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Senate Pushes H1-B Visa Bill 203

Attack Pirate writes: "The Washington Post is reporting that Republicans in the Senate are pushing major expansion of guest worker programmer bill. The Democrats are trying to 'poison pill' the bill by giving limited rights to Hispanics who have been in the country for decades. It says Clinton might veto the bill, but he said that in 1998 but let it pass just before a fundraising trip to Silicon Valley."
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Senate Pushes H1-B Visa Bill

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  • I meant that I am an immigrant from my white
    background. Native Americans have been here
    for thousands of years, much longer than any
    Anyhow I fail to understand your rant since
    my bitching was not about immigration in general
    but about this particular immigration bill which
    is nothing but a ploy from the big companies to
    control the labor market. There is no problem
    in finding good technical people but problems
    in getting good cheap technical people.
    I wouldn't mind even seeing more technical
    immigrants coming if they would go thru the
    same path as everyone else and their stay not
    limited in time. If they wish to stay here they
    should be entitled to. If an employer decides that
    he doesn't want the employee or if the employee
    realizes that he is getting the shaft he
    should be entitled to seek other employement
    without have to go thru the whole immigration
    process. That way no company could control the
    life of a technical immigrant, this would
    help us keep the gains that we've made over
    the years in the job market.
  • "What are people's thoughts? What are the benefits of this bill? Do high-tech suits just want this bill to pass because they are unwilling to hire americans at a competetive rate? Or is there a real shortage of people to hire in the country?"

    Having worked with H1B visa holders in a previous job, I think the answer to your questions are that both are true. In this job, these workers were consultants and made a good rate (certainly the going rate for the area). Was the company saving money by hiring these H1B consultants? No, but they needed workers and they fit the bill.

    On the other hand, I have read about companies who exploit these workers by not paying them market rates, making them work hard hours with no compensation, and so on. This tactic works as the H1B workers cannot easily change jobs, and therefore are stuck with the bad managers.

    My opinion is that there is a little of both going on. There is a shortage of certain skilled positions, and if a foreign worker has those skills they will be snapped up. There is also the very human tendency to take advantage of workers who have far less power to do anything about it. No doubt both situations are in the marketplace, and the pressure for more H1B workers comes from both camps.

  • <cynic>
    It's an election year. Who wants to let the other party claim credit for *anything* in an election year?

    Of course, they're every two years o'er here for those House folks and a third of the Senate every time as well. So in an off-year, they can busy themselves raising money for the next election year...
  • Hell, for that matter I've had co-workers, one with a Masters Degree in CompSci, that couldn't communicate well enough with her co-workers to really do their jobs properly.

    The company I'm with isn't really interested in hiring migrants anymore (as developers) because their experiences in the past hit on people with very poor english skills.

    People are just people.... some are good, some are bad - you have to take them all individually.

  • moderation is fucked. just posting to undo it. i couldn't mod you up, but i could mod you down. weird.

    you must amputate to email me

  • However, the companies forget that there are capable people in their own organization who could achieve the same results with added training and a little faith from their employer. They offer the excuse that those (typically older) workers are "untrainable in new technology", or they say "why should we pay these well-paid workers the same high salary when they don't have any experience in the new technology".
    You're spot-on, and don't forget:
    1. Why don't we have a decent crop of American candidates for these jobs? Could it be that American corporations are expecting someone else to support the schools and perform the on-the-job training?
    2. What happens when the H-1B entrants hit age 40 or so and their skills aren't quite up to date? Do they get dumped as unemployable and a new crop of worker bees imported?
    3. Will this be an excuse for tech firms to cut wages and employment heavily in the next downturn (like the last one), which will cause the smart people to make career choices outside the tech sphere and exacerbating (hell, creating) the problem that Silicon Valley allegedly needs solved?
    4. Will this be an excuse to tolerate crappy schools, illiterate teachers and "zero questioning of authority" administrations in the USA, because "we can always hire talent from (Mumbai, Beijing, St. Petersburg)?
    Just a few questions that ought to be answered before expanding, or even extending, the H1 visa program. As far as I'm concerned the whole thing should be cancelled immediately, no new ones, no renewals, start learning to train local talent or give up and die because the alternative is to have a nation of worker-rejects and that's what a nation of rejects is going to do.
    Build a man a fire, and he's warm for a day.
  • Riders are a way to get unpopular issues, or controversial issues, passed without raising a huge ruckus. They can also be useful for putting the other party in a bad spot. Look at this case, if this rider gets accepted, the Democratic party gets a pro-immigration victory, which might help them win over more of the increasingly importent Latino vote. On the other hand, if the rider fails they can say "Look the Republican party is really anti-Latino." It's good politics for the Democrats.

    This type of rider is actually less sinister than riders that both parties want passed, but which the public or interested parties might find sinister or disgusting. Ane example was the "Work for Hire" rider (to some satellite bill) which for a time took away the rights of American musicians to their own music.

    If they were actually serious about debating the merits of each issue they wouldn't go around attaching their pet projects to ride the coattails of truely important issues.
    Mainstream American politicians aren't interested in debating the merits of their issues, and would rather just get their way all the time without a debate. Americans put up with it, for reasons I don't understand.

  • Believe me, the last thing that you want is an efficient Congress. It would be the death of us all if every "good idea" on Capitol Hill was made into law.
  • Wrong on all, obviously you do not work in high tech or with H1B's. The H1B's from India I work with have been in the US for many years, have hold different titles, worked for different companies, and they own stock. They like Datek, too. Their salary before taxes is around $80,000 a year. It's not so bad to be an H1B.
  • Now take this for what it's worth but here is my analysis of the problem at hand.

    When I last looked at physics as a career path (I did indeed consider it) the main problem was that although it did pay well the DoD basically had cut down on much of it's funding and thus had to release a bunch of people who had jobs. Take into account the industries that were tied to defense and you get a whole lot. (this was in about 97-98 or so).

    Well so suppose you get a bunch of physics experts (Russia immediately springs to mind thanks to their really, really great ecconomy) comming aboad. Well if they are indeed smarter than you what is to say that they suddently have your job.

    Ok what then? Well thanks to the small market you are whistling Dixie there.

    That is ultimately the point. There are in fact a finite quantity of jobs and until all of our jobless/homeless/poor are filled I think that it's ethically unfair to hire a bunch of much smarter people to work in our jobs.
  • Buzzword Bingo isn't the REAL reason, it's the cover-up reason, for what seems like age-discrimination, when it's really lifestyle-discrimination.

    Damn these 30+-ers for getting married and having kids and refusing to put in 100+ hr weeks!

    Soylent Green is people!
  • "There's also a shortage of common sense on software companies' HR departments. They don't seem to have a clue as to hiring "

    What has the HR department got to do with it? They shouldn't get a say (other than perhaps on whether the company can afford the demands.) At my last job, it was us, the software engineers that made the choices. We were so desparate that we would talk to anybody who sent us their resume. However, most people failed the technical interview.
  • They're not doing what it takes?

    What do you mean by that? Spending a week of evenings reading "how to program C# in 30 days" instead of sitting down to a family dinner, walking the dog, screwing his wife, reading Dr. Seuss to the kids, going rollerblading, building a patio deck, working on that '69 Camaro, peering into the night-sky with a telescope trying to locate the next planet-killer. . .

