jobs. More people normally equals more jobs.

Protectionist employment policies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225359)

How about the country (and others) stop with protectionist employment policies? We all want good developers and good workers, right?

If you're worried about them coming in and undercutting you on quality and price then consider what happens if the good developers stay in their own countries and entire industries shift to another country because they're better and even cheaper than if they were in your country.

Competition is good.

Re:Protectionist employment policies (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225835)

Competition is good

Only if the competition is fair. Are they paying the same taxes? Are they living in the same area with the same cost index?

I could live like a king in many places on my wages, but not in the northeast USA, or on the Pacific coast, and then take a look at other places around the world, and the difference is even greater. Sure if my living costs were lower I could see dealing with the cut in pay.

So I iterate again, Competition is good only when competition is fair.

Why should wage matter? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225363)

It seems any system that differentiates based on wage is inherently flawed.
Most try to differentiate based on skill and if that skill can be found locally.

Wage= desirable skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225889)

Basic economics states that highly paid workers have desirable and rare skill sets. I can hardly think of a better test.

Re:Why should wage matter? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226089)

Wage should be -a- factor, since higher wages for the middle class means a stronger economy. At present, all the money is at the extreme end of the food chain, so there's no fiscal circulation, which in turns means stagnation.

But it should not be the only factor. Capacity to -generate- wealth should be more important than capacity to earn it, where you need to ignore all right-wing dogma over who actually generates wealth. Inventors generate wealth. Discoverers generate wealth. Engineers of pretty well any walk of life generate wealth. Businesspeople do NOT.

It might be better to arrange a system in which skills are exchanged - we get the real drivers of the economy, they get all of our MBAs and executives. Permanently, with no possibility of return once the overseas nation realizes we've destroyed their nation with the useless third of the world's population.

Opinion != news (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225371)

Trolling for opinions on immigration is not "news for nerds." Believe it or not, I come here to get informed, not to get drawn into pointless flame-wars.

Re:Opinion != news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225629)

Your UID is low enough that you should understand what ask /. is... And if you come into one on a subject you don't care about to "become informed" more the fool you.

Re:Opinion != news (1)

BadPirate (1572721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225781)

Thus the "Ask Slashdot:" category... News organizations can dabble in opinion, and Slashdot is only roughly similar to a "News Organization".

Re:Opinion != news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40226151)

Trolling for opinions on immigration is not "news for nerds." Believe it or not, I come here to get informed, not to get drawn into pointless flame-wars.

Nobody is "drawn". You are here, reading and commenting, of your own volition.

I have no problem with "Ask Slashdot" and if I'm not interested in a topic, I don't read it.

Thank you Slashdot for being Slashdot!

Y'all Come Policy: Bring Em under the Tent (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225375)

Top 20% creates jobs for the people in the bottom 80%. The myth of immigrant labor taking jobs is pretty much busted. Wall St Journal reported last month that Mexico is a NET EMMIGRATION country since 2006. If you add up all the "lost jobs" since they started broadcasting the "lost jobs" statistic, the developing world would be an empty desert. The jobs that are lost are not jobs we want. What we want are the top 20%, and we want those companies to excel with the best workforce possible. http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2012/04/mexican-immigration-solved.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Y'all Come Policy: Bring Em under the Tent (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225837)

The myth of immigrant labor taking jobs is pretty much busted.

This myth was busted a long, long time ago. See The Lump of Labor Fallacy [wikipedia.org] . Economists have understood for centuries that economics is not a zero-sum game. But uneducated people continue to believe it is.

I know it says "Give us your tired, your poor..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225377)

But surely the Statue of Liberty is there for the smart and the strong? Let in the bright people who want to come to this country, and they will do a lot more for the economy than the average minimum-wage worker.

This is easy. (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225391)

Don't let them in.

