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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers 441

theodp writes Following up on news that the White House met with big biz on immigration earlier this month, Bloomberg sat down with Joe Green, the head of Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.US PAC, to discuss possible executive actions President Obama might take on high tech immigration (video) in September. "Hey, Joe," asked interviewer Alix Steel. "All we keep hearing about this earnings season though from big tech is how they're actually cutting jobs. If you look at Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, why do the tech companies then need more tech visas?" Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster. "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge," Green said. "Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture," he added. "The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

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  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:33AM (#47729111)
    When Google offered me a job, I could not believe how little they wanted to pay me. 67% of what I was making at a megabank doing a small amount of very high level innovative stuff, but mostly brain-dead SOAP integrations and listening to conference calls.

    That is why I laugh when I get a recruiter or ex-coworker that tells me I should go work at amazon or yahoo or netflix. The bigger the name, the bigger the h1bribe pool, the lower the salary.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:35AM (#47729147)

    So that means that tech workers from abroad are better than tech workers here? Well, that must then mean that schools abroad are better than schools in the US because, hey, where would they get their knowledge from. And that of course must mean that we'd also find much better managers in India and Pakistan than we can find here, for obviously the same reason.

    I fail to see a lot of H1B visa applications for CEOs, though? I really, really wonder what could possibly be the reason. I'd really want to work for a great CEO for a change, I can tell ya. I mean, when we all want to work with superior colleges, I can only assume that we would all just outright LOVE to work for a superior CEO!

  • To the employer that is a huge form of merit that can easily outweigh others!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @11:23AM (#47729667)

    Speaking as an H1B worker at one of the major tech companies, I can tell you right now that I'm anything but indentured. If you have {Apple | Facebook | Google | Microsoft} software engineer on your CV, you are not going to have trouble finding a job, willing to offer you another H1B, at the drop of a hat (in fact, you tend to receive dozens of emails from recruiters every single day). There's no issue at all with feeling like you're locked into one company, other than the normal golden handcuffs that large tech companies give you ofc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @11:52AM (#47730055)

    While not direct, this is already effectively the case. When an employer needs to bring in an H1B worker they end up shelling out huge amounts for lawyers fees, moving expenses etc. It is not a cheap option to hire H1B workers. Quite the opposite in fact.

    Nope, the company uses one of the big Indian firms who bring in H1B in mass. They contract the H1B and pay 50% to 75% of the standard contract wage, the contracting company then kicks back 50% of it to the company hiring the contractor and pays the contractor $10 an hr. They also use various methods to keep the contract price down like classifying the contractor as a "Systems Admin" but then working them as a programmer. This is done because (in my area) the prevailing wage of a system admin is $57,000 a year compared to the prevailing wage of a programmer which is $100,000 a year.

    I have also noticed that the Indian contractors will put in 80 to 90+ hours a week while only reporting 40 as the contracting firm promises to make it up to them once they get home. I actually had an Indian counterpart tell me this once.

  • Here's an example of how one company apparently applies that "no American available" policy:

    Now I am working in an American multinational here in the United States, and I find that every last person working for me is an H1B temp work visa holder. There are zero Americans on my staff. In addition to that, we recently had to fill 3 more headcount in my group. My boss instructed me that due to 'budget' that we were to go to our India sourcing department and they would arrange for contractors to be sent in from offshore (India). It would take about 1 month for their visas to be arranged and for them to be on site (in Raleigh North Carolina). Though our Applicant tracking system is overflowing with applications by Americans (including probably some of my own old ones), we didn't even look at those before bringing in the H1Bs. The corporate law firm arranges this, gives the 'no Americans can be found' stamp of approval and the temps are flown in with expedited Visas (H1B or other temp type visas that they use until the H1B is approved). I mentioned this to a couple of my coworkers, and I was discretely told to be quiet about it if I knew what was good for me and didn't want to 'expire' myself.

    What to Do When My US Company Won't Hire Americans? []

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @12:36PM (#47730459) Homepage

    Exceptional workers don't need H1Bs. H1Bs are not designed to bring talent to the US; they're (ostensibly) designed to meet a temporary demand that cannot be adequately met by the domestic workforce. That's why they are temporary permits. Talented workers get first priority [] in immigrating, and I welcome them along with you. I welcome anyone who immigrates here, TBH. More power to them. But that doesn't change the fact that H1Bs are being exploited [], and it's negatively impacting the labor market for citizens as well.

  • by sabri ( 584428 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:30PM (#47731037)

    H1B is being abused and they know it. It was meant for 1-2 month gigs and they leave. Instead its turned into 6 year stints

    Almost true. While you are correct that the H1-B visa in itself is limited to a 6 year maximum stay, the visa can be renewed indefinitely if the holder is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition in the 5th year. This means that any H1-B holder can stay on that H1-B for a long time as long as they find someone willing to sponsor their greencard, and they have about 4 years -in the US- to find them.

    Reason for this is that there is disconnect between the amount of H1-B visas (which are not limited per country) and amount of greencards (which are limited per country). We all know which country I'm talking about: the folks from India, however you may feel about their presence, are hitting this the most: For each EB category (EB1, EB2, EB3 in general), there are 265 greencards available per month. That's a little over 9500 per year. On the other side is the number of H1-B (and L-1) visa that get allocated to workers chargeable to India. Just for H1-B, that number comes close to 170,000 just for FY2012 (source []). Then there are the L1 visa holders, which are uncapped.

    So, you end up having ~10k greencards, vs ~200k influx, just for India alone. This means that there is a huge waiting list for people with approved I-140s, but not eligible to file for AOS. What are you going to do with them? Sent them back? Politics chose to let them stay by renewing their H1-B every 1 to 3 years, even after the 6th year.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982