    People need balanced lives to remain human. Otherwise, they become mindless corporate slaves.

    Soylent Green is people!
  • You are aware that he has been found innocent of all charges, aren't you?
    I've followed this case with keen interest. All charges have been dropped, but one. Dropped charges are not quite the same as innocent, Mr. Johnnie-Cochran-Wannabe. Mr. Lee, at the very least has been very reckless.

    No, thought not.
    You thought - NOT

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • You are *always* going to have someone better than you or at least *as good* as you. There is no best in a world of 6,000,000,000+ people.
  • Company tries to find programmer to work for a specified wage (no one in the US will work for that low of a wage, lots of hours, crappy benefits, etc)

    Yes, this applies to US and non-US workers.

    Company advertizes job in some national publications (the more obscure and unread the better) and requires so many qualifications that an average programmer would not even bother for what salary is being offered.

    Great, except you neglected to mention (or didn't realise) that the INS reviews the adverising the company does against the typical requirements for that position in your company and makes a determination of whether the advertisement is reasonable or not. Your resume is included with the application, along with previous employment history, university transcripts etc. It's possible, however illegal, to fake this stuff to meet some sort of exhorbitant requirements, but it's taking a big risk from the company's point of view, since they're also breaking the law by doing this.

    While I am not on an H-1B, I am a visa worker, and I am without a doubt being paid higher than most of my US co-workers in the same position. I suppose I'm an exception though? So are the other H-1B workers in my department who are being paid within a few percent of their US counterparts.

    Miraculously no one else applies for the job and the non-US person is hired (oh, those qualifications listed in the Ad are re-evaluated and 80% of them are dropped)

    Hmmmm... all legal/

    Bzzzt! Wrong. Fortunately, this is not legal.

    I'm not saying that there aren't any companies out there violating immigration laws on this and paying ridiculously low salaries. Like anywhere there are going to be a few who break the rules. Claiming that the norm is for companies to use H-1B workers as slaves is simply untrue.

    If companies just want cheap labour, why would they bother bringing employees over on H-1Bs, it costs tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees per worker. If companies really wanted dirt cheap labour, they'd hire employees to work remotely from India and Rumania. Either way, if (as you seem to imply) there is no IT worker shortage, an American will be out of a job, however, from a corporate point of view, keeping the worker in India is cheaper.

    This does happen in many cases - when companies want cheap labour. However, H-1Bs are not hired because they're cheaper (they're more expensive) they're hired because there aren't enough Americans to fill the jobs.

    We're living in a global economy, get used to it. The only reason to be afraid of competition is if you suck at what you do.
  • M'kay. Which one of you lugnuts is running for office? Hemos? Katz?

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:55AM (#750589) Homepage Journal
    We have plenty of labor in the United States and we don't really need anymore

    Go have a look at the unemployment statistics. Unemployment is so horribly low at the moment there isn't any labor. Christ, my HR department is having trouble filling two positions described in my request as "Button pusher. Alternatly push two buttons. Make coffee, warm his/her chair. Full-time. No technical skill, literacy or personal hygeine required. No knowledge of Word, Office, Lotus, Panagon or any other software req'd. I'd ask for a shaved chimp, but I don't think the chimp will make me coffee.", and they're offering $12.70/hour!!
  • The really bad thing is not that we're bringing over all these guys from overseas, but that we're sending them back after giving them up to six years of paid training in how we do business.

    Right now these workers are slave labor for the US firms who pay to bring them over here. But in the future they may very well become these firm's main competition.

    I can't think of any reason why we should subsidize the creation of industry in foreign countries that my one day threaten the hegemony that the United States currently enjoys. It is this kind of short sightedness on the part of business and government that can cost this nation its empire.

    I have no problem with bringing intelligent skilled workers into this country from other places. But once we have them here we should encourage them to stay. Here anything they produce benefits our economy and makes us an even greater world power than we already are. Not to mention improving the quality of our gene pool, which in the long run is even more important.

    Lee Reynolds
  • by deep_magic ( 137913 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:56AM (#750591)
    By and large the "IT Worker Shortage" is a scam. Mostly what the large companies want is legal "slaves", and essentially that is what an HB1 visa allows.

    Some of the limitations of a H1B Visa worker are:

    Can only hold a specific job title

    Can not be an owner of company stock

    Only valid to work for 1 company

    Only good for specified time (4 years?)

    Essentially, the situation that this creates is an employee that can not advance, can not change jobs, and constantly has the threat of deportation looming over them.

    Working conditions will never improve for domestic IT workers as long as companies can bring in overseas talent and expect them to work 24 X 7 for peanuts.... I fully support legal immigration and welcome all new comers to our country, however, this is just a way for companies to get IT workers, but not have to treat them like US citizens....

  • A girl who once glanced in the window of a Gateway store is elligible for tech support

    That'd be a step up; currently they take Will Work For Food people off the street, give them a cheese burger and a couple of hours of training and put 'em on the phones.

  • I think it foolish to think that anyone who actually wants to have a fair chance wants to create an even harder set of circumstances for anyone to deal with.

    With more and more people in the pool your efforts become less and less important.

    If someone wants a job they look for one in their own country. Also I doubt that some place oh like China would exactly allow me to immigrate to their country.

    And there is the possibility that you may not even *get* a paycheck let alone a devalued one.

    A job in the US without being a citizen is not a right at all.
  • by boing boing ( 182014 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:56AM (#750594) Journal
    This is so typical of the politicians in the US today. Bargaining games to determine the future of the workforce in this country. The republican congress will not dare put the Government into a freeze, so Clinton will get to pass whatever he wants that is attached to the budget.

    This is almost as silly as releasing the freaking oil reserve. That was clearly an attempt to bribe the American public to vote democratic. Look at the situation for what it is:

    1) The oil reserves are filled by tax monies
    2) The release of the oil reserves drops oil prices for the US public

    In other words, this was a direct subsidy to those people who the most oil in this country. This provides a definite disincentive to conserving fossil fuels and protecting the environment (a key Democratic position).

    I am hoping that some day soon, we get some of these power hungry bastards out of office. And put someone who doesn't think it is a great idea for everyone's money to pass through a bloated bureacracy before being redistributed by that bureacracy to the best lobbyists.

    Although I don't think Harry Browne is presedential material, the Libertarian party will likely get my vote this year.

    Yes, I know there is off-topic rambling in here, maybe it contains a bit of truth.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it were true that technical work could be accomplished just as easily from anywhere in the world, or even anywhere in the US, then you'd expect San Francisco and Silicon Valley's housing prices to be about the same. Instead, it's the hottest real estate market in the country. Clearly, there is some value to being there if you want to work in high tech. If it were the case that INS could process H1B applications in a timely way so that people could actually move from job to job when companies fold or lay them off, without having to move their families and leave behind their homes and friends to return to another country, and if it were the case that INS could actually process green card applications (H1B is a dual-status visa, it is the first step towards a green card) in a timely way, then perhaps there wouldn't be so many people waiting for many years to get their green cards and there wouldn't be such a push on the number of H1B applications. But INS is so underfunded that green cards now take many years to be approved. Noone is "whining now that their time is up". It's about attempting to gain some control over your life.
  • The Democrats are trying to "poison pill" the bill

    Does this strike anyone else as a bloody stupid way to run a country? The logical implication is that if any unpopular bill gets through, it will be far worse for those who were against it than when it was first proposed.
  • Don't let the other assholes in this thread get you down. It's pretty clear to me why they can't get a job, and it has nothing to do with you or I.

