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US Senators Question Indian Firms Over H-1Bs

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-want-more-of-these? dept.

Businesses 415

xzvf sends us a link to a BusinessWeek report on the campaign of two US senators to get answers to how H-1B work visas are actually being used. Yesterday Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter (PDF) to nine Indian outsourcing firms that, among them, snapped up 30% of the H-1B visas issued last year. The senators want to know, among other things, whether the H-1B program is being used to enable the offshoring of American jobs. "Critics say outsourcing firms, including Infosys Technologies and Wipro, are using the visas to replace US employees with foreign workers, often cycling overseas staff through US training programs before sending them back into jobs at home."

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Yes... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138111)

Every time I've seen a company get a H-1B worker, someone else got the pink slip.

H-1B visas are a boon for employers. They not just have the power of a job, but the power to send people packing back to their homeland, so of course, H-1B people end up very docile shills, as they have a lot to lose.

Re:Yes... (5, Insightful)

Axe (11122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138169)

The same can be said about outsourced project - both domestic and overseas.

Legitimate H1B - not from the contractor sweat shops are not taking any jobs aways. Tried hiring anybody decent recently?

Re:Yes... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138285)

Yep, I can find talent in the US anywhere for pretty much anything. H-1Bs are just a cop out for companies who want to outsource but don't want the bad rep of outsourcing. Check any college or university, and you can find the talent you need at a decent price, from entry level programmers, to people who are going back for a M. S. and who have decades in the field that you can use for corporate officer positions.

H-1Bs are just a way to get cheap foreign labor without having to worry about such things as paying for Social Security. Plus, you can send them back to their country at any time, so you can demand far harsher conditions of work from them than any American (outside of undocumented workers) would take.

People who go H-1B have not looked very far for the expertise they need. They are just looking for cheap labor, nothing else.

Re:Yes... (5, Insightful)

amitabh_bachhan (826514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138443)

This is not completely accurate. Indian students who graduate from US universities also work on H1-B when they join American companies and they are certainly not paid lower than their American counterparts. So you would still need something like H1-B to use foreign (as in those who dont have a right to work without a permit) students from US univs.

Re:Yes... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138557)

...and they are certainly not paid lower than their American counterparts.


WRONG! Sorry to bust your bubble, but this has been studied. H1-B's average less than their American counter parts. You can't pull that one off here Buckwheat!

Have you been through an MBA program lately? Well along with my 15 years of engineering experience and my BS EE and MS CS, I earned my MBA 3 years ago. We studied these sorts of things. The use of H-1B's and offshoring were stressed as a means to bring down laybor costs (not just in tech, but in health care, accounting, etc).

And as a manager I can tell you that upper management EXPECTS us to lower costs using these "tools".

Re:Yes... (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138807)

Gotta love lowering costs and showing short-term "profit" by selling off your capital. I love the new business ethos.

Re:Yes... (1, Interesting)

Axe (11122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138825)

Yep, I can find talent in the US anywhere for pretty much anything.

You lie. You will not be able to easily find a substitute - for any money, for any of our H1B (we have just a few).

I am talking about top level talent. If you say it is easy to find it - you either lie, or do not know what you are talking about.

I am not defending Indian sweat shops by the way. I think contracting H1B workers out shuld be prohibited. It will stop most abuses.

Re:Yes... (4, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139051)

I think you miss how the whole deal works and why the parent makes such a bold claim. If you're willing to pay people what they are worth finding good people is not hard to do. That is the problem, they don't want to spend the money to make money so they take whatever shortcut they can despite the problems it brings. Especially in IT its very important not to have a lot of turnover as implementations are usually company specific. I've never seen two companies deploy their infrastructures in the same way. That means even talented people will take at least a little time to become familiar enough to properly take over a network. Turnover is a huge problem. The higher ups at my company used to just burn out every IT guy they came across until they met me, then they decide it was best to give me more money, open the wallet to get some quality equipment and now things are running smooth in a high redundant environment administered by myself.

I learn more and more about the business the longer I'm here and the more I learn the more I can do to help. I've more than made up my salary and equipment costs in other cost savings. That's the way at least in my opinion IT should work in a company. I got lucky of course as it was a combination of timing as well as skill.

Regardless, I've hired help that was inexperienced, we pay them competitively and teach them the environment and now I don't have to worry about help-desk work. It's simple, keep them around, problems will go away assuming you didn't hire an idiot which has happened to me in the past as well.

Their should definitely be more protections for H1B workers though, they should not have to live in fear anymore than an American should. Perhaps a complaint system could be created that would be government controller ensuring that the companies they work for would not know. If enough complaints are filed an investigation could then be triggered. This is much the same way sexual harassment works for ADP. Employees of member companies can file a complaint to them and they will start a 3rd party independent investigation. It prevents a lot of abuses of power.

Re:Yes... (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139149)

I think you miss how the whole deal works and why the parent makes such a bold claim. If you're willing to pay people what they are worth finding good people is not hard to do

That when anybody who is actually doing hiring gets up and screams "Bullshit".

Believe me, we are paying just fine.

Re:Yes... (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139119)

I have worked with a number of H1B's, and they were
good programmers, but hardly Top People. Good,
yes, a bit above the average ( you would expect
that ), but not ones we could not replace.

You may have had a different experience, but it does
not match mine.

I think the issue is finding top talent *at a given price*.

Re:Yes... (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138983)

Bullshit! You hire a foreigner who'll work cheaper and put up with more shit than an American will.
And by the way, it's all LIES that there's a shortage of American tech workers, a LIE that's being spread by the same companies that are trying to get the H1B quotas increased.

And all this mindless BS is being echoed by the corporate news media.

Re:Yes... (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138547)

I've seen some outsourcing in which the company that I was working just didn't have the man power and couldn't ramp up the man power to fulfill the need. Considering that it was either that or have huge amount of employees that only worked temporarily worked on unimportant stuff and was just churned out. In this case the outsourcing was done in addition to a 20 percent increase in this company's work force, they just didn't have enough manpower to do it otherwise.

However let's consider the other options we might have instead of outsourcing? IBM moving all their employees out of America? Why have a company in America when you can get cheaper work in India?

That doesn't mean all outsourcing is good, but it's one of those things America's going to have to allow or else some companies will move to other countries.

Re:Yes... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138705)

Simple- don't allow companies to move. Companies exist because they are chartered to exist by a state government. If they start ignoring their charter, or refuse to pay taxes as the state their charter is in requires, freeze all their US bank accounts and physical assets.

Re:Yes... (4, Insightful)

karmatic (776420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139023)

Simple- don't allow companies to move.