Same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225429)

What are a reasonable temporary-worker or immigration-visa rules to apply to workers whose skills would quickly net them a 'top 20th percentile wages' job (about $100,000) in the American workplace, if they were allowed to work in the country?

Same as any other visa, whatever that policy happens to be. Why would/should wages be a factor?

Re:Same (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225465)

The theory is that we have plenty of talent to fill the 20k-90k/yr jobs and don't want to dilute that market for current residents and citizens.

Re:Same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225873)

the problem is that employers would rather pay the foreigner LESS (and in many cases, it's substantially less) than what an equally qualified american would get for the same job... and there is no shortage in any job or industry in this country. the workers are there, employers are to fucking cheap.. every visa-holding employee could be replaced by a citizen if the employer was willing to pay the prevailing wage for the job.

All based on what you are trying to accomplish. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225433)

Personally, I have my doubts that immigration is logical in a democracy.
But if you are a capitalist and are coming from a standpoint of increasing the economy, then allowing anyone who wants to come and work on whatever is the only logical policy.

Skewed perspective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225439)

100k is the top 5% of individuals and the top 15% of households.

Honest Questions.... (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225449)

At the risk of sounding Xenophobic...

Why do we need to bring in labor when we have 8.2% unemployment, not counting those who quit looking and underemployment? Are companies not willing to invest in its own workforce or in schools to develop these people? Or do they want them shipped over on a gold platter?

Re:Honest Questions.... (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225803)

Because we really can't find qualified people? We're a large company, and in this region, to find someone with the skillsets I'm looking for is nearly impossible, and we're paying top $$.

Training? I provide additional training, but if you don't come in knowing your shit, why the hell should I pay you $100k just for the privilege of teaching you all the crap you should know for this position?

Re:Honest Questions.... (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225977)

I'm not even talking $100K salaries. Why not hire people out of college at $42K (who have 3.0+ GPA in STEM degrees for example) and help tie off the loose ends?

If you provide necessary training, then you're the exception to the rule. The "issue" is that our educational system/corporations have fallen short in some regards - they want skill sets that are rare, but have been unwilling to develop employees. Now they are reaping what they have planted.

Reciprocity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225473)

I think the policy should be dictated by the immigrants home-policy. That is, if its impossible for
a US national to get a job THERE, it should be hard to get a job for the foreign national HERE.
This would level the playing field for US national scientists and engineers quickly.

Let's have an exchange program (2)

CityZen (464761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225483)

For any bright person that wants to immigrate here, they should sponsor someone in the US who is currently unemployed to immigrate into their home country.

Maybe the idea is half-baked: what additional cooking do you suggest?

Too many steps? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225543)

1. Build a wall and take other border security measures to prevent the bringing in of illegal aliens, illegal drugs, illegal weapons, and whatever else we want to keep out of our country.
2. When the border is secure - really secure - amnesty current illegal trespassers so we can end the situation of having two classes of people in the country and can stop having to show our papers any time we want to do a little bit of work.
3. Give out plenty of visas to software engineers because the cost of shipping software is next to nothing and I would rather compete against an Indian making an American salary than an Indian making an Indian salary.
4. . . . ?
5. Profit!

You're asking this... (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225551)

HERE? This is one of those topics that is guaranteed to garner intelligent discourse by a few amidst a horrifying see of flame from the majority. Why not look into studies on the impact of skilled workers joining a workforce, and the cultural effects of immigration instead? My take is that there should be minimal (but some) financial incentive on the short-term for employment of such workers (IMHO, H1-B is *too* much incentive) and incentives towards citizenship. I believe that immigration of good skilled workers is good for this nation. I've only ever learned from smarter and more educated people around me in the workplace, and have rarely been at their mercy. If a population of 100 grows to 101 because 1 person of a highly-skilled nature joins it, that's a good thing.

Why not ask something more acceptable to the Slashdot community, like "I've just inherited a medium-sized business where everything runs on a mix of Linux and FreeBSD. Which Windows variant should I migrate them all to?"

