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Businesses Technology Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the sources-say-50%-is-nearly-half dept.
theodp writes: "On the day the U.S. began accepting H-1B visa applications for FY2015, Mark Zuckerberg's PAC stepped up its lobbying efforts for more tech visas even as ComputerWorld reported that the major share of H-1B visas go to offshore outsourcing firms that use visa holders to displace U.S. workers. 'The two largest H-1B users,' notes ComputerWorld, 'are Indian-based, Infosys, with 6,298 visas, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), with 6,258.' ComputerWorld adds that food and agricultural company Cargill is outsourcing IT jobs to TCS, including 300 in Minnesota, the home of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, sponsor of the I-Squared Act of 2013, which would allow H-1B visa caps to rise to 300,000 annually."
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  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:17AM (#46637441) Journal
    Management still doesn't understand why you pay for talent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:41AM (#46637519)

    When foreign goods are sold locally cheaper because the foreign government subsidises their farmers, the local farmers are hit hard. The same with finished /consumer goods, local industries get hit. The US keeps pushing developing countries to open up their markets so that US made goods can be sold cheap.
    So may be its always a give-take relationship. Not that I support hordes of H1B displacing US folks, but its almost analogous to what happens in other areas caused by US companies.

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:43AM (#46637527)

    Except when it applies to executive remuneration.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:43AM (#46637529)

    It's not about headcount, it's about costs. US workers won't work for the low wages that the offshore outsourcing firms pay, unless they're very desperate.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:46AM (#46637541)

    There are plenty of STEM workers to fill the available jobs; I think the last figures put a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of workers to roles. There just aren't enough available at the prices these companies want to pay. Hence offshoring: find a cheaper supply of labour elsewhere.

  • by The Mayor (6048) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:59AM (#46637567)

    This is exactly correct. Plus, H1B visa holders are tied to the company that issues the visa. If they leave the company, they must return to their home country. Tech companies like Facebook like to have such indentured servants.

    H1B visas serve only to drive down wages for US employees. Additionally, they end up training foreign talent that are later kicked out of the country (after 3 or 6 years, depending upon whether the visa is renewed). They don't help the nation's interests, nor the public's interest. They serve only to increase the profit margins of the large firms.

    Get rid of the H1B, and increase the green card slots available to foreign workers, especially the Indians. I've very pro-immigrant, but the H1B visa only provides for indentured servitude.

  • Ya know ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:10AM (#46637593)

    ... Klobuchar is a Democrat. And these tech CEOs are noted "progressives".

    It seems that they think that paying low wages is a great idea ... for them.

    Other businesses, mind you, we have to mandate that they pay their employees more. And claim that this will have no effect on the bottom line.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:14AM (#46637605) Homepage
    Instead of increasing H1b's which are abused by offshore firms, make a new category for foreigners who hold a graduate degree from a top US school. The US has by far the best Universities in most areas, but the best foreign students often leave the US because of the very restrictive H1b Visa system (employment-tied, application only on April for October start, dependents not eligible for work etc). Why provide world-leading education and then let the best talent go?
  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:08AM (#46637709)
    The people that make the decisions don't care what happens in 10 - 20 years; They'll be retired at 50 with £X,000,000 in the bank and a new Ferrari every three months.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:21AM (#46637747) Journal

    If you are tiny country or have small population yes it makes sense to bring in talent. When you are the 21st century USA with a plenty big population to fill most roles and a University system that is still considered among the worlds best, no I don't think it makes much sense at all.

    How do reconcile a pro-education social policy with labor and economic policies that are opposed to developing your own talent?

    The idea the USA *needs* to import tech workers is pure farce. If anything USA needs to put much tighter controls around the use of foreign labor. We should treat labor like any other import, wages paid to foreign workers ought to be taxed heavily. So if a company really really does *need* to bring someone in they *can* but would be heavily discouraged from doing so in other cases. There should be payroll taxes on foreign workers working for US companies in foreign countries as well, although these should be a much lower rate.

    Real Immigration on the other hand isn't a problem. If people want to come here, have families here, live here as residents and be citizens; great! Then they are our people, attracting good talent is an investment in our own country.

    Its pretty rare that I advocate taxing anything, but imports are an exception, I think we should go back to funding the operation of government primarily through import tariffs and foreign labor should no exception.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:40AM (#46637813) Journal

    How do H1B visas drive down wages when it's vastly more expensive to hire an H1B than to hire a local? That's the part of the anti-H1B thing I just don't get.

