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H1(b) Go Home!!

Seriously. There is no longer a "shortage" of "qualified" American tech workers. Massive numbers of qualified, current American workers are unemployed, costing the state money in UI benefits, losing their houses, becoming homeless, or working at Starbucks. All this while the high flying H1(b) people are still employed. This is just plain wrong.

I don't think there ever was a "shortage", frankly. Sure, people might not have met the hideous laundry lists that the companies "required". (Secret - neither did the H1(b) candidates that got hired, either, but the body shop/H1b pimps faked up their resumes!) But most of those people that are often turned down in favor of high-tech carpetbaggers have been older, with transferable skills and THE ABILITY TO LEARN. Really, even if you have the laundry list, you still have to learn that company's specific implementation and development system, so there's no time savings in hiring the H1(b).

So why not hire and train seasoned American workers? Oh, yeah, they want to be paid what they're worth. 10 years experience is really worth more than 2, people. Sure, you can get an H1(b) with under two years experience for cheap, rather than an overqualified, but not fitting the laundry list, American at a higher wage. But the American actually has a track record, and has just maybe (read probably) seen a similar situation before.

You ever wonder why MicroSoft and other companies have crappy software? Because they hire primarily RCGs and H1(b)s without any seasoning, and discard them when they have 4 years experience.

Seriously, people, we produce plenty of fine engineering talent right here. A little investment in keeping it current, and you avoid the overhead of H1(b), and are doing something for the country that gave you birth and the people that actually buy your products. Face it, if all of the American technocrats are reduced to working low wage service jobs or signing on the street corners (or eventually rioting), there won't be any around to buy your nifty new toys.

If I had my own company, I would hire only locally, and only hire citizens or green card holders. No "national" searches, no relocation, no immigration, no visas or visa sponsorship. I would hire as much for the ability to work with a team as I would for purely technical matchup. OK, so if they didn't know Java, I'd hire someone who knew C++ and send them to a Java class, or vice versa. If I wanted a php programmer and they knew perl, but fit with my team, I'd hire them and send them to a php class. Either way, I'd get the better long term employee, for a small investment.

But most of these quarterly profit driven, short sighted, idiots miss that.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
please forgive my ignorance, what is H1(b) and RCG's

I've never heard those terms before.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
H1(b) is a particular type of visa that says, in essence, "This person's skill set is so rare and vital that we are willing to subsidize his/her immigration so that s/he will work for us for X period."

Or, as my husband so aptly puts it: it's a license for indentured servitude. H1(b) visa holders are typically paid less than the prevailing US wage for similar work.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
The indentured servitude part, which has been rather abusive on some of the H1(b) holders I've worked with, is just more nasty icing on the shit cake.

Yes, both local workers *and* H1(b) workers get screwed, in different ways. The only ones who gain are the companies that pit one against the other.

If we want more immigration of technical people, then give them real green cards based on degrees and experience, and let them compete on a level playing field for jobs.

I'm getting real tired of submitting qualified citizens for jobs that eventually get filled by H1(b)s who are either younger, cheaper or happen to be from the same country as most of the existing team. The discrimination is not against the foreign born, that's for sure.
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)

It's just as bad in science. Half of science is Chinese and Indian.

Because when I'm the boss and I've got your visa in my pocket, you'll dance like a bear if I say so. Folks like me who are citizens, know what we are worth, and aren't into bootlicking without negotiations... are screwed.

found you via sunfell's link to your community, btw.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
RCG == Recent College Graduate => most likely to be under age 25. It's an easy way to discriminate on age without coming out and saying so.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
I get where you're coming from, but this topic always makes me bristle, as an immigrant worker.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
Heh. Immigrant is different than guest worker, IMO. Seriously, resident aliens (like with an American spouse) or green card holders have a reason to stay, and a place.

But guest workers (H1(b) and L1), no matter how much I may love individuals, are a knife in the back of people who were born here or who have a green card and need to work to qualify for the next step. Why should US born and trained engineers be stuck working at starbucks or walmart while H1(b) are employed in their field?
Feb. 2nd, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Every time someone complains about H1bs, to put a face to who they're ranting about, I imagine any of the wonderful H1bs you and I both worked with at N. Stephen, Ashley, Jeremy. No freaking *way* would I want to advocate any policy that hurt them. In addition to being awesome people, the three I mentioned are also smart, way more so than a lot of US citizens I've worked with.

It goes both ways, I think.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
I love Stephen, Ashley, Jeremy, et al. Working with them was great. But when push comes to shove, they are the guest workers, and guests need to go home when the party's over and the house is trashed.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Isn't there some better distinction we can draw, though? How about, on a corporate-culture level, "hire good people and nurture them" versus "hire incompetent people who are cheap"?