Re:You're asking this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225749)

Which Windows variant should I migrate them all to?

Well yeah, that's obviously a troll question. Nobody'd move an infrastructure from Linux / BSD to Windows.

They'd go to iOS, because synergizing your mobile infrastructure allows you to leverage out of the box paradigm shifts using a follow-the-sun agile development methodology. This allows you to become a premiere partner for delivering world-class services that will delight and astound customers with their ease of use - "It just works."

Re:You're asking this... (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225797)

I agree that importing labor may be a good thing, but there is some merit to the flaming that happens in these topics.

Ever look for an entry level position? Or even look to switch the type of programming or IT admin you like to do? Or you're a seasoned web developer and all the jobs want a guru but pay peanuts? The same companies will turn around and then say theres a shortage of educated workers, even though there are people out there who may need a little polish

Highly trained workers (3, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225567)

As has been pointed out before, the point of H1-B visas is to get rid of older American workers who with education and experience have become highly trained, and replace them with less trained, cheap foreign labor. In 2010, during record-high unemployment, 117,409 people came in on the H1-B visa. Which is just one of many visas that people come to the US and work on. Professor Norm Matloff has a web page [ucdavis.edu] about this.

No restrictions (1)

Yoda222 (943886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225649)

If you were born less than 13000 km from my birth place (in ECEF frame) and if you speaks flemish (just kidding, I'm from the other side of the language border), in my opinion you should be allowed to come to my country for any period of time and for any occupation, do whatever you want to do. If you are coming from further (or if the concept of birth don't applies to you) I have only one condition: just explain to everybody how to suppress the concept of "work".

Get a friggin' immigration laywer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225659)

... I can't believe you're this cheap, asking advice from a bunch of dweebs who have their keyboards wrapped in plastic. Get a lawyer, dummy.

De-extemporize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225679)

They should migrate to the XXI Century, instead of the XIX Century and its covered wagons - picturesque though they may be.

Just my experience... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225689)

I'm a Mexican national who has lived over half his life in the U.S. (19 out of 32 years). First it was through my father's work visa, then through my student visa, and currently under my G-4. After graduating from an American university, I found the options available to me very disappointing. I was offered most of the jobs I applied to, but the offers were quickly rescinded when I inquired about visa sponsorship after my OPT expired. At one point it seemed as if I would end up working as a bilingual school teacher since they were the only ones willing and able to sponsor me for the visa, and I believe they weren't subject to the caps imposed by INS. Fortunately I was able to find my current job where visa sponsorship is not an issue.

As a foreigner with strong ties to this country and its people, it is very disheartening to see most of the pathways to permanent residence blocked off. Under my previous visas I never met the continuous presence requirements, and the G-4 does not have a path to residence. I'm not posting this to rant, but rather to share my experience and see what everybody's thoughts are. Unfortunately the U.S. currently finds itself with strong conflicts of interest when it comes to immigration and there is no easy answer.

grrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225743)

This is interesting to me, because I have 10 years in the field of computer science and I have a breathtaking list of accomplishments and I was born in the U.S. However, companies are turning me down right now on 100k+ jobs, the most they're willing to offer me is 90k. I've got offers, but they won't break the 90k barrier. It pisses me off to no end that they're trying to let foreigners with phony degrees and phony abilities come in and take the job that I could have easily filled with higher quality.

Green Card (1)

talldean (1038514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225753)

Temporary, no. Permanent, yes. We should be stapling green cards to every engineering degree with a 3.0 average granted by an accredited US university. We don't have enough highly skilled folks to fill these jobs, and these jobs are leaving and not coming back. If a company in America wants to hire you to do work for more than the average *household* income in America, and it's not a profession with a lack of job openings, we should be doing our best to convince you to become a permanent citizen. Average household income is under $50k, FWIW.

