H1-B Visa program enlargement

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Submitted by barnaby33 on September 9, 2006 - 10:05am

Since there are alot of engineers on this board, I thought I would post a letter I wrote to my sentaors. Maybe it will get a few others to do so as well.

Dear Senator, I am writing to you to let you know that I am against the enlargement of the H1-B visa program. I have no problem with a program intended to bring the best and brightest, or even those a notch or two down here to improve America's hi-tech workforce. On the other hand the abuse has become so rampant, I work at Cardinal Health in San Diego, that its inlargement can only be seen as sheer folly. There are two reasons why this is so.

Global wage arbitrage decrees that if someone can do my job cheaper in another country, or here, they will. Indians/Chinese/etc will work here cheaper, because they can.

If you destroy the incentive to become an engineer, nobody will. I worked extremely hard to get a BS in computer science and it took me 6 years. After that I have spent the last 8 years trying to build a career. Now something totally exogenuous (a tidal wave of Indian programmers) threatens my entire career path. So what incentive will a future generation of American's have to work hard and train to be Engineers. There are lots of liberal studies majors, too few Comp Sci and Electrical Engineers. By enlarging the H1-b program without real protection all you are doing is ensuring that in the future there will be more real estate agents and less engineers.

Josh

Submitted by PerryChase on September 9, 2006 - 10:24am.

Sorry, Barnaby33, I think that protectionism is always a bad way to go. Foreign H1B engineers help us keep a high level of innovation in America and help ensure that discoveries belong to American companies.

If foreign engineers don't work in America they'll work somewhere else and we'll loose out on the fruit of their work. But if they work here, they'll grow our economy and improve our standard of living.

Submitted by speedingpullet on September 9, 2006 - 10:35am.

"There are lots of liberal studies majors, too few Comp Sci and Electrical Engineers. By enlarging the H1-b program without real protection all you are doing is ensuring that in the future there will be more real estate agents and less engineers."

More American real estate agents, certainly.

If the US wants to keep its place as one of the foremost technological innovators, then it needs scientists, and lots of them.

If you're not 'growing your own' so to speak, then they have to come from somewhere. Until the US college system starts churning out Science Majors in adequate numbers to replace the H1Bs, then you have the choice of either downsizing science-based R&D by only using US citizens, or you bite the bullet and hire foreign nationals to fill the gap.

Maybe, rather than blaming H1Bs for coming to work here, some hard work rehabbing the US education system is in order, to woo the good minds away from business/finance/law towards hard science....?

Its not just a US problem either - I worked as a Math teacher in London for many years, and the level of numeracy and science in both schools and junior colleges has been dropping for years.
And yet...there's all those keen, enthusiastic, well-educated Indians and Chinese who would give their right arms for a chance to see the world and make some decent money....

Not blaming anyone for it....but this argument reminds me of the one where neighbours get angry with a seller for reducing the asking price of their house, in order to sell it. "But you're lowering our comps! Now we won't be able to sell our places for a profit because you've selfishly lowered your price to a realistic level!"

Submitted by JES on September 9, 2006 - 11:15am.

I've worked in high technology consulting the past few years and I was shocked at the number of foreign workers at wireless and telecom companies here in San Diego. I'd put the number at over 50%. At a meeting two years ago at the local office of one of the worlds largest cell phone companies (a Finnish company) there were 35 attendees and all of them were from another country. Most were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Is it the case that there are no qualified Americans willing to take these jobs? Somehow I doubt that, although I don't have the statistics. If that is the case then we should start offering full rides to anyone in this country who agrees to get an engineering degree and work in the field for at least 5 years. We could pay for this by doing what the entire world thinks we are doing already in the Persian Gulf. We could capture all of the oil fields in the oil rich and less populated southern part of Iraq, and even consider annexing Kuwait and the oil rich parts of Saudi Arabia.

Could it also be the case that companies are bringing these guys in because they're cheaper?

Submitted by barnaby33 on September 9, 2006 - 11:18am.

Both points are well taken. My first statement is that I am not against the H1-B visa program. As origonally envisioned it was to allow 65k engineers scientists etc to come to the US. That is not an insignificant number, but here is the rub.