    True. There are some real jerks here, as everywhere.

    But more likely it has to do with the fact that the people hiring perceive that US programmers won't work 60-80 hours a weeks; and many US workers don't have the advantages of being represented by a hiring agency that gets 30% of the cut.

    I understand that you are a skilled worker who is offering much to this country. Please understand that citizens of this country, having worked to establish their standard of living and a reasonable work week, are reasonably frustrated by employers who pass them up for workers who are... simply cheaper, both in overall salary and cost per hour.

    Finally -- it bears saying -- it is not accurate to claim that the US makes you pay H1-B holders as much as US workers. I direct hiring at my company, and the two agencies we know provide programmers at 80% of what we would pay for US workers. Our founder came to the US on a H1-B, and was simply classified as a lower-pay worker than the duties he was expected to perform. H1-Bs provide an enormous economic advantage and flexibility to companies. There is little difference, in fact, with the issue of allowing agricultural workers that the Democrats have attached. The core is admitting workers who will reduce costs.

    This is a situation which is hard to swallow, given that the agencies we use train programmers in 6 months, and that their is no effort to provide US workers with similar training. And you might come to think of it quite differently, once you become a citizen of this country, wish to spend some time with family, friends or children, and find that the economics of the situation suddenly make you much less attractive than a foreign worker.

  • Are you insane? I mean that in the good sense, of course.

  • Well, let's look at the ultimate consequence - going out of business. I don't see anyone going out of business because they can't hire people for their projects. I do see them going out of business because they spend half of their money of SuperBowl advertisements.

    I also see companies like Merrill Lynch who hire tons of H1B visa folks laying off people and paying $10-15/hr less than market rate while posting record profits. It's hard to believe they can't afford to pay people, considering their entire business depends on bits flying around. Why? Well, I guess they can get people from Bangalore a lot cheaper. It *is* capitalism - there's always somebody who will work cheap if it's better than they currently have, you can't blame them. But I still can't help thinking it's a pretty short-sighted personnel strategy.

  • Quoth the Slashdot Headline:

    The Democrats are trying to 'poison pill' the bill by giving limited rights to Hispanics who have been in the country for decades.

    Quoth the Washington Post Article:

    But Republican leaders blocked a Democratic move to include provisions aimed at easing restrictions on Hispanic immigration, and Democrats responded by demanding that the provisions be included in a major spending bill.


    The Democratic-drafted Latino and Immigrant Fairness Act would expand amnesty for immigrants who live illegally in this country to cover those who have been here since 1986, including many who were excluded from an earlier amnesty law because of bureaucratic delays. It would also make it easier for some immigrants, including Central Americans and Haitians, to obtain permanent residency and allow holders of expired visas to apply for legal residency without returning to their countries of origin.

    Call me daft, but the Slashdot blurb seems to have gotten the politics of this backwards. Completely backwards. I'd renew my plea for editorial responsibility, but something tells me it would fall on deaf ears...

  • Read it. Have a go at "Three Concepts of Liberty" by Isaiah Berlin, for a throughgoing kicking of Rousseau.
  • Hmm...

    Just out of curiousity, what kind of technical questions?

    I mean, could you give an example?

  • Tech job fairs become free-for-alls with hiring representatives using bear traps, nets and stun guns to get replacements

    ever get the feeling that there are more head-hunters than programmers? Damn, three years ago when my company closed it's office, I was getting calls from headhunters two days BEFORE the closure was announced internally. Must've been some damn good tea-leaves.
    I say, let them EARN their bounties.

    Soylent Green is people!
  • and NOT releasing the reserves and allowing the price of oil to skyrocket was a direct subsidy to oil companies and rich oil barons; like GW Bush.

    Why not vote Nader? Maybe he'll actually DO something to end this silly dependance on foreign oil. Instead of the current course of action, which is to suck up to the huge multinational oil companies, fight wars, destroy the environment, and deplete our natural resources until there are none left (when there are none left, don't you think that will really suck? oh yeah, don't worry about it, you wont live that long).

    Soylent Green is people!
  • until we're making as much as doctors, lawyers, automechanics, and other very highly sought-after providers of technical services, we ARE a poor downtrodden class.

    Soylent Green is people!
  • The company must also provide evidence that they could not fill the position with an American worker -- usually this can be done simply by advertising the job, or providing evidence that when the position was advertised, it could not be filled by an American.

    Oh, so that's why there are all those HR people who are looking for just one reason to throw your resume in the trash. It's not because they want to get through the pile as fast as possible so they can punch out and play golf, it's so they can say they "tried" to find a citizen to fill the position, then whine for an H1-B!

  • I'm in my 30's and I've never seen "age discrimination" at any place I've worked.

    There's a lot of useless old fucks that think they should get a fat paycheck just for showing up every week, even though they haven't learned anything new in five years. There's also gray-haired types that have kept their skills current and are in high demand everywhere they go. If you're not spending at least an hour a day keeping up with new technology, you WILL find yourself obsolete and unemployed one day, sooner than you think, and it will be no one's fault but your own.

    I think your "age discrimination", Mr. Coward, is just the baby boomer's natural tendency to point a finger and whine loudly whenever they don't get everything they want. It must be discrimination, since it certainly couldn't be your own fault, could it?

  • The problem with handing out H1Bs is that you're going to have to kick these people out sooner or later. But a lot of them simply will not want to leave, they will stay here illegaly if possible ( because they've typically already settled down and don't want to move after 6 years ). Is a H1B a temporary visa or not ? End the scam. 1-2 years is "temporary". "Foreign specialty worker" ? Pffft. A lot of them are straight out of school. That's why it's 6 years and not 2 -- the company want to be able to hold on to them so that they'll still be there when they have thrree years or so experience. When they have 6 years experience, well they hire a new boatload. 6 years is semi-permanent. It's just silly to hand out enormous numbers of 6 year visas to people who you have no intention of allowing to stay. A 6 year green card is a convenient way of chewing up foreign workers and spitting them out when you're done with them.

    Before they start handing out more H1Bs, maybe they should do something about the enormous backlog of Chinese and Indians who've had their applications approved but cannot get green cards -- they are stuck in limbo waiting for the backlog to clear out.

    More H1Bs isn't good for anyone besides big money lobbyists. It doesn't help citizens because it provides the corporations with either a disposable workforce and possibly provides the country with illegal immigrants.

    It doesn't help the would-be immigrants because it lowers their chances of ever acquiring green cards.

  • One major problem is turnover. Companies spend so much time filling their needs after they appear, rather than planning ahead. So they go through ooodles of interviews while the position is unfilled, and complain about a personnel shortage. Not really a shortage, just poor management.

