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Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the one-way-or-another dept.

Government 374

theodp writes "PC World reports that DHS has extended the time foreign graduates of US colleges can stay in the country and work to almost two-and-a-half years, an 'emergency' change that drew kudos from Microsoft and other H-1B visa stakeholders. Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?' Bill Gates's Congressional Testimony, March 12, 2008: 'Extending OPT from 12 to 29 months would help to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage. This only requires action by the Executive Branch, and Congress and this Committee should strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security to take such action immediately.' DHS Press Release, April 4, 2008: 'The US Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students.'"

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Oh FUCK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050374)

Indian programmers suck ass... send them all back.

FUCK.

Re:Oh FUCK (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050520)

Not all of them but there does seem to be an extraordinarily large group that are pretty bad.

I think this is because most of them are doing programming just to make a buck. They are kind of like the McDonalds employees of the software world. They were given jobs after watching a video tape(*) and don't really want to be doing software development. They lack skill and any motivation other than money.

* Yes, I know they go through school and supposedly have decent curriculums but that isn't enough to make of for the lack of talent.

Re:Oh FUCK (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050602)

"Not all of them but there does seem to be an extraordinarily large group that are pretty bad.

I think this is because most of them are doing programming just to make a buck. They are kind of like the McDonalds employees of the software world. They were given jobs after watching a video tape(*) and don't really want to be doing software development. They lack skill and any motivation other than money."

I dunno if it is that. After working with a number of Indian programmers, I think many of the complaints against them and skills....are due to culture. It is so different than in the US with the caste system, etc.

I've found in my experience, that many of the ones I've worked with, are quite good if it is rote, repeatable, coding with very clear and concise requirements.

However, the areas I've seen that were lacking, were when the job required invention, finding a new way to do something that might have very vague requirements at best. I can only guess this is how it is taught over there, and with the culture, you don't question authority, but, obey it quietly. I guess that over there, they learn to work based only on what is given them, and not to think as independently as we are over here, to look for a new way to do things, etc.

Of course, this is based only on my observations from work experience.

I think the larger question is...why when we in the US have PLENTY of citizens that are capable of doing these jobs are we still having our politicians listening to corps that want nothing more than to lower the wages these jobs are worth....or ship them overseas. This economy is hurting...and crap like this, driving down wages to citizens (or pulling jobs from them) and giving them to foreigners that are just sending the money home is not helping matters.

Pretty soon, the only jobs left here will be service jobs that involve a name tag and asking if "you want fries with that". Trouble is, if noone can make money, who is gonna be left to buy those fries?

Re:Oh FUCK (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050708)

if it is rote, repeatable, coding with very clear and concise requirements
Uh, what industry would that be? I've been a software engineer for 11 years and I have yet to be in a project like you are describing above. :) The reason why American programmers are still at a premium is that they are businessmen AND engineers - they can handle constant requirement change. IE: the real world.

Re:Oh FUCK (4, Insightful)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050774)

Every time there is a story about India, all comments are about call centers (yeah! I know they suck!), or Cows. Still, I have never read so much crap on Slashdot before.

As an Indian, I have never, never, found caste being a problem, except when you want to marry a girl - and when a guy wants to bail out of some situation and invokes this card. Your hyperbole about "authority" and "cultural difference" is nothing but rotting xenophobia. That, or you are just pain trolling.

GP was dead on point when it stated that most Indians are taught programming in the companies - they completely lack any interest in over the top performance - they know they are cheap workers, and they know their job is laborious. So much for the motivation.

I guess that over there, they learn to work based only on what is given them, and not to think as independently as we are over here, to look for a new way to do things, etc.
O RLY? So you don't know anything about "over there" and want to make sweeping uninformed statements... I wonder why you are not preferred.

Of course, this is based only on my observations from work experience.
I doubt GP had taken India culture as a course, or spent years in India. What you understand from what you see is a product of your mind. Until the Indians have personally told you how they are not taught to innovate(?), it is xenophobia - a complete lack of interest in people who are taking your jobs.

Re:Oh FUCK (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23051012)

"I doubt GP had taken India culture as a course, or spent years in India. What you understand from what you see is a product of your mind. Until the Indians have personally told you how they are not taught to innovate(?), it is xenophobia - a complete lack of interest in people who are taking your jobs."

The GP's allude to how bad Indian programmers are perceived in the US. I was merely stating my observations from working with them in the business over several years. No, I don't know much about Indian culture, never been there, never had much need to learn it, but, from what little I do know or have read about, that was what I was basing my guess on as to the reasons behind my observations.

Just because you observe something, and it happens to be another race, culture or whatever, doesn't make you racist or xenophobic. I hate to think stating what you have experience with others, even if it is negative is the latest thing in the new 'PC' world that you can no longer state or discuss.

Sorry if what I and others have observed working with Indians, but, I cannot believe that all of us are making it up independantly. There must be some truth to it for these things to be stated so prevalently....sorry, but grow some thicker skin. If it doesn't apply to you, then don't worry about it.

