back to article This year's H-1B visa lottery jammed full in just six days

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that all of this year's 65,000 H-1B visa applications have now been applied for, as well as 20,000 extra applications for skilled workers – less than a week into the process. "USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dey turk err jerbs!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is an alternative solution for cheap imported IT labour!

      See: http://www.newtechusa.com/ppi/talent.asp

      The USA should do what they do in Bermuda - and force all jobs to be advertised to local employees first, and only if they have no candidates - could you then offer it to an expat.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        " all jobs to be advertised to local employees first"

        Wouldn't help. There'll just be a a raft of people interviewed and rejected because they were 'not a good fit', which is HR speak for 'seemed uncomfortable with the idea of 14 hour days for a dollar an hour and sacked if you don't smile all the time'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Wouldn't help. There'll just be a raft of people interviewed and rejected because they were 'not a good fit', which is HR speak for 'seemed uncomfortable with the idea of 14 hour days for a dollar an hour and sacked if you don't smile all the time'"

          I don't seem to recall the USA having any shortage of recently imported greasy spicy food eating labourers that will work for next to nothing without having to import more from other third world countries...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

    ... at least in the computing/scientific fields I work/have worked in.

    If my current company could recruit more highly-skilled people, we could expand significantly (and create lots of jobs for less-skilled workers). We're quite prepared to pay above the normal market rate if we find someone good - but they seem to be very thin on the ground.

    I do suspect that some companies abuse the H1B process. And I do suspect that computing/science/technical folk are often underpaid relative to "management" and "creatives" and suchlike. But the USA has benefitted greatly from immigrants. Let's not cut our own throats.

    (Same applies for other countries.)

    1. thames

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      Well, now you know why you can't get highly skilled people on these visas. The IT outsourcing firms are snarfing up all the visas in order to use them for low skilled workers at low pay. If they weren't doing this, there would be visas available for your company to use as they were intended. If you genuinely believe that the H1B visa system is a good idea, you will support fixing it so that it is no longer hijacked by companies for whom it was not intended to be used.

      Perhaps one simple fix would be to auction off the visas to the highest bidders instead of giving them away. Giving them away is like giving away free lottery tickets. The big IT outsourcing firms currently get a windfall for no reason other than having their lottery ticket come up.

      If they auction them off to the highest bidder, then all the companies who claim they are willing to pay high prices for highly skilled labour will have the chance to put their money where their mouth is, and all the ones who simply want to bring in cheap labour will find themselves priced out of the market. On top of that, the windfall will go to the US taxpayer instead of the shareholders of foreign companies. Job jobbed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

        @auction off the visas to the highest bidders

        Result is that skillers workers will be replaced by skilled management folks

        @willing to pay high prices

        only Facebook, Microsoft and product companies will gain. Service oriented companies will be at a disadvantage.

        The rest I more or less agree.

        How about a lower band salary of say 75,000

        This band is neither too high nor cheap. Companies will be bound to only hire the best and pay the best. This way we can maintain competition.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      > If my current company could recruit more highly-skilled people ...

      Are your hiring managers working with your tech staff to write good and accurate job descriptions? Or are they trusting HR drones to toss off some corporate 101 boilerplate and spew it on Monster? Or worse, are they outsourcing the whole thing to contract headhunters and "resume sourcers"?

      Are the job descriptions reflective of what the candidate actually needs to know to do the job, or is it a kitchen sink list of skills (all marked "Must Have" of course) that no 3-4 people would have even in aggregate?

      Does your company application system require a bunch of bureaucratic hoop-jumping and pointless and/or repetitive data-entry from the candidate? Does it make them dig up middle-school grades when they've been in industry for 10+ years?

      Does the job post include the pertinent details? E.g. where the job is located and, most importantly, the pay range? Or does it just say "DOE" so your recruiters can waste everyone's time and close it out with an insulting low-ball salary figure?

      Do your recruiters stay in communication with candidates and answer their questions and follow-up after phone screens and interviews, or do they just go radio silent after they've gotten the commission for their head-hunting?

