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United States

H-1B Visas Increased In 96-To-1 Vote 319

Quite a number of people have written in about about the vote to pass more H1-B Visas for the USA. The vote means an additional 80,000 visas, bringing the total to 195,000. So -- good thing? Bad thing?
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H-1B Visas Increased in 96 to 1 Vote

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  • Why don't you ask an Indian if they feel exploited making over 60,000 a year instead of going home and making *much* less than 10.

    I agree that companies are inherently going to try to screw people over and pay as little as possible...so fix THAT, don't just do away with it alltogether.

    Mike
  • These jobs might be given to American workers if those American workers had the skills required. They don't. We interviewed a whole bunch of them. What looks like "excellent C++ skills" on the resume, turns out to be "took a class in it once" in practice. At least the European workers have the decency to not waste a company's time with artificially inflated resumes.
  • 1
    2
    Malapropism

    Actually, I think I was saying that many foreigners have trouble finding work, so increasing work visas will decrease the amount of good linux-coders since now they will be busy with work. Then again, I could have been saying something completely different, I'm not really sure.
    ---

  • God I feel cynical about posting this but I did just watch two puppets run though the motions of a debate and now I'm feeling a bit angry. It isn't about congress believing the tech industry, its about the wholesale purchase of our representitives. They aren't listening to us on this issue, they are following the money.

    The IT industry is paying both parties enough that it gets what it wants. If they want cheap workers on H1-B's they will get them. Its not about filling America's labour demand. If that were true we wouldn't be giving out temporary visas, we'd be giving out green cards. So don't have any illusions here, cheap workers provide the IT industry with money. Money buys votes.

  • No matter what the corporations are getting the upper hand...

    But who is this really benefitting... That's right the real estate agents... Those evil people... Yeah it's a good thing that I as a soon to be CSCI college grade will be working a back breaking zillion hours a week... That way I won't notice that they disconnected my DSL service from my cardboard box cause I won't be able to keep up with monthly rent payments in the Bay Area...
    So let's not jump on the foreigners so quickly... Instead let's kill someone from Century 21...


    "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten."
    -- George Carlin
  • it's the only one that matters.
    ---
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Couldn't you have formatted this?
  • i'll take my negative karma for replyin to this
    but someone please explain how this is a troll?
  • "These guys come over here and it's guaranteed" because BEFORE they come over their employer has to prove to the INS that the worker is trained and brings skills that could not be provided by an American worker. When I got my H1-B visa my employer sent me ALL of the paperwork that was sent back and forth between them and the INS. It was a pile of documents about 3 inches thick, accumulated over a period of months. Now that I'm in the US and sat in on a bunch of interviews, I can see why my employer would go through all the trouble of getting employees from outside the US. NONE of the US applicants had the skills needed. The European ones did.
  • Stop whining and start controlling your own destiny. You can moonlight to build up a clientele then either quit or wait for a pink slip before you go out on your own. But this takes hard work and persistence (which are not big attributes of the baby boomer class).
  • I'm afraid I just don't get all the comments about H1B workers being indentured. It's *really* easy for a company to transfer your H1B and hire you (it takes about 2-3 weeks). I just recently hired someone that way myself. So what's with that? Are these people just misinformed, or grinding axes, or what?
  • >> How incredibly arrogant. "You poor foreigners, you don't understand that the H-1B visa is bad for you, so we intellignent Americans must protect you by not letting you decide for yourself if you want one."

    How is it arrogant? It directly affects him when he doesnt get a job because they're payng someone for 40 hours and getting 70-100 and decide they dont NEED anyone else. I suppose when we cant watch our children grow up because we're working 100 hours a week "like they do" and we're upset the government is SUBSIDISING this and how it affects our families quality of life, we're just arrogant.

    I would like my employer to expect a reasonable workweek, y'know, 40-55 hours or so, but I guess I'm just arrogant.

    While we're at it, lets get rid of the minimum wage, who are WE to tell people that they shouldnt work for $1 an hour? That would be arrogant to assume we know whats best for them, In fact, lets just get rid of ALL our arrogant labor laws.

    >> so we intellignent Americans must protect you by not letting you decide for yourself if you want one."

    You're right, we shouldnt decide our countries policies, we, as intelligent Americans, should let foreigners govern us and our policies. In fact, we should put in force policies that lower our families standard of living in favor of foreiners. After all, we would want to appear arrogant.
  • Karma whore...
    It is pretty obvious that you have not worked alongside H1-B workers, nor have you informed yourself of what it means to work on an H1-B visa. The company does not "own" the H1-B worker. You can switch jobs if you want, you just have to find a new H1-B sponsor.
  • I'm all for letting lots and lots of smart, well-educated people (and attractive ones -- fashion models are covered by H-1B visas too) into the U.S.

    The system certainly allows for gross exploitation of these workers. However, the solution is more aptly to change the regulations surrounding the H-1B visas than to simply limit the number that may be issued. Permitting more of the visas is a short-term solution, but as a country we would err in not using the increase as a mere stopgap to totally revising the system.

    As for training Americans for these jobs? Hah. The majority of Americans apperantly have an allergy to mere algebra, much less the fairly rigorous logical thinking that programming requires. The number of Americans entering computer science programs has been declining for a few years. We're certainly not stepping up to the plate and clamboring for more opportunities to write C++, despite the relative economic security of doing so.

    My theory is this: in this time of economic prosperity, even people with flufball college degrees (you know, the Ancient Greek Art History majors of the world) can get reasonable jobs. There's not as much pressure for middle-class college students to major in the practical sorts of fields that are sure to provide jobs -- engineering, CS, etc. In a tighter economy, more people would feel the pressure to obtain high demand skills like programming.

    On the other hand, people in less wealthy countries have a ticket to [relative] economic security with nice, practical jobs like programming. More power to them, but Americans are shooting themselves in the feet by not satisfying the tech demand themselves.
  • You must really hate your ancestors then...
  • Just don't let them over until I find a new job! Then, you can ship them over by the boatload!
  • Because I am damned foreigner!

  • A: its 'a' damned furriner
    Not when I am zooming on the keyboard to get in first post, it's not!
  • Make no mistake about it - this is not about a shortage of programmers - it is 100%, absolutely about cheap labor ...

    I'm sick of this argument. Yes there is no shortage of programmers. Yes, it's about cheap labor. Just because you allow more people to work, you sure will create bigger pool of potential employees, and thus lower average salaries. So what?

    What this obviously saying is that inviting very well educated people in the country is bad because this will lover salaries of locals. Why this should be considered at all?

    This improves economy. This straightens lack of good education in America. This builds more educated workforce. Now that's the arguments. Of course US afraid of opening this door too much, just because local business would not be interested in local education at all. Or because of some other potential misbalance. But to say that US should not allow people enter to US because they work for lower salary - that is strange. That's what all newcomers doing everywhere - they work for lower salary. So what?

    These people (US House/Senate, lords of industry, etc ...) are taking the bread out of my children's mouth ...

    That's right. These people are taking the bread out of your children's mouth. You want your country to force business to pay salary to your children, when businesses want to pay lower salary for the same job to somebody else. You think it's not fair. I don't think so. And I do not understand why this is considered being an argument at all.

    America is a country of immigrants. Who do you think should have the best opportunity to come here if not professionals?

    And yes, I one of them, and I am proud of it.


  • Definitely a Bad Thing.

    You know why?

    Because, if this were really a free country, THERE WOULD BE NO SUCH THING AS VISAS!

    People would be able to come here freely, if they wanted to.

    Face it, we turn away many thousands from Mexico and Cuba for the "crime" of wanting a better life than they had. This is wrong and needs to be changed.

    Immediately.

    That's why I say the immigration laws need to go, the sooner, the better. It is wrong to force people to jump through legal hoops just so they can live on one piece of land rather than another.
    • Stop whining about foreign workers.
    • Improve you skills every single day of your life. I have kids and a home yet I still find at least 1+ hours a night to learn. (I only sleep 6 hours total through:).
    • Become a leader at your workplace. Dont just do the bare minimum to get by. Go beyond what you are expected to do.
    • Make suggestions regarding new ideas you might have to your boss and sell it to others
    • Make yourself essential in your work environment by getting into important projects
    • Teach others in your workplace and expand their knowledge. It will only help you in the long run and display your leadership skills (but dont teach them every trick:) gotta keep a few tricks in the bag:).
    • Train, Train, Train! Get a job at a company that offers 2 weeks training a year. Take it! Use it to make yourself more valuable.
    • If you are working on mainframes or fox pro or other dying technologies.. then get off your ass and learn some new tech.
    • Keep up with tech news and industry trends.
    • If you dont LOVE computers then become a cop or fireman or something. Computer work requires that you love doing what you do.
    • Wake up! Life moves very fast. If you dont stop and take a look around every once in a while you will miss it, Buhler:)


    • Malice95
  • by Colin Winters ( 24529 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:22PM (#733312)
    The entire U.S. immigration system needs to be overhauled. As it is, it's very hard to come from European countries to the U.S., since we have quotas on how many people we want, and we don't want more Caucasians. I have friends from Russia who have come here-they aren't allowed to work until they get their work visa. But it took them over a year and a half to get the visa. Cases like this are preposterous-how are you supposed to live for a year and a half before starting to work? As I said before, the entire immigration service needs to be overhauled and made more efficient.