    This is a symptom of an even worse problem. Who knows a manager who wouldn't give a promotion because you were 'irreplacable where you were', even hiring newbies above you? You are a lot harder to replace when you jump ship and aren't there to train your replacement.

    Or managers who won't give a 5% raise to keep you at the salary average-- but pay 20% more to pull in someone new? The manager's view: you already negotiated your salary, he can often use social engineering to keep you around at the lower salary. The reality: such ill will usually sends people packing.

  • I grew up in Québec where going to university
    is considered a right not a luxury. This is true
    for many countries where good tech people are
    imported from. There is usually too many highly
    educated people over there for the number
    of jobs available.
    Here in the US you have to spend a fortune to get
    a good education thus the lower numbers of highly
    educated people. I don't know how I will be able
    to afford to pay for a good university education
    for my son and I'm an Engineer.
    The biggest problem of shortage in the US has
    a lot more to the fact that companies refuse
    to give good wages according to the supply and
    demand. They pump money into the congressmen
    campaigns in order to get temporary employees.
    I have nothing against immigration being part
    immigrant myself (thru my white blood) but
    I think immigrant workers should be given the
    opportunity to stay here after their contract.
    This is not likely to happen considering that
    the companies wouldn't have as good a control
    on them as they do now. Just the fear of being
    expelled put a lot of people in line, all they
    need to get screwed with immigration is a bad
    word from the boss.

    This bill pushed by congress is just a plot to
    put us in the poor house. You have to remember
    that when an ad says between 2 to 5 years of
    experience they mean it litterally.
    Fringe benifits tend to be nonexistant for
    temporary workers and unpaid overtime is easier
    to impose.
    If the market becomes flooded with temporary
    qualified people we will have to accept lower
    wages or end up on welfare and eventually
    working at McDonald or Radio Shack.

  • once, many years ago, when I first started in this industry, I was an art-school dropout, who had hacked around cp/m and dos systems a bit, and my company was desperate for anyone to do tech support. They hired me, trained me, and here I am today. I think I did well. During my training, there were two other candidates that were hired. One guy, with a similar background to me (whom I helped get the job - he's doing promo work at trade shows now), and another guy, who had a PhD in computer science from University of Illinois (Champaign). The idiot couldn't even install a network card, and didn't understand SCSI termination when the trainer explained it to him, and when I showed it to him. He quit two days into the training.

    Soylent Green is people!
  • ...Taco Bell!

    Hey, if that damn Chihuahua dog can get a job working as an actor, I should be able to get an H-1 Visa in order to do some decent programming work.

    Like coding in Visual Basic, installing Windows ME, trying to run Windows 2k on a PC in less than 6 hours...

    Hmm. On second thought... I think I'll stay in Mexico for a few more years...

  • It's actually hard to tell if you're being facetious. We're a few bodies short and that seems like a workable solution. Thanks (but don't expect a cheque)

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • I've posted on this before.

    I challenge anyone to take a reasonable look at the job listings for C/C++ programmers in any region of the country, and what will you see? A big drop in ads over the last several years.

    I'm not talking about sys admins, I've talking about raw software here, folks.

    Now, add that my bro works for a large aerospace company that "pads" their website with (literally) 100's of jobs, engineering jobs, that go unfilled. They get resumes, but they never interview or hire, just send a card. Why? So they can extend project milestones, put pressure on the gov for H1B, and move a number of R&D jobs overseas.

    The whole H1B thing has been a scam from the beginning -- goal 1: lower/stabilize programmer wages. Goal 2: brain drain competitive countries.

  • The first generation is coming to the end of their six year terms and have to "disappear" for a year until they can apply again. Its difficult and expensive to convert H-1B to permanent green card. So many companies, especially the ones too cheap to do the paperwork, are starting to get new H-1Bs to replace old ones. Some the old ones are going home, some to Canada if they are from Commonwealth (curry) countries, and many hiding out in the shadow economy, long used by day laborers.

    What an immigration screw-up by all parties involved.

  • This type of rider is actually less sinister than riders that both parties want passed, but which the public or interested parties might find sinister or disgusting. Ane example was the "Work for Hire" rider...
    The "work for hire" thing was actually inserted in a conference committee session after both houses had passed (incompatible) bills. There was no debate on the changes.

    There are states which have Constitutional restrictions on bills so that they must all deal with the subject matter of the title. This eliminates unrelated riders. The USA needs this on a national level.
    Build a man a fire, and he's warm for a day.

  • Why hasn't anyone pointed out that giving special rights to "hispanics" is majorly discriminatory?

    If they're going to put something in like that, they should put in rights for immigrants in general.
  • I don't understand two things:

    1. US politicians (and citizens in general) should be gung-ho about influx of H1 workers. They pay tons in taxes (as they are by definition "educated" and "qualified"), but offer no liabilities as far as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, etc. go.

    2. The large US companies seem to be the most vocal about H1 visas. The same companies (due to the economies of scale) would have minimal trouble in setting up local offices and hiring people in their home countries - no waiting for INS, and frequently more lenient labor laws.

    My personal guess is that the companies know that if they can pluck somebody out of their normal habitat and place them in some Bumfsck, USA - where even the natives have trouble finding a social life amidst suburban desert - these H1's will have nothing else to do (for some time at least) but work overtime.

    So, what's going on with all these Internet and Globalization thingies? Do you know that it costs now less to call, say, Australia than another town in you home state?
  • Crap! I should have patented the idea!

    I am being facetious, though I actually suggested it at IBM when I was doing OS/2 tech support some time back. The suggestion didn't go over any better than my suggestion that we should put Death Lasers on our satellites at the Satellite TV company I currently work at...

  • Last I checked there were homeless and poor people a plenty living in various tenement slums and the like that would love to do the work that you describe and yet for the life of me those people aren't living any better.
  • Actually if you read the article it is completly different than how it is reported by the slashdot headline. The admendment is not to limit the rights of hispanic immigrants but to give limited rights to illigal hispanics who are already here.
  • Ya its very good to do that ,For the wages part, but you forget that this lets more and more people to settle there thus closing chances of new people coming in. No new guys means not much of fresh ideas ,fresh approach. America gains by not only cheap labour but also the freshness of ideas and attitude. You know the apple-Newton story ,don't you.
  • The agencies may themselves be wrestling with the INS's own delays in processing Visa renewals and conversions to "Green Cards". For more, see:

    "A Worn-Out Welcome Mat" 95-2000Sep15.html

  • Well, apart from NZ, as has aslready been mentioned, you could try the Netherlands. Probably one of the most tolerant places around. Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria all have very high immigrant populations, and in spite of the crap spouted by the so called press, these places are very tolerant too. Maybe also you could look just a bit to the north.
  • WRONG! (IMHO of course...)

    Okay, programming for a company isn't just sitting at a desk least it wasn't for me (I wrote internal systems / 'intranet' pages in Perl).

    If you want to write software which really does make life/work easier, better and simpler (what else is software for?) you have to go and ask people what functions they need in a software package which will best suit their needs. Yes?

    This is called communication with your co-workers - don't be afraid,it can actually be stimulating!

  • I fail to see your connection between Coke, Pepsi, and cutting labor. Did Coke or Pepsi cut labor before raising prices?