    There are some significant costs associated with hiring, however once they're hired you only have to pay them the prevailing wage for the industry. This sounds good, but 'the industry' can be interpreted very broadly, so when you're hiring someone to do realtime C programming they count as being in the same industry as a guy who dropped out of high school and writes PHP. They're also in a very weak position when it comes to bargaining, because if they lose their job they have a very short time to find another sponsor for their visa before they are deported.

    If you want to avoid this, the solution is to offer a full work permit to anyone who has skills in one of the shortage industries, so they can go to the US and work at the real (i.e. defined by the market, not defined by some fixed spreadsheet) prevailing wage. Immigrants don't depress wages when they expect the same standard of living and have the same bargaining power as their native colleagues.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:42AM (#46637821) Homepage Journal

    How do H1B visas drive down wages when it's vastly more expensive to hire an H1B than to hire a local?

    It's not - how on earth did you get that idea? The rules say it's supposed to cost the same, but in practice the H1B worker is much cheaper for the vast majority of companies that use them.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:01AM (#46637899)

    primarily through import tariffs

    The unintended consequences of such a thing on Sugar and Steel completely fucked up both industries, manufacturing, and the health of your countries children. It's an axe to be wielded with care. Overprotection of an industry can lead to putting it on permanent life support, a slow decline, and malign effects on industries that depend upon them.
    In case you haven't heard of these examples before, manufacturing moved to where steel was cheaper and expensive corn syrup ended up being cheaper that cane sugar.
    There's other things that can go wrong with your suggested approach. Byzantium gave it a try up until 1204AD.

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:29AM (#46637993) Journal

    You say that like you don't believe it. Well it is true. Except you have to understand that your work has to creath value in order to accumulate wealth. Doing eveything twice because you screwed up the first time usually doesn't make you lots of money but you sure would be working hard. Now doing everything twice as fast and correctly will if your salary is not locked by a contract or union.

    Sometimes you have to change jobs to see the money too. A whopper flopper is going to ve limited in tge amount of pay a lot more than an assembly worker at a factory that gets a base pay plus peice work . Eventually, you may even need to change jobs again when your potential is maxed out.

    I'm not fox news but you can believe me. If you work hard and create value, you can make a lot of money

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:36AM (#46638027) Journal

    I am an American, but I was not born inside America. I am a naturalized American - so I think I might have something to add to this H1-B debate.

    First of all, the entire H1-B scheme is ludicrous but it was a necessity, because the immigration system for America is totally fucked up.

    What America needs (and what the world needs) are talents, *REAL* talents, but the American immigration laws have been fucked up, thanks to the liberals.

    Now, as I have already mentioned, I am a *NATURALIZED* American citizen - which means, I also went through the official immigration channel to obtain my American citizenship. The only difference is that I got it some 30-odd years ago.

    At that time, migrating to America wasn't easy - especially for non-Whites. One can say that it was "biased against the non-Whites" (if you prefer to look it that way) but what I see (and I have been through this) is that the process in that time, yes, *VERY TOUGH* for Asians, but that had a very strange side effect --- *MOST OF THE ASIANS ACCEPTED AS CITIZENS BACK IN THOSE TIMES WERE REAL TALENTS*.

    And after those Asians (me included) got their citizenships, they re-invest in the American society, starting businesses or invent new stuffs - and in the process, most of the Asians who obtained citizenship created *MORE JOBS FOR THE AMERICANS* after they have become citizens.

    But as I said - the immigration system has been TOTALLY FUCKED UP - and it is so bad now that if one Tom, Dick, or Harry gets his citizenship he can legally *IMPORT* an entire *CLAN* into America.

    Now I am not going to talk about other races who got into America - I am a Chinese, and I will only talk about Chinese.

    Last time, most Chinese I know lived in Chinatown. Most of them worked very very hard, earned enough money and they put their second / third generations through college.

    Today, most of the Chinese from back then, who still stay in America are professionals. They are bankers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, business persons, and so on.

    Those Chinese are in contrast with the *NEW CROP* of Chinese who are coming into America.

    Most of the new crop of Chinese who are going to America are *REJECTS* from China - in a way, I was a "reject from China" too, back then, but I digress - what I am saying is this --- these Chinese coming into America are not the typical hard working type, not those who can use their body as well as they use their mind.

    I have seen with my own eyes how some of the new crops of Chinese immigrants into America are doing - they are abusing the welfare system.

    Last time when I first came to America, the Chinese, even the very poor ones, refused to apply for any welfare aid, because to them, "welfare" means "beggars", and those Chinese preferred to work their ass off, day after day, struggling through lives with meager wages, and *STILL* refuse to apply for any kind of welfare aid.