    Colin Winters
  • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @09:02PM (#733313) Homepage
    It's shocking to see how many people on Slashdot are completely clueless on the concept of H1-B visas.

    For the record, I hold an H1-B visa. In the meanwhile, the company I work for is sponsoring me for a Green Card. It takes some time for a green card application to be processed by the INS. The H1-B allows me to work in the meantime.

    I am by no means cheap labor. I am by no means indentured in any way. I get paid exactly as much as anyone else in my position does. If I don't like what I'm being paid I can ask for a raise or find a job somewhere else.

    There are tons of other companies out there desperate for technical people. In all the interviews I've had, no one ever asked me what my visa status was - except in the context of how soon could I actually start. If I decide to switch jobs, it's a simple process of the other company filing a petition on my behalf - one which is always granted. It's just a month or so of delay.

    Stop pitying H1-B visa holders. We don't need or deserve your pity.
  • ... most companies, at least the "big" firms I have worked for, are not interested in hiring an H1-B visa programmer ... they are more interested in the cheap labor aspect ... I know that there are exceptions but for the most part this is the case ...

  • In one company they even put a wall, making different people do requirements gathering, database design and programming, often excluding actual developer (me) from the making the decisions on the early stages of the project, and holding me responsible for implementing their stupid decisions, based on the lack of understanding of what programmers do!

    This is the distinction between architecture and implementation, invented by Fred Brooks, and is the only feasible way of managing a large project.

  • I know quite a few Americans who have trouble getting the papers to work in Europe. I know quite a few Europeans who would want to work in the US. It's quite absurd to realize that there's no way to simplify this.

    The procedure in for getting your papers in France is a pain in the ass ... but when you're from a non-third world country it's usually much easier ... because french gov't agencies have this tendency to have very 'adaptable' rules. One day some document is requested, another it's not.

    Well actually I *thought* it was a pain in the ass until I went on a vacation in the US. At the customs they asked me for the address where I was staying. I didn't know, as I was meeting my friend somewhere. So after 2 hours of waiting and inquiring I just said that I was staying at the Hilton. If you can claim anything, why even bother asking? Stupid bureaucracy.


    --

  • by radja ( 58949 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @11:42PM (#733334) Homepage
    I know what you can do about it.. learn japanese. This may sound a bit harsh, but let me explain a little. I was in university (groningen, the netherlands). we had courses in 3 different languages (no, not 1 course in 3 languages: 1 course, 1 language): dutch, english and german. This wasn't a problem for anyone, and neither were teachers with english as a 2nd language teaching in english, which was also our 2nd language. Let's face it: the scientific world is an international one, and we're not all suddenly switching to english.

    //rdj
  • Well, there are people moving in the other direction too. I'm an American working as a postdoc at the University of Waterloo, and the CS department here has a large percentage of Americans at the faculty level.
  • Of course he's tired, on six hours sleep a night. Soon he'll be even more tired, working twice as hard on three hours of sleep a night :)
  • Managers make decisions on the information they have.

    Programmers in the "good old greenspun sixties" were LOUSY at giving good information to management. Who the hell cares if your system works if the people paying the bills can't understand it? The people paying the bills NEED to understand it because they are the ones using it to make more decisions - and around and around it goes. Oh - and thanks for Y2K btw.

    I also cannot understand how anyone could DEFEND airline reservation systems as some paragon of reliability and coding excellence! Greenspun has obviously never flown much. The number of times I have heard (in 25 years of flying for business) "Sorry sir I can't get into the computer system right now it's 'frozen'".

    Great system Phil, just great.

    There are just so many wrong headed idiocies in Greenspun's rants that one does not know where to start (or stop). "There is no middleware in airline reservation systems" Greenspun tells us. Wrong. Denver was delayed for "years" because they couldn't get baggage working. Wrong. Greenspun's opinions sound like his main information source is USA Today.

    Greenspun has been so wrong so often about the internet. To be fair, he's been right too - but usually singing someone else's song.

    Greenspun's business model? Write incomprehensible code using system architecture no-one else knows anything about (AOLServer anyone?) and then charge a filthy fortune to "maintain" (read: bughunt) the system. Works for Phil I guess.

    I prefer to create using "well staffed" technologies using tight specifications that companies and their clients love. They know what they asked for - they know that it works. Never had a call about my systems "freezing" either.

    Why anonymous? Because ya may as well spit in church as critisize Phillip-bloody-Greenspun.
  • by jjo ( 62046 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @06:36PM (#733352) Homepage
    My grandparents and great-grandparents came to the USA as immigrants, and they and their descendents (including me) have benefitted greatly from it. But the USA has benefitted greatly as well, from us and other immigrants.

    But modern US immigation law makes it so difficult to immigrate that a large proportion of immigrants are now 'illegals': those with so little to lose that they will flout the law. The xenophobes then hold up these illegals as typical of all potential immigrants, and demand ever stricter limits, or even a complete ban on immigration (check out Pat Buchanan's rant [buchanan.org]). If young, well-educated, productive, English-speaking professionals want to come to the USA in order to work and pay taxes, why do we look a gift horse in the mouth?

    BTW, there is a looming 'Social Security crisis' in the USA, since there will be more retirees and fewer workers in the coming decades. Conventional wisdom says that the 'only solution' to the crisis is either to raise taxes and/or cut benefits. But conventional wisdom is wrong. If we allow young, educated, hard-working, motivated, English-speaking people to come to the USA to work and pay taxes, the 'crisis' will disappear!

    So, when the politicians end up raising your taxes now and cutting Social Security by the time you retire, you can place the blame squarely where it belongs: on the xenophobes who perpetuate the current US immigration policy.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @05:16PM (#733355)
    > [snip comment saying "GCs and citizenship over temporary labor"]

    Also agreed. GCs and citizenship over H-1B anyday.

    I think if you look at the bill itself, you'll see a lot of steps in this direction: Summary of S.2045 [imminfo.com]

    Of note - increased portability of H-1B status and I-140 backlog reduction:

    Portability of H-1B status: in some areas, yes, you can transfer an H-1B in a few weeks, so it's not a big deal for employee or employer. In Sillycon Valley, which is "serviced" by the INS California Service Center, it's a multiple-month wait. (CSC is the slowest of the four INS centers.) Being able to transfer one's H-1B at the time of petition submission is a major win.

    Portability of I-140s and LCs:If I read this correctly - and IANAL - but it sure looks as though it means "no more indentured servitude." If I read that section correctly, it sounds like "If INS has stalled on your I-140 for > 6 months, and you can get the same job at another employer, you don't have to start your Green Card process from square one". (Again, IANAL, and if I'm wrong on my interpretation of that section, someone needs to point that out, because I don't want anyone misled).

    Backlog: Both the language in S.2586 which would tell INS to get its ass moving on cases pending more than six months, and Congressional funding for adjudications (as opposed to enforcement-only, which has been policy up to now) might give INS the capacity to reduce the backlog. This is INS we're talking about - so whether they have the will to do what they're required to do under this law remains to be seen. But if they don't, the bits about increased portability of H-1B visas as well as labor certifications and I-140s seem to be good protection to workers caught in the trap of having their paperwork sitting on an INS shelf for 2-3 years.

  • by Wansu ( 846 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @05:18PM (#733357)
    Every time H1-B stuff comes up, there are 400-500 posts. Experienced people claim older workers will get screwed. Less experienced people believe their skills are so great they will be spared. The difference between these two camps is the experienced people were at one time less experienced people.

  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @12:51AM (#733365) Homepage
    *ahem* Your post can also be read as:

    I am all right now

    Therefore I will be all right forever

    Therefore, everyone else is all right now and will be forever.

    There are numerous other, well-documented cases of H1-B horror stories, from people who have not had your good fortune. In assuming that your case applies to all of these, you provide ammunition for the advocates of H1-B versus green card, and do them a disservice. You may end up regretting taking this stance, but whether you do or not, it's still wrong.

  • An Intel spokeswoman said something it was a good thing, as they have had to re-deploy expired visa workers to other plants around the world. I dunno, after reading the FaceIntel [faceintel.com] site, it sounds like more meat for their meat grinder.


    --
    Chief Frog Inspector
  • I also agree that the government needs to get much more efficient in granting green cards. This bill contains several additional things that make the green card process better:

    will allow H1B holders to keep the status beyond the six years, if they are waiting for a green card

    will allow persons from "oversubscribed" countries (e.g. India and China) to receive Green cards beyond their per-country yearly quota, if there are any left in a given fiscal year. Right now about half of the employment-based green cards that can be awarded in a year go unclaimed while people from India and China wait 5-6 years to fit in their country's quota.

    will allow persons, who have filed the paperwork for adjustment of status to permanent residency to change employers (in a similar job), if they have been waiting for more than 180 days.

    will allow H1B holders to switch jobs more easily - as soon as their new H1B petition is filed, as opposed to waiting for it to be approved

    For a summary of the bill, take a look here [shusterman.com]. (Warning - a lawyer site).