It's not nearly as "simple" as you might think. It's fairly trivial to start sending business to a foreign subsidiary. So, we ban that. What's to stop the company from then having an "affiliate" company that gets 95% royalties on whatever they sell. Ok, ban that too. Companies can then "license" their technology to a foreign company cheaply, and operate the other company instead. Or, they can enter into business deals with the foreign company that cost a great deal of money, allowing them to funnel the money in the company to the foreign one. Finally, they have the option of just closing up shop, and when approached about business, say "we're not in business; however, we recommend the services of [foreign company] instead".

Legislating away all the ways one can move overseas would require such stringent legislation that nobody would want to do business here at all. It would take laws regulating (among other things) who you could do business with, require certain profit margins on all deals, impose requirements regarding ownership of multiple companies (remember that stocks convey ownership), regulate who you could recommend for services, and a number of other things which would greatly increase the size of government, decrease freedom for individuals and companies, cost a lot of money, and make the US a (even more) difficult place to do business.

I run a business in the United States, and I would like to continue to do so. We have a Hungarian engineer, not because he's cheap (he's not - he makes more than me), but because there isn't anyone better at what he does that we know of. We outsource to India on occasion because of the simple fact that for some jobs, we cannot compete at American wages. Which is better for America - an American company, paying American taxes, and hiring a few Indians as needed, or an Indian Company, paying Indian taxes, hiring only Indians?

If America started to take the steps to make it impossible to (effectively) move business overseas, regardless of the collateral damage, I would move. America is no longer the "shining beacon of liberty" it once was - we willingly, gladly trade real liberty for imagined security. Don't believe me? How is a Metal Detector going to stop a suicide bomber with some dynamite, a fuse, and a book of matches? George Bush has done more harm to this country's freedoms than any other person in history, congress and the police ignore the constitution at every occasion, we're turning into a police state, and we lose more life waiting in the airport security line every year than was lost on 9/11.

We squander money like it's going out of style, and our economy is doomed [housingdoom.com] . Housing prices are way overinflated, we have no savings, and the FDIC doesn't have enough cash to make more than a token gesture at fixing things when the inevitable crash happens.

So, if this country is so bad, why don't I leave? Well, it's (at the moment) a favorable environment for business, and I have family here. I also think that it may be possible to save our freedoms, and that an economic crash may help wake people up, and will be good in the long run (affordable housing, smaller government from lack of funding, etc.). So I stay, run my business, and work to make the country a better place. Take away my business, or threaten it, and I will lose much of my reason for staying. Companies aren't the only ones who can move.

Re:Yes... (4, Insightful)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138971)

However let's consider the other options we might have instead of outsourcing? IBM moving all their employees out of America? Why have a company in America when you can get cheaper work in India?

Because there are advantages to hiring developers from the same culture as the intended customer market. Because intellectual property laws in third world countries are a joke. Because for some work, particularly defense work, it is actually illegal to use foreign developers. Because even though managers are happy hiring workers from overseas, those same managers don't want to move to the third world themselves, and there are certain advantages to having your development staff close to management and marketing instead of half a world away.

Most of the work that could go overseas is already overseas because it is so much cheaper. The jobs that are now left in the US is work that is harder or impossible to ship overseas. We can decide to fill those positions with US workers or foreign workers. If we decide to fill the jobs with foreign workers, then we are training our future foreign competition while telling US college students not to enter CS or IT. If we decide to fill the jobs with US workers, then we are going to keep high-paying jobs here in the US while telling US college students that they will have a bright future in either CS or IT.

Look in the mirror.... (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138973)

That pair of shoes made in the Phillipines could have been made in USA too. So could that ipod, phone etc made in China. Every time you buy a foreign made product you're helping write a US factory worker's pink slip.

It's easy to bitch when you're losing out, but look at the bugger picture. Why should highly paid tech workers feel they should have protection yet are willing to let factory workers get screwed so that they can enjoy low-cost products?

Re:Look in the mirror.... (1)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139075)

Because we were always told that losing the low-end jobs was no big deal because we'd create more high-end jobs with increased trade. Americans would move up, not out. Turns out that's a big lie, but they keep trying to sell it to us: "Go get more education!" It's like our politicians and trade negotiators never knew there were educated people in other countries too.

Why this years visas were filled in one day (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138995)

I agree.

On a positive note though, over 100,000 visa holders are going home this year, and another 100,000+ in each of the next two years.

There were 190,000 visas issued in each of the years 2001, 2002, 2003, before the limit went back down to 65,000. THIS is the single reason why all of the H1-B visas were used up in one single day.

300,000+ H1-Bs is a VERY significant number of the IT unemployed. So this might look good, unless Congress changes things.

Unfortunately, Congress is debating RIGHT NOW on increasing this limit. The current proposals are to bump the number back up to 195,000; either directly, or indirectly through a new quota system.

If you don't want to repeat the years after the dot-com bust, you need to fax or write (preferrably not email) your representatives in Congress RIGHT NOW. That means this week. Otherwise, there's a very good chance that this limit will change upwards, as there's a lot of money driving the issue.

Also, the people driving the lobbying efforts have stated that if they don't get this passed this year, it won't get changed next year, as that's a major election year.

The tip of the iceberg (1)

Envy Life (993972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139073)

I'm glad to see this topic getting some attention. On paper it seems hard to argue that anyone isn't getting a good deal because the US company gets work done, the H1B worker gets higher wages than they could in their own country, and the oursourcing company gets a substantial cut of the difference for providing the resource. The odd man out here is the US worker and this is where the government needs to step up and at least make sure everything is kept clean.

US workers just need to understand that employers do pay more for higher quality. US workers have an automatic edge in communication (native English), and in many cases education. In IT, think of a university degree (US) vs vocational school training in a broad survey of IT skills. It takes a while in the workplace for an Indian IT worker to catch up in those areas.

What isn't always clean is the treatment of the H1B worker. I've worked with a lot of Indian H1Bs and I can't tell you how many times I've heard the following story: "I wanted to come work in the US, make money, and go back to India with a pile of cash and buy a place of my own, then once I got to the US I wanted to stay. My employer knows that an H1B is 6 years of holding a green card as a carrot in front of me where he charges high wages for my skills and pays me low wages. During that time I have to do what he wants, work where he wants, or else I will be sent back to India."

To me It seems the first couple of years is payback for the sponsorship for the work visa, but 6 years is closer to indentured servitude. In most cases the worker is qualified for the green card much before that 6 years is up and the consulting company will purposefully delay the processing to make sure that worker cannot leave. It's immigration policy, which is designed to protect the american worker, but there's tons of room for abuse, and big multi-nationals make sure the system works for them, NOT the individual workers involved... which includes both the US and Indian worker in this case.

WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138119)

What do they expect them to say???????????

Of course they will say what ever it takes to keep the contracts coming in.

D'OH!

No wonder America is in decline. Look at their leaders!

Re:WTF?! (1, Interesting)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138511)

No wonder America is in decline. Look at their leaders!