    The new crops of the Chinese immigrants to America ? Huh !

    As soon as they are eligible for *any* kind of welfare aid, they make sure they get it, because, to them, if everybody is abusing the system, and if they don't, that would be *STUPID*.

    No more dignity, everything comes down to "what I can get from the system", not "what I can contribute to the system".

    Do *NOT* get me wrong, though.


    Which means, no matter how much these new crops of Chinese immigrants abusing the welfare system, they still end up contributing to the system *FAR MORE* than what they got from it.

    As for other groups of immigrants, I have seen worse !

    I have seen Muslims who came from Morocco or Egypt or Turkey or India or one of those "stan" countries have as many as 10 children.


    And they have no work.

    They do not need to.

    The American welfare system *PAYS THEM WELL*. With their 10 children, they got all the money they get, p

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:39AM (#46638047)

    The visas issued to Infosys may be used to displace existing US tech workers, but those displaced workers are then available for Facebook to hire.

    No, because Infosys uses the H-1B's not just to replace American workers, but to facilitate offshoring. The H-1B's already know how the company works in India, fewer problems from language and cultural differences, etc. Most importantly, the Infosys H-1B's know that if they do a good job on their tour of duty here, they'll be rewarded when they return to India. The Indian Commerce Minister has publicly called the H-1B the "outsourcing visa".

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:22AM (#46638345)

    There are still good jobs for American tech workers, in America.

    Just wait until we hit the next economic bump.

    When wages really get depressed, Americans will stop studying for tech. Then US employers will point to the declining enrollment and scream that Americans are too stupid, and lazy, to study tech subject. The only answer will be to import more visa workers.

    The more visa workers the US lets in, the more US workers will feel out of place in their own work environments. Then it will get easier to offshore tech jobs for even bigger savings. Then, due to technology transfer, foreign companies will take over - this is already happening in China.

    If you think things are bad now, just wait for about ten years.

  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:30AM (#46638429)

    A good amount of management salary is based on performence/ percentage of profits and stock options

    That has been blatently untrue for years as boards practice "repricing" and back-dating of these ostensible stock options []

    Those practices of making stock options into can't-lose forms of compensation haved moved them squarely out of the category of "pay for performance".

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:47AM (#46638543) Journal
    However, he is correct that the system is fucked up. We desperately need to change our immigration laws back to allowing only talented ppl (i.e. skills that we need), their immediate family (spouse and kids), and kill off the H1-Bs.
  • by kcdoodle (754976) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:56AM (#46638617)
    Lets issue another 535 H-1B visas, take the first 535 people off of the streets in New Delhi and replace congress with them.

    I bet they would come to every session, special investigation, ad-hoc committee and all have perfect attendance. They would probably do a MUCH BETTER job, since there would be little in-fighting, and they would not be indebted to some controlling political group.

    Just a thought...
  • meanwhile... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tatman (1076111) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:17AM (#46638843) Homepage
    Americans looking for work remain unemployed.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:51AM (#46639193)

    He wasn't totally clear about it, but he pointed to several big problems:
    1) the policy that one immigrant can bring in his entire extended family
    2) policies that allow immigrants to come in and then get welfare benefits instead of contributing to the system
    3) policies which don't seem to favor immigrants with talent whatsoever

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:52AM (#46639197) Homepage Journal

    Ah, a political bigot. Thanks for putting that up front and saving me the effort of reading any more. Next you'll be telling us how Obama caused your erectile dysfunction.

    Which is a shame, because his post was spot on. We used to import the best and brightest, and now we import whoever has a pulse and is willing to do the job for 20% less money.
    The people that we used to import had PhDs, and had knowledge that was rare in the workforce. Now, we import people who do grunt work for which any number of unemployed Americans have the skill and knowledge to do.

  • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlowery (47102) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @01:17PM (#46640755)

    "I'm not fox news but you can believe me. If you work hard and create value, you can make a lot of money"

    Scientists work hard and create a lot of value and generally do not make a lot of money.

    Many good teachers work hard and create a lot of value, but do not make a lot of money.

    Many engineers work hard and create a lot of value, but do not make a lot of money.

    Many paramedics work hard and create a lot of value, but do not make a lot of money

    Many truck drivers work hard and create a lot of value, but do not make a lot of money

    Many people who put family ahead of working hard create value and do not make a lot of money.

    If you think a person's value to society is directly tied to the amount of money they make, then you need to go soak your head.

What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.