  • Well, given that english, dutch, and german are all from the same linguistic group (and very closely related to dutch besides), one might dismiss this as a trivial example. (An extremely trivial example, in fact: my Oma picked up english in a matter of weeks. In 1944. In Rotterdam.)

    Let's just say that people learning languages from different linguistic groups would have considerably more trouble than you did. That isn't to demean your achievement, merely to place it in better context.

    I work with a number of ESL people from east asia - Vietnam, Korea, China by and large. They have two real milestones to fluency.

    First, they have to know the language well enough to converse technically. Second, they have to know the language well enough to converse socially and professionally - to help out the sales department, to share information around the water cooler, to lead a team.

    Most people come to the job with the first milestone achieved (some mastered, some barely). The second milestone takes years, and it's very difficult if not impossible to gain a position of leadership without it.

    We have plenty of second-generation Canadians (people who were born here but at least 1 parent wasn't) in management and team leadership. I'm one myself. We only have one PM (an Argentinian) who doesn't have english as a native language. Language is an incredible barrier to job advancement and career success.

    --
  • by Bilestoad ( 60385 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @05:20PM (#733374)
    You are uninformed. As a H1-B worker I can change jobs, it just requires a delay while the new employer handles the transfer of the visa. That takes a couple of months, maximum. I can ask for more money - in fact I just had a review and was given a good salary increase and extra stock on top of my already-generous grant. Extra holiday to go home and visit my family? Four weeks, not a problem.

    You seem to be underestimating the demand for labor in the professions that qualify for this kind of visa - there are still nowhere near enough good employees available! I interview people every week (current and potential H1-B candidates as well as US citizens) and a lot of them aren't fit to maintain a Macintosh. It's not like we're not offering good money, stock, health plans, all kinds of other benefits - we get plenty of applicants, just not many quality applicants.

    If the USA wants to maintain technical leadership, expansion is exactly what the H1-B program needs. The countries losing the professionals that qualify certainly wish they weren't all leaving for greener pa$ture$.

    If an industry wants something, that means it's going to screw people over.

    Knee-jerk, jealous leftist rubbish. I'm sorry if this is not the case where you work (if you ARE a H1-B worker) but at my company I've never seen employees treated so well. If people aren't happy they are NOT productive - and if they are unhappy enough they leave. It costs money to train new hires - screwing people over doesn't even make business sense.
  • If we're going to let people into this country, it might as well be people who contribute. I've worked with many H1B workers, and they work just as hard if not harder than many citizens. As far as communication skills go... if you can't understand them, don't hire them. Someone else will.
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:26PM (#733381)
    If the number of visas granted increases, but the chances of getting a green card and, eventually, citizenship, decreases as a result of the increase in applications for these things, then it may be a net loss. As I understand things, most people who get H-1 visas try to get citizenship or, at least, a green card, so they can gain the freedom they really should have to begin with.

    None of this is a problem as long as people's expectations are set properly ahead of time, before they apply for an H-1 visa. If they know that they're unlikely to get a green card or visa due to the time the INS takes to process things and are aware that they will be unable to change companies during their stay in the U.S., then I have no problem with this (otherwise sad) state of affairs: the results will be from a well-informed choice rather than from propaganda.

    But unfortunately, I expect the INS situation to get worse as a result but for people to continue to expect to get green cards and citizenship. More people will be disappointed as a result, and that will be a shame.


    --
  • http://images.kuro5hin.org/kuro5hin_Sig11_vs_Taco. html
  • He's a racist bastard because he can't understand someone's incredibly thick accent?

    Yes. He is unwilling and unable to deal with anyone who doesn't look and sound like him.

    Unfortunately, he's going to find himself out of place in a global market where every day you have to deal with people who don't look, sound , or act like you, and guess what - picking on their accents won't write your paycheck.

  • Every company I have been at has treated its H1B holders fairly and gone out of their way to help their employees to get green cards.

    The problem is the INS: it takes them forever to complete even the simplest administrative processes. This results in a lot of uncertainty and hardship for foreign workers. Of course, the INS itself also has a hard task: immigration rules are highly complex, and the INS is getting mixed messages from the other parts of government.

    If there is any reason not to increase the H1Bs, it is that the INS cannot even handle its current paperwork. Doubling the number of H1B visas means that they will fall even further behind.

  • It would seem many industry exec's don't want to consider hiring older more experienced workers, who cost too much it would seem. It has nothing to do with a lack of workers, and everything to do with a lack of workers at the right price who can work obscene hours without keeling over.
  • Anybody trying to hire programmers and system managers knows that Matloff is simply wrong: there is a shortage, both in the US and around the world.

    As for Greenspun, he is right that most code is poorly written. But H1B holders don't write code that's any poorer than the code US citizens write. And, having seen lots of mainframe code, I can assure him that 1960's mainframe code wasn't particularly good either.

  • As a software dev at an internet company one of the things that I have knowingly given up is the time to have a family, or really much of an outside life.
    Right now I am young and am getting paid very very well for what I do.
    I should be more desirable to an employer than you because I do put in the hours and I get the job done. You act like you have some sort of right to get the same level of respect from your employer as me, even though you get to go home and play with your kids, or whatever your family responsibilities include. From where I sit, that is just bs.

    It's just a fact that there is a lot of competition in high tech and if you can't hang then get out.

    I know of several companies where I could go work right now and my hours would instantly be cut in half. I wound up accidentally working at a company like this when my last company got bought by one of them. I left there for more of a challenge, but these places do exist. The work is not as exciting or high profile, but what do you expect? They only work office hours there.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:28PM (#733405) Homepage Journal
    At 96-1, I don't expect to see this as an issue at tonight's presidential debate, since both parties heartily endorsed this measure, thus casting a huge vote of No-Confidence in the US schools they all lie about fixing. Whores.


    --
    Chief Frog Inspector
  • by spanky555 ( 148893 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @07:34PM (#733412)
    No. It's NOT allowing them to stay here. It's allowing them to stay here for a TEMPORARY time period...big difference. If companies were serious about really needing workers, they'd vie for extensions of TIME to CURRENT H1-B visa holders, not add to the pile of new people coming in, and booting older ones out. That's bollocks. I'm all for immigration, but this is not immigration.

    And humans aren't "capital".
  • by SurfsUp ( 11523 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @02:16AM (#733419)
    I can't believe that the US congress is buying the bill of goods the tech industry is feeding them. H1-B visas are a liscence to import economic slaves - specifically for their natural talent - sounds a little like prostitution, no? Six years is a _long_ time in the technical fields. These people can't advance very far in their careers, because after the six years are up, adios, nice seein' ya, don't let the door hit you on the ass, etc.

    The most alarming thing I've heard about this is that you actually have to apply to leave the country. It's called a 'parole' and if you don't do it or forget to do it even for an hour, you can be barred from ever entering the U.S. ever again like a common criminal.

    If you want a programming job, come to Canada - the pay is almost as good and you will be treated like a human being. You will have a real chance to become a citizen if you want to, and believe me, you will want to. No offense, my American friends, but your INS is killing your karma around the world.
    --
  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @02:17AM (#733420)
    Whether there is a shortage of programmers in the US or not, people who argue against raising H1B caps are making the assumption that restricting the influx of skilled foreign workers will raise the salaries of US workers because of supply and demand.

    But if people can't work in the US, they'll just work for the same companies somewhere else. Every US company I have worked for has locations in Europe and Asia. If their employees have visa problems in the US, they just move the job (and associated budget) to a different country. Welcome to the new, global economy.

    Not only does the US not gain a job from preventing a skilled foreign worker from working in the US, it loses out on tax revenues. And many foreign scientists and engineers make inventions that form the seed for startups and product lines, opportunities that will then go to other countries.

    Skilled immigration into the US is a net gain for Americans: it creates jobs and opportunities for everybody. America's openness to foreigners is at the heart of its current predominance and success in the world: welcome it.

  • I believe some European nations make immigration procedures for US citizens particularly cumbersome, in retaliation for what their citizens have to go through in the US.

    But, yes, European nations generally are not easy to immigrate to. That is, many people don't meet the criteria. But on the whole, my experience has been that if someone is eligible for a work permit or immigrant visa, unlike the US, adjudication is generally fairly predictable, and efficient.

  • They can't be officers of a publicly held company or such, no?

    I'm not sure, but in any case many immigrants are active in closely held companies. I know numerous examples in Silicon Valley where immigrants have been instrumental in getting new enterprises off the ground.

  • Right, that's immigrants - but what about people only here on a temporary visa?
  • Item 1:
    As a software dev at an internet company one of the things that I have knowingly given up is the time to have a family, or really much of an outside life.

    Item 2:
    Right now I am young and am getting paid very very well for what I do.