Re:Oh FUCK (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050810)

Immigration is probably the only thing keeping your job here in the US. I wouldn't complain. Think about it from a corporations point of view. You have an international corporation that simply wants the work done and are truly indifferent to where it is done. When deciding where to do the bulk of their programming, the US is not exactly the most inviting place. We have some of the highest corporate taxes in the world, we have the highest wages in the world, and in general there is a very high cost of doing business here.

There are good reasons to do work in the US. If the work is the for the US market, it doesn't hurt to have it done in the US to save time in cleaning it up make it presentable to the consumer and you have cleaner communication lines with the US marketers and business folks.

What the immigration does is make the choice a little easier for corporations to pick the US over India. Sure, immigration does, to some small extent push down US wages. Know what pushes down US wages even more though? When they say "fuck it" and simply have the entire thing done in India for a fraction of the cost.

So, you can either swallow that people from India (and elsewhere) come here for high wages while at the same time knocking your wages down a little, or simply have corporations throw their hands up at the high cost of doing business and simply farm it all out to India.

Take your pick.

Stringent immigration policies NEVER result in great economic booms that nationalist promise. Immigration has never hurt the US. The US has a long time of kicking ass and taking in the economics and academics BECAUSE it has such a liberal immigration policy. Taking in skilled workers from elsewhere is a good thing for the US and keeps jobs here. If anyone has anything to bitch about, it is India. The US is the one stealing away their skilled workers, adding them to our economy, and leaving them high and dry.

Re:Oh FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050674)

I'd like to see you get into IIT

Re:Oh FUCK (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050680)

I was talking to a girl (not Indian, but foreign, earned a CS PhD in the US) a few months back and that was my impression. She didn't understand the idea of working on a project (like open source) unless their was money involved. She wanted to work in a large company, like an exchangeable part. Are there many Indian/Asian open source (FREE as in not paid) developers?

Then again, maybe she'll have a job when OSS junkies are fired since they'll do it for free.

Re:Oh FUCK (5, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050556)

That's completely unreasonable. I've worked with many excellent Indian programmers. The ones who've been H1B and working here in the US have shown the same range of skill as US-native employees.

This implies it's a factor of the company's hiring processes, not anything to do with their national or educational origin.

Outsource teams have their own common issues, but they have a lot more to do with the distance and management issues than with ethnicity or culture.

Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050392)

Yep, now they can cut pay throughout the industry citing increased competition for jobs. Why should they pay you a 6 digit number when they can pay someone else a mere 5 digits.

Acute shortage my ass.

Re:Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050448)

Warren Jeffs makes my balls tingle...

5 digits -- $xxx.xx (2, Insightful)

srobert (4099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050486)

What's worse is that the 5 digits includes the cents.
American Nerds should rise up and revolt.
Have Fun Storming the Castle.

Re:Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (3, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050508)

your whinging because you might not get a 6 figure salary? cry me a fucking river asshole!

show me some proof that hb-1 visa's have resulted in pay cuts, because i keep hearing people running their mouths about it but when i look at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm [bls.gov] all i see are rising wages.

Re:Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (3, Insightful)

KPU (118762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050780)

Your link is a single snapshot in time which does not say anything to your claim regarding "rising wages." Further, I fail to see how rising wages would imply that H1-B has little effect on wages.

Re:Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050564)

I'm kinda hoping that H-1B lottery resolves itself in my favor this year. Otherwise, my six figure income might just become another empty headcount on my team. You can only renew a TN so many times before you start getting really worried.

Re:Well played Mr. Gates, well played. (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050892)

Is it me or do F1 students from our school get most of the lucrative jobs around? I am from Georgia Tech (on an F1 visa myself - but decided to do a Masters after my undergrad) and most of the info sessions for any job seem packed with F1 students. They also get a disproportionately large number of jobs at any firm that hires them and often, get paid above the averages for their majors. In fact, all but 2-3 of the F1s I know (from about 30 odd) is working for under 60k a year and about half of them beat 70k.

Moreover, in the last year, McKinsey, Bain and other high paying consulting firms have also hired a large number of F1 students. To me, it does not seem like they are willing to work for less (most of them are from China/India), but are raising the barrier. In fact, Lehman does not recruit from Tech normally, but they did hire an F1 student I know. Others have incredible jobs that make you feel stupid as a grad student since they already make with a BS what you are expected to after an MS.

Cheers!

Congrats /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050396)

Not biased at all.

You would think... (1)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050402)

after four years in the U.S. the graduates would have a better idea about reasonable wages. Unlike H1-B, they'd not take such a wage hit. What's the advantage?

Re:You would think... (2, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050418)

They can always work here for a while, then head back home and live very well on what we would consider low pay. Not saying they would; it's just an option that domestic graduates do not have.

Of course, inflation is making this sort of thing more and more difficult.

Misleading headline (5, Insightful)

TheKingAdrock (834418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050404)

Bill Gates has been testifying for years, yet little has been done to increase H1-B limits. It's hardly as if anyone is acting under his control...

