Should the H-1B Visa Cap be Raised? Absolutely Not…


By continually flooding the labor market in the U.S. with inexpensive foreign workers, we are destroying our own talent pool in a long run. What would motivate a prospective college student go into a technology, spent years of time, money and effort and keep on developing his own skills if he can see how quickly the market could be flooded with a cheap replacement? This will only compound an ongoing issue, as we continue to create tremendous downward pressure on wages, and force businesses to complete based on the dependency of foreign workers. I can see corporate America’s view I suppose, if you can’t have slavery, this is the next best thing. These are people who routinely work overtime for free under the threat of their visa being ‘revoked’ and universally accept lower wages for equal work being done by their American counterparts.

Moreover, large corp[orations like Microsoft, want us to buy into the idea that there is such a shortage of skilled tech workers, that HB-1 workers are needed. Places like Monster are loaded with resumes of American IT workers who can’t buy a job with their soul – and if you’re over forty, you may as well hang it up. It also takes longer for unemployed IT people to find jobs than ever before – just talk to people like myself (MCSE, MCDBA, A+, Net+, Linux+, 15 years experience, etc.) It took me 17 months to find gainful employment at a reasonable wage. In fact, during the last economic downturn (that Bush said never happened), IT people were among the hardest hit, and many had to leave the industry all together as IT budgets sank to just 3% of total sales on average, while training dollars went up in smoke. The real effort should be to re-claim these workers and get them back into the industry, not replace them with lower paying HB-1 Visa holders. Any other explanation is a smoke and mirrors tactic by the corporate fat cats who need to pad the almighty bottom line at the expense of American workers.

Equally important, given how many resources a local IT worker invests in their skills, they should be carefully protected so we might keep our economy moving. It is one thing to jerk around an employee who has just couple of months of formal training at the entry level, it is quite another to push someone out who has spent 10 years and $100,000 on education and skills development, like myself and many of my colleagues did. Where do these fools, who are perpetuating this nonsense, think this is all going? When did corporations stop caring about American born workers and begin sacraficing them for profit?

Lastly, the quality of foreign workers is mostly a myth. Many companies put foreign workers through internal training and there is absolutely no reason why this training should not be offered to American born workers instead. In fact, many IT advocate groups for American workers have found that few foreign workers start providing high quality, high volume output from the first day on the job.

Many bloggers are questioning whether HB-1’s should be regulated or levels allowed to be dictated by the market. Some question whether or not supply and demand laws have been artificially manipulated. I say they have and that manipulation is causing a back-log of foreign workers which ultimately results in brain-drain as often higher skilled and more experienced American workers are forced to exit in the name of lower wages and profit.

Check this study…

Companies have overloaded the market with foreign labor while American workers struggle, it is as simple as that. From that situation, the market works to force domestic workers out of the industry. Meanwhile, foreign workers are getting subsidized education in their home countries, addition training by their new American employers, and ultimately hired for much less – sometimes up to 25% less.

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected job growth in Core IT (Information Technology) jobs of 110,000 a year through 2007; it also estimates that about 35,000 degrees in IT per se are earned a year. That may sound at first like a worker shortage in IT. A closer look at the situation, however, suggests otherwise. What people don’t realize is that as many as half of all IT professionals do not IT degrees. Many American IT workers are industry certified like myself and as many as 80,000 more per year get certified without getting a college degree. These people are competent and no better or worse off than any HB-1 worker from an entry level knowledge standpoint. So what are we being fed here by cry babies like Bill Gates? And if foreign IT workers are so much more qualified, why did the Indian company Wipro just announce plans to build a new facility in Atlanta, hiring American workers? Check out link here…

We’re being lied to by the greedy.   

According to the BLS, changes in the earnings of Core IT Professionals have been similar to those for all professionals and only marginally higher than those for the entire civilian labor force.