    Item 2 does not automatically follow from 1. Your employers are not paying you well because you're a swell fella for working like draught animal all day and night. They pay you more because there is a shortage of people whose circumstances allow them to work this way. It's simple supply and demand.

    What the employers who backed the H1-B extension want to do is to have you still work like an animal, but not to have to pay you so much because they can get cheap labor from overseas. In particular cheap workers whom can be treated like indentured servants because they can not only be fired but deported on their employer's whim. Good luck with filing that sexual harrassment suit missy -- from Bangalore.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:34PM (#733436)

    I can't believe that the US congress is buying the bill of goods the tech industry is feeding them. H1-B visas are a liscence to import economic slaves - specifically for their natural talent - sounds a little like prostitution, no?

    Six years is a _long_ time in the technical fields. These people can't advance very far in their careers, because after the six years are up, adios, nice seein' ya, don't let the door hit you on the ass, etc.

    Since this is what, the third? time the limits were increased, it would be apparant to ME that this isn't such a temporary demand, and your American universities are failing to get enough trained, compentent people working. (This of course probably isn't the case, as I'm sure many of you will be posting). Since the demand is no longer temporary, you have a serious problem. Would it not make more sense then given this scenario to offer qualified Engineers / CS grads whatever a green card, and allow them to become permanant citizens? Then you'll solve this "temporary" problem for good. Uh oh! You might find those temporary workers demanding more.. and you can't flush 'em down the toilet any more and blame the big bad INS. Damn.

    There's another interesting arguement here too. If the demand is temporary, does that mean that all these companies are projecting a massive downturn in their own industries? (After all, they're only needing more people for 6 years). Perhaps they should adjust their stock prospectii and inform their investors of dire roads ahead - we're not going to need 200,000 workers in 6 years!

    These arguements are, of course, bunk. We know why they want more H1-B's - they're cheap labour who probably don't understand their rights, regardless of quality, because companies don't want to pay for native talent. Call a spade a spade, fellows.

    For the record: I'm Canadian, and can get a much more perferable visa, a TN-1 - which is a true temporary visa - if I was interested in temporary work, which I'm not. One year sounds a lot more temporary than 6 - enough time to get comfortable, start a family, and get the shaft.

    You want to come to North America and you're skilled? You can get permanant residency in Canada a lot easier, and some would argue it's a lot nicer place to live.

    kudos!

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:34PM (#733439)
    I agree 100%. We need to get these people on green cards and eventually citizenship. In the past, immigrants were encouraged to pursue citizenship. Its time to get back to the cherished notion of an America that welcomes and nurtures immigrants.
  • The systems running airlines now are operating at many times over their rated capacity. They were designed for fractions of the current number of users. Considering that, they are working pretty well.

    I'm not sure what the AOLserver comments were about. It's based on a Tcl interpreter, a common language. There's been fewer bugs in AOLserver and the ACS software than in any random combination of PHP and MySQL systems 1/8th of the size.

    Plenty of people criticize Philip, but we try to be coherent about it.

  • You can't run a company and have an H-1B visa at the same time as a foreign national. You have to be sponsored by the company to get issued one in the first place.

    Sure, there are people of originally foreign origin who are creating and running companies in Sillycon Valley. But they ain't the one's to whom the H-1B visa applies.

    H-1B visas are a kind of indentured servitude. If you think this is a good thing, well, maybe civil rights got pushed back a few years. If memory serves me correctly, I seem to recall that (a) H-1B visa holders get paid substantially less than us citizenry, (b) the visa holder can't piss and moan about it too loudly because they can't move jobs. If that isn't a form of servitude, smack me with a wet Chihuahua!

    -scooter
  • ...and no MORON, it's not because older workers "don't keep up on their skills" or are "too expensive". It's because older workers have a wife and or kids and can't work 70-100 hours per week. Only fresh unmarried college grads and H1B workers with their whole family in a far away land can tolerate such employer abuse.

    Get married? Have a kid? Need to cut back the work hours to "only" 40-50 per week as a responsibility to your family? The you get fired. Yah, that's fair. The H1B visa increase just sanctions this behaviour by employers.

    If employers keep this shit up, we'll see tech unions start to form. Hate unions? Hate the corruption? Hate the politics? Well, you've got your chance to fix things NOW. Get on it. And don't whine when Union leaders are raking your business over the fire later becaue you're blowing your chance to do the right thing now.

  • This is not flamebait. The title may be a bit harsh, but the text is insightful.

    There are a lot of disturbing similarities in the socio-economic and political trends present in contemporary America and those exhibited by Imperial Rome during it's decline. Anyone concerned about the future of the USA should read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [amazon.com] . As the old saying goes: those who forget history are doomed to relive it.

  • Let's face it, the economy has moved to a global level. My company does business with people around the world every day as a matter of course. There's nothing special about it anymore.

    By the same token, the people that work in the industry go where the work is. I work with Europeans who have moved to the US for jobs, Americans who previously have worked in Europe, Japan, and Australia, and so forth. I think the point is that it doesn't matter much any more - the global economy is more important that any one country's labor laws. Hopefully this move reflects that.
  • 5 years as a programmer (mostly consultant) in the corporate world gave me the following insight:
    Everyone's slogan is "Acceptable is enough."

    This is why programming ceased to be an art and is now a simple combination of "requirements gathering, design, coding, testing". In one company they even put a wall, making different people do requirements gathering, database design and programming, often excluding actual developer (me) from the making the decisions on the early stages of the project, and holding me responsible for implementing their stupid decisions, based on the lack of understanding of what programmers do!

    My rant has the following relation to the quote: in 60-th the cost of a computer was enormous comparing to a programmer's salary. Computers were not entirely pathetic, but any significant system should have been designed and implemented not just well but perfectly; otherwise, computers would not be able to handle it.

    In the modern world it is cheaper to buy another server than to hire another couple of programmers; they just throw more iron into a problem to compensate for the lack of quality and efficiency.

    So, the problem lies with the clueless managers and executives.
  • This is a troll, but I'll bite anyway. Right now, the Canadian government cares far more about freedom than the US government.

    Point one, the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (our equivalent of the FCC) has already decided not to touch the Internet in any way, so we don't have any (even attemped) censorship of the net.

    Two, what banning of books? Give some examples.

    Three, those Human Rights commissions are part of the reason why most Canadian businesses can't completely screw over their workers. As for being taxpayer funded, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE PAY TAXES FOR? We pay taxes to the governments so that they can help us, the citizens! That's the whole fucking point of having a government! The Human Rights tribunals *have* to be as independant as possible from politics, otherwise corruption seeps in.

    Four, there is no political repression of the media. Quite the opposite, in fact. Politicians up here *dare* *not* *cross* the media. The politicians may resent the media, but they simply can't touch the media. If a Canadian politician had called a member of the media a "major league asshole" he'd be cleaning his desk out within a week. Rule one in being an elected official up here is "don't piss off reporters".

    Five, immigrants aren't selected based on race. They're selected based on education and personal wealth. Political refugees have to have fairly convincing proof that their lives are in danger if they return to their country of origin. If they feel that the Immigration Board was biased, they can always appeal to the government directly. See point four if you don't think the politicians will care about some poor, innocent repressed refugee.

    And it's not "speach", it's "speech", you illiterate hick. Didn't you ever go to school?
  • Ok, why is it that the only thing Republicans and Democrats can be bi-partisan about is a vote whose main impact will be to increase profits for American companies?

    Seriously, even things which I look at and say, well duh, of course we want / don't want that, the vote is always close. One side makes it an issue, just so they can gain favors due later by voting for something everyone should want....

    This bill is a GREAT thing for companies. This means more people brought in to a certain job market. More people means more competition, and everyone working for less money (basic economics) Companies get the job done at a lower cost, and therefore make more money.

    I am not against the bill...I am just angry that elected politicians are so blatant about getting Big Business on their side, and doing nothing to offend corporations.

  • I'm a big fan of the historical novels of Colleen McCullough, such as The First Man in Rome and others. One of the things that shows up in these historical novels a lot is the phenomenon of the educated Greek slave who had sold himself (it was almost always a him) into slavery for several reasons. While the slave had given up his freedom, in many ways he had made a smart decision:

    1. His life was better than his country of origin, where poverty was a problem.

    2. He could earn money (yes, even as a slave) and eventually hope for manumission(freedom).

    3. If freed (and this was his expectation), he would be a Roman citizen. This meant he would be part of the most important country in the world, be sure to have access to all the great technological advances in the Western World, could vote in elections, and have access to social welfare programs (such as the state wheat that was the right of every Roman citizen).

    But slavery was risky, a slave could have a really bad owner. An owner didn't have to free him, and could have him whipped or crucified. However, despite all this, Rome did not have a shortage of well educated Greek slaves who had become slaves voluntarily.

    I guess that the rewards of possibly getting Roman citizenship and a much better life outweighed the risk of getting a really horrible owner.