Re:Misleading headline (2, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050742)

But in previous years, he didn't have the kill switch to the OS that runs the intelligence agencies! He probably threatened to deactivate their copies of Vista :P

Re:Misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050804)

But in previous years, he didn't have the kill switch to the OS that runs the intelligence agencies! He probably threatened to deactivate their copies of Vista
Hilarious. CIA runs Solaris, NSA is in bed with Linux.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050814)

I think its the other way round, he told them hed give them they key so they didn't have to keep on phoning up that Indian woman to re-licence their copies of XP

they took our jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050406)

Obligatory Southpark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQVoNWAar_k [youtube.com]

never say propaganda doesn't work
those conservative wackos are playing you for fools
or maybe you are just xenophobic

"they" took our jobs

Yay, Flamebait! (4, Interesting)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050420)

Thanks for the very opinionated analysis on how apparently Bill Gates is now ordering the US government but the fact of the matter is this request was good for both parties, good for science, and good for the industry.

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Yay, Flamebait! (5, Insightful)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050440)

Yeah, singling out Microsoft seems a bit out of line. How about a list of other companies who supported/opposed this?

Re:Yay, Flamebait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050666)

It's OK, John McCain is going to have all the out of work factory workers in Ohio and Pennsylvania programming soon after he gets elected so they can send the Indians back home. Oh yeah, I forgot, the software industry doesn't want to invest in training people or expects everyone to come on to an enterprise level endeavour fully trained in every technology used in the project with 15 years experience in Java to boot. Have to leave it to the Indian programmers who lie on their resumes better than most.

Re:Yay, Flamebait! (1)

KPU (118762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050834)

Some Indian software companies actually have long training periods where they teach their new employees Java etc.

As to unemployed factory workers, we have this thing called school. Unfortunately it costs a lot of money. Perhaps we should fix that first.

Re:Yay, Flamebait! (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050752)

Good for the students, good for the consumers...

Why, DHS? (1)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050422)

Is this meant to be an acknowledgement that foreign students aren't such a threat? If so, why this particular time limit?

Is this in spite of a perceived threat from foreign students? If so, why isn't DHS doing its job, which is security?

If this isn't because of security, why is DHS making the call on it?

Re:Why, DHS? (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050518)

Because the department that deals with immigration, USCIS, is part of DHS.

Yes, that's how Bush decided to organize it. No, it doesn't make much sense to me, but having a department of homeland security doesn't make sense to me in the first place.

Re:Why, DHS? (4, Informative)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050596)

They're changing because the H-1B cap is being reached now. An international student who graduates in the US no longer has a clear path to stick around and work. There's no point spending four years training someone only to kick them out when they want to stay. With 29 months, they can at least make a couple of attempts at the annual H-1B lottery.

Re:Why, DHS? (1)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050612)

Point taken, though I'd probably lean more towards a path to citizenship for those who go to school in the U.S.

Re:Why, DHS? (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050688)

Sure, but the intended path is H-1B -> Greencard -> citizenship. It's by design that you can't easily obtain citizenship. That's a whole different issue.

Re:Why, DHS? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050812)

It's by design that you can't easily obtain citizenship.
All they really need to do is find an American spouse and have an anchor baby [wikipedia.org] to stay in the United States until the child reaches the age of majority, by which time the foreign spouse has long since been granted citizenship anyway. If Microsoft wants more H1B candidates to stick around then they need to encourage hookups between their American employees and their foreign H1Bs and graduate student interns.

Re:Why, DHS? (5, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050990)

The students would rather have an easier path to green cards, and eventually citizenship, but it's not the most popular idea among most Americans.

We all know that most people's problem with illegal immigration and H1-Bs has nothing to do with the illegals being illegal or the H1-Bs lowering wages: It's plain old racism. Increasing the green card quotas would just bring more people with strange accents into the country, and that's not something that middle america wants.

I for one find it ridiculous, but I see the racism every day.

Indian programmers are bad (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050424)

Everyone i have worked with is less then useless. They create more work for me...

Useless... send them back.

Re:Indian programmers are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050584)

I've had the opposite experience, where foreign-born employees are actually much more competent.

Obviously it depends on the individual and not where they came from. And it is the responsibility of your company to hire good employees and fire bad ones, not for the government to deport them.

Why billy G needs 29 months (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050436)

His prescription for Viagra has become tainted due to the open sourcing of the manufacturing process. In wake of this he has hired on the most well endowed bollywood actor for his womanly pleasures and placed him in "Hard"ware development!

Nice propagandizing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050438)

Or maybe, instead of "Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?'", it's actually "When Bill Gates identifies a real problem, the government actually considers it."

Yes, they have access to government. No, there is no magic.

Agreeing != control (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050452)

If the US government does something that somebody had publicly recommended, that does not mean that the government is controlled by that person.

Disingenous tripe (5, Interesting)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050456)

Bill Gates, eh? What about all the other companies that lobbied to get this trough? IBM is one of the largest importers of foreign labor, but of course we don't want to mention that. Heck, IBM is the largest employer of L1 visa [wikipedia.org] holders. IBM uses these visas to get around the salary and posting requirements of H1-B visas. Thousands and thousands of Indians, Chinese and Russians are in the US occupying jobs under L1 visas and working for IBM and a few other companies, mostly on mid- and lower-level IT jobs that pay well but don't require high qualifications, and of which there is no shortage in this country.