Engineers scientists etc are not cheap to educate and train. Hence your comment about re-habbing our educational system is just what I am all about. By allowing the importation of foreigners, in huge number, we are dis-incentivizing native born people to compete. Rather than allowing true internal market forces to force our education systems to reform, we are providing a short circuit way out. Why invest millions in creating schools that will turn out engineers and then wait a decade when you can have them now and cheap!

As to Perry's comment, thats cool I understand the theory behind why protectionism is bad. I just don't agree. There are high fixed costs that are very long term to persuing an science or engineering education. If all of a sudden there is some major tectonic shift in the marketplace, ie NAFTA GATT, then those fixed costs need to be addressed. As it is all enlarging the current program will do is depress wages and force me and others to compete in an unfair marketplace.

Everyone thinks free trade is a great idea until they realize that it has some very dark corners. Currently one of those dark corners is the export of high dollar high value jobs from the US to foreigners. Some of that is good. It helps spread development and bring new ideas to our nation.

In a way this really is just a highly specialized sub-section of the broader immigration debate.

Josh

Submitted by davelj on September 9, 2006 - 11:42am.

As a consumer and citizen I don't care who does the engineering... or the science... or anything else for that matter as long as it gets done. It's interesting that you assume that the marketplace is "unfair" simply because you have to compete with people who are just as skilled as you but are willing to work for less. I bet from their perspective it's "unfair" if they're not given the opportunity to compete with you. Is it their fault they weren't born in a country with as much opportunity as the U.S.? What's fair or unfair often depends on whose ox is being gored.

And why should we care whether native-born people can compete in engineering? The fact is, in this day and age, most engineering and scientific functions are commodities, so why not treat them as such? Because they weren't commodities 20 years ago? Things change.

Do you now feel solidarity with your brothers in the United Auto Workers Union whose jobs have been exported around the globe for years now? If you do, then Big Auto would be happy to keep those jobs here in the U.S. if you're willing to pay an additional $15,000 per car. But you're probably not willing to do that.

So the U.S. churns out fewer native-born engineers and scientists and instead we import them. I don't see the problem... unless you're a native-born engineer or scientist trying to compete with these hungry foreigners.

Submitted by bgates on September 9, 2006 - 12:01pm.

As a consumer you don't care, but it's a curious concept of citizenry that sees no difference between fellow citizens and foreigners.

Submitted by SebNY on September 9, 2006 - 12:15pm.

I had to add a few comments. I have an H-1B visa, so am very familiar with the topic.
1. First of all, you have to understand that the program was put in place to help US companies get qualified workers they could not find locally. It was not out of compassion that the US welcome foreign workers.
2. When a company hire a foreign worker under an H-1B visa, it has to compensate that employee at the prevailing wage for this job, so the foreign talent is NOT paid less than an equally qualified local employee.
3. The H-1B visa holding employees have a higher education than the average US population, they will contribute to the local economy, buy groceries, travel, buy real estate, ... I have personally been in the US for many years under different visas (work, studies, ...) and have contributed to the local US economy more than the average American.
4. People working here pay US taxes, contribute to the US social security, but may very well never benefit from it since most will move back to the country they come from. So, they are helping paying your retirement benefits

In conclusion, I really think you are choosing the wrong battle if you want to improve the local economy

Submitted by barnaby33 on September 9, 2006 - 12:32pm.

As a consumer and citizen I don't care who does the engineering... or the science... or anything else for that matter as long as it gets done.
I bet you wouldn't say that about defense, or healthcare. Both fields I have worked in recently. Your assumption is that these things are done equally well by any commoditized engineer.

It's interesting that you assume that the marketplace is "unfair" simply because you have to compete with people who are just as skilled as you but are willing to work for less. I assume its unfair because the costs of education/life/skills are higher here than in other places.