  • Basically, it depends which side you see. Probably good for the US, but bad for Canada and some other countries. Canada (I can't say for others) loses lots of highly skilled guys to the US. It's otfen not that much the numbers, but the fact that it's often the best ones. They get offered a better salary (usually 50% to 100% higher if you count the exchange rate), and leave. I don't think I'd be willing to move, even for twice the salary, but unfortunatly not everybody thinks the same.
  • What you, and some other posters, don't seem to understand is that while you may work for a company that treats all of its employees with respect, and follows the spirit of the law, there are other companies that abuse the law and their employees. As an example, AIG dumped its IT staff and outsourced the work to an H1B body shop. See the testimony of Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor, at this page [colosseumbuilders.com].
  • What is an H-1B bodyshop?

    The largest users of H-1B visas are bodyshops. An H-1B bodyshop is a company that specializes in providing H-1B workers to other companies. The H-1B worker is officially remains an employee of the bodyshop, but works at a company site and takes direction from the company's management, and acts like an employee in every way except that the worker gets paid through the bodyshop.

    Most large H-1B bodyshops are either foreign companies or companies owned by immigrants. To quote Secretary Reich:

    "First, it has become increasingly evident that the H-1B program is being utilized by some as the basis for building businesses which are dependent on the labors of foreign workers, in some cases in unfair competition with U.S. workers and those U.S. businesses that employ mostly domestic workers."

    What is the "Bodyshop Loophole"?

    The "bodyshop loophole" is one of the greatest source of abuse in the H-1B program. The law governing H-1B visas is carefully worded so that companies who use H-1B workers supplied through a bodyshop are not subject to the law.

    Lamar Smith's H-1B bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee would have closed the bodyshop loophole. This provision disappeared in the "compromise" version of the bill that was made law.

    Why use H-1B workers?

    Cheap labor. The median salary for an IT worker is $54,000/year (Information Week). That is about 5 times what IT workers make in the countries where the majority of H-1B workers come from. An H-1B worker in the U.S. is invariably making more money that he would at home, even if he is paid substantially less than what an American would. For companies interested in short term cost savings, H-1B workers are attractive.

    Aren't H-1B workers supposed to be paid the prevailing wage?

    The first major problem with the system is that the DoL only checks the labor certification to see if the form is properly filled out. That's right. If the form is filled out correctly, the application will be approved no matter what salarly is put down.

    According to the USDOL, 80% of H-1B holders earn less than $50,000/year. In 1999, the median wage for H-1B holders in computer fields was $47,000. (For comparison, half of all IT professionals make more than $54,000 according to "InformationWeek".)

    Qualcomm uses the H-1B program to pay less than the prevailing wage.

    "Red Herring" Editorial claims cheap labor is a valid reason for the H-1B program.

  • by Baki ( 72515 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @08:55PM (#733470)
    I agree largely (though not with the prostitues part. a prostitute is not necesarily a slave). For me a H1-B would be slavery, but OTOH those who take it, must know for themselves what they're getting into.

    I would never do that and accept such an uncertain status. Indeed I have been considering to go to Canada because it has much better options for visa or permanent residency (though the PR procedure takes long) and I love a cold climate and snow. Here in Europe I'm doing fine, I might be willing to go to the US but why would I give up my security and good income here for a US H1-B visa?

    Instead I moved (from Holland) to Switzerland, where I earn more than I ever could in the US as a contractor, especially as a H1-B contractor. I don't claim I'm unique and the US couldn't do without me, but I am sure the US misses out on some useful people because of their weird policy w.r.t. visas and residency.

    Especially for Europeans which really might contribute to US society and would adapt relatively easy, cause no trouble but add useful skills to US workforce, the US makes it very unattractive to come. Only people from much poorer countries in hopeless situations would accept H1-B's.

    Thus, most imported labour in the IT field come from third world countries. I doubt if that is good for the US in the long run, mostly from India and China. I think it is better for the US to get a more balanced influx of people. But the current visa system makes that impossible.
  • Heh - at the risk of being inflammatory (eh, who am I kidding - it's fun :), we ought to make room for some of these "productive" immigrants by deporting parasitic (doing more harm than good) elements of society.

    It might be an interesting country if "citizenship" was based on merit rather than where you were born or who you were born to.

    Of course, who would take the "rejects"? :)
  • I remember interviewing with a financial services company once. They were offering a nice (but not fantastic) salary. During the course of the interview, they said "Oh, by the way, our normal work week is 50 hours... and we usually work overtime." I told them to get bent.

    A few years later I went to work for a small start-up. The owner was formerly the CTO of another company, broke off and took his circle of cronies with him - I was one of the first outside hires. Again, the pay was good but not fantastic. The owner had a slave-driver mentality -- 12 hour days were the norm. After getting dirty looks and comments made after having only worked 10 hours for a couple days in a row, I quit.

    I don't mind the occasional 18-hour hacking run or firefighting session (even though the after-effects are much worse at 31 then they were at 21), but I do have a major problem with the attitude that some people take that this should be a regular occurance. Programming is a creative process. To write good code you need to be sharp, focused, and well-rested. Tired, overworked programmers write sloppy, buggy code.

    Working more hours does NOT mean you get more work done. If you are working a 12 hour day, how much of that time is spent making personal phone calls, reading slashdot, or other unproductive activities? You would be more productive working a 7 hour day if you spent 6 hours of it actually writing code, with an hour reserved for ESSENTIAL meetings and e-mail. Even before I was married and a (step)parent, I considered my time with family and friends to be far more important than work.

  • To support this guy's claim, I came to the United States when I was 16. Right now I'm 24. So, that adds up to virtually 8 years of being here. I finished high school in Vero Beach, FL, my B.S. in computer science in Orlando, FL at UCF (www.ucf.edu), and started working fulltime in 1997. I looked up some statistics in my college to see how many people in fact take C.S. as their major - the stats I found were very disheartening - out of 30,000+ student body, only about 1100 at that time (in 1996-7) were CS students. I'd say half of those were non-American, and the other half that were American, have come to study CS under the impression that it is all about WWW development, or the internet or writing games (i.e. a-la Quake 3 ;-). As soon as these people hit across courses which are considered core computer science (i.e. CS1,2,3 or discrete structures), half of them get weeded out. I had a friend who could not pass Calculus I 4 times in a row, and finally decided to switch to an MIS major because he couldn't handle the math in the CS program. So, out of 1,100 enrolled, maybe 40-50% of those will live to graduate with a C.S. degree, and half of those who do graduate, still can't tell the god damn difference between a char *, and a char [] in C and don't understand computer architecture well enough to know what byte alignment means on an Intel or what it means on an HP platform.

    So, a natural question arose in my mind (and I'm sure many others' too) - why is it that virtually all graduate students and at least half of the undergrad ones are entirely foreign, on F-1 visas, fighting their way through school, living in ramshackled halfhouses (so to speak ;-) and then later converting to H-1B's and occupying virtually 50+% of the hightech position in the IT industry?

    I have my own explanation as to why this is the way you see it currently - and to state it briefly at first - IMHO - it is a lack of appreciation by U.S. citizens of what their country provides to them and a complete sense of appreciation in people who are coming from abroad, from third-world countries (such as mine, former Yugoslavia), where we were never afforded the same lifestyle that we have here now (well, at least most of us couldn't have the same lifestyle..).

    Why this lack of sense of appreciation is present in U.S. born/raised citizens, and not in foreign people? Is it valid to say that someone who grew up here in the U.S. took many things for granted, whereas the foreign person could only dream of such things? But then, what about people from foreign countries who _did_ have a similar lifestyle in their home country and are "just as lazy" as the math-hating American when they come here (such as myself :)? Do I lack that sense of appreciation because I had a REALLY nice life in Yugoslavia because my parents made far more than the average person? Would an "American bloodtype" citizen that was born in Yugoslavia think like one of these foreigners that invade the U.S. educational institutions/companies now? Would my GPA have been any higher than a 3.0 if I was born in poverty in Yugoslavia rather than well-off? I don't know - one could write a PhD thesis in sociology/psychology based on these few questions - though one thing is obvious even if not completely supported by fact - foreign people tend to be more persistent than Americans born/raised currently in the U.S.

    I'm not going to say foreign born people are necessarily smarter or more intelligent than a U.S. born/raised person. That's highly subjective, as I've seen quite a number of PhD's that are Americans, born/raised here in this country. So, there's an exception to every rule. However, most of these PhD people (let's just call them that for sake of argument) are age 50 or older. What does that mean? Well it may mean a lot of things, but to me it means that the conditions in the U.S. under which these American PhD's were born and raised 30-50 years ago were much different than the conditions that the U.S. is currently experiencing (economic or otherwise). Of course, I know a U.S. born PhD who is 30-something years old from my former university, but he is the only one, to be completely honest, and that, I would assume, is far less PhD (or M.S.) candidates/students/completions than those 30-50 years ago. So, the economic/overall condition 30+ years ago may not have been so rosey as it is now, however, that "grayish" condition long ago made those older math/engineering/physics PhD's (50+ right now) behave more in a "third-world country" manner when it came to their studies. And that meant enduring throughout the course of the study, and not giving up easily, if at all. Of course, this is just one theory of why now foreign people are invading hightech industry/education in the U.S., but I'll stick with it until someone offers a better one, or a more reasonable one. So, have all these economic/technological/societal advances undoubtedly contributed to the lowering of the quality of education (as a parallel issue) and the lowering of the academic morals in majority of U.S. born people with regards to the engineering/math/physics and as of recently (25-30 years or so) the computer sciences fields? If I had to answer this question, I'd have to say, yes, probably so. After all, on the flipside of the enrollment numbers for the CS program, I can tell you that out of the 30k+ students, at least 29% were some sort of business management majors.