      Maybe your company is one of the good ones and lands on the positive side of most of the above - good people can indeed be hard to find. But I've met many hiring managers bemoaning how hard it is to find good people, while shooting off their own feet by doing any/all of the above examples which drive good candidates away.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      Has your company actually considered training and graduate level apprenticeships as a route to obtaining the right skills?

      I get so fed up with there being people with qualifications but a lack of experience in a field that means that they can't apply for the available jobs, while the companies complain they can't get skilled staff. For Bog's sake, take someone with some of the skills, and train them into the rest!

      This was brought home to me when my daughter was doing a degree in Graphics Design, and had been given a talk by a previous grad of the course, who achieved a solid 2.1, saying that they could not get a job in the field because they could not show relevant experience. This was in the same week that the government published a list of skill shortages that they were adding to the visa quota that included, to my surprise, graphic designers.

      We need to join up businesses with collages so that not only are the right skills being taught, but so newly qualified or retrained people can get a foot in the door in their field. Having to recruit from abroad is just not the right answer.

      1. Sunilx112

        Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

        In IT, attrition rate is high, nature of job frequently changes, it makes no sense to train the person who is most likely to quit in 6-12 month or so due to high demand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

          If attrition in your IT dept is high, then I can utterly guarantee that your company is doing it wrong, almost without exception.

          Even a hungry contractor - the shark of the IT world - will look to get their three month contract extended if the company isn't a completely incompetent, hateful shitshow. Even for contractors, stability is stability.

          If you have that short an span of IT staff retention, you either have a series of highly specific projects (fairly unlikely, but entirely reasonable) or something is badly, badly wrong in the competence of your senior/HR staff.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

            "or something is badly, badly wrong in the competence of your senior/HR staff."

            Or the pay and / or job is crap and / or they don't invest in training....

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      The real shortage is not of highly-skilled workers or workers willing to learn new skills but the a tendency of the PHBs not to spend money on staff training and to look a salaries as pure cost to be reduced. There will always be a "skills-gap" because there is always emerging technology that one needs to learn about to stay current. Mastering a new technology takes time and practice. The short cut is to hire someone who supposedly has the training versus training the current staff.

      The disadvantage of sacking the current staff is they know where all the gotchas are located that the new person would not know about. Retraining the staff keeps this critical knowledge available. The adage "penny-wise, pound-foolish" is apt

    5. PrivateCitizen

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      We're quite prepared to pay above the normal market rate if we find someone good - but they seem to be very thin on the ground.

      If you are paying above market rate and still not getting applicants, then the probability is that there is something else about your company putting applicants off. If this wasnt the case, you'd be poaching skilled workers from other employers.

      From what I've seen, the claim that IT skills in [area] are lacking are a bit misleading as the salaries and contractor rates being offered for [most skill areas] are around the same levels as they were in 2008 (allowing for inflation at best).

      Using "Cybersecurity" as an example - because this is the big one trumpted as missing skilled workers. In 2009 a good cybersecurity professional would command a salary of £55 - 65k or a contract day rate of around £600pd. CLAS consultants (whatever your opinion of them) were on more - often hitting £800pd.

      Fast forward to the end of 2015 and the salary is around £60 - 70k with contractors on around £500pd. CLAS consultants have it worse, having dropped to the prole rates of £400 for a while, they are back around £550ish.

      Hardly an example of market forces reacting to a skill shortage.

      Skill shortage appears to be short hand for "we dont want to pay very much for this skill so intend to offshore it for pennies and dont really care about the quality of the work."

    6. tommy_qwerty

      Re: In my experience, there's always a shortage of the highly-skilled workers ...

      If there's a shortage of skilled IT workers (which I don't believe there is) then I think it's actually more advantageous in the long run for both the company and the country if they train a citizen to do the jobs they can't find people for. A trained citizen doesn't have to go back to their country after a few years, losing that skill to the visa holder's home country.

      In addition, many employers of my parents' generation whine endlessly about the job hopping and lack of loyalty from younger workers, when I've never felt much loyalty from them on my end. Training employees to fill in gaps that college left or for very recent technologies will show they take care about the employees and the employees may be more likely to take care of them.

      This may also solve the problem of the lack of women in STEM. Radical feminists constantly moan about the gender imbalance while in my college classes, there was rarely more than one woman. If there's really a shortage of STEM graduates, then maybe they can hire a few of the unemployed Wymyn's Studies and other humanities type graduates and train them to do the jobs that computer science and information systems graduates don't care to do.