I recently had an extremely bad experience with a QA guy we hired. Totally all-american. Just... had no clue. No clue about computers, no clue about TCP/IP, no clue about unix, no clue about anything really. He survived here as long as he did because of an unfortunate culture where apparently, as a QA person, you're not supposed to know anything, you're just supposed to crank out Excel spreadsheets full of "test plans".

We kept paying him for *six months* while he was doing absolutely nothing. Management thought everything was fine because *on paper* it looked like he was doing work. I think a lot of the bad H1bs (the ones who are cheap, and incompetent) survive because of a similar culture. Someone at some level of management does a cost/benefit analysis and thinks "we can squeeze X amount of work out of these people, and it's better than hiring smarter people because we can pay them less". Which royally screws up everyone else who then has to continually walk behind those people and clean up their messes.

I dunno. To me that seems like the bigger issue, and people like Stephen seem to me like they actually help by contributing in a real way to the GDP. I *like* the thought of the US having lots of genuinely smart people working here, and innovating here!!!
Feb. 2nd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
With the people who are genuinely a benefit, and want to stay here, I think there should be a technology immigration program. Then the good people could be brought in and sponsored by companies, but wouldn't get into the bind that Asley (IIRC) got into by being stuck in a crap job with a crummy manager.

As it stands, H1(b) is used to screw older American workers *and* foreigners who want to immigrate.

Most other countries aren't that kind of stupid - they have tech based immigration based on hiring. We have job-stealing wage suppression via guest worker.
Feb. 3rd, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
Conflating the people with the system is simply an appeal to emotion (a logical fallacy), and does not address the issue itself.

But, for argument's sake, let's look at the human side of the equation.

Say one of those awesome, smart people decided that he really wanted or even needed to be compensated at a level more in line with his awesomeness and intelligence.

What are his options? He could say, "Hey, you know, I'm not being fairly compensated. What can we do?"

The almost universal (and lawful) response would be, "You have two options. You can get back to work, or you can get on a plane."

Now, a citizen or green card holder could go play the free market (remember, an unregulated free market is good for everyone... well, for certain values of everyone). If he found a better package, he could just say sayonara to $JOB. Not so for the H1(b). Not only does he have to find a company willing to compensate him more fairly, said company must also agree to sponsor his presence here... and his search must be done in even more secrecy than the citizen or green card holder, because it's not just his job he could lose if he's found sniffing around on the other side of the fence, it's his ability to remain in the country.
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
yes. when I've got your visa in my pocket, you will bark like a dog if I say so.

saw enough of that shit in gradskool. Same game. professors used em like kleenex. and threw em away after they'd used em. ugly.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Can I get a job at RavenCo? it sounds really nice.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
I wanna work for RavanCo! Seriously. I need a job. Yesterday would be good. Can't blame H1(b) workers though for this one, there just isn't demand for product and they didn't hire "guest" workers anyway. The one that always made me the angriest was the Broadmoor Hotel. They hired guest workers every summer. One year they got denied permits and so had to hire locally. They're whining to the local press that they won't be able to fill the jobs and sure as the gods made little green apples, the day they opened applications for the temp jobs, the line stretched through the office and outside. No, can't get Americans to take these jobs my big white behind. There are plenty of out of work techies in this country that can take these jobs, they just don't want to pay us.
Feb. 3rd, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
I take a slightly different approach to immigration policy, I think. I believe that we here in the US have an unbelieveably high standard of living compared to the rest of the world, and we keep borders and immigration policy as a way of preserving that advantage. Sure, it's natural to want to keep what's "ours" and exclude "them" from getting it, but is it moral?

I'm sure the other extreme, of letting absolutely everyone in who wants to work, would drag down our standard of living by a lot, but is that really just another way of saying that we are willing to let others outside the US live in abject poverty and suffering so that we can have our outrageously rich and decadent lifestyle?

(Anyway, I'm not trying to point out right or wrong of any viewpoint... I'm honestly interested in how you and others feel about protecting our interests vs. being good "citizens of the world")
Feb. 3rd, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Well, it's hard to give a hoot about the rest of the world when your friends and such are losing their jobs and maybe their homes. I can't influence how the rest of the world acts, but I can try to influence my own elected government.

Also, if we really want to be honest, a no borders world would see everyone in abject poverty, but with a just good enough standard of living to encourage people to breed more.

Letting everyone in will just drag us into disaster, with countries who do preserve their borders and limit their immigration to the verifiable "best and brightest" kicking our behinds in competition.

Also, there are plenty of people living here now that live in abject poverty (the homeless to start), and plenty of Americans that are "food insecure". Is it moral to add to this, just to demonstrate solidarity with the rest of the planet? Will it help them? Probably not.