    So what does this say? It says (to me at least) that people born here are looking for more and more esoteric, sophisticated professions, such as business management, or other "executive" or management positions within companies. What many of these people that do take bus. management as their major do not realize is when they come to manage a group of "slanteyes", or Hindus or Yugoslavs ;-) or Peruans or Chilleans or Israelis or Palestinians, in the field of software engineering, often times they find themselves at a loss. This especially applies to people who are supposed to handle hands-on programming teams (code monkeys? :) and at the same time communicate the business ideas of those "higher up" the company chain. Without a _solid_, _equivalent_ and even _better_ understanding of the CS/CE/EE areas, they are _bound_ to fuck up sooner or later and drive a department into oblivion, or a smaller company into annihilation as I have personally witnessed this at my former company where we had a highly skilled, and highly educated (the least we had was a B.S. in CS or theoretical physics and highest a few PhDs in C.S.) team of people who produced some _extraordinary_ OMT designs and tons of C++ code to implement those designs, and returned virtually flawless software apps under the leadership of a Jamaican PhD in C.S. nigger (yeah, I'm sure he won't mind me calling him that as I know him so well and he'd know why I called him that - because everyone "loved" him because of his color rather than his merit to the company :) who graduated from a U.S. university with a PhD in C.S. and a M.S. in C.S. and theoretical and applied physics.

    I may have gotten off on a tangent here, but I'm a living proof of where the U.S. educational system is taking its own citizens and where it's taking the foreigners that it lets in on F1's, H1's etc. It is a fact of life, that these business majors who overwhelm most U.S. universities right now can't tell a byte from a bit, yet, they believe they are somehow entitled to producing "Great Ideas" that a software engineer could somehow "not see as clearly as those business people with a vision" for the company's future and its development.

    Unfortunately, this type of company politics, eventually led to my former company's demise, and they are now on the verge of bankruptcy from what I understand from one of their people on the inside, who remained a friend of mine up till now, long after I left the company along with the other 4 brilliant members of our team we called "Borg" :-) because of the highly stable OO code we were able to produce in virtually "no time" fully backed by OMT designs that all of us were required by our Jamaican PhD nigger to write before we ever touched 'vi' to code.

    I don't want to and I won't even get into the kind of racial prejudice that plagued this former company of mine, especially aimed at us, foreigners, who were HARDLY paid a fucking prevailing wage... That would be a WHOLE different ball game for discussion, and would involve going back to the Cenozoic period of humanity, where the male with the darker skin type threw a rock at the male with the lighter skin complexion, and the one with the lighter skin called the other one a nigger, and the nigger than called the whiter one a "racist fucking pig", and that's how it all started to develop "_naturally_" of course, as many people would like to advocate in their sick deluded minds that racism is a natural rather than a learned thing. So, let's just forget about the racial/ethnical diseases that plagued my former company....

    I am sorry I got off on a tangent here, and perhaps a bit off topic, but I believe many people are confused about how H1B's have it in the United States, how they're treated, and why the educational systems in the U.S. are not as good as the foreign ones and why U.S. companies are forced to bring in people from abroad rather than people from inside. Yes, the indentured labor thing is valid - to a certan extent - but then there ought to be something called a national pride that the U.S. should take in its educational system and its products - people who are highly skilled in ALL areas, including CS/CE/EE. That national pride should prevent U.S. companies from hiring a foreign worker in lieu of an American one, at least in MY opinion. I would be _damn_ proud of this country and its educational system, and I'd be blue in the chest from hitting myself if I could say that the U.S. of A. has produced the BEST there is of Computer scientists/engineers/physicists in the whole wide world and I'd be _damn proud_ to have the honor of hiring and paying such a worker what he/she deserves. If Americans woke up from the euphoria they are living in right now which is a result of the high standard of living, and started thinking like what I described above - then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, you will see a complete rebound in CS/CE/EE enrollment the way it used to be many years ago when people valued the technical/engineering professions a hell of a lot more than now, during this "business" frenzy period. If American colleges (especially the undergrad stuff, which now resembles a freeking vocational program in C.S. rather than a real program) produced high quality grads in CS/CE/EE, I'm virtually positive that companies will eventually start to hire a lot more Americans than foreign workers. So, it's not just that they need "indentured" labor, they also need SKILLED labor too. And that is exactly what they're doing, hiring skilled labor. Whether it came from India, or the United States, to a large, visible company like Sun, Microsoft, or Oracle, it would not matter. Most of those people, foreign or not, do get paid the same wages as their American counterparts....

    So, quit whining about "indentured labor", respect the H1B's a tad more than what's been shown by some people on /., get your kids' interest into CS by stimulating their brain from early age, drop the racist/ethnocentric notions, study hard, don't give up, live below your standards... and hell, maybe THIS country will EVENTUALLY live the Borg principle :-).

    I hope some of this was usefull. If you don't like it, then state your opinion if you wish.. I'll be glad to hear it.

    --

  • Does it matter? Besides, what company in their right minds would hire somebody they can't communicate with? It sounds like they would lose a lot of money!
  • ...and no MORON, it's not because older workers "don't keep up on their skills" or are "too expensive". It's because older workers have a wife and or kids and can't work 70-100 hours per week. Only fresh unmarried college grads and H1B workers with their whole family in a far away land can tolerate such employer abuse.

    Get married? Have a kid? Need to cut back the work hours to "only" 40-50 per week as a responsibility to your family? The you get fired. Yah, that's fair. The H1B visa increase just sanctions this behaviour by employers.

    If employers keep this shit up, we'll see tech unions start to form. Hate unions? Hate the corruption? Hate the politics? Well, you've got your chance to fix things NOW. Get on it. And don't whine when Union leaders are raking your business over the fire later becaue you're blowing your chance to do the right thing now.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My company gives raises based on what they think they need to pay to keep employee turnover relatively low. To determine raises, they cooperate with similar companies in the tech industry to generate a salary survey.

    Since the companies will now be able to hire 200,000 more people at entry-level wages, instead of hiring/training existing (higher paid) workers, my raise will be much smaller than it would have been.

    Thank god for the government...the unskilled and uneducated have seen decreased wages over the last 25 years due to competition from overseas, so lets do the same to the highly skilled and educated.

    Oh, and while we are at it, let's send the trained and skilled foreign employees home after 6 years, to ensure that we will have strong foreign competition!
  • And by the way, if you are in the midst of applying for Canadian permanent residency, you have to get permission to leave Canada, just like the US. My experience is that there isn't much difference between the actual rules in the two countries. (Unless you are very rich: Canada has some rules that make permanent residency very easy and quick to get if you bring enough money along.) Canada is, however, a lot quicker about processing things.

    In Canada you are not made to feel like an animal or a criminal by the border guards, um, I meant INS officers. IMHO, that's worth something.
    --
  • The massive importation of slaves to the south _did_ plant seeds of destruction which came to fruition in the south during the republic. Those seeds are still bearing bitter fruit in and beyond the south despite emancipation of slaves and massive social investment. Even so, US protestant fertility rates dominated overall population growth in the US during the 1800s.

    The Roman Republic also had some early importation of slaves, which also contributed to its later reliance on importation of slaves to make up for demographic senesence when its reproductive rates fell below replacement as an Empire.

    The H1B visa surge we are now experiencing is precisely similar to the importation of Roman Empire slaves. Reproductive rates in the US (and of the European West generally) did not fall below replacement as a _structural_ feature of its majority demographies until the European West became an Empire, attempting to maintain its world-wide hegemony despite of its internal ill reproductive health.

  • No, I don't believe my assertion is wrong. You're basing your beliefs on circumstantial evidence from the media. I'm basing mine on the actual costs of hiring an H1-B in a real company. So be careful who you're calling 'wrong' ;)

    It has been "demonstrated" by some (if you believe their numbers rather than industry's) that the IT worker shortage is fake.

    My take is that, regardless of the absolute truth, the companies involved do actually believe that there is an IT shortage, and they want something done about it. Remember that a single company can only find so many potential employees, and more and more it's becoming that the really good ones are not from the USA.

    I'm not laying the blame on the US education system or anywhere else - who knows what the absolute truth is, or what each CEO of each IT company truly believes. But this is what I believe the perception to be inside the industry.

    Like I say, point me to these H1-B workers who are on 1/3 of the salary of a US equivalent. Prove me wrong.

    --
    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.

  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:48PM (#733505)
    Recall back in 1998 when the industry mouthpieces went around claiming that the need for more Visas was just a temporary thing, and that eventually they would train all the American workers to do the same jobs? What happened to that? Apparently everybody (including our illustrious Congressmen) got amnesia concerning that.