    I'm guessing the price increase was related to higher costs. And since soda is basically the made from the same material, if cost of carbonated water goes up for Coke, it's also going to go up for Pepsi. Neither benefits by keeping the final sale cost down, so they raise prices. I'm betting it could have been mutual. Just speculation. I can't say that the price of Pepsi has gone up where I live. It was 69cents last week(for a 2 liter bottle). A special of course, it will be back up to $1.29 in no time.

    If the proffit margin of a company, any company, gets too big there is a lot of incentive for new companies to enter the marketplace and take market share. I.e. Intel and AMD. Granted there were some technology issues, but hardware has never been so cheap and the price has never dropped faster.

    That ultimately will benefit consumers in the long run. I should have clarified that earlier.


    There, That said you are exactally right about the short term, it will increase a companies bottom line. No change comes instantaineous and benefits sometime take a couple of years to filter down to the consumer. Humans are too impatient, they want everything NOW! not later.

    Note To: NecroPuppy Nothing said was personal, sometimes it seems that way. Sorry if it did.
  • But they were citizens of a British Colony. Citizens of the United States are taxed and - in general - have the right to vote.
  • If Al Gore gets elected, no one will collect social security...

  • You know what pissses me off about being on H1 visa here? The taxes. And not that anybody else is happy with them but:

    • 1. I pay for Social Security even though I am not eligible (since I am a temporary here)
    • 2. For a resident there is a tax exemption if [s]he supports a family member. For me there is no exemption. I do support two families back home (mine and my wife's) but I can not claim them since they are not residents.

    H1 visa program started in 90/91. It brought here around 600,000 - 700,000 taxpayers. And I am not talking about taxes from flipping burgers. Think about what monies went to local/federal and social security funds.

    And think that each of these guys bought a car, bought furniture, houses even and see how much money we circulated in the american economy.

  • Dunno who your former employer was, but I recall when Apple had major layoffs the headhunters were skampering about the parking lot, over on Infinite Loop, stuffing flyers under windshield wipers and shoving them into the faces of people as they carried the contents of their desks to their cars.

    Sort of a feeding frenzy, but when you consider that some headhunters get ~$15,000 (what it cost to recruit me, once ;-) for a hire, that's opportunity.

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • Another distortion of the program now is that many organizations are supplementing the H-1B ceiling with the shorter, but unlimited J-1 educational visas. The J-1 people are supposedly in "intern training programs", but do the same work as H-1Bs. One justification is that new J-1 people are actually learning the ropes and are in a holding tanks for H-1B visas.

    So you got a logjam of J-1s waiting for H-1Bs waiting for green cards. What a mess!

  • As You Said:
    NPR's Talk of the Nation recently did a show on this. It seems that everyone is saying that high-tech companies are pro and all the programmers are anti this bill. That seems to tbe what I am finding around town as it were.
    It seems that the companies recognize this as a source of cheaper labor, compared to the economics of training/retraining people previously not expert in the field.

    On the other hand, I know some folks getting training in various schools who are excellent examples of the MCSE urban legends [insert smirk] - have the cert, but can't even format a disk from the command line. One I talked to the other day who is going for an A+ cert didn't see why they needed to know about electricity basics. (I have stopped banging my head over these folks. Cuts down on my aspirin bills.) This of course contrasts with the actual ad I saw a while back that advertised for a "Entry Level position, 5 years Experience Required".

    - - - - - - - -
    "Never apply a Star Trek solution to a Babylon 5 problem."

  • There are thousands of 30+ (REAL ancient) programmers out there having trouble getting a job, because their resume doesn't win buzzword bingo.

    Er, did it ever occur to those thirty-plussers (of which I am one) to actually learn something and keep their skills up to date?

    Oh, I see, employers should just assume that they are capable of learning new things, and then pay for their on-the-job training, rather than hiring someone that already has the experience.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm with you that I'd rather have someone smart and ignorant than dumb and knowledgeable. But the employee does have some responsibility to keep the skills up-to-date.


  • by VP ( 32928 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:05AM (#750654)
    Please note that this is not just about increasing the annual number of H1B visas, but also makes some important changes about premanent residency, changing employers, etc. You can read a very short FAQ [], the full text [] of the bill (as introduced), and much more at this site [].

    Also note that this is a bi-partisan bill, with Sen. Lieberman (Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate) a co-sponsor of the bill.
  • And the moment that we actually DO find someone worth training, we take them on and train them. We already have two trainees under our wing - to be honest we don't have enough experienced staff at the moment to complete current deliverables AND correctly train and mentor the new starters. Bear in mind that it's not just technical skills that we need to train new starters in; they also have to learn a huge amount about Credit Risk management, Derivatives trading and Investment Banking too. The candidates that we've been seeing lately just aren't worth investing the time and money in, to be quite honest.

  • H1-B workers are forced to leave and have unusually draconian limitations on becoming naturalized citizens; they often slip off the radar to stay in the USA with newformed families beyond their officially sanctioned stay. [emphasis mine]
    I've never heard of this. Do you actually have any evidence to back that up, or are you just making that up? Remember that most H1-B workers are making $60K or more. I'd imagine that it would be pretty hard to make that kind of money "off the radar". From what I've heard, most H1-B workers who haven't managed to get a greencard usually go to Canada, or sometimes Europe.
  • I missed that show unfortunately. As someone who entered this country (USA) on an H1B this is an interesting subject. The program offers foreign workers the opportunity to work in the states. When I came here I had no intention of staying, it was just a new experience and good resume fodder. However I met my wife here and since she's a citizen so I get to stay.

    However there is a dark side to this program. Workers are definetly exploited, especially those from the Indian subcontinent. I know workers who were being billed out at $100/hr + and they were seeing $30K/year salaries. It takes a while for these workers to realize they are being screwed and get a new company to sponsor them and get more money. They can only do his if they haven't applied for they're greencard. Once that application has started you cannot change employers without starting the green card process over.

    The question of there being enough workers in the US to fill the positions is also interesting. One thing I've noticed is that very few employers look objectively at the potential employees overall ability. They look for specific buzzword experience markers. I have over 10 yrs experiene in OO, but not using the Java language (mainly ObjectiveC). Many companies, despite the fact that I could pick up Java in a week, don't consider me experienced enough for Java projects. They will favor someone who has the buzzword and programs Java in a procedural fashion (since they used to do asp or whatever) over someone who has proven OO and internet skills. Basically the high tech labor shortage is not as great as it woud seem if companies where more objective in their searches.

    Anyway, with the internet, foreign high tech education systems producing great talent, and the good old capatilism it's only a matter of time before the American programer salary begins it's downward trajectory as work is outsource to cheaper labor markets. Oh, it's not happening much now but give it time.

  • Don't forget the real irony:

    Remember the thing about the Boston tea-party? All that stuff about taxation without representation from the original group of immigrants?

    Well, as a non-naturalized immigrant, you have to pay tax - but you can't vote. Taxation without representation. Those same immigrants who have now been here for a few generations now seem fit to resume taxation without representation.

  • I new way to play Buzzword Bingo.

    Fill in a section of your resume in a misleading way just like sites do with meta tags.