Microsoft does not use L1 visas, because they don't import cheap outsourced labor like IBM does. They are trying to bring in valuable, qualified college graduates to this country to fill higher-level positions that cannot be filled with US-based engineers because at that level, there truly is a shortage.

But hey, this is Slashdot so we can happily spin this so that it seems Bill Gates is manipulating US immigration policies for his own benefit. That way we get another "Microsoft is teh evil" bullet point for the "advocacy" folks, and Slashdot sells more ads. Everybody wins.

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

1a1n (868356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050598)

All multinational companies bring L-class visas into the country - anyone who works for a forigen subsidiary moving to the US parent or operations would be able to do an intercompany transfer using this type of visa. That show I moved to the US - its much mch less painful. /1

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050686)

"They are trying to bring in valuable, qualified college graduates to this country to fill higher-level positions that cannot be filled with US-based engineers because at that level, there truly is a shortage of US engineers that will work for substandard wages, and are not willing to live with 10 other engineers cramped up in one apartment in order to save money to send home, rather than house and feed their US families in the area which they work."

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050816)

US engineers that will work for substandard wages, and are not willing to live with 10 other engineers cramped up in one apartment in order to save money to send home, rather than house and feed their US families in the area which they work

Microsoft pays standard salaries to H1-B visa holders. They are required to, by law. And they all get the same benefits as citizens and residents. That the industry at large is not willing to pay half-decent wages to qualified people is another thing.

The situation you describe here is, in my experience, specific to companies like IBM, who do exactly that to L1 visa holders while they are working for Fortune 500 firms like American Express who have outsourced their entire IT operations to them. L1 visa holders are NOT required to be paid equivalent US salaries, because technically they are not supposed to be paying the standard tax bracket rates as normal US-based workers. So they basically earn the dollar equivalent to a good salary in rupees.

Of course in the press releases they never mention they outsource the whole thing to IBM India, just "IBM". That's how it works.

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050738)

MS (their HR department, not recruiters) has cold-called me a few times about open jobs. A few of my friends have been called as well. Personally, I'm not interested in working for them at any price due to their corporate culture that produces a turd like Vista. (I do like some of their research work, though.) Most of the MS-centric people I've known and worked with have mediocre technical skills. I'd guess most of the US citizens that are qualified prefer Linux/FREE software, so they have to go overseas.

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050778)

With the exception of one product manager in the server group who should have been sweeping the floor, every single MS employee I've ever interacted with was bright and intelligent, especially in the developer tools division.

There are 60,000 people working at Microsoft. Feel free to generalize though, it makes you look clever.

Re:Disingenous tripe (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050994)

I wasn't referring to MS employees, rather McDS, VB Monkeys, etc.

Before you criticize... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050462)

This what Microsoft has done for this country. Their software runs alot of the country, their stock is probably is many people's 401Ks. By the way, Bill Gates sometimes knows WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. Also, this may be good for the country's economy. At least some people are trying to make concrete recommendations about how to improve the economy rather than just complain about it.

-David Tarlow, M.D.

dtarlow@aol.com

Re:Before you criticize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050502)

Pray tell how does it help our economy by giving jobs to for foreigners rather than people here? Don't give me some warped world view that what is good for corporations is good for me.

Re:Before you criticize... (5, Insightful)

Dada Vinci (1222822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050536)

They're going to do the same programming and science work, whether they are here or in India/Romania/Singapore/etc. We can get them to pay US taxes and buy other goods and services in the US, or we can just ship our money overseas and let other countries take a lead in high-tech. Smart students exist overseas; the question is whether we can get them to come here and benefit us, or let them work elsewhere and allow the US to decline.

Re:Before you criticize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050662)

We can get them to pay US taxes and buy other goods and services in the US, or we can just ship our money overseas and let other countries take a lead in high-tech.

This.

People can demand protectionist trade/immigration policies as much as they like (and the handful of populist politicians who'll actually implement them can go ahead and do that too). None of that changes the fact that the rest of the world doesn't really need us as much as they used to. They'll carry on just fine without our participation while we languish and sink even deeper into the economic cesspool we've pissed and shit ourselves into.

-1, Sensationalist Headline (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050478)

Wow, if you read all the articles linked, you'd know that it was not just Bill Gates, but others as well who testified on this subject. Secondly, a lot of companies support this, Google included. Finally, people from both parties support this.

The majority of the people who are on OPT are folks who're in the US to go to graduate school. Rather than send them back, they are trying to extend the amount of time that they can stay in the country. How is this a bad thing?

If anything, the number of native US candidates going to graduate school is much lesser than the number of foreign nationals coming to the US for graduate school. How is trying to retain folks who get advanced degrees a bad thing in any way?

Finally, a lot of people with graduate degrees (i.e. majority of folks on OPT) are by no means cheap - so, the old excuse that they are being exploited etc. does not quite work here.

Enough of the bullshit, already. A lot of folks petitioned about extending the OPT status for international students who go to graduate school in the US, and have to return because of visa policies (the H1B cap was met within a few hours last year). So, the government considered what the companies wanted and agreed to do this.