I bet from their perspective it's "unfair" if they're not given the opportunity to compete with you. Is it their fault they weren't born in a country with as much opportunity as the U.S.? What's fair or unfair often depends on whose ox is being gored.
On this I agree. Ultimately its my, "ox that is being gored." However we have a nation that has very real needs, one of which is to stay one step ahead of our competition. Its not my or even our national responsibility to look after other nations. One of the things that we need to do as a nation is protect to some extent those industries that are the fundamental engines of invention and new technologies. The only way you can do that is by having people who have a vested interest in the sustainability of a country leading that charge.

Its like food production. I am generally against subsidies for farming, with a caveat. America needs to make sure it can always grow enough food on its own so that it can survive when and if its trading partners decide to stop doing so. The only way we will keep our competitive technological advantage is by growing it at home.

If you offer a company a short term boost to profitability at the cost of a long term inability to find trained workers, guess what the company does? We have created a financial system the places no real value on long range decision making, and the sort of protectionism and I have no illusions about what I am pushing is meant to address that short circuit.

Whew that was long. If you made it through all the way congrats!

Josh

Submitted by speedingpullet on September 9, 2006 - 12:42pm.

Lets not forget the hurdles that the US puts up to hamper some sorts of technological innovation. Not old-school Engineering as such, but things like Biotechnology.

As much as the US has moral/religious/ethical problems with things like Stem Cell Research and cloning, the biotech revoloution is here. If scientists are prohibited from doing work in the US, other countries will rise and fill the gap. Other people will make the discoveries that change the world, while the US wrings it hands and complains about how unfair it is.

I find it ironic and sad that, using the only veto he's ever made, the President stopped in its tracks any meaningful US research into the fastest growing R&D base, for religious reasons...

Submitted by bubble_contagion on September 9, 2006 - 12:50pm.

The H1-B quota should be kept at a level to provide just enough engineers to maintain US companies competitive. As of right now, there is absolutely no need to increase the quota.

It is true that the H1-B and similar visa programs allow the best to come to the US. Unfortunately the quality of engineers and scientists that use most of them is not great when compared to what US universities produce. Picture them as "generic" engineers vs. brand name engineers (US graduates).

For most companies the cost of hiring a foreign engineer vs. a US engineer is about the same. Even if they are paid less, the visa and lawyers fees will even out the cost. The reason companies hire foreign engineers is primarily that there not enough US engineers. The US for years has been producing very few engineers. Engineering is hard and there are easier ways to earn money. If you remove the supply of foreign engineers the demand and thus wages will go up. This may motivate more people to study engineering but it will take several years. In the mean time companies may be required to go were the engineers are. A well managed H1-B visa program could avoid this.

Submitted by barnaby33 on September 9, 2006 - 12:55pm.

bubble_contagion, wow a subtely reasoned response, this is what I was hoping for more of. As I said, I am not totally against the H1-b Visa program. I don't want to cancel it. I just don't want it enlarged.

The current program is just not well managed, thats all. The cheating by employers is rampant. Foreigners do have to be paid prevailing wage, but there are all sorts of loopholes.

Josh

Submitted by davelj on September 9, 2006 - 1:23pm.

Josh, yes I would say that about defense and healthcare. Not so much that they are as commoditized as other areas - they're not - but I don't care about the origin of the people doing the work. In the case of defense, so long as they agree not to sell their research to other countries and plan to live here, I have no problem. The fact is that we have a disproportionate number of scientists from Eastern Europe already working in the defense field. Doesn't bother me a bit.

You "assume its unfair because the costs of education/life/skills are higher here than in other places." As an engineer I'm sure you see the flaw here. What's important is not the ABSOLUTE level of wages and/or cost of education/living in two places but rather the difference between them. For example, I'm sure that Indian engineers would have no problem with you coming to India to work for a wage that might leave you with a hundred dollars per month of savings after their much lower cost of living. In contrast, they're dying to come here because the wages here are extremely high even RELATIVE to our much higher cost of living.

