A EE degree averaging 17 credit hours/semester is slacking off? Who knew?
If you are looking for sympathy, you are not going to find it from me. I majored in computer science and mathematics, which meant I was doing things like taking operating systems and real analysis at the same time. I averaged 18 credit hours per semester (usually 1 or 2 of those lab) and graduated magna cum laude. All the while I had a wife and two small children at home with half an hour commute to campus.
There is a big difference between the EE who graduates with a 2.5 and an EE who graduates with a 3.5. The rule isn't necessarily hard and fast; if you're coming from Cal Tech, CMU or MIT I'll take your 3.0 far more seriously than the average university. But short of that, yeah the EE averaging 17 credit hours and doing just well enough to pass is slacking off and I don't want to hire him. I want the EE who averaged 17 credit hours and super-performed, even if he comes from India.
At a price you are willing to pay. Start coughing up $500k/year and you'll find a lot of native talent magically appears -- and the finance people will hate you. H1bs are all about the benjamins.
Yeah, we had a situation eerily similar to that 10 years ago. During the dot-com boom we were paying people $5K-10K if they referred us a candidate we hired. We were paying recent grads into 6 figures right out of college, sometimes we'd poach them before they finished their degree. The universities were pumping them out as fast as they could, all CS classes were heavily impacted; students knew this was the fast track to high pay.
And you know what happened?
A whole lot of bad hires.
We cranked up the pay, universities cranked up the classes, but the number of well qualified candidates barely inched up. All you had was a whole lot of mediocre students flooding into the CS curriculum. Now instead of the top quartile being the "good" pool, only the top 10% were. The good engineers were still good engineers; they generally weren't there just for the money. The number of degree-holding lousy engineers was ridiculous.
You might want to re-think pay as a panacea for a shortage of engineering talent. If H1b's stopped and we told companies to raise pay to stimulate more native students into STEM programs, what would the result be? I think there are two likely ones: large companies move all their development overseas to countries with less protectionist labor policies; large companies poach all the top talent forcing small businesses and startups overseas to countries with less protectionist labor policies.
H1b's pay local, state and federal taxes. An expatriate pays only a smaller amount of federal taxes.