Re:-1, Sensationalist Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050828)

I'm all about keeping foreign nationals with higher degrees, but I think they should have to maintain at least a part time teaching position at a public or private university. This way they are also contributing towards the education of our own citizens.

It's a fair price to pay for instant US residency.

Re:-1, Sensationalist Headline (3, Insightful)

hxdmp (448441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050868)

Hear, Hear! I don't think 90% of the /. repliers here actually read the details to have a clue on this. This applies to international students who obtained a Masters Degree (typically in Computer Science) at a U.S. University. Geez, what's the Masters Degree percentage of /. readers I wonder.... low, so they don't have a clue that an international student has to be decent to graduate. Universities don't lower their exam and degree requirements for international students.

We need these folks to stay in the U.S. rather than take their talents and U.S. taught skills overseas to complete with those of us in the U.S.

As far as international students taking jobs away from U.S. citizens that is just hog wash! (at least for Computer Science and EE) In the Silicon Valley it is very hard to find talented OS programmers right now. The job demand is there and not enough U.S. citizens can be found.

[Able to hack a BSD kernel and looking for a Silicon Valley job? My company is hiring. Search the job boards - you'll find it]

Why Single Out Bill? (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050908)

Granted, Microsoft is far from alone [competeamerica.org] when it comes to relying on the Visa Crutch [eweek.com] . But it was Bill Gates whose pleas were singled out by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff [flickr.com] as he rationalized the need for 'emergency' action [flickr.com] .

Oblig. pithy remark: (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050484)

Invest in America: Buy a congressman.

Jack Abramoff and Preston *Gates* (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050492)

Jack Abramoff [wikipedia.org] , the Republican gangster, got his start lobbying at the Preston Gates law firm. The "Gates" in the title is William H. Gates Sr [wikipedia.org] , one of the foremost corporate lawyers in America, who helped his son William H. Gates III start Microsoft. Microsoft later was officially declared a monopoly abusing its market dominance [wikipedia.org] , while Democrats controlled the Executive Branch. But when Republicans took control during the remedy phase of the monopoly trials, Microsoft was let off without the remedies that actually stop monopolies. Those Republicans were (and are) part of Abramoff's gang.

Ridiculous headline, also... (2, Insightful)

smolloy (1250188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050504)

Ridiculous headline. As a H1B myself, it's great to see someone trying to improve the system, even if it is archetypal /. enemy, Bill Gates. Now we need someone to work on the crazy rule that requires me to return home to renew my visa.

Why can't I do it from here? It's not for security reasons (I'm easier to investigate while in the US, not whilst abroad) and it's not for economic reasons (surely they'd rather I was working, instead of taking weeks off to go home and wait for a new visa), so why is it?

Re:Ridiculous headline, also... (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050682)

As a development manager in the US I couldn't agree more about forcing people to leave the country to renew their visa. Not only is it a financial burden and loss of productivity for the person and/or employer, but on more than one occasion I've had talented developers decide it wasn't worth it to return.
I've never understood the argument against expanding HB1s, I believe it's a benefit to US tech workers if the best and brightest talent work here. If they stay elsewhere, organizations and positions will too. Many of them also seek permanent residency in the US, so we gain bright citizens to boot.

When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050526)

Seriously, when?

We're always hearing the employers claim that there's less H1-B Visas than jobs they want filled... how about letting supply and demand of the American workforce take over giving pay raises to nearly all of us IT workers.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050546)

It's cheaper to buy some legislation and hire marginally skilled H1-B workers who will work very hard for a rather low salary.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050850)

It's cheaper to buy some legislation and hire marginally skilled H1-B workers who will work very hard for a rather low salary.
Isn't that the problem that too many US workers are the disgruntled slashdot types, who spend all day here instead of working hard to compete.

Capitalism means competition everywhere, including for YOUR job.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050610)

Software is one of the easiest things to outsource. If companies can't hire enough foreign programmers to work in the US, they'll just pay them to stay in their home country and do the same work.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050636)

Yup. Microsoft is expanding very quickly in canada, china, and india right now. I would say the biggest cause for that right is the H-1B cap.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050670)

how about letting supply and demand of the American workforce take over giving pay raises to nearly all of us IT workers.

If you are against importing foreign labor, logically, shouldn't you also be against importing foreign software?
Buying finished software from foreign countries is just another form of outsourcing. It is actually much worse than outsourcing. After all, if importing labor is bad for the local engineers, importing software would be bad for more people than just the engineers - testers, marketing people, etc.

Imagine if all US companies were required to buy software designed, coded, tested and marketing in the USA; salaries would rise, people would pay more taxes and everyone would be richer......wouldn't they?