SebNY, good point about the prevailing wage issue with H-1Bs. I had completely forgotten about that. Although I think this discussion goes beyond just H-1Bs and into the issue of outsourcing in general of which I am a proponent (and where generally lower foreign wages obviously prevail).

bgates, I'm assuming that most people who obtain H-1Bs probably would like to become citizens, with which I have no problem. When I distinguised between "consumer" and "citizen" I was just trying to distinguish between the benefits that I might derive as a consumer (which are economic) and the benefits I might derive from living amongst a more diverse population (which are social/cultural). I was just trying to make the point that having highly educated foreigners here isn't just an economic issue but a social/cultural one as well. You may disagree.

I like the U.S. and I enjoy living here. But I have no great emotional attachment to this country. I live here largely because my job demands it. Otherwise I could be just as happy living in a lot of other places. That's probably the root of my H-1B/outsourcing opinions, rightly or wrongly. At the end of the day I think people should be forced to compete, geographical boundaries be damned.

Submitted by davelj on September 9, 2006 - 1:34pm.

bubble_contagion, I'm confused. These seem to be contradictory statements:

"As of right now, there is absolutely no need to increase the quota."

"The reason companies hire foreign engineers is primarily that there not enough US engineers."

Do we have enough engineers or don't we? And if we don't, why not let the market sort out who the "generic engineers" and the "brand-name engineers" are, which amounts we need of both, and what their relative values are?

Submitted by murray on September 9, 2006 - 1:37pm.

"Everyone thinks free trade is a great idea until they realize that it has some very dark corners. Currently one of those dark corners is the export of high dollar high value jobs from the US to foreigners".

It’s been said there’s no such thing as a free lunch - someone’s gotta to pay for it. Ditto with *free* trade. The mantra of free trade sounds great, eliminating import tariffs and allowing free flow of goods and services across borders. The problem is that there are huge disparities between economies and countries and the differences are never mitigated to achieve fairness or a level playing field. Who gets screwed? – the US taxpayer on the back of Joe Wagearner of course.

For instance other countries subsidize health care, education, childcare, etc. Communist China fixes it’s currency at an artificially low rate, effectively subsidizing their exports. Lax environmental, legal, child labor, copyright and piracy laws prevail at many of our trading partners.

The biggest beneficiary of free trade is large corporations. They also have effectively reduced their US tax burden by utilizing “aggressive accounting techniques and having favorable laws passed” according to a recent Newsweek article; (using Treasury Dept data) in the 1940s corporations contributed ~ 60% of total tax receipts, 40% from individual income, now it’s ~20% from corporations and ~ 80% from individuals.

This “race to the bottom” is sad.

Submitted by studenteconomist on September 9, 2006 - 2:16pm.

There have been a lot of market discussions in this forum, from labor issues to free trade to US competitiveness. Each one I have fairly strong opinions on and think about them more than most I know. Here are my thoughts.

We should be lucky that well-trained foreigners want to move from their homelands to work in the US (most would prefer to stay near family and a culture they fit into if they could find the same jobs). And we should feel even more lucky that the multi-national companies still want to have their jobs located in the US. As the world gets more competitive, both the foreigners and the companies will have more options. I am certain that they will increasingly mean that both the foreigners will choose to stay in their home country and the multi-national companies will choose to locate new jobs to those other countries (mainly in Asia). Who wins if this happens? US citizens might get higher jobs, but with less workers and less jobs our economy will be much smaller, and so thus will our overall prosperity.

Most of the posts are from a personal or microeconomic point of view. That's natural but from the macroeconomic point of view, H1-B visas are a winner for the US. We get to have many of the best and the brightest from other parts of the world for no cost to US taxpayers!! They come all grown up, ready to work and contribute to the rest of our society, including the slackers who don't even exert themselves here. Many become permanent residents or citizens, but some move back home (thus forfitting their Social Security). More than 50% of my friends and co-workers are foreign-born, and I know the benefits well. As for those hurt in this area (US workers), you have to ask yourself, am I committed to free trade (and labor) even when I am the loser or do I favor free trade just when it helps me? A truly free market (without corruption) will cause everyone to adapt to the needs of the market. If that could ever be achieved, then we would all collectively be better off, worldwide.

