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Silicon Valley Presses Obama, Congress On Immigration Reform 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the 9/10-corporations-agree dept.
walterbyrd sends this excerpt from the LA Times: "In a rare show of unity, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer were among a coalition of high-profile executives and venture capitalists to send a letter on Thursday to President Obama and congressional leaders pressing for a fix to restrictive immigration laws by year's end. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors and executives are also planning a virtual "march" on Washington in April. 'Because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas,' the letter says. 'Some do not bother to come in the first place.'" The letter also offers these suggestions: "We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards. In addition, spouses and children should not be counted against the cap of high-skilled immigrant visas. There should not be a marriage or family penalty."
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Silicon Valley Presses Obama, Congress On Immigration Reform

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    IT workers not realizing they control the means of production

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Coming from the greedballs like Melissa Mayer, Bill Gates, John Chambers and the rest of that crowd who PROFIT by encouraging this race to the bottom. It's disgusting, and a blatant betrayal of the American worker.

      Here are some references that *accurately* put the lie to the claims made by these lying SOBs. Does that sound harsh? It's meant to. These so-called "American leaders" are betraying the very workers who helped them make their unreal wealth. They need to be called out.

      http://www.epi.org/publication

  • ageism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:31AM (#43189945)

    If they didn't refuse to hire anyone over 40, they wouldn't have a problem...

    • Re:ageism (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:40AM (#43189987)

      If they didn't refuse to hire anyone over 40, they wouldn't have a problem...

      If people over 40 could put in the 60+ hour weeks needed to for US firms to stay competitive in the global market, instead of whining about needing to spend time with their families, then maybe they'd wouldn't lose out to younger people in hiring.

      • Re:ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:12AM (#43190147)

        If people over 40 could put in the 60+ hour weeks needed to for US firms to stay competitive in the global market

        If US companies *need* to force techies to put in the 60+ hour weeks to stay competitive, perhaps they're doing something wrong.

        • by Tuoqui (1091447)

          Exactly... if you have 2 people working 60+ hour weeks then you really need to hire another person. Except that business doesnt want to hire more people because they're cheap bastards.

          Despite all things pointing to the fact that overtime hours (more than 40 in a week or more than 8 in a day) contribute to reduced productivity. So those hours that people are getting paid 1.5x their pay are actually the hours they're usually least productive... If only the bean counters would realize that.

          Also if they did th

          • Re:ageism (Score:5, Funny)

            by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @02:22PM (#43191913)

            Fortunately IT people are legally excluded from overtime laws, so those extra 20 hours actually come for free. We can milk them for all they're worth, and since everyone is doing it we also maintain a job shortage so they're afraid to leave. I don't understand why the IT people don't appreciate our brilliant strategy, there's no down side!

      • Re:ageism (Score:5, Informative)

        by novium (1680776) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:48AM (#43190315)

        Except study after study has shown that a 60 work week produces about as much as a 40 hour work week. Productivity goes through the floor the longer the hours get. So there's nothing to gain. (With the exception of one-time, short-term periods of longer hours, but it's not sustainable after a week or two).

        • Not true (Score:2, Insightful)

          by rsilvergun (571051)
          for a small sliver of the population. That's why these immigration programs are so great for companies. There's a small group of people that are fully productive working 60 hours a week. Thanks to the H1B program you're competing head on with all of them at once.

          I tell ya, what we IT people need is a Super Pac. If everyone that touched a computer got together and pitched in $5 bucks a month in we'd at least be able to buy some House reps, maybe even a senator. If that's how the game works, I say we start
        • Except study after study has shown that a 60 work week produces about as much as a 40 hour work week.

          Can you provide some citations for your "study after study"? A Google search returns lots of people repeating this "factoid", but none pointing to any actual research.

          I have seen research that shows productivity per hour will drop with long hours, but that is different from an absolute decline, and even that was for hours far in excess of 60 hours per week.

      • And yet, most other nation's workers do NOT put in 60 hours.
        • And yet, most other nation's workers do NOT put in 60 hours.