I'm not against immigration, my ancestors immigrated here. I'm against giving a certain class of immigrants guaranteed but enslaving jobs at the expense of those already here, on flimsy (and patently false) pretexts and at lower wages, that only really serve short term corporate profits.

The classic American immigration story is that immigrants tend to take the jobs that citizens don't want. H1(b) turns that on its head, where the temporary immigrant takes the jobs that citizens and other permanent immigrants want, but for less money and less freedom - thus screwing the truly committed.

I support tech based immigration - do it like other countries do, and give them a real path to citizenship that doesn't involve screwing those that are already here and matriculating into our society.
Feb. 3rd, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Years ago I was a contractor at a (now-defunct) startup that used mostly foreign (Armenian) labor because it was cheaper than using Americans. The company would bring a few Armenians over at a time. The ones in the U.S. really wanted to stay out of Armenia.

One day I was talking with one of the Armenians. "You're lucky," he said. "If the boss tells you to do something you don't want to do, you can tell him to f*** off."

"Not really," I replied. "I'd lose my job."

"Yeah, but if we tell him to f*** off and get fired, we get deported."

You're totally right about H1B being "slave labor." I worked with a gal at another job who really was one of those "unique" people -- a marketing person who could speak fluent, properly accented English, Mandarin, and IIRC one or two other languages. In her case it was a matter of pride that she didn't want to use her (American) boyfriend to get U.S. citizenship. Instead, she put up with a Job From Hell(tm) till after she got her MBA.
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I see some interesting discussion here, so I'll state my own unusual viewpoint one more time.

Immigration has made America great from the very beginning. (Unlike, for example, my native country, which has only grudgingly and late learned to accommodate it.) For most of its history, the US had legally unfettered immigration: in effect the barrier was economic, you had to get a ticket somehow, but there were also stowaways and ship-jumpers as well as indentured servants. It thrived on that, and the motives for closing the borders were not good. The present system is inhumane: it makes people marry for visas, sell their bodies to flesh importers, risk their lives to be smuggled in in cargo containers, as well as lie about their education and their feelings about America. The US also creates more refugees than most countries and takes in a criminally low number. (How many from Chechnya? I believe it was zero. How long to let in those left behind in Vietnam?) And when people are here there's a double or triple standard to how they are treated, including enforcing a very high standard of not just English mastery, but whitebread American thought and speech patterns in the citizenship test . . . but providing all government publications including voting materials in a rainbow of languages. Message? "You are all gooks who cannot learn to read English, but if you want full rights, by heck you'd better learn to pass as an Iowan." Oh and "We know you all have huge families and you just want to be a citizen so you can import all your retarded kids and your fire-setting cousin and your toothless grandma; fine, just so long as you don't try to get more than one wife in at a time, you all look the same anyway and we won't expect them to work, we know people from other countries just want to come here for our great welfare system, that's why we hate immigrants."

People should have the right they once had to live in any country they want. But they should be required to contribute to that country as the native-born are: to follow its laws, including reading and obeying signs in its language(s) and working if they are able and don't have some other way to support themselves. And undermining it by attacking its system of government should be deprecated as it is for natives--one of the reasons borders should return to being open as they were 150 years ago is that people should be able to go to a place whose philosophy they prefer, just as (until recently) a person could live in Utah if he liked theocracy or in New York City if she liked multicultural urban environments or in rural Alaska if they liked homesteading on the frontier. Undermining it by sending one's wages out of the country should also be deprecated, just as in most countries, the highly trained and highly gifted emigrating is regarded as a sad thing and not patriotic on the part of the emigres (I am part of the "Brain Drain").

People contribute to where they choose to live in many ways that interact in hard to predict synergies. Goodwill and co-operation are often forgotten in these analyses, as is the savings in crime-fighting man-power and mental health from letting people do their thing. But an important part of it is for each place to be what it is. In the case of the US, that's an English-speaking, capitalist, federated country with minimal central regulation and a tradition of assimilation. It's in fact contrary to the US' nature for it to wall itself off and admit people from lists.

Also, people change. Someone on my f-list left the Midwest for a couple of years with his foreign-born wife, worked various jobs in various European countries, and is now back, having had that experience and now wanting something different. The Irish immigrants--legal and illegal--who thronged NYC a few years ago are now back home and have helped transform their own country from a backwater to an exciting place. There's an American myth that everyone will rush into the US and it will capsize. Actually if it resumes being the American Dream rather than Fortress America with Training Wheels For Life for the Wretched Furriners, people will wash in and out of it in the sloppy and productive way people generally run their lives.

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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