  3. dan1980

    No more category 1 or 2 - that's the 'simple' answer.

    How can you POSSIBLY claim a 'skills gap' for positions that are, largely, unskilled?

    A comprehensive answer, of course, requires far more and I would suggest that both maybe green card application rates and definitely wages paid could be used to determine those abusing the system.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Exactly - how could you talk about skill shortage for a category like "employees who have only a basic understanding of the occupation"?

      IMHO there should be no lottery - it should be a case by case decision, and companies asking for the visa should demonstrate why they need the foreign workers and why they couldn't find anybody but him for the job. It would also make the request more expensive, and thereby cut the return for companies just looking for low-paid foreign workers.

  4. joed

    catch 22

    They'll hire an H-1B worker for 65k but will not give the same chance locals (because someone that wanted to do this at this price can't be trusted). Lower standards (nothing wrong with this) and opportunity of entry job is thus restricted. We'll see results in years to come. For now at least airlines, landlord and lawyers make extra money.

  5. Schultz
    Coat

    Some of the jobs may just move overseas...

    Let's face it, there will always be pressure to reduce the cost for lower skill jobs. If the US closes their door, jobs will move to other countries. India is a few time-zones away, but maybe it'll be an opportunity for Mexico or Canada to start operating the IT departments for US companies with those highly motivated immigrants.

    You might not like it, but those kids from poor countries also want their slice of the pie and they are willing to move across the world to get it.

  6. Lee Mulcahy

    H-1B vs. just send the jobs overseas

    The article talks about replacing locals with H-1B workers at lower salaries, but another trend is to replace the local jobs with jobs overseas at MUCH lower costs. The logistical nightmares that can occur are often ignored because the cost savings are so great, and the (local) executive staff get their bonuses and raises because they have increased the profit for the shareholders. What's gonna happen when all the lower positions are overseas and they still need to increase profits?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: H-1B vs. just send the jobs overseas

      Expert systems. Much like assembly line robots only for nonphysical jobs. Large initial investment but a much smaller upkeep cost.

    2. Blake St. Claire

      Re: H-1B vs. just send the jobs overseas

      Then there's the often suggested threat to park a cruise ship – probably a decrepit old one, without any of the fun bits – 100 miles off shore and fill it with IT workers.

      Then they're in the same time zone and you don't even have to pay India wages – which really aren't as cheap as some people make them out to be, or even China wages.

      Scary. Very scary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: H-1B vs. just send the jobs overseas

        Gotta be careful where that floating scrap heap is flagged, though. Plus there's the matter of upkeep. When everything has to come and go by boat, upkeep can get expensive. IIRC it was those upkeep costs that doomed Alcatraz.

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: H-1B vs. just send the jobs overseas

        "Then there's the often suggested threat to park a cruise ship"

        L. Ron Hubbard tried that. Complete with child-boy-servants. You don't have to pay your deciples either, heck, to climb the hierarchy they pay YOU. And you're registered as a religion. Tax haven. Would make the profit margins very attractive. Bonus.

  7. martinusher Silver badge

    The system is being abused.....

    No 'suspect its being abused'. It is, period.

    One of the conditions of getting an H1 was that your employer had to show that they were not displacing a local worker or planning to pay significantly lower wages. I came to the US on an H1 30+ years ago; I can than Reagan for my job because his rapid expansion of military spending soaked up all the citizens leaving a real gap that needed to be filled. I got the visa because I had both a postgraduate degree and significant experience.

    The current situation is just ridiculous. Indian IT outsourcing companies are blatantly abusing the system; its not just the way they're using it to bring over hordes of IT staff to directly replace locals but they're crowding out applicants who have skills that are actually in short supply.

    1. Brian Miller

      Re: The system is being abused.....

      True, the system is being abused. And it isn't only by the companies. I've heard of Microsoft referred to as being an employment program. And that's really how it's treated by many who work there! "We're giving them a chance..." is what I was told when I had a semi-honest talk with a fellow about it. Why was I having that talk with him? Because he had come to me with a job offer as a "reward" for my service. He just couldn't understand why I refused, so I had to go into the nitty gritty details of the concept of how a society works, and how bright people want to be treated.