This is just the long term result of globalization, is all. All those years you enjoyed the third world cranking out dirt cheap products? First the crap jobs went over, then they got smart and started taking the better ones. Thing is, once hungry third world cooperations without all the costs of first world labour standards at head office, or unions and whatnot start taking over internationally, then eventually the usa is just going to be another place to outsource to. Guess that will be really "unfair."

Anyway. You know you guys are truly hurting when you begrudge foreign workers leaving after being trained at your companies. Ouch.

Re:WTF?! (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138721)

Thing is, once hungry third world cooperations without all the costs of first world labour standards at head office, or unions and whatnot start taking over internationally.........snip...
I have a feeling that when the Kyoto thingy, and other 'global' issues really hit the fan, those same countries will be burdened with the same responsibilities to the 'global community' that western countries are being held to now. Greenpeace is trying to do their thing as are others. I don't think the pendulum will swing full circle on the outsourcing thing before those 'now cheap' countries find themselves trying desperately to clean up the environmental and labor force messes that they are currently creating.

Look into the labor situation in India and China and other places. Its not the hotbed of 'cheap labor forever' that people think it is, and it is quickly becoming untenable even for companies that want to outsource to them with no worries about their economy.

Re:WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138881)

Do you know what happens to people that protest in China and other places? Do you know what happens to uppity american protesters in China and other places?

We do not need any more sand niggers! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138143)

Here I said it, what you all wanted to say.

Re:We do not need any more sand niggers! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139067)

He's right! That's what I wanted to say, but my 'n' key is broken, so it would have come out as: "We do ot eed ay more sad iggers!" Thank you!!!!!11!

Resumes from Indians end up in the circular file (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138147)

It's my only way to avenge the American programmer.

I don't get it... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138165)

Hopefully you IT people can clarify this -- the outsource firms are bringing workers here on HB-1's and then *who* trains them? They do, or American companies do? Either way, I don't see how this makes sense instead of training the workers in India.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138283)

The key is creating relationships between key employees in India (and other countries) and the United States. 90% of the time associated with programming a large project is communication between programmers and others. Bringing somebody here for a year or two gives them lots of opportunities to get to know other people (not just at work, but over lunches, dinners, etc). Those relationships pay off when the employee returns home and has ways to exercise what, in Organizational Communication, is called Fayol's bridge: informal communication between peers in different parts of the organization that doesn't depend on the management chain keeping the messages straight.

Re:I don't get it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138581)

Here is how it works at Sun Microsystems.

You have a contract for dozens or hundreds in India. You bring handfuls of them to the states at a time where they spend six months working along side the American workers in a mentoring program. Then they go back to India and teach the rest of their coworkers. Since Sun already let off most of its teams in the last six years there are not lots of people to fire but what this does is keep them from having to hire new people in America. Instead of hiring a dozen new guys in America to fill their need (guys that were probably laid off in the last few years), they can just hire them in India.

Re:I don't get it... Nothing hard to get (1)

AlmostAnonymous (1102691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138633)

Been there, done that, been done.
Sanjay and Kumar come to the us working for a contractor. They are placed in American technology companies. Three months later, the US IT staff is laid off and all the jobs go to India.
The Indian IT companies use the American companies, through the IT staff, to train their employees.

First they on-shore the staff, then they off-shore the staff, then they off-shore the job. Nothing complex to get.

IBM says "Dig your own grave or we'll shoot you" (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138661)

> the outsource firms are bringing workers here on HB-1's and then *who* trains them? They do, or American companies do?

On the comments on Cringely's two recent IBM stories http://pbs.org/cringely [pbs.org] , it was American IBMers training the very same Indians who were to take over their jobs. The Indians went back to India, and the Americans were fired (except of course, IBM's generously compensated CEO).

Re:IBM says "Dig your own grave or we'll shoot you (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138839)

I dunno about you, but I'd be 'training' them as ineptly as I could legally get away with, without getting fired. Training your replacement when you don't have somewhere else to go sucks ass.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

desertfool (21262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138763)

I am currently training my replacements. It sucks, but I don't yet have another job to jump to. They are all tech school grads with 0 experience, and I am tasked with giving them 10+ years experience in one year. They are coming up with some sort of manual to train the people with *less* experience and training when they get back home. If I could afford it, I would run now. Many of my coworkers already have.

Not to say there aren't some talented people in the bunch, but most wouldn't get a first interview.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139083)

Often the US employees who are about to get laid off train their replacements, and often it's a condition for receiving severance pay. That situation really is as crappy as it sounds. If it was me and I had another job lined up, I'd tell them to stuff it. More often though, people don't have another job lined up and need money to pay the bills.

Re:I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139123)

Dude, they get to come to America and work in a big bank or something where they are taught really how Americans work, act, etc. They are trained on the processes that are used here and pick up the little things that you can't really grok unless you are immersed...

At the end of their cycle they go back and go and teach whatever they can to their co-workers. Plus they are seen as more valuable to the American executives back here who want to offshore, but don't really want a culture change.

Training overseas employees in the U.S. (1)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138175)

I'm sure that Indian outsourcing firms are the only companies that do this. IBM, Microsoft, and other U.S. high tech companies that cycle their overseas employees through the U.S. for training wouldn't do this too, would they? Nah. No need to ask the same questions of U.S. companies.

IBM lays off Americans while they invest in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138179)

HELLO!

IBM lays off Americans while at the same time they are investing billions in facilities in India. If that isn't obvious enough.

Heck Yes (1)

ubernode (211798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138209)

I worked at a big entertainment company who brought in plane loads of Indian workers for training. They sat in classrooms to learn how to support the systems that we developed. After 6 weeks of training, they were sent back to the homeland and a new batch were brough in; this continued until all workers were trained.

Then, after the training, the company would rotate these folks into roles like DBA, Software Dev'er and level 1 help desk support.

So yes, it is quite real. But the better question is what type of software gets built from a practice like this one?

Re:Heck Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138279)

> what type of software gets built from a practice like this one?

Well, they have already been able to reproduce full length music videos (for instance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbvP7dT3Dx0 [youtube.com] ), so I don't see why software would be a problem...

Re:Heck Yes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138375)

But the better question is what type of software gets built from a practice like this one?

Extremely shitty software.

I don't work in IT, but the company I work for does depend heavily on a wide variety of computer systems. For years we've used some system developed in-house. It wasn't great, but for the most part it got the job done. However, a couple years back our management decided, for whatever reason, that we needed a new computer system. Somehow the contract was given to an Indian firm, based out of India.

The problems were numerous. First, there was essentially no interacting between any of our workers (ie. the people using the software) and the developers. They held two meetings over the course of about a year. One was at the very beginning of the project, and it was a complete disaster. The people they sent over could barely speak English. For the part of the meeting I sat in at, it was damn near impossible to get anything done. We'd try to explain to them how we used the old system, but they just couldn't understand what we were saying. We even had one fellow walk right out of the meeting, saying it was, in his words, "a fucking stupid idea".