Re:Green Card (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225827)

Here's a question..... Why not hire the glut of people already in the system? As I posted earlier, why do we need to import labor with the amount of unemployed/underemployed people we have now?

Re:Green Card (1)

talldean (1038514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225891)

The glut of people have the wrong skills, and can't always be retrained, and certainly can't finish training now. H1-B visas don't go to unskilled laborers; the temporary visas go to people who have the skills we need, and have them now, and are likely to gain *more* skills in the future.

Re:Green Card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40226003)

Sounds like your business shouldnt exist. Financials dont work out. Stop trying to get welfare from the govt.

Re:Green Card (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226037)

So, you're telling me if someone has a degree in CS/MIS/SE/etc. and years of programming in language X, that they can't pick up language Y and become productive in a reasonable amount of time? Have the underlying concepts of programming changed all that much? Is this the Twilight Zone or something?

I'm trying to get an English PhD in now (3, Interesting)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225783)

And can't easily do it. He wants to help with my fusion project - for love or tiny money. I want him as a contractor, so I get to give him what little I can afford, rather than giving the state unemployment and disability - I won't have min wage left over for him after that crap - which is why small business doesn't hire people when things are tight. This sucks, he can only get a 6 mo tourist visa unless I can find a university that hasn't hit its limit to hire him as a visiting scholar (he qualifies in spades) so he can at least work here part time. No ethnic/race/spy issues with this guy - he's top rate nuclear physicist and well off enough not to need much money to do what we love to do. Since I can't afford him as an official "employee" (eg the state required crap), the deal isn't happening. He'd be a great US citizen, but there's no way to there from here it seems, just ask the State Dept - if you can get them on the phone at all, you just get shunted from auto-response to another non human response number in a big circle.
.

This sucks.

Re:I'm trying to get an English PhD in now (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226091)

EB-1

Re:I'm trying to get an English PhD in now (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226159)

So you have a job, but so little budget you cant even pay minimum wage?

Why dont you figure out how to get more budget first, instead of trying to figure out how to get more work done.

dude (4, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225793)

Let 'em all in. If you're going to pull down six digits (and pay taxes on it) then I say: WELCOME TO THE U.S.A.

Here's the thing. We Americans don't actually build stuff, grow stuff or put stuff together anymore. Well, we do, but it's becoming more and more rare. What do we do? We make software and design stuff. Unfortunately, the kind of endeavors one might easily imagining doing somewhere else. We really, really don't want that to happen, since it's this kind of activity we're going to rely on moving forward to support the rest of the economy, which is inwardly focused (medicine, finance, service industry, etc.) That's why we really want all the world's bad-ass scientists, engineers and developers to re-locate their Hindi / Mandarin / who-the-hell-cares-as-long-as-they-also-speak-English selves stateside and get to work building the next Facebook Google.

Re:dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225963)

That's why we really want all the world's bad-ass scientists, engineers and developers to re-locate their Hindi / Mandarin / who-the-hell-cares-as-long-as-they-also-speak-English selves stateside and get to work building the next Facebook Google.

Which ends up going public, fails to yield any gains in the market, and point in fact, nose dives hard and fast. This in turn drives the rest of the market down.

There are THOUSANDS of people who can do the top tier jobs in this country, but only a handful of people authorized to hire them. They are the same people who dictate a corporate direction, and are at the mercy of shareholders looking to increase profitability by driving down costs.

It's a Global Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225821)

As soon as we can accept the reality that we are already competing with them for jobs, all the reasons not to have them here fall away.

The countries that recognize this first will gain the most benefit.

Let anyone in with a technical degree (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225865)

As in medical, engineering, software, geophysics, etc. The best thing that could happen to the USA is a population bias in favor of intelligence. At the moment, it would seem that we desperately need that.

However, I would also propose that those with without technical degrees (e.g political science, ethno-musicology) need not apply, but good luck in your country search.