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (0, Flamebait)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050712)

So you want to artificially restrict the supply of labor by FORCING employers to hire American workers so YOU can have more money. Granted, the argument that there are "not enough" H1B visa for the jobs is bullshit, but there should be infinite H1B visa. By supporting restriction on labor you are using the armed power of the government against innocent people to get a higher paycheck. As a side-effect, the prices rise because of the artificial restriction on labor and capital flees. In my book you're a criminal.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (2, Informative)

hxdmp (448441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050914)

Arthur B. - you're way over the top. There is *plenty* of H1-B abuse. 65% of the H1-B visas go to Wipro, HCL, Infosys, etc.. that is the Indian outsourcing companies. These are for jobs that cannot be shipped overseas and have to be done on U.S. soil. So rather than hire Americans and pay a pervailing wage - they bring over cheap and barely capable Indians. Thats how they can bid so low that their service is so much cheaper to a company using them than hiring their own I.T. people would be.

We need real H1-B reforms to stop the blatant abuse. And we should not just be opening the floodgates to purpitrate the abuse.

Now, I'm with you for truly talented and capable engineers. These are the ones that work for Microsoft, Google, and all the other big companies needing programmers and EE's.

AND if you get a Masters Degree or Ph.D. from a U.S. accredited university - you should get an automatic Green Card (after background check).

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050866)

...how about letting supply and demand of the American workforce take over giving pay raises to nearly all of us IT workers.
Good idea. Lets let supply and demand take over and restrict the flow of labor. This way, we can make it really easy for companies. You can either pay ridiculously high wages to the small US work pool, or you can simply move your easily outsourced operations over to India! Great idea. Not only does the job leave, but the guy who was going to make money, spend it in the US, and pay taxes is now elsewhere. Awesome idea!

It is far better to keep wages at a sane level by letting the supply of workers rise, than it is for companies to simply be unable to compete without outsourcing. Better to have the workers here, regardless of where they are from, than to have them be somewhere else.

Re:When has there ever been an H1-B Visa surplus? (3, Informative)

hkrsld (829295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050888)

Actually until a few years ago we did have a surplus of H1-B visas. That's because the Clinton administration temporarily tripled the annual quota, and that resulting number turned out to be higher than needed. When the law expired the quota reset back to its original value, which is less than what we need.

The situation is pretty ridiculous right now. Every year there is only one week during the whole year (first week of April) during which employers can file H1-B applications. Then a lottery decides which ones get awarded, currently roughly with 3:1 odds, getting worse each year. The "losers" will have to wait for a full year to try again. The winners can be hired in October the same year, i.e. 6 months after the application was filed. The situation is made worse by the fact that the majority of visas are awarded to a handful of consulting companies in India who are gaming the system with "pseudo-consulting" businesses. These long delays are exactly why OPT is so important: it allows companies to higher graduates without having to wait for a full year until April and October come around.

I cannot speak for all industries, but only for the one I work in, as an engineering manager with hiring responsibility (for highly qualified post-graduate software engineers): in my field that talk about how H1-B visas are allegedly used to force lower wages is just plain nonsense. Visa status has nothing to do with wages. Actually my employer prefers US citizens, then green card holders, then employees with existing temporary work visas/permits (in that order), because it simplifies the hiring process. Keep in mind that foreigners who have spent several years in US colleges and universities are not exactly stupid. They know what the prevailing wages in their industry are, and demand the same payment as US citizens -- and they get it. Don't think that those graduates are in any way dependent on US companies for getting a job. They can get high-paying jobs just as well in Canada, Europe or anywhere else. In this industry employers' biggest concern in high-tech is how to get talent and retain employees, not how much they have to pay for it. Many large companies in the SF bay area have exactly that problem, and I would be surprised if things are different in Redmont.

If you don't like this then suggest a different solution: US citizens staying in school to get graduate degrees ? Very rare... Companies training employees for a few months before they start their job ? Takes too long, high-tech is too quick-moving for that... Companies outsourcing to engineering teams in India and China ? Yep, already happening, and not even primarily to decrease cost but just to quickly expand engineering capacity with qualified people.

Great move (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050528)

I'm actually surprised to see this happen. I honestly thought things would remain pretty static until we saw a new government take over. This is really great news for the US tech industry. Hopefully a sign of more change to come.

If anyone can dig up the link. Bill Gates's full testimony that's referenced was a very interesting view. It's surprising what a wide variety of viewpoints the different members of the committee present.

Re:Great move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050802)

This is the same Homeland Security that leaves the borders open so why be surprised?

High tech human trafficing. (1)

agent (7471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050572)

realdoll = nerd sex slave?
http://www.realdoll.com/ [realdoll.com]

I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (2, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050576)

I still can't find a job. I'm willing to work for like 50k which is like chump change for what I can do. Oh well, some people are forced to start their own business because no one will hire them. Life could be a lot worse for me so I'm not complaining. It is just strange to put in so much work across all the years of school and not being able to land a job.

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (0, Offtopic)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050746)

Hey "CrazyJim1"

This might be a little personal and all, but have you considered that your nick just might be getting in the way? If you're a coder and your presumptive employers started rooting around the Internet and found you hanging out here with that handle, maybe they would think twice?

Just saying ...

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050846)

Look at the webpage linked in CrazyJim1's signature. Would you hire that guy?

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050750)

I don't suppose I can ask this question without making it sound like I'm being an ass about it, but what is it you do that's so valuable? What objective measure do you have that you are so valuable? I'm really curious, honest--I'm not trying to pull your chain or anything.