          Very few other nations [wikipedia.org] come close to our standard of living either. In particular, no other nation even comes close to the success of America's software industry.

          • GDP is a very misleading metric, because it is the average of produced wealth across the entire population. If you want to see how the nation's workers fare, look at median income, and adjust for purchasing power, taxes, and services that those taxes buy.

            And if you do all that, US is actually not all that good in terms of standard of living compared to other developed countries.

          • That only because you mesure your standard of living by how rich are the richest people in your country. I mesure it by how much i get to enjoy my live before i even retire. And of course health care ;) I have it. Even after i am fired.
    • Re:ageism (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:59AM (#43191069)

      If they didn't refuse to hire anyone over 40, they wouldn't have a problem...

      The problem with "over 40" techies, is that they mostly fall into two groups. The first group have learned with experience, have continued to educate themselves, are good at passing on their knowledge through advice and mentoring, and are invaluable members of any team. The second group are grumpy curmudgeons with stale skills, but still think they should be paid extra for "seniority". The problem is that the first group rarely needs to find a new job, and when they do, they can tap into a deep network of contacts. So almost any "over 40" techie that responds to an web-ad for a job is going to belong to the second group.

  • At the same time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maroberts (15852) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:40AM (#43189977) Homepage Journal

    ...the US has a problem with high levels of employment.

    Why can't these firms set up educational establishments to train US citizens to the skill levels they need? Or have apprenticeships? Or....

    Actually I think it seems a cynical way to keep labour costs down, so perhaps companies ought to be allowed to hire from overseas providing they demonstrate they're paying that worker 25% more than a US citizen would earn in the same role.

    I'm not a US citizen, but I think this, like offshoring is a way of trying to force labour costs down. Paradoxically I think you want labour costs up, as increasing the affluence of the lower/middle classes creates a larger market for your goods.

    • really it's not. I don't understand why people get confused and bemused when they see Capitalism as it's always been doing what it always has.

      Australia OTOH, a largely socialist country, just voted a guy in on a platform of job protection.
      • Uh... "capitalism" has nothing to do with lobbying Congress and the President to change immigration policy. Capitalism is an economic system. What you're talking about is politics.

        Have they been mixed together? Yes. But it is easy to demonstrate that the mix is largely unhealthy (and a sharp deviation from true capitalism).
  • The brain drain is hurting the nation that the educated immigrant left behind (e.g. that immigrant is not filling positions nor creating opportunities in their homeland).

    The immigrant is taking opportunities from educated Americans and likely reducing the potential wages of that educated American.

    • replacement?

      This is also pushing Americans away from the tech field. Which will, eventually, cost the US it's technological edge.

      If you want Americans to be attracted to engineering jobs, provide jobs for them.

    • The brain drain is hurting the nation that the educated immigrant left behind

      Wrong. The immigrants are leaving their countries of origin because the opportunities don't exist there. Undeveloped and/or socialist economies do an extremely poor job of utilizing the skills of their citizens. These countries benefit more by exporting skilled labor, and receiving remittances, and eventually (once they reform their economies) benefiting from the connections their emigres provide.

      The immigrant is taking opportunities from educated Americans and likely reducing the potential wages of that educated American.

      Wrong again. This is just a version of the Lump of Labor Fallacy [wikipedia.org]. Real economies don't have a fixed number

  • ...hasn't learned the lessons that manufacturers and call center managers have learned?

    That seems odd.

    • by tqk (413719)

      ...hasn't learned the lessons that manufacturers and call center managers have learned?

      They've forgotten more than we mere "help" have learned. Such as supply & demand, "You get what you pay for", & etc. They'll proudly throw $117 million at their CEOs, yet it would usher in the Apocalypse if they were to toss a few thou to those doing actual work. My last client couldn't ship my position off to Brazil fast enough, yet I was brought in to fix something their existing staff were afraid to touch for fear of breaking it. There's some serious reality distortion affecting management t

  • The current state is a really bad deal. The smart ones realize this and stay away (well, that and the US looking more and more like a fundamentalist state...). Hence the quality of foreign workers drops and they cannot be used to depress the wages of the US workers so easily anymore, which of course is bad for corporate US, but good for US citizens looking for a job.