Eventually they delivered the software. We had wanted it in six months. They took about ten. And as would be expected, it didn't work at all. The stability was terrible. Data would be lost. The usability was absolutely horrible. I mean, there were spelling errors all over the place, and sometimes we'd got "Work Uncomplete" messages. Yes, "uncomplete". I don't know much about software, but I don't think they tested it at all.

The second meeting was held to try to fix these problems. We were damn angry, as you can image. Thankfully, one of the people they sent over spoke English. It turns out he was born in New York, but was working in India for this outsourcing firm. He basically said that his job was to go around and do what he could to clean up the mess his colleagues made of these projects. At least he was able to understand our complaints.

I don't exactly know what happened, but I think that the management got a North American firm to rewrite a large portion of the software. At least now it's mostly functional. And it doesn't look much like the system the Indian firm provided, so I think a lot of it was rewritten.

Re:Heck Yes (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138419)

If they're only here for 6 weeks, I don't think they need an H1-B visa.

who's surprised? (2, Interesting)

hashfunction (861726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138215)

Honestly, who is? So these firms exploit both, the Indian workers by taking a substantial part of their pay, and the american workers who might be a better fit for the jobs...

Re:who's surprised? (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138795)

Would the Indian workers be better off in their old jobs? If not, then how are they being exploited?

The non-intuitive solution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138223)

The solution to keeping jobs in the USA is to keep the best of the foreign talent here in the USA. We should be pinning a green card to anybody with an engineering, medical, or CS degree and encouraging them to stay, and bring their families, and start many JOB GENERATING BUSINESSES *here*. Reduce the incentives to go home. Reduce incentives to hire offshore (like onerous medical insurance costs, ahem), and in 10 years, you'll have a nice technopoly in the USA instead of India, China, Russia, etc.

Re:The non-intuitive solution (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138425)

We should be pinning a green card to anybody with an engineering, medical, or CS degree and encouraging them to stay, and bring their families, and start many JOB GENERATING BUSINESSES *here*.
For the most part bringing in foreign workers results in a greater amount of workers; Immigrants who come on their own are more likely to start their own companies. Creating businesses requires risk taking, not a college degree.
US culture may not promote technical excellence, but it does promote entrepreneurship.

Re:The non-intuitive solution (2, Insightful)

icsEater (1093717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138925)

Actually you can already see this trend in many (if not most) universities. Just go to any of the graduate programs around the nation and you will see that the vast majority of students are foreign students. Many of them stay and pursue teaching or research positions. That is why an ever increasing number of faculty are European, Indian or Chinese (at least in the sciences and engineering). The academic world requires a certain personality to succeed -- one that seems unappealing compared to the glitzy lifestyle of Silicon Valley IPOs.

The GP's idea of the counter-intuitive notion of encouraging immigration to help the economy is nothing new. That's what America has been doing ever since it was founded. It's a pity that the xenophobic elements always dismiss any possibility that the Irish, Germans, Chinese, or any other immigration wave, could ever bring any good to outweight the short-term negative impact they may force upon our established way of life. For a modern example of where this open borders policy is working, Business Week has an article on how open immigration policy has propelled Spain as the best-performing major economy in Europe.

Link: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_21 /b4035066.htm?chan=search [businessweek.com]

Re:The non-intuitive solution (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139037)

The GP's idea of the counter-intuitive notion of encouraging immigration to help the economy is nothing new. That's what America has been doing ever since it was founded.
I totally agree that an open immigration policy can help generate many new economic opportunities. My disagreement with the GGP is that a "pull" approach of immigration doesn't necessarily attract the type of risk takers who create business opportunties. An open Immigration policy provides the potential of new ideas and skills; but most importantly desire & energy, which may not necessarily be present in a "pull" immigration policy.

Re:The non-intuitive solution (5, Insightful)

damista (1020989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138767)

Well, this is kind of how the system was intended isn't it?

Instead of complaining that foreigners take American jobs, you (not you personally but "you" as in the US) got to ask yourself, where the US would be today, if it wasn't for the immigrants. Not every foreigner is an idiot, just like not every American is the best choice for a certain job. Some immigrants will fail miserably and others will succeed and maybe even start their own, successful business and create new, American jobs. Those who fail will be replaced, be it by Americans or new immigrants.

Btw. US companies exploit workers from other countries as well and take jobs from others. I don't want to know how many companies have been bought by US based businesses and then closed down, since the only interest the US companies had, were the product portfolios and the customer base. So why should Indian companies care about US jobs, if the US couldn't care less about other peoples jobs?

What the US must never forget is that they need the rest of the world just as much as the rest of the world needs the US.

Re:The non-intuitive solution (1)

schmu_20mol (806069) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138901)

To keep it short, mod the parent up please! Thankyouverymuch.

Re:The non-intuitive solution (5, Insightful)

ecuador_gr (944749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139041)

Exactly my feeling and situation. After an MS in CS at a decent US University (my European BS is in Physics), I started working as an H1-b at a US firm. After two years, I am one of the most valuable members of my group and my employer definitely wants to keep me here in NY, however my fiancee is from Europe and cannot work legally here (even if I marry her). It is kind of harder for her to get an H1-b visa (her BA is in Classics, plus H1-b's are snatched instantly). The company lawyer told me that it is highly unlikely for me to get a Green card in the foreseeable future, no matter how indispensable my employer thinks I am, since according to the rules, I cannot use my experience in the current company as part of my qualifications to justify the Green card. And of course the fact that you might be exceptionally good does not matter in the application for a Green Card (unless you have made headlines - there is provision for Nobel price winners etc). So, I am kind of thinking of heading back home, of course I do make enough for a family here but my fiancee hates not being able to work and I can't blame her...
You don't have to say the US will loose if I myself leave (you don't know me to judge if it is the case), but I am sure there are many talented people out there in such a situation.

Fair trade (3, Interesting)

bangwhistle (971272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138227)

How about this- if a company wants to hire from country X, then they can have one H-1B visa for each corresponding visa that country X issues to allow a US citizen to work in country X. Of course that visa MUST be used. The "prevailing wage" issue might be a sticky wicket, the wage in country X might be too low to attract interest. But if country X is not willing to hire non-citizens because their own people are looking for work, why should the US?

Re:Fair trade (1)

shredthrashgrind (960700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138549)

You want to make our citizens leave the country for our companies to enter the country? Talk about taking outsourcing to the EXTREME. badass.

Re:Fair trade (1)

shredthrashgrind (960700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138799)

Sorry, I meant: You want to make our citizens leave the country in order for our companies to have foreign citizens enter the country? Talk about taking outsourcing to the EXTREME.