    I am familiar with programs written in Visual Basic, Java and C++. I have 10 years experience with languages that look like C#. I have extensive experience with embrace-and-extinquish architectures such as Microsoft's latest .NET architecture.

    Salary Requirements: Competitive rate

    You have to BS past HR.

  • by VP ( 32928 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:20AM (#750682)
    Some of the limitations of a H1B Visa worker are:

    Can only hold a specific job title

    Can not be an owner of company stock

    Only valid to work for 1 company

    Only good for specified time (4 years?)

    Most of this in incorrect.

    The "specific job title" can be as broad as software developer or analyst.

    H1B visa holders can own company stock.

    An H1B holder can work for as many companies as they want, as long as they have a valid H1B approval for each of them.

    H1Bs get approved for up to 3 years, with a possible extension for another 3 years - the total time should not exceed 6 years

    Actually the bill may address all of this issues (the first one being a non-issue IMO). I say may, because things get changed dirung the discussions - the originally proposed bill addresses these issues.

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:07AM (#750683) Homepage Journal

    While I get ill thinking about all the unrelated riders that are allowed to be attached to a bill, I don't see this as the worst example.

    This is an immigration issue. Many may see a big difference between H1-B tech workers and retroactive hispanic sanctuary. I'd agree, they're two different situations, but let's look at some similarities.

    * H1-B workers are brought in to take care of "short/limited term" tech jobs that aren't paying what local talent would accept. Mexican migrant workers are brought in to take care of "short/limited term" harvest jobs that aren't paying what local talent would accept.

    * H1-B workers are forced to leave and have unusually draconian limitations on becoming naturalized citizens; they often slip off the radar to stay in the USA with newformed families beyond their officially sanctioned stay. Mexican migrant workers are forced to leave and have unusually draconian limitations on becoming naturalized citizens; they often slip off the radar to stay in the USA with newformed families beyond their officially sanctioned stay.

    This isn't quite like the attempts to attach language like "illegal to make hyperlinks" to methamphetamine-related legislation, as a rider on a banking omnibus bill, which, coincidentally, allows for stealthy search and seizure.

  • Instead of expanding the program, Clinton could start offering HB-1 veterans residency visas.

    Well, first off, it would be Congress that would amend the laws to offer residency visas, not the president. That aside, this is an outstanding idea. I know (and work) with many people trapped in H1-B hell. Even worse off are the poor individuals who are brave enough to try and make it through the tangle of the immigration beauracracy to try and become citizens... that takes 4-5 years, nowadays; and if you change employers, then you need to go back to square one and start from the beginning. Which means that if you come to the US on an H1-B and want to become a naturalized citizen, you had better love your job - because if you leave; or if they fire you; or lay you off; or if the company gets bought out, or goes under... even if you're a day away from getting your green card, you're SOL.

    All this makes a mockery of the H1-B and naturalization programs.

  • ". Just because you're forty doesn't mean you automatically deserve to earn twice what a 25-year old would earn. If a 25-year-old is able to do your job for half price, why should you stop him."

    I agree. I got pissed off with one of my previous employers. I had to fight them for pay rises. They kept telling me that there wasn't enough money. Then of course they went ahead and hired a couple of people with 10 years more experience that me, and 15-20 years my age. The frustrating part was I had more ability than them, but they were paid 3x more. It's time to end this BS corporate attitude (eh, up the people!) where pay is based on experience... performance and ability should be the metric. E.g., a senior C++ programmer with many years experience shouldn't have been telling/arguing with me that it's okay to double delete, and that he'd done it just to be sure there weren't any memory leaks!
  • "I am glad you got paid well. The H1-B people I work with are paid less than what they were promised before moving here and less than what the government was told. When they complained to HR about it they were told to put up with it or go home."

    Yes, when I wasn't happy with a mere 15% pay rise I threatened to quit. Of course, it helped being young and single: I didn't have so much to lose or so much personal responsibilty. Thankfully they didn't call my bluff as I really didn't want to have look for a job. You really have to stand up and speak out for yourself, which although is very American, comes hard to people from some cultures.

    I don't how the HR department at these places would react if informed of the consequences should the INS or Justice Dept. find out what is going on.

    "As far as age discrimination is concerned, the problem is that if anything on your CV hints that you are over 30 you won't get past HR to the interview. This is often the case, regardless of what skills you may claim to have."

    I haven't seen any of that in the IT area (yet). Maybe all of my co-workers at this and previous jobs are open-minded. A lot of people at my previous job commented on what a pleasant team we had, and how well such diversity worked.

    However, I have seen what you talk of with regards to my father back home in the UK. After 25 yrs in the RAF he quit and retrained. He's had a very hard decade, and is still doing the biochemstry work that now bores him to tears at the local hospital, just because it pays better than anything else.
  • by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:11AM (#750703) Homepage
    Go have a look at the unemployment statistics.

    Like so many other statistics, you have to learn how to read them in order to extract the truth. The truth in this case is that most potential IT workers gave up on getting those salaried jobs because the pay was low, hours long, and future uncertain. The unemployment statistics only indicate who is still looking for work, not the ones who have decided that going self-employed is a more-secure way to go, or ended up in another sector of the employment pool ditto.

    How many taxi drivers are in the pool of IT employees, but aren't counted because they are otherwise employed? I remember when the job market was so poor that PhDs were driving cabs to feed their families until the job market straightened out. I guess I'm just showing my age...

  • From the HR and CEO POV: more workers to choose from, keep recruiting costs and salaries down.

    From the worker bee POV: lower salaries, more competition for the job (not really much of a problem in high tech)

    If you haven't been to a Westech in SV, you should pop into one if you're ever in the neighborhood. Meatmarket is pretty descriptive

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:26AM (#750709) Homepage
    It's in the nation's best interest that it has the best businesses in the world. Isn't it?

    What, precisely, is the "nation's interest", as distinct from the private interests of its citizens, and why should the "nation's interest" take precedence. I'm undecided on the H1B issue, but I don't like your Volkstaat reasoning.

    The best way to guarantee that is to have as many qualified people to compete for the job as possible.

    This is amazingly debatable; it could quite easily be possible that people are more productive when they're actually relaxing and thinking about a problem rather than constantly watching their back trying to save their job. And in any case, if you expand the labour pool, you have no guarantee that the employer's strategy will be to hold wages constant and take higher quality; they might just decide to lower wages and cut quality.

    Geek economics, like geek politics, is best avoided.

  • I was not saying that Browne was not intelligent. I agree with most of his policy ideas and think they would be great in practice.

    My problem with Harry Browne as President of the US is that he has no in field experience (so might say that is good thing).

    I want to elect a man who is not only intelligent, well spoken, and I agree with, but also a man that has some experience in politics. Preferabbly on the national level.

    Out of the rest of the field, Gore is clearly the most qualified by experience, but I think his policies will lead this country exactly the wrong way.

    All that said, I will probably vote Browne because all the rest are too far from my views.
  • That aside, this is an outstanding idea. I know (and work) with many people trapped in H1-B hell. Even worse off are the poor individuals who are brave enough to try and make it through the tangle of the immigration beauracracy to try and become citizens... that takes 4-5 years, nowadays; and if you change employers, then you need to go back to square one and start from the beginning.