There is evidence, in part, that the “labor shortage” has been artifically created by the IT industry. The alleged worker shortage is at least partly due to the stinginess of the American corporations and the general practice of cutting forcing wages downward. Check out a very informative article complete with references regarding the ‘artificial shortage.’

Finally, a quick story I found on a blog. Five years ago, an American IT worker in New York City needed some additional training and approached a school that provided programs in Oracle. The coordinator there was frank and told the truth, “You shouldn’t take this class. Most of the Oracle people in New York are workers from India. You will not be able to break into a shop because they tend to hire their own. So don’t waste your time.” 

Is this what we want in the long-term? Congress and American corporate greed farms are wrong. I am not anti-immigrant – I am born of first generation immigrants. I simply want to make sure Americans don’t suffer due to bad policy, and that is exactly what the HB-1 program is. We must build from within to ensure high paid jobs for all, including our immigrant friends, not the least common denominator so one group is under-paid and the other not paid at all. This is what corporations want, and they must challenged on it. 


Posted on September 27, 2007, in Economic Policy, Globalism, Immigration Policy, Labor, Politics, Social Policy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I disagree with almost everything you have said here. You know these workers are actual human beings, right?? They are, in fact, just as human an American IT workers.

    They are struggling to get ahead in life, and to provide a better life for their families. And by “better,” I don’t mean that they can finally afford to upgrade to HDTV and buy The Matrix trilogy on blu-ray.

    The last time I checked, these American workers that you are shedding such big tears for … all had access to running, potable, water.

  2. Jason,

    American workers don’t have families and struggle to get ahead or keep their head above water?

    Are you saying that American workers only need to be employed or moreover, only work in IT to buy toys? I personally know at least 20 quality IT people whose jobs were outsourced or were replaced by lower paid foreign workers. The stress was so bad, two are divorced and a third is on the way. One also had to pull two children out of school because she couldn’t pay half of the tuition.

    Did you miss the last paragraph of my post or have you chosen to just ignore it?

    “I am not anti-immigrant – I am born of first generation immigrants. I simply want to make sure Americans don’t suffer due to bad policy, and that is exactly what the HB-1 program is. We must build from within to ensure high paid jobs for all, including our immigrant friends, not the least common denominator so one group is under-paid and the other not paid at all. This is what corporations want, and they must challenged on it.”

    I am not anti-immigrant, I am anti-corporate greed. I thought I made that plain. In the end, everyone will suffer. Once corporations feel Indians and Chinese are making too much, they’ll replace them with the next group willing to work for even less. It is a perpetual and vicious cycle. We’re being played, don’t you understand?

  3. I understand that American workers suffer, and that losing your job is a horrible experience. I obviously feel for them.

    However, in Bangalore, where our offices are located, the average yearly income is about $600. There is just no comparison to be made between middle class American suffering, and the suffering of citizens in developing nations.

    I’ll start worrying about the marginal effects of policy on American workers once there is some semblance of parity between the average American worker … and that of the rest of the Earth’s workers.

    It’s about human happiness … not about American happiness.

  4. Jason,

    Who in Bangalore allows wages to stagnate at $600.00 per month? In the early part of the 20th century, American workers and radical groups aligned to FORCE large businesses interests to pay their fair share.

    Why don’t people in Bangalore, and everywhere else for that matter, take a few clubs to the head like the American Teamsters did in the 1930’s, unionize, and solve the low wage problem? What you are suggesting is that oppressed workers around the globe simply engage in an economic war of attrition and may the one willing to work for the least, survive. That is shortsighted and harmful to all workers. With that attitude, all workers, including American workers, will be working for peanuts before long. I guess that’s when people like you will be looking at all of your supporters and say, “America can’t become a third world nation…what happened? Now we’re all poor!” I have news for you Jason, it can – happen, and if these foolish economic policies continue, it may very well happen.

    The solution is for workers to unite around the world, organize, and fight these greedy bastards until all workers are uplifted to acceptable living wage levels.

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