    As many people continuously point out, these H1-B workers are essentially indentured labor. They can't switch jobs, they can't ask for more money or more benefits, and they can't complain about working conditions or labor law violations because if they tried to do any of those things, they would be fired and deported instantly, and never be able to come back, since no other company would touch them after an incident like that. Meanwhile, the companies that hire H1-B workers are making out like bandits by paying them less and working them harder than any of their American counterparts, who actually enjoy some bargaining power (being able to swtich jobs, demand better pay and benefits, etc.)

    Yes, yes, all the apologists are going to immediately chime in and say that employers are "required" to pay the same rate for H1-B workers as for their American counterparts, but everyone knows that's bullshit. There is basically zero enforcement of that rule. Employers can and do get away with paying far less than they would normally have to for the amount of work they are getting out of these people. And they can't compain either, because (as mentioned before), they are at the mercy of the company that is employing them. They would be fired and sent home immediately if they ever spoke up about the abuses.

    This is exploitation, pure and simple. Why do you think companies push so hard for these increases? In American business today, there's a simple rule. If an industry wants something, that means it's going to screw people over. So don't give it to them!

  • Yeah, maybe you can find and keep a job. Good for you. But let's take a look at the bigger picture...

    These people are willing to work (or perhaps forced to work) for one third the salary of a U.S. worker. The reason this was voted in is because the high-tech industry wants to flood the job market and lower the wage scale, hence cutting costs. Why voted in by such a high percentage? Because both the democrats and the republicans are in bed with Big Business, and the high-tech industry is no exception. So, sure, you might be able to find a job, if either a) it's worth it to Big Business to pay you 3x more, or b) the wage scale has lowered enough so that it's affordable to hire you.

    I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot more immigrant "code monkeys", but I wouldn't go so far as to say that all immigrants are as lacking in skill as you make them out to be. That's just unfair. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of them are better educated than we are -- the U.S., you remember, has a piss-poor overall education system. It may just be that language and cultural barriers are clouding Americans' perceptions of them; I don't know.

    Personally, I think the only way to fix this is to get large numbers of people to not vote for (as Ralph Nader and others call them) the Republicrats. Vote libertarian, green, populist progressive, whatever, but don't settle for the status quo.
  • we don't have any (even attemped) censorship of the net.

    One word: Québec.

    One poor sucker had the Gestapo^H^H^H^H^H^HQPP break down the door and confiscate his server for the heinous -- HEINOUS, I SAY!!! -- crime of having an English-only website.

    Check your facts, bucko.

    Two, what banning of books? Give some examples.

    *snort*

    You must not lift your head out of the sand more than once a year if you don't know about the constant legal troubles Little Sisters gets into trying to bring in lesbian erotica for instance.

    Exercise: google.com "little sisters british columbia censorship customs". 10 pages of Canadian book banning-related reading pleasure for your detestably, pathetically, ignorant self.

    More annoying to me personally, something like half the catalogue of Paladin Press [paladinpress.com] consists of books the possession of which is a federal offense.

    Check your facts, bucko.

    Hmmm, shall I go on here? ...nah. Suffice it to say, Canada does indeed suck, Glytch has no fucking clue whatsoever, ignore the ignorant nonsense he spews.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    I would have to agree, anyone who can't learn how to communicate with their peers by the time they need to get a job is in big trouble; good communication skills and English would obviously be necessary for a job in America.

    For that matter, anyone who sends e-mail with Microsoft Outlook or sends out their resume as an attached MS-Word document, or develops web pages with a Microsoft product without demoronizing it first *definitely* has a problem communicating with the rest of the (not entirely owned by Microsoft yet) world.

    Unless, of course, you *like* broken MIME attachments, unreadable bloated binary OLE streams of text with attached random hard-drive contents, and undefined UNICODE characters from non-standard character sets, and pandering unsolicited e-mails, or mistake them for "Innovation"...

    Why can't we have a country of standards-compliant people? If we could do that, I'd break ties with Microsoftia, and move to RFCville, right across the way from POSIX-land.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • The market hasn't been too kind to PC, communication, and InterNet companies lately. With 600,000 H-1Bs here already and an equal number to come the next three years, should be an interesting competative time for programmers in the USA.
  • I think it's a bad thing. Not because I'm anti-immigration, because I'm not. I think that the US should accept many more immigrants for permanent residency (green card) than it does - Canada, 1/10th the size, accepts more.

    What this is, essentially, is a ploy by companies to work someone through their technical lifespan, then discard them. After six years, the new technologies that they learned in school are aging if not stale. Rather than retrain, they can send them back to India/Indonesia/China/Russia ...

    (rant on)

    This is one of the great failings of the IT industry. Companies should be recruiting for fundamentals of programming and software engineering. Instead, they recruit for individual technologies, many of which can be learned in a matter of weeks by a competent professional. Programmers bet into this by concentrating on technology rather than proficiency or professionalism.

    Where programming was a legitimate profession twenty-odd years ago, and done by well-educated professionals. Like other professionals, programmers should be able to ply their trade around the world. The current-mind set (which promotes hare-brained schemes like this) risks turning it into a trade, where bare competence on skills rather than problem-solving and thinking is emphasized.

    When you hire a professional, you establish a relationship with them and it's upheld at both ends. You can't hire professionals as a bulk commodity. Unfortunately, large companies and legislators alike seem to think that they can import them as a bulk commodity like so many widgets. No wonder so many software projects fail.

    (rant off)

    A poster above made the argument that an H1-B was a preliminary to him receiving a green card. Good for him. However, this doesn't necessarily generalize. Do many H1-B recipients receive a green card?

    --
  • Except that our present system amounts to indentured slavery. They can import people, pay them WAY under market and abuse them horribly by requiring ridiculous hours. Why?

    Because H-1B people lack the fundamental freedom to vote with their feet. They can't change jobs. THIS is why corporations are so hot and sweaty about the labor shortage. They mean there is a shortage of labor they can exploit unfairly.

    Put them on the same terms as anyone else -- ie, they can go anywhere they like, work for anyone they want -- while they're here and I'm all in favor of unlimited visas. People are a country's best resource, and I'm not afraid to compete toe to toe with anyone from anywhere -- as long as the contest is fair.

    If the slaves, er, H-1B visa people are set free and the corporations STILL gripe about a shortage, then let's raise the cap. As is, a huge chunk of the labor isn't free to move around... so of COURSE there is a labor shortage. Duh.

  • Granted, I don't work in a tech hotbed (Newark, DE) or have super skilled knowledge (Access, VB, SQL), but I was essentially out of work for the past 3 months. When I finally got a job, half the workers there are foreign - and they're applying for another H1-B. I'm sure this maybe great at an overall level - but it really sucked to be out of work. How about helping an American citizen get a job first?
  • A bigger shortage of talent, will mean that management has to think twice before telling their developers to get to work on some half baked idea. I'm sure more than half the work done at the moment is wasted in cancelled projects, or in useless end products.

    Limited resources would encourage better allocation.
  • As many people continuously point out, these H1-B workers are essentially indentured labor. They can't switch jobs, they can't ask for more money or more benefits, and they can't complain about working conditions or labor law violations because if they tried to do any of those things, they would be fired and deported instantly, and never be able to come back, since no other company would touch them after an incident like that.

    Wow. Where did you get that information? I am not here on a visa, I'm actually a US Citizen. I do, however, work for one of the agencies that places H1B contractors (and brings them in from India). I can't count the number of times we've recruited a new programmer because one of our own people came to us and said "My friend is here on an H1B visa with another company but he doesn't like the way they treat him - would you guys apply for an H1B for him so he can transfer to your company?" H1B workers can certainly change jobs, and it is not only possible, but relatively common for a worker to have more than one H1B so he can go with the company that finds him better work.

    I will admit that I have ethical issues with the way this industry is run, and I don't know how much longer I will be confortable doing this job, but it's not necessary to make things up or exaggerate. Arguments from rationality and fact go a lot farther.

    Meanwhile, the companies that hire H1-B workers are making out like bandits by paying them less and working them harder than any of their American counterparts, who actually enjoy some bargaining power (being able to swtich jobs, demand better pay and benefits, etc.)

    I will allow the payment issue is one of the ones that concerns me. "US experience" (if they're only here for 6 years, how much "US Experience" can they have!) and "communication skills" (read: accent) are used as excuses to pay less.

  • by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @04:17PM (#733537)
    Many of the goals of this program are quite insidious...The only positive benefit is long term relationships between the technologically apt people from outside the US and those inside. This is a good thing.

    It also gives people a chance to save some bucks...many more opportunities here for high tech jobs.

    But the dark side...all the lies used to prop this thing up...false employment statistics, targeted wage controls...all this is rather blatant proff of how sickeningly corrupt the USA is.

    My solution is raising the cap on immigration...permanent immigration...and making it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of wealth or education.