Visit any Canadian university...... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138239)

If you visit the computer engineering or computer science departments of virtually any Canadian university, you'll find that about 50% of the students are from India, Bangladesh or Pakistan. According to relatives of mine who are in such programs at universities in Toronto and Manitoba, those students tend to have a very negative impact. In many cases, they just don't fit in. They usually tend to gather in groups, speaking loudly in their native languages. They tend to be especially loud in computer labs, to the point where the Canadian students are unable to get work done. Severe language difficulties prevent English- or French-speaking students from effectively communicating with such people, especially when working on group projects. Reportedly, they're also often caught cheating in various ways, be it on assignments, tests, examinations, and so forth.

What's most interesting is how the Canadians of Indian, Pakistani or Bengali descent respond to these foreigners. According to my relatives, they're quite disgusted by the behavior of these foreigners. These international students make the Canadian students, on a whole, look quite bad. Essentially all of the Canadian-born people of East Asian descent speak English flawlessly, and otherwise are not problematic like the foreigners.

So it wouldn't surprise me if the Indian firms were just using the American system to get high-quality education for their workers. According to my relatives, such seems to be the case in Canada, as well. And it's apparently not a good thing.

Re:Visit any Canadian university...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138363)

Can we blame the rampant piracy in Canada on them too?

(couldn't resist, no I don't mean to undermine what you said)

Wow; I see why u remain A.C. (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138509)

Look, I did a 2'nd round of BSCS in 1992-1993 (had a BS microbio already). At that time, I was mature enough that I was number 1 in all my classes. But right behind me were Indian's and Chinese. Why was that? Because they worked at it. When I was studying, so were they. I routinely saw American's cheating at their exams (one is now a high up manager in a mapping company). What did it say about Americans vs. other foreigners? That the foreigners wanted their degree while Americans treat it as a given. While you might be pissed that jobs are being taken away and sent to uneducated ppl in other nations (and that is the case), to denigrate those that came here (or to canada) and work their ass off is plain wrong. I have been impressed by the Indian and Chinese culture.

Re:Wow; I see why u remain A.C. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138665)

I went to a Canadian university half a decade ago. Of the foreigners there, only a small percentage of them were actually there to work. And you're right, they did do very well, just because they'd put in so much effort. Those are the people you're thinking of. I think the original poster is probably talking about the other 95%, though. Those are people who are studying in North America only because they come from a wealthy family, and for them it's an extended vacation from the bleakness of their homelands.

US is all to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138747)

Like my precedent poster said, not to blame that
they're coming from India or China, because they are BETTER than americans, in general, the median is better, and they work harder.

It's all clearly explained in this video : http://youtube.com/watch?v=RHbGOCAtDjw [youtube.com]

Look and think.

Re:Wow; I see why u remain A.C. (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138855)

Bah, anecdotal at best. When I was in college, I saw the whole spectrum of students cheating, and studying hard. I was just as likely to see an Asian cheating on a lab as a white dude. Just like I was likely to see a white dude head home early to study just like an Asian.

At anyrate, anyone who thinks that passing exams equates with being the best in the field is sadly mistaken. Usually, being good at your work is a product of having studied, which coincidentally leads to decent marks. But I've seen a fair number of straight A students who couldn't [or wouldn't] venture off on their own to do something that wasn't programmed into them.

Tom

Nice and needed enquiry (4, Informative)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138327)

I am an Indian citizen and I absolutely support this inquiry. The companies mentioned here (WIPRO, Infosys, TCS etc) definitely exploit H1b. They apply H1b for their employees assuming they MAY have to send them to US and not based on existing work, at least thats how its is for around 2/3 of their cases. Also, these companies treat sending their employees to US (client base) as an incentive and send only 1 or 2 person in a group and rotate them so as to give a "chance" to all. But since H1b is not transferable, they would have applied for H1b for everyone in the group at the beginning of H1b fiscal year. Every WIPRO/Infosys employee knows this - Just ask around to validate

I really wish there was a limit of how many H1bs these companies can get...

Could We Train Away Their Accents? (4, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138341)

I don't have anything against India or its citizens, but I do so hate having to call some place up with a problem only to struggle to communicate with some guy because; a) He probably doesn't speak English very well and can't truly understand a lot of what I say. b) Everything he knows comes from a script. c) His accent is so fucking thick that I can't understand a lot of what he says. I'd rather speak with a machine in most cases, so long as it's not voice activated...

It's a very real problem in the business world. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138507)

Why is his post marked "Troll"? He's talking about a very serious problem. It doesn't matter who these people are, where they're from, or what they look like. The basic truth is that it's damn near impossible to communicate with these people. And when they're in a job that requires a high degree of communication, we will have nothing but problems! It's especially bothersome when I'm paying a North American company damn good money for tech support, only to have them shuttle my problems off to somebody who my technicians can't even communicate with. I'd deal with some other company, except they all seem to use workers who can't speak English worth a damn.

Re:Could We Train Away Their Accents? (2, Insightful)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138819)


I demand that morari gets +5 and "Insightful".

Get off your stupid socio-moralistic high-horse. Just because you point out a problem with a group of people doesn't make you any sort of ist. Racist, sexist, nationalist... nor, is it truthfully a bad thing; for if the thoughts of others really bother you that much, a psychologist can help you and if not, there's the psychiatrist and shock therapy.

Indians do NOT speak English well enough for ANY kind of phone support. This isn't an American grudge, but as I understand it, it's pretty much International as German companies, Russian companies, French companies also attempt to outsource helpdesk to a hand full of Indians.

It is truth, it is real, and I don't care what you label me as. I'm pointing it out, and slamming it in your face.

Re:Could We Train Away Their Accents? (1, Troll)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138891)

Mod Parent Up! This is not really a troll.

Also this is not only a problem with technical support in the computer sector but it is a problem with most big companies today. The lack of LOCALIZED phone support for things is a big problem, if I'm calling a company's 1-800 number I want to speak to someone who understands and speaks the language that I know with at least enough fluency to understand them, I dont really care about accents so much as long as I can understand them. I can imagine that if the situation were reversed and people in India were calling to the US for tech support that they would want people who can speak whatever language is common there.

I mean you would think that if you are going to be answering calls from North America area that the person would be required to speak fluent english? Not some half assed mishmash of english with a super thick accent that you cant understand what they are saying so you have to have them repeat themselves like 4 or 5 times.

The US is the big loser in this abuse (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138353)

Aside of the abuse to create cheap offshoring opportunities that hurt both, the US population and the US taxes, this creates a problem: H1Bs ain't a goodwill thing of the US, "generously" granting people from other countries the opportunity to live in the US. H1Bs are first and foremost to enable companies to hire good, qualified people from abroad. No company would go through the hassle of an H1B app to get a new janitor. What they try to hire is simply someone with a qualification or experience that you can't find in the US, or at the very least, not in enough quantity.