One last comment. Think about jobs from the executive's point of view of a multi-national company. Exxon, Coca-cola, Motorola or any other number of billion dollar companies are not American. I repeat they are not American, nor are they working in the interests of the US. They are global, and care about maximizing their global business, which means increasing their profits everywhere on earth. This concept of meta-nationalism is so utterly foreign for most people, because for the last 200 years nationalism has been so dominant. These executives have a choice as to where to keep jobs, and if business is too expensive in the US, they will go someplace cheaper. One way of keeping them in the US is to have the best employees, regardless of if they are US born or not. H1-B visas help keep jobs in the US, even if it is not Americans who fill them (but they do pay taxes for the rest of us, and buy stuff here to so our country benefits about the same as native workers).

I would appreciate your comments.

Submitted by ybc on September 9, 2006 - 3:44pm.

studenteconomist, well said.

Just want to point out several things. First, currently the H1B visa is used up very quickly (in 9 to 10 months?), so there is a need to enlarge it. Currently you have some companies who couldn't fill their job opennings due to H1B visa restrictions. What would you like them to do? To open a branch in India or China and cap their employee base in the US? Sadly, many large tech companies have already done so. Second, many H1B visa applicants are foreign students who just graduated from an US univeristy, (many with post-graduate degrees). Lastly, from an employer point of view (and that's my own experience from a hiring perspective) it's much easier to hire a qualified US engineer if they can find one because of the extra work involved in H1B visas.

For the US to stay competitive, it either has to boost its k12 education system, or have to continue to have a very open policy to welcome well educated foreigners to come to this country. As many posters point out, educated foreigners are a net contributor to the US economy. But the more critical fix is the former -- K12 math and science education. It'll take a long time, and sadly, there doesn't seem to be any sign of it. (Bill Gates needs to try harder)

Submitted by SebNY on September 9, 2006 - 4:05pm.

Great post studenteconomist, that's a good summary of my position.

As ybc just mentioned, most H1-B holders have a US diploma, a lot of them Masters or Phds. I got my MBA from an Ivy League in NYC, and feel that I contribute plenty to the US economy.

I moved to the US when I was 25, all grown up(zero education cost to the US economy, I guess the French government should be pissed at me), with some prior international experience, ready and willing to work hard. I chose to stay in the US for the opportunities available to foreign nationals.

Like you said, I don't know of many countries where foreigners can climb the corporate ladder to be CEO of top companies (Cola-Cola, etc.). In order to do so, I personally believe it is more difficult than for a nationals, and you need to be that much better for the company to justify the cost and paperwork of sponsoring a visa.

Another point on the tax implication: if I lose my job, I have to leave the country, and cannot claim unemployment, although I am paying for it as par of my taxes. So, as a foreigner, you don't have the right to make any mistake, but it is a risk willingly taken to gain a great experience, get great exposure, and possibly get permanent residency.

Submitted by bubble_contagion on September 9, 2006 - 4:53pm.

I believe we do have enough engineers. There are not enough US engineers so we give 65,000 H1-B visas per year to foreigners plus 20,000 per year to international graduate students of U.S. universities. In the late 90s the quota was 140,000. With the current economy I see no reason to increase it to that level again. Keep in mind that the H1-B visa is not limited to engineers. The visa is for "specialty labor" and the minimum requirement is to have a college degree. Back in the late 90s with such a large quota and pre-9/11 it was fairly easy to get one if you had a job offer and a good lawyer.

From Homeland Security:

What is an H-1B?

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

What is a specialty occupation?

A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.

Submitted by anxvariety on September 9, 2006 - 6:25pm.

Foreign H1B engineers help us keep a high level of innovation in America and help ensure that discoveries belong to American companies.

Alot of companies aren't innovative because they don't need to be.. casinos are one example. They hire the h1s at low wages and will starve them on their wage.. theres is no reason for a casino to be ambitious about who it hires because in that industry the supply of customers is constant/ no innovation required. This gives those types of employers an easy street to manipulating employees - since h1's don't really have any bargaining chips..