    Bring me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses... and I will shaft them any way I can.

    Actually its even worse than that. You first have to gain permanent residence status (aka a Green Card). This took me three years. After that, its a minimum of 5 year before you can even take the citizenship exam. While you are applying for your Green Card, you cannot change employer. If you do, you have to restart your Green Card application from scratch. You cannot start a Green Card application for at least 1 year after entering the US on an H1B visa. Your H1B visa is only valid for 6 years, so you have a fairly short window of opportunity to get a Green Card before your H1B runs out and you are thrown out of the US.

  • by Apuleius ( 6901 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:46AM (#750720) Journal
    Instead of expanding the program, Clinton could start offering HB-1 veterans residency visas. That way the market gets more programmers (nobody gets sent back), but since they have more bargaining power, they'll use and thus not push down the pay scales for the rest of us.

  • Part of my work involves immigration law. A great deal of woe befalls legal residents of the US as a result of the 1996 IIRAIRA ("Immigration Reform Act of 1996") and Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).

    Among other things, the 1996 law mandates "administrative detention" (i.e. jail) for virtually all aliens in removal proceedings (sometimes for years), without regard to flight risk, community support, or family needs. The 1996 law took away second chances for first offenders, making deportation a simple "check the box" affair, regardless of the special situation ivolved in individual cases. The 1996 law has "jurisdiction stripping" provisions meant to bar review of INS/DOJ decisions by federal judges (although lawyers have managed to have some of these provisions declared unconstitutional). The 1996 laws eliminated Section 245(i), forcing many with approved "green cards" to leave to US to pick them up, often subjecting them to the new 10 year bars to return to the US.

    These things can happen to people who have lived in the US for decades, or who where brought here by their parents when they were small children.

    US immigration law is a complex and difficult subject too often subjected to politicking over sound policy. The 1996 changes removed many safety valves and due process considerations that lead to truly scary situations. Labling this as a "hispanic ploy" meant to be a poison pill is disingenuous. There are real issues here.

    In a hundred-mile march,

  • The website also suggests the same thing. It is signed by Linus Torvalds, Steve Wozniak and many others. If immigration policy is reformed to give green cards to all H1-B holders who have certain qualifications (after maybe a couple of tax paying years to prevent people from misusing it), this would prevent the need for the person with the H1-B to be "stuck" to a company for 4-5 years and make the tech job market completely free again since the H1-B holders will either get green cards or be able to move freely between jobs. This would also save tax payers money since the long tedious INS and Dept. of Labor processing will be simplified a great deal.
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:14AM (#750726)
    "Face it, there is no shortage of programmers, there's just a shortage of cheap programmers"

    No. There is a shortage of *good* programmers. Any old monkey can jump on the band-wagon and get a piece of paper proclaiming their Mickey-mouse diploma/degree from the local community college. That doesn't make them competent.

    "The HARD part of programming isn't happening to know the syntax of the latest hip code doo-dad, but rather in knowing how to think about problem solving. "

    I agree. Although there are plenty of people around looking for jobs, only a minority actually fit the bill.

    "Unfortunately, time-to-market/end-of-quarter thinking in large corporations impels managers to seek the cheapest, fastest solution... and it looks like its a foreign programmer. "

    Hiring foreign workers is not quick. It takes at least 2 mos for an H1 application to process. My first one took 4.5. Foreigners hired since May of this year (I believe) are still waiting due to the annual caps being reached. Finally, when I was on an H1, I wasn't cheap - and don't forget that we must be paid at least the prevailing wage.

    "There are thousands of 30+ (REAL ancient) programmers out there having trouble getting a job"

    ... and a lot of them aren't doing what it takes to maintain their skillset and keep competitive in this rapidly [rev]evolving business. Infact, many are just plain lazy and had it easy for too long. I have many friends in the high-tech business all over 30, and some of 40. Those people are the best software engineers I've worked with.
  • by MochaMan ( 30021 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:16AM (#750728) Homepage
    The issue that comes up every time there's a story about H-1Bs is that many people believe that H-1B workers are simply a source cheap labour for US companies. I'm here as a Canuck on a TN visa (an altogether different beast), but a couple of my co-workers are on H-1Bs and I have read up extensively on both visas.

    In any case, this bit about H-1B workers being cheap labour is not entirely true. In fact, INS regulations require that companies pay visa workers equivalently to citizens specifically to ensure that Americans fill the jobs first. Before an H-1B is approved by the INS, a whack of documentation has to be submitted from the company that is petitionning on the worker's behalf. In this documentation is included the salary offered to the visa applicant and the average salary paid to a non-visa worker in the same position. The company must also provide evidence that they could not fill the position with an American worker -- usually this can be done simply by advertising the job, or providing evidence that when the position was advertised, it could not be filled by an American.

    If there is a significant discrepancy between what the employer is paying its visa workers and what it is paying American citizens, the company may be found by the INS to be in violation of immigration regulations, and face penalties. I believe Intel may have actually faced an investigation related to this, but don't quote me on that -- I could be totally wrong.

    The entire H-1B issue was covered, if I remember correctly, in a past issue of Communications of the ACM. The article was well-balanced (ie. didn't really favour either point of view on H-1Bs) and would be a useful read for anyone considering getting all excited and rabid over this issue. If anyone can provide a link, please post it.

    In any case, a sensible long term solution is to put more funding into Computer Science education in the US and crank up the number of American C.Sc. graduates. Bringing in visa workers is a temporary band-aid solution to a much larger problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some people say that H-1B is for "guest" workers. This is simply not true. While H-1B has legal limit of 6 years, nobody in his right mind takes H-1B for a temporary work. Once you are inside, your company immideately applies for PR for you. For instance, take Linus.

    This is the main reason very fiew people change H-1 jobs, especially after couple of years (and couple of years closer to the boot limit). As soon as you jump ship, your PR application is terminated.

    Companies certainly use this arrangement to their advantage. How? Simple - just imagine to have an engineer who cannot quit. Do whatever you want with him. Total freedom for HR Catberts. You cannot seriously undercut him, say down to $20K (it is illegal). But you can pay $40K, $45K for a very expirienced guy where otherwise you would pay $70K.

    If anyone makes a fuss, you a) say his expirience and performance was not good; b) suck it up, but later mishandle his PR in some way. I started at $55K and boy I was lucky.

    [From a former H-1B holder :)]

  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:31AM (#750733)
    Of course, H1s also:
    * pay taxes (including Medicare and social security), but can claim no welfare benefits.
    * have to paid at least the prevailing wage of that are for their job, as determined by the Labor Dept.
    * *CAN* change jobs. Damn!: they can get two job offers and make them pay for H1s, then just go with the first one that comes through.

    What is more scandalous is that some people become prisons of the US due to INS policies concerning certain nations. Being British, I had a multi-entry visa, and could happily come and go as I pleased. Many friends of mine from China were issued single-entry visas. That's right, if they wanted to go home (e.g. visit a dying relative), they would have to apply for a new visa from overseas to get back.
  • If you're good enough you have no fear of the competition.