In other words, by leeching those H1Bs from the pool, those companies harm the US economy by creating a shortage of qualified workers. And I do see this as grounds for investigation and, if they're guilty of such a practice, applicable fines and punishments.

Re:The US is the big loser in this abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138487)

/sarcasm/ So they would never hire an H1B over an american just to save a few bucks. ~/sarcasm/

Re:The US is the big loser in this abuse (3, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138761)

What they try to hire is simply someone with a qualification or experience that you can't find in the US, or at the very least, not in enough quantity.
...or at a low enough salary. While there may be some shortage of US citizens willing to learn to do "difficult" things like science, math, engineering and good programming, I think the desire of many companies to pay (much) less for such talent is at least as big a factor as any shortage.

Re:The US is the big loser in this abuse (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139021)

...or at a low enough salary. While there may be some shortage of US citizens willing to learn to do "difficult" things like science, math, engineering and good programming, I think the desire of many companies to pay (much) less for such talent is at least as big a factor as any shortage.

This is definitely the case, at least in my area. I recently went through a bout of unemployment after getting laid off from my first Jr. Developer role. I applied for everything from phone support to mid-level developer type jobs. During this process I got on the good side of a few of the better local headhunters. The recruiters there confirmed to me that most of the "entry level" developer positions they had were not entry level. They said entry level to justify the pay. In reality, they were looking for someone with 3-5 years full time development experience, preferably specifically in the language/tech used at that company, who would work at the pay of someone with 6 months to a year full time experience or fresh out of college with a CS related degree. In other words, H1-B employees.

Re:The US is the big loser in this abuse (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139127)

Five years ago, when the IT sector really sucked, I would have agreed with you 100%. Thing is that a lot of companies already took a ride around the outsourcing / H1B wheel back then, and / or cut way too deep when they did their layoffs, and now understand that you *never* get the same quality you do with your own staff of native English-speaking folks who are full employees of the company. Too many projects never got done, or the quality sucked, or too many customers complained, etc. That type of cost-cutting just isn't required right now -- the economy's doing too well.

It's also not just about the money -- it's about getting someone who will be a long-term contributor on your team (which of course runs 100% counter H1B). The tech leaders today -- Google et al -- CANNOT hire qualified people fast enough. Only problem is that those qualified people, on average, need to have an M.S. in CS from a major tech university. It is a phenomenal IT job market for employees right now -- best since the dot com era. I personally don't know anyone who's had any trouble at all finding a new gig lately, if they've bothered to look -- more the other way around (folks having trouble finding someone with a particular skillset). As usual, though, things will shift back the other way after a time, and we'll all being longing for the "Web 2.0 days." ;-)

Re:The US is the big loser in this abuse (2, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139111)

I was talking with a recruiter the other week who worked in as a recruiter in the area I was moving too for a couple of years. About 3 years companies started demanding Java programming skills, however there were not a lot of Java programmers in the area, and the ones that were there only had 1 or 2 years of experience. The companies said, "not enough experience" so those potential Java programmers moved out of the area.

Fast forward to today, the recruiter said there is a huge demand for, you guessed it, Java programmers with 3 to 5 years of experience. He could not find anyone to fill these positions. Why? Because these same companies were unwilling to hire anyone with little experience and let them grow into a position.

I hate it when companies complain that they cannot find anyone. Somehow they expect IT people to appear out of thin air with 3 to 5 years of experience. If there is a shortage of technical workers and skill sets how about these companies,

  • Invest in their employees to get the skills they need
  • Pay more to keep their competent employees that have the skills they already want

It boils down to money with companies being too cheap. Is it any real surprise that they cannot get effective IT?

Elections must be coming close (0, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138423)

This is just posturing and attempting to look 'good' for the people back home. They really dont care as long as they get their taxes and payola.

Gosh, that PDF was slightly embarrassing. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138427)

I wonder if these firms are bringing in people who are capable of properly scanning in or otherwise rectifying the 'upside-down' aspect of 1/3 of the pages in that PDF.

It helps when questioning whether we really need to import skilled technology workers, if you can make certain that you actually have some working for you to begin with.

This is a good thing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138433)

It is well-known in the H-1B holder circle that, some of the ICC (Indian Consulting Companies) might have cheated and applied for H-1B visas when they do not yet have actual foreign employees to hold those visas. That contributes significantly to the fact that H1-B visas run out so fast every year. I certainly hope the Senators' investigation would turn up something, and those cheating companies receive appropriate punishment.

Simple solution to the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138437)

If we are truly interested in bring over qualified workers, then they should do the following: 1) limit H1Bs to those with graduate degrees from US institutions (subject irrelavent) only, but eliminate all numerical caps and 2) give a green card to each H1B recipiant.

Needs more benefit to Americans (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138473)

How about the government make good on its claim that the H1B program is supposed to benefit the USA by only permitting US companies to hire H1Bs? Even if it can't stop the issue of American outsourcing companies hiring H1Bs for training, at least the American companies will be paying taxes, and may even encourage companies to stop hiding in Moldova or the Cayman Islands.

Even better, how about understanding how this brain drain thing is supposed to work, and replace H1B's for skilled workers with permanent residencies, rather than shipping trained people back to their home?

Moral Choices (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138485)

Before everyone jumps to concluding that bussiness is evil, capitalism is evil, blah blah blah. Remember where the moral responsibility and ultimate decision rests, it rests with society.

Example, if two patients are admitted to a hospital. The first is a guy that cut himself in his garage, and just needs a few stitches. The second is a gang member that was shot while commiting a crime, and is now in critical condition. The doctor, like a bussiness, isn't responsible for making the moral decision between the two patients, he can't choose to stitch up the regular joe while the gang member bleeds to death.

To bring that example back to work visa programs, they are only a bridge, a bridge between two radically disparate areas, and it's not the programs responsibity to dictate to society. But as we can see here, it's one hell of an indicator of a problem, that of how relativly bad one area is compared to how good another area is.

Instead of focusing on work visas, a symptom like bleeding is a symptom, we should address the cause of the problem. Or we could sling mud, twidle our thumbs, and the bleeding will stop upon exsanguation.

Re:Moral Choices (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138653)

I agree, but I also think both Canada and the USA could do more to mend fences. TN-1 applications are a very small step in the right direction for two countries which are supposed to be buddies.

I hate that every time I went to the US for a meeting I was treated like an illegal alien trying to subvert the economy. I don't blame the states though, I blame Canada for not putting up a fight. In all honesty we should really have some more accommodating form of worker exchange. Cuz don't tell me that americans wouldn't work in Canada if given the chance.

