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H-1B visa changes could allow tech companies to hire more overseas specialists

By mongeese · 16 replies
Dec 2, 2018
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  1. H-1B Visas can’t be applied for regularly, instead, American employers send a request to the Department of Homeland Security who process the visa applications and put all the valid ones into a lottery for the 85,000 spots. Masters and doctoral degree holders get 20,000 spots reserved for them, and any extras are thrown in with the graduate and undergraduate degree holders who have the remaining 65,000 spots. Winning the visa lottery lets holders stay in the US for 3-6 years, but it’s also an avenue for citizenship.

    The US Citizen and Immigration Services, who manage the visas for Homeland, have proposed that applicants with masters or doctoral degrees be prioritized in the 65,000 section. This means that the 5000 or so advanced degree holders who don’t fit into the 20,000 spots allocated are almost guaranteed to get a visa, pushing out 5000 graduate or undergraduate degree holders.

    One of the reasons this has been proposed is to prevent the entry of fake applicants, which may have falsified degrees or only passed tests with a very low standard, coming to America. While speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama-era immigration policy advisor Doug Rand admitted that many of the applications “may or may not be super legit.”

    Ira Mehlman, a spokesperson for the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) agrees. “Most of these visas are snapped up by body shops,” she said, referring to Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro, the three Indian owned companies that dominate the lottery. Most of the applications approved end up belonging to these three “outsourcers” who submit far more applications than anyone else.

    These three companies bring out usually underqualified workers from India, who the firms often put to work doing basic accounting or physical labor at below minimum wage. The genuine companies that rely on H-1B Visas to employ specialists often don’t get the chance.

    Google, for example, may want to hire an experienced AI researcher from a university in China for a period of five years. Without the new changes their likelihood of a successful application might be around 70-80%, but with the proposed changes that chance jumps to 100%.

    The changes are undergoing a public feedback period of 30 days, starting tomorrow. It will likely come into effect with the new year, enabling large tech companies to hire international experts more frequently, and preventing workers from being underpaid.

    Permalink to story.

  2. kombu

    kombu TS Addict Posts: 86   +178

    Can't keep up, Americans? LOL tough luck. Large tech companies must succeed, with or without you.
    Thanks, Trump. MAGA! (I guess)
  3. JakeAndrew77

    JakeAndrew77 TS Member

    It isn't about that. This is about what you pay an American that you can pay someone in India for 1/4 the amount. That is all it is and it has nothing to do with the truth, because it is a damn lie.
    Reehahs, p51d007, Fimbulvetr and 4 others like this.
  4. petert

    petert TS Evangelist Posts: 359   +157

    Once you bring that someone in US on a Visa, you cannot pay the salary at just 1/4 the amount. Living costs in US are much higher than in India. At the end of the day, a company may have to spent more on an qualified foreigner, because of the visa sponsorship. Then you have the laws but also common sense - I certainly hope US is not that backwards in that they would pay an overseas specialist at 1/4th its American counterpart salary. It is just stupid and any HR staff will tell you why. What makes more common sense is to reach out and hire that person in India by opening a branch there or by working with local companies.

    Trust me, everyone is coming in US for money - they won't accept 1/4 the amount so they can barely pay the rent and groceries - that is plainly stupid, they already have that in their own country.
    Hexic and treeski like this.
  5. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 732   +281

    It's not that hard to find out. Make them pass an exam to test their knowledge for the specific degree.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,661   +2,416

    You need to do a little research, then..maybe starting with this very article that clearly (and accurately) states that this is EXACTLY how the majority of H1B immigrants are treated. True, 1/4th of normal pay might be a bit an exaggeration - its more like 50-70% most of the time with two to four freshly-minted "engineers" sharing a single low-end apartment that's usually paid for (or owned) by the employer. Its legal indentured servitude for companies gaming the system and its been going on since the mid-90's. There have been entire books written about this.
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,265   +4,932

    That is the point. They don't want to pay the counterpart salary. So they hire someone willing to do the work for less. It is a slap in our face and theirs for wanting a better living.
  8. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 119   +112

    If thats really how it is I.e. Giving only 1/4th salary of western coders to the migrant coders in the same post then wouldn't it be a fit case for discrimination?
    I mean, these companies do have American coders working for them as well so establising a baseline and pointing out discrimination will be pretty straight forward and irrefutable.
  9. Fimbulvetr

    Fimbulvetr TS Member Posts: 21   +26

    You LOL at Americans, then imply they can't keep up, while you yourself missed the point of the article entirely. I think the LOL is on you. LOL.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  10. AsParallel

    AsParallel TS Rookie

    Don't be naive. The US companies pay tata, Infosys, etc the US rates, then the outsourcing firms pay them next to nothing, frequently providing housing and having groups of 5-10 men to share a 2 bedroom in shifts. The two things they want are a way to bank all the money and the hope they can get a green card application which allows them to stay forever and breaks the employers stranglehold.

    IBM is actually worse. Their workforce is now 80% indians, and they treat them like slaves.
    Reehahs likes this.
  11. kombu

    kombu TS Addict Posts: 86   +178

    Wrong. Trump was elected to reform the immigration system to benefit Americans but it seems as though the America First agenda is putting big tech corporations first instead. Sad
  12. JeanieDoubts

    JeanieDoubts TS Rookie

    Sadly, H1B visa is being abused and has been. I agree with one comment that immigration services should have applicants pass a specific knowledge test and a tech interview. The contracting houses lie in resumes, tech hiring companies interview “someone” without seeing them and the candidate who arrives is not the one who was “ phone-interviewed”. More than that, these visa holders stay longer, have kids here extending their stay and ultimately become residents. Plus they already have US citizen kids in the interim. Why do I care? Cuz it has become a racket and not what it started out as. Same as Medicare that no one investigates. When becoming a citizen, check divorced status instead of married. And suddenly you are a single mom qualifying for Medicare. I am not against immigration but am against the raping of America! Do other nations open their borders this easily? Why can’t I just walk into Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada and the UK?
    Mike2018 likes this.
  13. Mike2018

    Mike2018 TS Rookie

    Actually, false. An LCA (Labor Condition Application) is submitted with each H1-B application to verify the employee is not being undercut wage-wise etc. Now, how well that is all followed up on after employment...well, it is the government so who knows. Beyond tech companies, H1-B brings a ton of highly beneficial medical, research and education employees to the states, some qualifying for cap Exempt status. Having these people is not necessarily a bad thing. It's a good idea if executed properly, but it's clearly an abused system.
  14. Cubi Dorf

    Cubi Dorf TS Booster Posts: 141   +51

    All you need is good lawyer and you are in.
    Mike2018 likes this.
  15. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,927   +1,196

    Once you bring that someone in US on a Visa, you cannot pay the salary at just 1/4 the amount. Living costs in US are much higher than in India.

    Ummm...that's why you'll have 2-3-4 or more of them, renting out one apartment etc...
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,265   +4,932

    Why is everyone hung up on the 1/4 figure? It's not 1/4 minimum wage or 1/4 what they were receiving in their home country. It is 1/4 the wage they should be receiving, compared to others in that same field. Which could be as much as 10 times minimum wage. I don't know personally, but that is what the article is stating.
  17. Jeff Re

    Jeff Re TS Addict Posts: 143   +105

    Do you honestly believe that a company would pay MORE to hire a foreigner??? That has become the whole point of these visas. Maybe one of these days companies will be patriotic enough to train Americans. Unfortunately greed is now the law of the land.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018

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