      Why do companies want foreign workers? Compliance. People with real talent will quit places that suck. They have opportunities because they have the skills that employers actually need. Dunces are dime a dozen, and dunces that can be abused and still stick around are mostly found through the H1-B program. If an H1-B worker quits, they have to go home. If they lose their job, they have two weeks to find another one.

      Kill the program, and let society take its proper course. Microsoft claims that they will move their operations to Canada if the H1-B program is reigned in. Ok, so go for it! Microsoft (Ballmer) said the company would be moved to China if tax loopholes were closed. The real problem is that our government caters to the rich.

  8. RedneckMother

    colo(u)r me surpris(z)ed

    HillBillary wants to maintain the status quo (and corporate 'merica) , while Sanders wants to level the field for US jobs for US citizens.

    Meh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: colo(u)r me UNsurpris(z)ed....

      That a Bernie supporter would forget Trump who first brought this issue to the forefront of the election campaign and said he would abolish the H1B program. THAT levels the playing field for US citizens.

      We can all see the media bias, we can all see who is funding the anti-Trump PACS... it is the Silicon Valley mavens that want their H1B's.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmmmmm....

    "The foreign staff were paid around $65,000 a year, compared to $100,000 per year for Disney's American staff."

    Wouldn't surprise me if Disney were billed $65K per year with the foreign staff being paid much less than that.

    So instead of $100K for each citizen its $35K for Disney management, a chunk of money for the overseers, and beans & rice money for the field hands. Guess the Confederates were just playing the long game after all...

  10. jdoe.700101

    Untie the visa from the employer/sponsor

    If the visa is not tied to the employer/sponsor, then the employer would have no hold over the recipient, who could change jobs at will (e.g for a better salary), and simply need to find a sponsor at visa renewal time. Problem would be reduced quite quickly. This is how the tech visas work in Japan, and most people figure it out pretty quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Untie the visa from the employer/sponsor

      >This is how the tech visas work in Japan

      Residence status that allows you to work is technically* revoked if you stop working and don't find a new job within 90 days.

      It looks like a H1-B can be transferred to a different employer.

      So the only real difference is that you could quit your job before finding a new one.

      *I doubt many people have had their status revoked up till now because immigration had almost no idea about what is going on beyond the documents you submit but I think with the my number system it'll be a lot easier for them to find out what people are up to and they might actually start enforcing the rules.

      1. amb123

        Re: Untie the visa from the employer/sponsor

        You can find a new employer on an H1-B (I did it a couple of times), but they need to file paperwork to get the visa reissued, which takes time and money. Makes it proportionately much harder to be employed by anyone else; I would imagine making it effectively impossible if you're one of these level one H1-Bs, whose biggest selling point is their willingness to work for peanuts...

  11. Taegukgi

    "Consulting Companies" - the culprits

    Unfortunately, due to the way the H1B system is designed, not only do the CEOs of the US companies end up taking taking advantage of it but it also allows a large number of Indian "companies" to file petitions on behalf of people, who are ready to pay! Their modus operandi is very simple: lure the software Engineers working in India with a US H1B and demand the entire money required for the filing process in cash from these people. Some of these companies indeed do file for petitions and later also earn by making the consultants work on their behalf while some just take the money and then after the April deadline just apologize saying the lottery system did not select the certain person for a petition (and keep the money showing various non-refundable expenses).

    Here, I am pointing out Indian companies because I have seen these companies at work quite up close. I don't know if there are people of any other country who create so many "companies" for this purpose. Sometimes these companies are no more than a single person with a one room office registered somewhere in the US. I came to know of quite a few such people who were waiting for their US Green Card to be granted just so that they could open up such one man companies and make loads of money out of unsuspecting Indian software Engineers!

    The story just does not end here. If an Indian Engineer is granted a petition, these companies make them lie about many things including their experience, competency, skill set and even current location. The last one is quite interesting; once the petition is granted, these companies ask the Engineers to say that they are physically in the US and not in India! This is to let the client companies believe that they are hiring a contractor who is already present in the US (and has worked with US companies before).