I think like most others we find it annoying that we have to compete for H1-Bs from mostly unqualified Indian employees who in all honestly probably don't add much to society. And before anyone brands me a biggot, I've worked with my share of fresh off the boat Indians and Asians, and without failure the vast majority are a pain in the ass to work with. They don't speak the language, are often not fully trained, have their own attitudes/values that often conflict etc.

That's not to say the more educated, or at least home grown asians/indians are that bad. Almost all of them are professional and a pleasure to work with.

Point is, at least with Cannucks heading south you can trust that we speak the damn language and our schools aren't that much different.

Tom

Offshoring for Dummies (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138809)

Points for effort, but analogies don't work because people say "Whoa dude, but this *ISN'T* XYZ..."

Problem is really pretty simple: American Corporation fires Americans and hires cheaper Indians to please American Shareholders. American Shareholder feels smug and bugs Chinese-made Widescreen TV. American Congressmen purchased with cold hard cash won't do anything to stop it, and fired American employee re-elects him anyway. American Company and Country goes down the gurgler.

H1B Openness? Americans can't get the equivalent for India. Unlike America, The Indian Government looks after their workers.

The moral: Buy Indian Rupees and invest in China. America is going down.

Re:Offshoring for Dummies (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139053)

Points for being civilized, and for explaining a logic behind your perspective.

The moral: Buy Indian Rupees and invest in China. America is going down.
Is there any chance you could be persuaded to change sides, and instead of bringing America "down", join us in bringing "up" those people living in countries that lack the freedoms so many of us enjoy.

Why? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138601)

Why question the Indian firms?


Every (American) company that I've ever seen employing H-1B workers would never stand for them being cycled through jobs and replaced this frequently. Typically, the Indian tech firms provide people who are vetted by the employer and then remain for the duration of their contract and/or their visa. There is no (sane) employer who would accept having contract employees swapped out frequently. Look at the cost of training they would stand to lose.


Unless of course, the American company is complicit in this arrangement. Probably with the intent of moving the work offshore once a suitable labor force has been run through training.


I say: Drag representatives of the US companies contracting for this support and ask them why they would allow the arrangement described in TFA in a contract.

happy this is happenning (5, Informative)

thinkingpen (1031996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138643)

I worked at one of these firms in India before. The common practice there is to file for a H-1B visa in anticipation of future onsite trips. Many hundreds go unused. A number of my collegues got their visas stamped, but never travelled. Some were never intended to be used at all. The project manager told me they are just a backup in case of emergency situations (e.g., an onsite contractor might have to go back to India within short notice etc.) I think this is the main reason behind the recent inflation in number of H1-B applicants. This is certainly abuse of the H1-B program!

These companies should not be granted so many visas. If you want to increase competitiveness grant more visas to foreign students from top universities in the US. Giving out visas to these companies will only get you mediocre people who know nothing about computer science (yeah well, they know a lot about time sheets, status reports and how not to manage a team) - ofcourse there will be exceptions, but the largely the crowd that comes here aren't any super skilled programmers. They would just know a bit of their client's business and a few programs in some subsystem that is written in COBOL.

I am happy to have left that sweat shop in pursuit of my masters degree a couple of years ago. Never wanna go back to them! they do not do anything related to computer science there! it's all plain business. You are not allowed to fix ugly code if you feel like it - the client should be ready to pay for that too !! no smart ideas here please .. every solution to every possible problem is documented (hey we're a CMM level 5 company!) and no process that wassn't used before should ever be encouraged.

Trust me, tis nothing like cutting edge. Far from it. I laugh when Bangalore is called the silicon valley of the East!

I'm amazed no one's said it yet (4, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138651)

These overseas folks are here principally because of a lack of skilled US citizens in critical areas. The ire being posted on this thread is largely misplaced. Instead of ranting about foreigners suckling "your" jobs out of this country, perhaps we should have better funded engineering education programs and engineering-related incentives for prospective college students so we have enough Americans to do the work? Banning the H1Bs will only make it harder to fill these vacancies, which helps no one.

Honestly, I've never understood the sense of entitlement some have about their IT jobs. If you're half as good as you say you are, you should have no problem landing your next gig.

Re:I'm amazed no one's said it yet (1)

$criptah (467422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138775)

I'll be the fist one. I could not agree more. As somebody who deals with vendors and their techies on a daily basis I am simply outraged that some people are still employed in IT. I don't care if you speak Russian, German or Spanish. If you have what it takes, come here and let's compete.

Re:I'm amazed no one's said it yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139081)

I could not agree more

Sure you could. You could offer more money. You want monkeys? Go ahead and pay bananas.

This is slashdot, not your local representative. We're actually educated here, and most of us remember our economics classes, especially the part about how when demand outstrips supply, prices go up.

The simple fact is that you're crying to us about a "shortage" when really, you expect to get the top 10% of the talent by offering salaries in the bottom 50% of the scale. Next thing you'll tell us is that we should all be given free lexuses, to each according to their needs and all that jazz.

Uh.. No. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139085)

American educational systems have many issues, and often times I see new hires recieving training on the job that should have been a prerequisite for hire.

That being said, there is a tremendous disadvantage for experienced American IT workers in the marketplace. The reason I see newbies getting trained on the job for things they should have known beforehand is because so many companies pass over quality applicants for cheaper hires.

Case in point: One of my employers cut costs by laying off almost all internal tech support workers... then hiring receptionist level people into the positions. When a remote location called the newbies with an issue that was not covered on one of their bulleted help sheets they ended up waiting several days for a call back from one of the few experienced techs that remained. One retail location that I know of waited three days with 50% of their POS terminals down before someone called them back who knew how to walk them through setting up a simple switch (ie: plugging in a few cat5 cables) until on-site could get to them. I handled many of these complaints.

There is a glut of talented American IT workers. You don't see many of them because they have had to change fields.

Maybe some people feel a sense of entitlement... but many more are pissed about this issue because they are tired of being screwed after spending their time gaining valuable education and experience that has made them essentially unemployable. This is doubly true for anyone over 40.

Regards.

A Solution Proposal (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138695)

H1B's do depress wages. If the H1B's were not available, companies would pay more for skills in short supply, students would have more incentive to gain those skills, and the imbalance would be corrected. Using foreign labor to fill the gap allows companies to pay less (because supply is increased) and creates larger skill shortages in the future.

The government uses surveys to determine what "fair market wages" are for H1B's and enforces a salary floor. This has the effect of setting a ceiling for local workers. It is another story of government mucking with the free market and making it operate less efficiently (although one could certainly argue that in a real free market there would not be any restriction on foreign labor).

Still, it does help our economy to bring the best and brightest of other counties to work in this one. We just need to make sure there is a cost difference so that companies will only hire H1B's when it is truly necessary. How can the government determine the optimal number of foreign laborers to allow while providing an incentive for companies to hire local talent.