    Just look at who complains and the story becomes pretty clear.

    • Look. I work in a major US tech company and am involved with hiring from a technical level, and I can tell you first hand that the quantity of quality people in North America IS lacking. Out of all of the employees you hire, maybe 1 of the 10 is the rockstar you need for your project... the rest are OK, sure, but when you are working under tight timelines and need creative solutions on a global stage, you don't need a bunch of churned-out code monkeys, you NEED those rock stars.

      This is NOT about cheap labor

      • by russotto (537200)

        Look. I work in a major US tech company and am involved with hiring from a technical level, and I can tell you first hand that the quantity of quality people in North America IS lacking. Out of all of the employees you hire, maybe 1 of the 10 is the rockstar you need for your project... the rest are OK, sure, but when you are working under tight timelines and need creative solutions on a global stage, you don't need a bunch of churned-out code monkeys, you NEED those rock stars.

        You're managing to hire 10% "

  • by headhot (137860)

    How about hiring some americans at competitive wages, instead of indentured servants?

    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      Why is it these tech companies are always in favor of anything that helps their profits in the guise of helping others?
  • Globalisation is something we don't all get to benefit from. It about letting immigrants, generally from poor countries, come to a western country and probably working for poor wages. He'll be ok with that because we have clear water and hide our poverty away better, right?

    But we still get web sites, films, games, etc divided up into regions. Why can't I take advantage of globalisation and buy games from anywhere? Why is it harder for an American to go to Hong Kong and take a job where he may be needed m
  • " include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards."

    How about objective *tests* for these positions that supposedly there are no competent citizens available to perform?

    If no citizens can pass the test, and H1B candidates can, fine, let the H1B candidate win.

    The bogus thing is, the H1Bs hired by pimp contract agencies aren't the best available, they're just the whores that the pimp with the employment contract happens to own, and indentured servants who you can kick out of the country if they di

    • by lgw (121541)

      Facebook certainly uses objective tests for hiring developers. Most big-name software houses do, but Facebook was the most objective of anyplace I've ever interviewed. Their screening process is entirely "write working code on a timer that produces exactly the specified output", and they set the bar quite high.

      Personally, I think they're far too focused on people who memorize language trivia and can write perfect code without an IDE, but for damn sure they're using objective tests.

      While most of the big so

  • Of course it will be a virtual march for them:

    Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors and executives are also planning a virtual "march" on Washington in April.

    They will be underpaying highly skilled immigrants to march for them.

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:23AM (#43190213)
    In the last three months, our company has hired THREE H1B employees, one being a programmer. They had to post the jobs, so I got to see the salary ranges.

    'Less restrictive' is code for 'lower paid'. There are plenty of out-of-work US citizens that could have done these jobs, but if they hire H1B, they can pay less and keep them longer because of the sponsorship requirement. I was able to review resumes for one position, and there were definitely capable US citizens to do these.

    I'm not against hiring talented, smart, folks. I'm not even against companies paying less and driving down wages if it makes products cheaper.

    I am against lying about why they are doing it. Just be honest, and admit Mr. Zuckerberg that you just want to hire people you can pay less money.
    • by swillden (191260)

      In the last three months, our company has hired THREE H1B employees, one being a programmer. They had to post the jobs, so I got to see the salary ranges.

      Can we assume you've reported your company's illegal behavior to the INS?

      • you think labor laws are enforced. IBM got caught and nothing happened. What? You thought that 30 years of tax cuts would have no consequences? None of the labor regulators are funded. They exist on paper only. There's no money to hire anyone. In your zeal to cut bureaucrats, red tape and waste you've only succeeded in making the world a worse place. Those bureaucrats did good work, the red tape held back a tsunami of evil business practices and there never was that much waste to begin with when the entire
        • by CncRobot (2849261)

          Thats cute, you think a national budget of $3.8 Trillion isn't enough to fund something like that. How much does the federal government need before it will fund that? $5Trillion, $10 Trillion?