More opinion..
Almost anything that appears to be a drain on culture or legal residents can almost always be traced to some 'savings' by the rich.. I believe the rich are draining american culture through encouraging lax immigration laws. People that have lived in American their whole life are sinking in percentages, and with that a sense of belonging somewhere is diminishing.. these illegal immigrants can always fly their flag or cheer for their home country when they feel left out, while US citizens are at a disadvantage because everything good we do benefits everyone yet anything bad that happens we are the only ones who accept responsibilty.

Submitted by Nancy_s soothsayer on September 9, 2006 - 6:28pm.

The H1-B visa is just another method to increase the number of slave-work in order for the CEO's to reap more rewards to justify their 100x salaries vs. peons'. Bottom line is downward pressure on salaries and greater profits for CEO's. The rich get richer and the poor, poorer. The short-sighted say, "Prices for goods get cheaper." Yeah, in the short term. But in the long term, even cheap prices become unafordable to the toiling masses with slave-wage salaries. Just go to the third-world countries. The rich are super-rich, and the poor are slaves. Why don't we hire children again, scrap child labor laws, to reduce prices further?

My best friend is a H1-B visa nurse from a thirld world country. As soon as she got her green card, she petitioned her parents to come to the US. Then her parents petitioned her 5 siblings. The parents and siblings are not professionals. The parents and a few sibs are now on the dole. America is so great!

Submitted by ybc on September 9, 2006 - 7:03pm.

"My best friend is a H1-B visa nurse from a thirld world country. As soon as she got her green card, she petitioned her parents to come to the US. Then her parents petitioned her 5 siblings. The parents and siblings are not professionals. The parents and a few sibs are now on the dole. America is so great!"

That's interesting, do you know how long it takes? Because for a greencard holder to sponsor parents, it takes at least 5 to 7 years, if not longer. And if her other siblings are adults, it also took a very long time (if not impossible). I know someone who has a greencard and his wife can't stay in the US because the normal process takes 5 to 7 years! Right now they are separated across the Pacific. They're trying visa lottery every year hoping to get lucky. Another friend made the mistake of giving birth in China (she was a permanent residient already at the time) and didn't bring her daughter along the very first time she returned to the US. So her daughter couldn't get a visa to come to the US and was brought up by grandma until she was 5. This friend had to wait to get citizenship first because as a greencard holder your priority is so low that wait time is incredibly long. Immigration lost her paperwork, so she had to write to the senator in her states to petition for help. Luckily, a staff member was sympathetic and finally her daughter was able to come -- it took 5 years!

It is actually very very difficult to get into this country using normal, legal channels.

Submitted by PerryChase on September 9, 2006 - 7:21pm.

I believe that only 20% of Americans own passports. American should travel more. If they traveled more (going to beach in Mexico does not count) they'd realize that we aren't that great (relatively) and that others are catching up to us quickly.

One of the advantages America still has is that we can attract the best and the brightest. If we don't welcome them then they'll be staying home finding ways to compete with us. Would you rather smart foreigners worked for us or compete against us?

Submitted by rankandfile on September 9, 2006 - 7:46pm.

Don't be misled. The enlargement of the program is all about money, plain and simple. The large corporations lobbying politicians for expansion of the provision stand to sustain or increase their profits by adding foreign-born engineers. It is well-known that these corporations can get away with paying foreign engineers much less. It's all about the scratch, fellas.

The ironic thing is that the products that these large corporations produce are protected in the marketplace by tariffs. The government adds a tax to foreign products coming into the country to provide incentive to purchase the homegrown product. Why doesn't the government assess a tariff or tax on foreign labor? Wouldn't that be the right thing to do? Either that or get rid of tariffs altogether.

Submitted by SebNY on September 9, 2006 - 8:50pm.

anxvariety, you are mixing legal and illegal immigration!! Thes are two very different classes of people. I have an H1-B, am agains the "amnesty" proposal for illegal immigrants: why should someone who has been here illegally for 5 years or more have more rights than me who has been here for 8.5 years legally, paying taxes?

I am repeating myself because it seems that a few people on the forum don't get it: H1-B visa holders are NOT paid less than a similarly qualified US citizen. Maybe you are comparing to illegal immigrants.