Once upon a time, when $50k/yr was far more than I'd ever made before, companies were glad to hire me to write software. I think that's because they were charging the government ~$75/hr for my time, and other private companies paid ~$125/hr, and they only had to pass about $15-25/hr down to me. Once I got wind of how much my time was worth to the end customer, and wanted to get paid accordingly, I wasn't as interesting to employers.

It seems to me that if you want to take home any significant fraction of what your skill is actually worth, you have to be running your own business (and taking all the risk, of course). There's just too many people out there that don't know how much the end customer is paying for their work, and they're glad to be an employee at pay rates that are going to make you roll your eyes.

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050762)

If you're implying that you're a computer science major with good grades and a lot of passion, without any obvious disability, you're completely unable to find a job? And presumably you worked your ass off trying to find internships while going to school? You went to all the career fairs in your 4th year and applied to a variety of different companies?

Seriously... as a developer at microsoft who also does college recruiting, I really think that if you stay positive and are willing to move, you'll find that you're a highly desired resource. There are piles and piles of entry-level jobs available in the US that pay a lot more than 50k. Don't sell yourself short. You should be asking 75k+. People look down on those who don't respect themselves.

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (1)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050890)

If by "from Carnegie Mellon" you are implying that you're still in the pittsburgh area, try looking a little bit south, in WV. I have seen multiple postings in the Morgantown and Fairmont area for entry level positions. When I used to drive from Morgantown to Pittsburgh (right near Carnegie Mellon) I could do it in just over an hour (non peak times). Something to think about.

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050900)

I'm sorry your GPA sucks. Why do you deserve a job more than a foreigner who also went to Carnegie Mellon but got better grades?

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (2, Insightful)

$criptah (467422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050960)

Hey dude,

I don't know what wrong with you. I am not a doctor, but if you have good grades and you're from a good school, you should have no issues finding a job. Please notice how I say "any job."

I went to a public school and my grades were not fantastic. I got a job. My friends who went to public schools and earned decent grades got jobs too. My friends who went to good schools and got excellent grades found decent places of employment as well. And all of this was right after 9/11 and the economic downturn that caused many job losses.

You say that you're an excellent coder and I do not want to doubt those skills. However, you have to remember that today's economy is not really looking for people who are good at banging out C code. Have you ever thought of repositioning yourself as somebody who can solve problems? What about being just an IT guy with an open mind? Have you ever thought of looking for non-coding jobs in the fields of consulting, system engineering or network administration? I have many friends in those areas of IT and let me tell you, they started at more than 50K a year.

Don't give up though.

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (1)

hxdmp (448441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050962)

You either have no real skills, or you're unwilling to move to where the jobs are.

[Relocate to the Silicon Valley, but hey thats what these H1-Bs do, so why can't you?]

Re:I'm a highly skilled coder from Carnegie Mellon (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050998)

Obviously 50k/year not "chump change" as you can find someone who values you at 50k.

E-verify requirement (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050582)

I heard only 1% of the companies in the US are even in the E-verify program, so this seems like a fluff announcement. But that's what I've heard, if anyone has an actual list or numbers that could be interesting to see.

When Bill Gates says 'pee', they say 'what color?' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050640)

It's about time somebody else acknowledged that Bill Gates is effectively emperor of the USA and has been for years.

And for the rest of you going, "But this benefits other people!" Right, now tell me with a straight face that Torvalds, Stallman, Perens, or any of the rest of us could have gotten the government to snap to attention in the same way. The rest of us can't get pot and gay marriage legalized; we can't even get the guy we elected to be president.

Face, it's the United States of Microsoft. Face it.

Re:When Bill Gates says 'pee', they say 'what colo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050730)

Pot is so widespread that it doesn't need to be legal. Gay marriage is opposed by a huge block of American voters (trust me, I would love to change their minds).

I think we have much worse things to worry about than Bill Gates and his fail software company.

Good for social security, too (2, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050672)

The reason that Social Security is forecast to go belly-up is because of the huge difference between the number of expected retirees (due to the baby boom) and the number of people expected to be earning a good wage in their younger years. The only fix for this that won't cost each individual taxpayer a crapload of money is to have more taxpayers.

This is enough of a problem that immigration policy should, first and foremost, be about balancing out the population curve so that the burden per taxpayer involved in fixing Social Security is manageable (hopefully permanently, by injecting enough money so that today's taxpayers are paying for their own retirement, not that of their grandparents). The best way to do this is to expand visas for highly-skilled laborers who will earn a good wage, such as H-1B. Furthermore, it's in our best interest to convince these workers to remain in the country permanently and become citizens, rather than taking their expertise back to their countries of origin.

\o/ (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050696)

That's great news ! Any ease on visa rules is great news. It's a shame the government prevents people from freely working in the US through the DHS.

The new and improved MS-USA (-1, Flamebait)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050702)

Bill Gates now controls our federal government. Welcome to the United States of Microsoft aka MS-USA. Now George W. Bush and Congress answer only to Bill Gates the new Emperor of the United States.