Don't treat them like Mexican goat herders (1)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225903)

... because that's how it currently feels when you want to get a US visa with a strong education and the intention to create a company there. Scratch that; this doesn't even remotely begin to describe US immigration officials. I'd wager that they export more US jobs (by having them created elsewhere, directly or indirectly) than all other professions combined.

Seriously... Just open the floodgates and let anyone who applies with a degree come and settle, including those after lower quintile jobs. People with education are more likely to create a business, and those that don't increase the supply of trained staff. Cost-free, at that. The "they'll steal low-wage jobs" point is hogwash. Nobody wants the lowest paid jobs anyway, the newcomers would do away with the housing inventory in a snap, and China would have an extremely hard time making its factories work if their production engineers all migrated to the US. (Remember that NYT story about how Apple decided to produce the iPhone in China because, amongst other things, fielding a few thousands of production engineers could be done in China in a matter of weeks instead of months?)

Also, consider the drive, the resourcefulness and the taste for risk-taking that are needed to successfully cross the Rio Grande or the Mediterranean Sea. In either case, you need to not take no for an answer when you applied the legal way, save hard-earned cash to pay whoever is taking you on the other side, and there is a non-negligible likelihood that you'll get robbed, murdered or (if a woman) forced into sex slavery. If those skills don't fit the successful entrepreneur, I don't know what does. And if crime gets less cash because the flood gates are open, all the better.

Lastly, it is surprising that livestock and poultry can cross borders freely, but actual people cannot. We may have gotten our priorities wrong when passports were introduced in the 19th century. Then again, if the plebeians cannot escape to better places, wages are kept in check.

Here's an idea (1)

DancesWithRobots (903395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225907)

How about training local citizens for the job, at low or no cost to them.

Why the limitations? (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225919)

Don't you believe in a free market?
I think it is silly to restrict people because of where they are born. If somebody is better then I am, why should he NOT be able to take my job.
If _I_ am better then somebody else, why should I not be able to take his job?
If you are an employer, why should you not have the ability to hire the best people that you can?
Do you want to be hired on what you are able to do, or because of your race, sex, religion or nationality?

I have a different nationality from the country where I work. My company thought I was the best for the task, so they hired me. They thought higher of me then of people of their own country. The reason why? Because they cared about the job, not about the passport.

And when people speak about me not being from their country I say: I have chosen the country I live in. I have made a very calculated decision as an adult. That means I deserve it MORE to live here then those who are born here. That always brings up interesting discussions. :-D

Make them citizens or permanent residents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225923)

If they are good, the employers should be willing to pay a fair market wage for them. Just make them full citizens so they can work where they want at market price.

If employers do get a program like H1-B, they should have to pay a heavy fee (~$10,000 an employee per year) that is used to give scholarships for American students. So if there really is a shortage of workers, it can be addressed.

Also, if a nation asks the U.S. to stop poaching it's workers, we should respect that unless the nation in question has a poor human rights record.

Pay them like americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225935)

Full benefits, no visa in hostage bs, no contractor bs.

Oh wait, they arent such a good deal then when you cant cheat the system?

H1-B then EB-2 or EB-3 based immigration (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225947)

It is (relatively) easy for skilled workers to work in the U.S. either temporarily or to immigrate.

Basically, there has to be no American that can be found that meets the minimum job requirements at the prevailing wage.

I did write skilled.

Of course, "found" has different interpretations depending on whether the stay is temporary (H1-B) or permanent (EB-2 or EB-3 "Green Card").

For the temporary case, the employer has to assert they can't find any Americans (and not have layed off any in the last six months, not have an ongoing strike, not be in the immigration department's "dog house", etc.).

For the permanent case, the employer has to hire the least-qualified American from responses to a ten-day nation-wide advertised job search.

Immigration attornies can "fudge" things a bit, to make it easier, but not mutch.

Let Me Understand This Correctly (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40225957)

With an average unemployment of over 8.2%, and you can't find a single American to do your job?