          4 years ago we spent $850 Billion on "infrastructure" and "shovel ready jobs" because the infrastructure needed $1.2 Trillion in fixing up at the time. Today we need $2 Trillion. How much of that $850 Billion went to where it was promised to go? None.

          Why do you think giving them MORE money will fund something that

    • > I am against lying about why they are doing it. Just be honest, and admit Mr. Zuckerberg that you just want to hire people you can pay less money.

      Why would an entity(corporation) 'admit' something like that ? What you expect them to say ? Something like this:

      - We won't hire expensive local people. We want easier access to poor submissive {indians, pakistanis, etc.} so we can make them work harder and give them less money for it, which in turn maximizes our profit. ... be real.

      Why people by default thin

  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:34AM (#43190567)

    What they are doing is importing cheap skilled labor willing to work for below market rates. They are trying to cheat the free market of supply and demand within the United States. The is no shortage of people able to do the job. There is a shortage of people willing to work at half the market rate in a slave type manner.

    I will agree that the laws are outdated. Congress shouldn't be limiting by artificial numbers but rather by the going market rate of employees. Lets start at 25% over the market rate and have it exponentially increase from there.

    We should start a web sites for tech workers looking for work and their qualifications and then the companies have to prove why there are not hiring these Americans. They should be forced to show why they let go of past employees and how they could not perform the task that some imported worker could.

    I would in fact favor laws that forced companies to hire and spend money proportionately from all the countries in which they derive their income. If Facebook makes 90 million a year from France then it should be obligated to spend at least half of that in that country and have a proportionate number of workers (total salary) not only from that country but actually in that country.

  • reform higher EDU / more trades based schools / apprenticeships?

    Right now we have lots college who are turning out people who have skills gaps do the over load of theory that can be over kill for most jobs.

    The Trades / techs schools get passed over even when at some of them you can learn more in 2 years then you do at a 4 year school.

    Also in tech there are lot's things where you need to work hands on to learn and that is where a Apprenticeship system can work good.

    Some of the H1B's only have paper skills /

  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:28AM (#43190901)

    Whichever side of the issue you stand on, it's worth noting that arguably the most prominent signatories to this letter and/or the companies they represent - Intel and Google - came under fire for allegedly secretly conspiring together to block worker mobility ("The no-hire paper trail Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt didn't want you to see [theverge.com]"), so a cynic might suggest perhaps they're not quite as concerned with labor's free-and-natural-flow when it doesn't suit their needs. Also, Ireland seems to be finding that importing tech labor isn't quite the rising-tide-that-lifts-all-boats that it was cracked up to be ("Ireland too scared to tax big tech, Let the poor eat potatos") [techeye.net], "Google paid only £5.6m tax despite £10bn turnover"). [independent.ie]

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:10PM (#43192929)

    So now you've got a choice. Ship cheaper workers in (the lesser evil), or ship jobs overseas, and never punish corporations for doing so. Happy unregulated market. Is there nothing you can't do? Of course, you voted for it in your 20s, when you weren't going to be the person with obsolete skills that got laid off, before you had a spouse and kids. Before you got sick and got the hospital bill that bankrupted you. Before you were conned into buying an overpriced house because you actually were stupid enough to believe the value would keep going up, forever. Before you decided that the benevolent Wall Street geniuses would make stock markets go up forever, and never down. Before you were bought the oil company line that gasoline would always be cheap and plentiful. Before you realized that companies wrote contracts that allowed them to change the terms of your retirement health care at will. Before if finally soaked in that laws are purchased for corporations, not voted in for the benefit of the citizenry. Before it dawned on you, finally, that you might not be the big winner in the casino of capitalism.

    You, who voted for Reagan. For Bush, and Bush again. You voted for it. You got it.

    So, enjoy the increasingly unregulated, conservative, free market capitalism you ranted about in your 20s as it comes back to bite you ever so slowly and painfully in the ass.

    I will now sit back and wait for the legions of morons who will tell me this is all the fault of over-regulation, liberals, muslims, taxes and evil spirits. We've all heard it all before. Have at it.

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