Why don't I hear M$ investing in U.S. Education? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050732)

If M$ finds it difficult to fill positions, why don't I hear about it investing in U.S. education?

Lesser Evil (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050758)

Seriously, what would you rather have: A highly (they're getting degrees here) skilled worker contributing to the American economy by working here or that same worker going back to their country of origin and using their skills not only to make a foreign company richer but that same foreign nation as well. It's just easier to compete and reap the rewards if skilled people are kept here.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050786)

for a bunch of little fags who cry about any amount of security at the nations borders you bitches certainly do an about face when it's your chance to bash gates.

get over it already, it's fucking old.

It's not indenture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050830)

if they are foreigners.

Thank you Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050844)

For posting this. Honestly, you should be publishing more info about the H1-B scams, and the corresponding illegal immigration (L1-B abuses, and the H1-B holders who don't go home).

It seems like you folks hold back on this stuff, while the U.S. labor market gets flooded with these scams, and drives down wages. That affects your core audience, and it's been glaring that you haven't been covering this more.

We never needed the program in the first place. (1, Insightful)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050870)

As some who has been in the computer industry over twenty years there was never need for the H1 visa program. The tech industry wanted to lower wages and H1 visas gave them people willing to work for less to gain entry into the country. Over the years every time you'd hear about the need for move H1 worker my friends and I could look around and see lots of Americans looking for work that were more than qualified for the jobs, just they want the current going wage. No different than the way the current administration wants open border just for cheap labor. The illegals are taking job American used to do, but corporate America wanted to increase profit margins. Perfect example of putting profits before people.

I remember back in the early 90's the software industry started mumbling they thought programming was a trade not a profession every since then wages have declined and jobs have moved overseas. The only winners are the executives paying themselves more and more.

HLS is a smart bunch! (1)

StevenABallmer (1224134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050880)

No HB1 students have murdered, maimed, decapitated, or blown themselves up yet, so let's give them more time! http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

As somebody who interviews people quite often... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23050886)

I must say that this is not such a bad thing at all. Most companies are past the "cheap Indian labor thing" by now. I have never hired a person just because that person was from India or China or Russia. What is the point of getting a cheap employee who is not good? This goes for blacks, whites, greens and browns. I have seen enough American citizens and visa holders who were not qualified to hold their jobs. Now those guys are looking at dice.com. And if the person is good, then welcome aboard!

If you think that U.S. is the best damn country, then you have not traveled enough. Average software engineers and other techies in places like India, Russia, Taiwan or South Africa are able to afford an honest living. I have recently visited my co-workers in South Asia and I found it amazing that guys who were two levels below me were able to buy houses and afford vacations while I am lucky to be able to rent in SF Bay Area. So here is the dilemma: We have these people come to our country and study. After the graduation they have a choice: Compete with Americans for good jobs or leave this country. While the first option sounds bad, it is not that gloomy at all. People who say here and get high paid positions end up spending their money locally and not in some country that most of Americans won't be able to put on the map. These newly employed foreigners buy food, travel, get mortgages and help our economy. If they are qualified to do the work, they why the hell not? The alternative for them is to go back to where they came from and start a company that will compete with U.S. companies. And spend money somewhere else. Given the fact that this country needs capable taxpayers, we need any help we can get.

My only problem is with people who come here and somehow end up getting revolving visas instead of getting a citizenship. These guys never want to become a part of this country. They never want to become Americans and show some appreciation for the country that helped them study. If they are here milking the system and sending 90% of what they earn back home while bragging about how crappy it is in the U.S., they should go back. The same goes for those units who believe that as immigrants they're entitled to some special treatment.

Whatever we do, we really have to focus on individual people and not on groups.

Let Everyone in! (2, Insightful)

rcallan (1256716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23050972)

Honestly, why not, what does the US have to lose? As long as they can verify that the applicants actually have skills that are in high demand, and that these companies are willing to commit to employing them for a long period of time (say 5 years), why not let them immigrate here? What does the US have to lose?

I'm an american "worker" and I think my job would probably be one of the first filled under such a policy. I think it would be much better to fire me and fill my job with someone who is willing to work for less (if that's really the optimal thing to do), so that I can learn some new skills and work in an area where my skills are valued more highly.

I would much rather know that my employer values my work that little that I can be replaced that "easily" (I mean no disrespect to the immigrants that would fill the job), than work for years ignorant of the fact that there's a 1000 people out there that could do my job just as well as I can, and the only reason I have the job is because I was born here.

I think there's no question that arbitrarily holding the system out of equilibrium is a bad thing (as much as I dislike agreeing with Mr. Gates), but the real question is why do all these intelligent people want to live and work here? I thought the rest of the world passionately hated the US?

Isn't this a contradiction that this many intelligent people want to immigrate here, while at the same time they hate our policy and government? By saying you want to live and work here aren't you admitting that living and working conditions (which one could argue are a result of our policy and government) are better in our country than they are in whatever country you came from? Again, I mean no disrespect and I'm certainly no fan of the current administration, I am just ignorant of the motivations for wanting to live and work in the US.

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