The debate is very easily biased by switching from legal to illegal immigration. I approve legal immigration, which does not place downward pressure to local US wages, since it follows strict criteria. I am against the rampant illegal immigration which is the one that places downward pressure to low income US citizens

In a remark about sponsoring the parents and siblings, I confirm what ybc said, you CANNOT easily sponsor your parents and siblings once you have the Green Card. You need to have the Green Card for 5 years before you can apply for citizenship, and only then can you sponsor your parents. If you want to sponsor your siblings, it will take another few years. So, your point about your "friend" nurse who sponsored her entire family is very exagerated, and your timeline is off. If it was that easy, I would know.

Submitted by PerryChase on September 9, 2006 - 10:39pm.

sebNY, tu es francais? Ma mère est française et j'ai grandi et étudié à Paris. Les Américains travaillent dur mais ils ne réflechissent pas beaucoup. Malheureusement, la situation en la France, avec les gens comme Le Pen, n'est pas vraiment meilleure. Quand les temps sont incertains, il est toujours plus facile de blâmer les personnes qui n'ont aucune voix.

Submitted by SebNY on September 9, 2006 - 11:45pm.

perrychase, je suis Francais effectivement, ai vecu aux US depuis plus de 8 ans, d'abord pour une boite francaise en Floride, puis ai demenage a NY pour continuer mes etudes, ai travaille a NY pendant 3 ans, et viens de demenager a San Diego.
Is it a French blog or what? It's funny how everywhere I go I keep on meeting people who speak French, but I also keep on hearing about how Americans hate the French. Maybe I should start a new thread on that subject. It seems to me that France and the US love to hate each other...

Submitted by rankandfile on September 9, 2006 - 11:56pm.

Parler dans une langue différente que tout le monde n'est pas autrement toujours un signe d'une plus grande intelligence.

Speaking in a different language than everybody else is not always a sign of greater intelligence.

Submitted by anxvariety on September 10, 2006 - 12:13am.

One of the advantages America still has is that we can attract the best and the brightest.

Is that the category you put the illegal immigrants in? Most of these H1 jobs aren't for the brilliant.. lots of these are for jobs like QA and network technicians - which are about as entry level as it gets...

Submitted by anxvariety on September 10, 2006 - 12:22am.

I am repeating myself because it seems that a few people on the forum don't get it: H1-B visa holders are NOT paid less than a similarly qualified US citizen.

I don't see how you can say that as if it's fact.. companies have to pay for sponsorship right? Why would they pay for sponsorship AND pay the same wage? The casino I worked for put a clause in the employment agreement that should the employee not stay with the company for a year the employee would be liable for the h1 fees/sponsorship whatever it is.

I'm speaking from actual experiences.. I've worked with H1s before and am friends with them.. the 2 I knew both felt like couldn't get raises.. one was afraid to even ask because he felt that he needed to show loyalty and the other guy knew how hard it was to get a raise from a casino and didn't feel he could safely play hardball. When I asked for a raise I didn't get it.. so I left and they ended up hiring another H1.

I believe the issue is that both h1s and citizens gets paid less... and both are less likely to get raises or good raises because they are competing against eachother as worthy replacements for the same jobs.

Submitted by SebNY on September 10, 2006 - 12:58am.

I also know a fair number of H1-B visa holders, including myself, and I honestly do not think they are paid less than the prevailing wage.

From the example you are mentioning, I am not sure a casino staff member should qualify as a specially skilled worker, but I don't know anything about that industry, and of course don't know what were the jobs of your coworkers.

The rules to get an H1-B are quite specific, but from your example, it seems that some employers still find ways to "bend the rules". This is too bad because:
1- it puts downward pressure on prevailing local wages
2- it prevents potential application for people who would really be needed in certain job categories, but will not be able to get in because the cap will already be reached.

I understand your point about employees feeling they cannot ask for a big raise for fear of losing their job, but I would think (or at least hope) that the anti-discrimination policies would prevent some of the potential abuses.
As much as we would like to have a fool proof system, there are always people who will find ways to abuse the system.

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