My proposal is to auction off the H1B slots. Hold a closed bid 2nd-price style auction. Every company that wants H1B workers will enter as many bids as they want at the price they are willing to pay for the slot. The top N bids all get H1B slots but they all pay the price of the N-1 bidder. After all of the bids are placed, the government would select N to maximize revenue. All of that money would go into the Federal budget and the companies that won would be free to fill their slot with whatever H1B person they wanted (they would still have to pay market wages for that person).

Wages for local talent would be driven up by the imbalance caused by the auction and new workers would have incentive to learn the in-demand skills. Companies get the top talent that they want. The government gets a new revenue stream. Everyone in this country wins.

why indian companies apply for more h1-b (1)

u19925 (613350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138717)

most applicants of h1-b visa are indians. the indian companies are better equipped in searching and sorting out the right candidates needed for the job. they also provide extensive in-house training when they can't find a suitable candidate. the end result is that they can find suitable h1-b people while american companies cannot. e.g. infosys has 100k employees in india and has one of the world's largest training center. thus if they have a job requirement in USA, they can easily find a candidate from India who is better qualified than their counterpart in USA and/or is willing to work for lower salary (still meeting the minimum salary requirements for h1-b regulations). A typical American company cannot find an H1-B candidate that easily and it would settle for higher pay OR less qualified American worker.

Same thing happens elsewhere too. Hitachi imports more Japanese consultants then does IBM. SAP USA has more Germans on H1-B than Oracle has.

Re:why indian companies apply for more h1-b (0, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138787)

No offense, but there is a reason why people hate tech/call centres. They're fucking idiotic mumbling retards with a phone.

Maybe if they documented why H1-B candidates were better than the local talent people would feel better about it?

Tom

What about L-1B? (2, Informative)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138751)

I've lost more jobs to L-1B visa workers over the years than I have H-1B.
L-1B workers are paid far lower wages even though they are doing the same work as their H-1B counterparts.
To my knowledge there is also no cap on the number of L-1B visas like there is on H-1B.

Personally, I don't really worry about it either way. I survived before IT, I've survived a few outsourcing layoffs, and I'll survive if IT completely goes away.

My experience as an employer and former H1B worker (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138753)

I first came to the US in 2000 on a H1-B, I got a green card about a year ago, and now run a software company that employs a number of US citizens as software engineers, we are also bringing over a few people from other countries on H1-B visas. We aren't paying those people any less than their US counterparts, we are bringing them over simply because we can't find people with the specialized skills we need in the US.

Unfortunately due to the H1-B quota being hit on the first day, only two of our three H1-B applications were accepted. This doesn't help anyone, it means that the remaining person has to work remotely for at least a year (and therefore their taxes go to a foreign government), and its a PITA for us and them. Who wins here?

Frankly, any US software engineer that is having trouble finding a job in this economic environment should look in the mirror to see what their likely problem is, rather than trying to blame the H1-B visa program.

You can't handle the Truth (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138889)

The truth is that the entire H1-B visa program is intentionally used to provide cheap labor from overseas.

This is less true of L-1 and L-2 visas, except for firms engaged in active outsourcing.

If they would just make it easy (as in FAST, 6 months max time) to have people with legitimate Ph.D's move here - without any right of having their "family" move here, other than a spouse - the program might work.

H1B system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138913)

One way to stop abuse is to give H1B only to students who have studied in the US or allow them to apply for green card directly instead of waiting for x number of years on H1B.

The way to stop H-1B abuse and uncapping ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138923)

make a special visa for lawyers tied to H-1B conditions.

I find it amazng (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138927)

that senators need to write and ask an OUTSOURCING COMPANY if they are using the US visas they applied for to outsource US jobs.
It seems the brain drain has already happened in the senate.

The problem (1)

pickyouupatnine (901260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19138955)

... The problem is with outsourcing - thats where most of our jobs are going, NOT H1-Bs. And there's a big difference. H1B visas are the primary method for skilled workers to MOVE to the USA for good. This means that they come here to raise a family - they bring their knowledge and use it towards making America, their newly chosen homeland better. Then they take their savings and spend it IN America - which helps keep our internal economy running. Now outsourcing on the other hand, takes money out of America and keeps it there. Lets not mix these two up.

Re:The problem (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139099)

Had you bothered to RTFA, you'd see that while you are right about the intended use of H1-B visas, the investigation is because senators (probably correctly) believe that is NOT how the visas are being used. They believe instead that contracting firms are bringing workers over on H1-B visas temporarily, frequently for lower pay than an american will do the same job, then sending them back to the homeland with their new skills, training, and experience.

Indian H1B Visa Fraud (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138975)

H1B's are being abused. I know, part of my job is visa fraud.

There are companies in the US with all Indians being paid less than the going rate that are undercutting other companies playing by the rules.

The intent of H1B tech visas was not to enable the importation of low cost labor, but that is how it being using in many cases. Microsoft, Cisco and Intel benefit from getting the cream from the H1B's and are using the law the way it was intended, but the vast majority petitioners are bringing in under qualified and underpaid people to fill jobs that could easily be filled at home.

Increasing the numbers is not going to create more qualified applicants from the Indian labor pool, it is only going to increase fraud.

Abuse the problem, not the visa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19138993)

As an American software engineer on a team that may be as high as 30% H-1B workers (from several different countries) I have no problem with the program. They are all skilled workers and good people. I should also note that they are directly employed by my company.

I had to work with someone from Infosys (who was here on an H-1B) and it was horrible. I can't say that they were providing skilled labor to the US because the results of their labor didn't demonstrate much skill.

My company is always having problems finding skilled engineers (I should know, I interview enough people and have to reject so many of them) that we are happy to hire them from any country when we find them. This is a proper use of the visa, not simply using it as a benefit or to train people or to ship less skilled workers over.

H-1B is an unfair subsidy to wealthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19139005)

Why restrict H-1B to programmers? Let's open it up to Doctors, Lawyers, Nurses, Police, Firemen and salesmen. Why prefer one professional skill over another? Should increased supply of labor only affect wages for computer people? Why should Bill Gates get a subsidy?

Make immigration easier (5, Insightful)

NewIntellectual (444520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19139159)

Unless you're an American Indian, the 300 million+ inhabitants of the U.S. are immigrants or had immigrant parents. It's the country of immigrants and they came because they were freer to make a life in the U.S. than the countries they left. Anybody who's driven across the U.S. knows that it's still relatively empty. True statistic: if half of the entire population of the rest of the world immigrated to the U.S., the population density would still be less than England (which itself still has a lot of countryside.) Anti-immigration policy is massively stupid and leads directly to outsourcing; it helps to keep out the best minds, who will boost some other country's economy, while doing little to stop the influx of the least educated from Mexico. (They too should be able to become citizens, but not at the expense of programmers and PhDs in the hard sciences.)
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