    This way, we'd end the abuse, and get lots of doctors, airline pilots, politicians, lawyers, bakers, workers...people from all walks of life. We'd even get some great progammers.

    The whole H1B program is a sickening scam, both on US citizens -- due to the lies used to support it -- to the US programmers who are getting their wages and status held down -- and to the visa holders, who work for cheap, get no assurance they can stay, and the average american who is paying more than they should have to for many union protected fields.

    Not to mention brain-draining the country of origin.
  • Who are these immigrant workers who are paid 1/3 of the American worker's salary?

    Do you know how much money it costs a company to bring someone over on an H1-B? For a company, it is vastly cheaper to find someone in the USA than it is to get someone from abroad.

    Anyway, if you're an American programmer and you can't get a job, chances are that you're the one with the communication problem. I mean, seriously, are there qualified US programmers here who can't find a job?

    --
    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @11:22AM (#733543) Homepage
    lets start with the politicians, then move to the CEO's, then just to be sure, anyone who golfs.

    all golf courses can then be converted to another more productive use; skate parks!
  • by theNAM666 ( 179776 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @03:59PM (#733549)
    Finally Congress has taken action on this issue!

    It is much more economical to give people intensive courses in Chakra or Dubai, then pay them $80K/yr to work 80hr weeks, than educate lazy Americans at expensive institutions like Stanford and Berkeley and then pay them $100K/yr to work 60hr weeks. And the foreigners don't complain too much, rarely know how to sue you over workplace issues, and will probably eventually leave the country -- indeed, if there is a dispute and you have to fire them, they have to get their little asses out of our country in 10 days!

    And now that there are more of them, but the same number of green card slots, I bet they'll work even harder! Aren't they wonderfully competitive and productive, those little slant-eyed ants, those red-skinned wonders! Model minorities! Oh, how I love the dollars they produce! Oh, how many slow Americans can I fire tommorrow?

    Ah, it is a wonderful day, to be an entrepreneur in America, and an even more wonderful time, to be a Company!


    P.S. -- Must remember to send in that 'campaign donation' tommorrow!

  • The New Colossus

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
    - Emma Lazarus

    A good percentage of you are Americans because your ancestors came here in search of oppertunity. Never forget that.

    -----------
  • (Oops, accidental submittal. sorry for the dupe)

    A good answer to this would be to stop corporate subsidies -- the U.S. government actually *PAYS* multinational corporations to exploit foreign labor, in the form of tax breaks, etc. That's why I said we should vote those losers in office out! =)
  • I wouldnt have a problem with it if there WAS a shortage of workers, but thats not the case. Companies want people with 5 years expierence and only want to pay starting wage.

    I keep seeing "Entry level position, 5 years exp. required", and usually the companies are NOT willing to train. The way it looks to me, this is just the government trying to flood the employment market to lower the cost (wages) of IT workers. I think we need a union, as if working 70-100 hours a week isnt enough. This is an ocupation that is expensive to train for, and job security isnt the same as other ocupations as a lot of the jobs are with start-ups and volitile organizations.

    I dont have a problem with foreiners being allowed to work here, but make them get paid as much as we do, and only let them work the hours we do. (They DONT get paid as much as a citizen, if you consider the hours they work)

  • by Naum ( 166466 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @04:08PM (#733571) Homepage Journal

    ... replace older working American programmers with cheaper H1-B Visa programmers ...

    Yes, it is happening ... the shop I work for is now evaluating proposals from several bodyshops - some offshore, some on-shore but still comprised mostly of H1-B imported foreign programmers ... the employees are urged to seek "management" path careers as the trend is to farm out the coding (both support and development to "bodyshops") ... and this has already occurred for many of the departments of the very large company I work for ... it is getting hard to communicate in English - for a global firm that predominately does mostly U.S. business ...

    How is it these clowns (the US House/Senate think they are doing high-tech industry good by this action? They are pandering to the lords of industry ... it sucks ... I will find work - even now, my management is urging the bodyshop to retain some of the "professionals" who know the system well to enable a smooth transition and ensure the same quality support ...

    Make no mistake about it - this is not about a shortage of programmers - it is 100%, absolutely about cheap labor ... and the management in my company makes no bones about it - as their #1 goal is to reduce costs 10% per year in providing systems support/development for the business units ...

    I am so angry ... I have nothing against the talented professionals that wish to perform their craft ... but call a spade a spade ... this charade is infuriating ... I wish there was something I could do - I am only one voice, but as it happens to others, they will feel the same way though most of the country probally could give a rat's ass ...

    These people (US House/Senate, lords of industry, etc ...) are taking the bread out of my children's mouth ... I urge all to read Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Labor Shortage [ucdavis.edu]

    And I'll sign off with some words from Phillip Greenspun in his famous book on web publishing [arsdigita.com] ...

    My personal theory requires a little bit of history. Grizzled old hackers tell of going into insurance companies in the 1960s. The typical computer cost at least $500,000 and held data of great value. When Cromwell & Jeeves Insurance needed custom software, they didn't say, "Maybe we can save a few centimes by hiring a team of guys in India." They hired the best programmers they could find from MIT and didn't balk at paying $10,000 for a week of hard work. Back in those days, $10,000 was enough to hire a manager for a whole year, a fact not lost on managers who found it increasingly irksome.

    Managers control companies, and hence policies that irk managers tend to be curtailed. Nowadays, companies have large programming staffs earning, in real dollars, one-third of what good programmers earned in the 1960s. When even that seems excessive, work is contracted out to code factories in India. Balance has been restored. Managers are once again earning three to ten times what their technical staff earn. The only problem with this arrangement is that most of today's working programmers don't know how to program. Companies turn over projects to their horde of cubicle-dwelling C-programming drones and then are surprised when, two years later, they find only a tangled useless mess of bugs and a bill for $3 million. This does not lead companies to reflect on the fact that all the smart people in their college class went to medical, law, or business school. Instead, they embark on a quest for tools that will make programming simpler. Consider the case of Judy CIO who is flying off to meet with the executives at Junkware Systems. Judy will book her airplane ticket using a reliable reservation system programmed by highly-paid wizards in the 1960s. There is no middleware in an airline reservation system. There is no Microsoft software. There is no code written by C drones. Just one big IBM mainframe.

    Judy changes planes in the new Denver airport. She could reflect on the fact that the airport opened a couple of years late because the horde of C programmers couldn't make the computerized baggage handling system work (it was eventually scrapped). She could reflect on the fact that the air traffic controllers up in the tower are still using software from the 1960s because the FAA can't get their new pile of C code to work--billions of dollars, 15 years, and acres of cubicles stuffed with $50,000-per-year programmers wasn't good for much besides a lot of memory allocation bugs. She could compare the high programmer salaries of the past and their still-working software to the low programmer salaries of the present and their comprehensive collection of bloated bug-ridden ready-any-year-now systems. However, these kinds of reflections aren't very productive for a forward-looking CIO. Judy uses her time at the airport to catch up on what passes for literature among MBAs: The Road Ahead and Dollar Signs : An Astrological Guide to Personal Finance.



  • 1. H1-B employees CAN switch jobs. I know a lot of ppl. who have done it. It just takes 90 days or so to change your visa status. Also most companies, you can work without pay and get that money latter as starting bonus (Standard practice really. 2. Bargaining power.... well if you are good, there is no reason a company would not want to keep you. The market is dying for good talent, trying to find someone who knows their shit well is worth whatever.. i dont think anyone gives a damn about anything else! You just neeed to be reasdy to be flexible. get your facts straight.. H1-b is a little restrictive... BUT not anything like you say.
  • by brewtus ( 239837 ) on Tuesday October 03, 2000 @04:15PM (#733584)
    I am not a xenophobe, I have no problem with people from other countries comign here. But I've seen with my own eyes, these H1-B workers who I have worked alongside of are indentured servants. Why do you think they are sponsored by a company? That company pretty much owns them as long as the H1-B visa lasts. These cheap companies never pay for training or overtime and then turn around and whine that their is not enough skilled workers (who they, of course, want to hire incredibly cheap). I would also say working alongside people who can be deported at the snap of management's fingers is no joy either. By the simple laws of supply and demand, H1-B workers keep tech employees salaries down. I don't think having to work alongside slaves from Asia is helping anybody out, except the top management and rich investors. Certainly not the engineers in the trenches
  • Is it that these brown people who are going to take good American jobs are also too stupid to make their own decisions?
    IF they are are so stupid you wonder why they are able to get these good american jobs.. sorry to start a flame, but simply putting all brown ppl into one bucket is kinda dumb... where are you from anyway ?
  • Actually, especially with the politicians & CEOs (and similar types), instead of kicking them out of the country, I want them around so that I can keep an eye on them and make sure they're not brewing up big trouble for the rest of us. If we kick them out of the country where we can't keep an eye on them, you just know that they'll be back as tin-pot dictators at the head of a brainwashed army of some sort.

    I'd much rather put them into many "Big Brother"-style (which is amusing, considering the proposed occupants) houses & have them under constant surveillance, where the general population can watch them in morbid fascination & come to conclusions about how low elements of the human race can sink.

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