Re:Let Me Understand This Correctly (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226081)

Yes. Do you think that the 8.2% who are underemployed are eligible for the "top 20th percentile" jobs? 15% of Americans are barely employable, and we have 8.2% unemployed. The best hope of the unemployed 8.2% is a quick injection of smarts to their prospective employers.

Sort by pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40225995)

I'm an Aussie living in the US. I was on E-3, but switched off since it had no path to permanent residency, which was unfair for my family and children. I'm now on H1-B hoping to get a green card, but if I don't manage to, we'll all be leaving the country in 3 years (sigh), including my children who only know the US.

Time-limited: no, provided they continue valuable employment. This currently depends on the visa type: some are unlimited (eg, E-3), some aren't (eg, H1-B). It is a real nuisance to have both a total time limit in terms of years, and the constant threat of a sudden time limit in terms of days - if you lose your job. You, and your family, can never really settle down, which can become an impediment to productive work, which is the very reason you are in the US. For a specific example: I sleep on a broken bed, and I'm not really getting the sleep I need. Should I buy a new bed? What if I lose my job tomorrow and need to leave the US? I can't take my bed with me. (If this logic seems cloudy, bear in mind I didn't sleep well last night!)

Path to permanent residency: yes, unless you want people accruing US-paid wealth and then taking it out of the country when they retire. I consider this less of a problem than the time limits; if we have to leave one day, we will. I think it's a worse issue, for the US, to be forced to leave when you are still a productive employee, or still have that potential and will to do so. It would be better to leave on my schedule, so I can plan my family to move, and allow my children to come to terms with the event.

Limited number: the lottery isn't fun. If a number is necessary, my suggestion is sort by pay, and favour the top paid jobs. This will make it difficult for companies to artificially drive down US salaries by hiring cheaper visa holders to replace US jobs.

It's just fine as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40226023)

I have a Ph.D., I'm from the UK and I have got Visas from both the US and Australia and to be honest I think it is fine as it is. All of the institutions I have worked for in the US have had super Visa offices. I'm more than happy just to come to the US for the term of the contract and then move on. I really enjoy the US (Corvallis and Chicago so far). Having a Ph.D. is an immense privilege an so is the freedom it gives to travel the world and work with many people. I would like to think that I give a bit back to the places I stay. I'm happy to come home to the UK, not because I think it is better but just because it is home. If your thinking about getting a phud, do it, its a great place out there. see it live it, enjoy it.

A Kiwi who moved to Canada (1)

ESarge (140214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40226099)

Just copy Canada.

I'm a New Zealand-born software developer working in just one of those highly paid jobs in Vancouver BC. I refused to move to the US partly because I think the H1-B system has great potential for abuse.

As a country, you want the highly skilled migrants because they can work where they like and they bring great value. *Every* country in the world is competing to get them; except the US. US based developers have to compete against developers everywhere else anyway; preventing immigration doesn't help any. Even a low-skilled immigrant doesn't really steal a job. In many cases, the money they make is roughly matched by the money they spend that keeps the local economy moving. This is the experience in Alabama where they are actively trying to force immigrants out. Preventing immigration is also racist. As a country, you are claiming that those who are born in your country have a greater right to a job than somebody born anywhere else. Is there a fundamental difference between an American and an African other than their place of birth?

The Canadian system has a few ways in but they can be summarised as:
1. Find an employer who wants you enough to fill out some forms for you.
2. Show that you are young and smart
3. Wait for the paperwork. That gets you Permanent Resident status.
4. Wait 3 years actually in Canada
5. Apply for Citizenship.

In my case, I came to Canada on a Working Holiday Work Permit. This allowed me to work for anyone for 1 year and is only available to under-36 year olds. Then I found a job and explained what I needed them to do. I used a scheme where my province nominates me for immigration. My employer wrote a letter to the province, filled in some forms, added a copy of their incorporation certificate, I paid the money and off it went.

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