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • by Not Fragile ( 226094 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:35AM (#750738) Homepage
    I live in California, and work for a large software company, currently on an L-1 visa.

    My visa allows me to work for this company, and this company only. My wife is not allowed to work at all, she is allowed to accompany me, and live in the US with me. An H1-B gives you slightly more rights, but even then it is not that fantastic.

    Should I decide that I do not want to work for this company, I have ten days to vacate the country. This would give an unscrupulous company the right to treat you like dirt...

    The move here cost thousands of dollars, no sorry, tens of thousands of dollars, both to the company that I work for , and to us personally.

    The major downside is that I have no credit history.

    You want to get a car, try an APR in the teens, you want to insure it, how long have you held a US licence for ? OK, that will be six times the cost then.

    You want a bank account, no overdraft facility for a year.

    You want a credit card - you need to place a security deposit equal to the credit limit on it then.

    No chance of unseccured credit for the next year or so.

    I even had to re-take my driving tests.

    You have little or no "status" in the country.

    It was a huge personal sacrifice to come here, fortunatly I am treated very well by my employer, because they understand how committed we are to this. However it is not the land of milk and honey that many people living outside of the US feel that it may be.

    The H1-B is only a small section of the difficulties in moving over here. I welcome this move, but will warn everyone that is contemplating it, that it will cost you thousands of dollars.

    Oh yes, I do love living here....

  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:49AM (#750739) Homepage

    Anybody else get the feeling that our representatives in Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, are more concerned with their petty squabbles and party lines than actually getting anything interesting done with the country?

    Every time I read a story like this I see one party putting something forward, and the other one trying to sink it with gimpy tactics like this Hispanic rights limitations clause.

    Why can't we all just get along?

    <single tear>
  • by Hairy_Potter ( 219096 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:49AM (#750742) Homepage
    I think we should get more foreign workers, it will only help America grow, and if a foreign country can't appreciate their most dynamic workers, too bad.

    America was built on immigration, and immigrants provide a much needed spark to the American economy. Think of how many products and businesses immigrants have launched, once they've come to a land where hard work is appreciated, not denigrated. I can think of the Indian that invented Hotmail, and Linus, too, of course.

    If a foreign country can't find a place for an ambitious foreign worker, too bad for them. If their culture is caste ridden, or against strivers, or a socialist disaster, an ambitious computer workers aren't appreciated,they should come here. Too bad if that foreign's country GDP tanks, they should get rid of their old, quaint unproductive customs.

  • This is ludicrous. One of my coworkers is trying to get his visa renewed (in other words, helping fill the supposed "shortage" of IT workers). The agencies he has to deal with refuse to deal with him in an expedient matter. He's pissed off and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't leave for greener pastures. C'mon, our government has to make up its mind: are we in a shortage (then take timely action on entry forms) or not (then why string em along?!).

  • We have plenty of labor in the United States and we don't really need anymore.

    According to whom? And by what standard? The people who want to hire these people clearly have a need for more labor, or they wouldn't go to the expense of importing them.

    I want a fair and equal chance in my own country instead of getting shafted.

    What about the "fair and equal" chance of those not fortunate enough to grow up here in the USA? Are there interests irrelevant simply because they don't vote here? You have more than a fair and equal chance. If you're like most of us in the tech industry, you have it ludicrously easy-- getting paid handsomely for work many of us would do in our spare time even if we weren't getting paid. It's the height of arrogance to pretend that we're a poor downtrodden class that can't afford to compete with a few foreigners.

    I for one welcome more high tech workers to the US. If they can do useful work, they have every right to come here and make a living. Those who want to keep them out in order to further inflate their own paychecks are narrow-minded and selfish.
  • by ReconRich ( 64368 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:51AM (#750748) Homepage
    Well, folks, the giant software companies have done it again... and the quest for the disposable programmer with 2 years of experience continues. Face it, there is no shortage of programmers, there's just a shortage of cheap programmers. A major reason why so much software sucks, is because its written by some guy with his brand new AS in Visual Basic. There are thousands of 30+ (REAL ancient) programmers out there having trouble getting a job, because their resume doesn't win buzzword bingo. The HARD part of programming isn't happening to know the syntax of the latest hip code doo-dad, but rather in knowing how to think about problem solving. That comes from experience. People who understand how programs work have no trouble learning a new way to do the same old thing. Unfortunately, time-to-market/end-of-quarter thinking in large corporations impels managers to seek the cheapest, fastest solution... and it looks like its a foreign programmer.

    Sorry for the rant, but this REALLY bugs me

    -- Rich
  • All right, another one of those stories where Slashdot turns into the American Xenophobic Society!!

    Another chance to watch those who normally cry foul at the slightest threat to their own freedom turn into a bunch of zealous gatekeepers for fear of a little competition.

  • ...when I was on an H1, I wasn't cheap - and don't forget that we must be paid at least the prevailing wage.

    As has been mentioned here before, despite this rule (paying the going rate) being part of the H1 process, there is virtually zero enforcement of it. Employers can put whatever they want on the paperwork, and then change the salary later. There is never any follow-up by regulators to make sure employers pay what they say they are paying.

    I'll bet if someone did some serious investigation into this, they'd find that pretty much every company that hires H1 workers is cheating on the pay to some degree.

  • And so much damn snow the poor Brit will freeze to death just getting to work.
  • Companies Compete
    Slave Labor Not To Be Found

    Bring Them From Taiwan

  • As a computer science student, I've seen more than my fair share of CS grad students who can't speak coherent English, write an intelligible (or at least properly formatted) resume, or even understand simple data structures concepts.

    Frankly, with employers being flooded with this kind of assclownery, I think my prospects for finding and keeping a good job are high.

  • Er, did it ever occur to those thirty-plussers (of which I am one) to actually learn something and keep their skills up to date?
    Oh, I see, employers should just assume that they are capable of learning new things, and then pay for their on-the-job training, rather than hiring someone that already has the experience.

    The problem with this is that most employers (from my experience as an agent) do not consider someone to have a skill unless they used it in their last job. Night school, training classes, practicing at home or anything more than three years old don't count. So you can keep your skills up as much as you want and it won't help you find a job.

  • Mexican migrant workers are brought in to take care of "short/limited term" harvest jobs that aren't paying what local talent would accept.

    Make that "...harvest jobs that aren't paying the minimum wage so they wouldn't be legal anyhow, even if they hired citizens." And the Democritters keep pushing the minimum wage up every year.

    This isn't quite like the attempts to attach language like "illegal to make hyperlinks" to methamphetamine-related legislation

    Well, I'll agree with you there. This is a lot more on-topic than a lot of other riders.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:53AM (#750769) Homepage Journal
    The brain drain in SV would probably go well beyond sending home the surplus workers from dying dot coms:

    Tech job fairs become free-for-alls with hiring representatives using bear traps, nets and stun guns to get replacements

    A girl who once glanced in the window of a Gateway store is elligible for tech support

    Property values in Santa Clara drop to almost sane levels

    High tech moves operations overseas, the next Wen Ho Lee may actually be working in Taiwan

    Low math and science grades, across the country, are prosecuted

    The NASDAQ hits 0 for the first, and last, time

    Chief Frog Inspector

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson