Genuine question here. Companies are supposed to hire local people if they are available and H1Bs only when there are no qualified locals. The question is:
Have any of you ever been hired instead of an H1B because you are local? Have you ever heard of a situation where a company wanted to hire an H1B but ended up having to hire a local person instead because of this requirement?
In my experience, the idea that H1Bs only get hired if there are no locals available is complete fiction. Has anyone ever seen this rule help a local person get a job instead of an H1B?
My company always searches for local candidates and candidates in this country before looking for H1-B's -- hiring an H1B worker is hard, you have to interview them, decide to hire them, *then* wait month(s) to see if you can actually get them a visa. We've lost some really good candidates that either weren't able to get an H1-B in the lottery, or they just got tired of waiting for it to come through and they took a job locally.
Used as it's meant, the H1-B program is very valuable to american businesses and workers -- it helps businesses succeed by giving them the talent they need to start grow. My company was started by a team of 5 - one was an H1-B holder, 3 others were green card holders who previously held H1-B's (those three have since become US citizens), we've now grown to around 250 people, I think around 20% of our engineering team is made up of H1-B workers (all PhD's from well known schools, with degrees in the domain my company specializes in). We have a strong college recruitment program, traveling to about a half dozen USA colleges a year, but we can't find the senior staff we need from American universities alone. Due to my work on our HR system, I can verify that they are paid comparably to our american workers (not even taking into account the higher hiring costs due to the cost to get the visa, relocation costs, etc)
Without the H1-B program, I doubt this company would have ever been founded, or if it was, it would have been based in Europe where most of the founders were from. In fact, we're scouting around for a European office due to the uncertainty in the H1-B program, so we may curtail hiring in the USA as we build up a European engineering team.