    Further, these companies even make up projects and imaginary products to get all the paperwork ready to get their candidates's visa stamped from the US consulates in India.

    The result of all this deceit is that often incompetent or inexperienced people get hired for projects with the US client companies and perform poorly. That gives a bad name to Indian Engineers in general.

    It's a sad thing that just because of such a badly designed work permit process, not only the American software Engineers and US client companies suffer, but also the Indian Software Engineers who somehow manage to pay for this process from their pocket and then get trapped with these "companies".

    I really wish all this would change one day.

  12. Sunilx112

    Nice balanced article

    Govt didnt do their job well to screen applicant. Legislation created holes in favor of corporates knowingly or unknowingly. It is no use to blame companies. Any business wants to reduce cost and maximise profits at all cost. Its a matter of life and death for companies if they go in losses or lag behind competitors. Thats capitalism for you. USA is not a communist or socialist country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice balanced article

      Why those companies don't hire competent executive from abroad? It looks the real lack of skills is there... also, I believe making people work for very little while the cigar-smoking Napoleon pig and friends live in luxury is exactly a communist thing - it was how USSR worked, and how China and Putin's Russia work. Think about this...

      Moreover how much Disney earns? Did it really needed to reduce costs using slavery, ehm, foreign workers to maximize profits? Also, usually hiring cheap workers is the best way to lag behind competition, especially when your competitors understand they need bright minds and not cheap ones.

      And once wages are compressed enough, you may find there are not enough customers able to pay for your goods... capitalism doesn't really mean to be just greed and silly.

  13. Ralph B

    Sanders

    I note that only Bernie Sanders is quoted as having what appears to be the correct answer: Bernie Sanders wants the system reformed so that workers employed under the scheme are paid the same as American workers to ensure fair price competition.

    Might I request that Leftpondian readers please make the correct choice in the coming election ... ?

    1. Blake St. Claire

      Re: Sanders

      > Might I request that Leftpondian readers please make the correct choice in the coming election ... ?

      You're preaching to the choir.

      Perhaps you could come over and have a talk with all the Trump supporters? They say everything sounds better with a British accent; maybe that will work on them. ($deity knows, not much else seems to work on them.)

    2. Justicesays

      Re: Sanders

      That solution doesn't cover the compulsion aspect, where workers would be expected to accept e.g. unpaid overtime, bad conditions and so on without complaint.

      Neither does it cover the "Company Store" aspect, where workers are transported/domiciled/fed/outfitted by the employing company , and tithed most of their wages for the privilege. As well as any debts incurred to the agents that managed the application and H1-B process.

    3. John 104

      Re: Sanders

      Problem is, there is no correct choice.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it works as intended, the only people likely to get the visas are those working for sweat shop companies in less than pleasant places as they will be the only ones with the setup to rapidly process all the needed paper work to sell their slaves to Americans. The Americans are happy as they like nothing better than a slave, and if you can't have a proper one "employees" tide to you by legal bondage are almost as good.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unskilled labor coming here on an H-1B get $65K!

    In the mean time my 26 year old son with a four year uni degree (not CS or even STEM) from a good state university has recently – three years after graduation – landed a job on the IT help desk of a start up for a princely $30K.

    Maybe he should try to get one of those H-1Bs for himself and double his salary? (N.B. he has been working for the last three year at other "unskilled" jobs, none of which paid more than $30K either.)

    Perhaps one of those companies that's willing to pay $65K for unskilled labor could call him for an interview (he has applied for many) and offer him $50K? He'd be thrilled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      $30K, that's ideal under our new socialist regime. He gets to keep most of it and he might even get free health insurance that's better than the crap on the "marketplace". Get used to it, find a cheap place to live, do without a car... or go full expat.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        @ tnovelli

        "socialist" - that doesn't mean what you think it means. There is nothing socialist in America.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Headmaster

          Re: socialist

          Oh, my bad, I forgot that it's only "socialism" when people like you beg the politicians for it, but when they get elected and give it to you, it transforms from a utopian ideal into a filthy real-world bastardization such as "crony capitalism" or "nazism" or "fascism". Gotcha.

          Where was I? ...under our new socialist fascist regime...

      2. pete 22

        "$30K, that's ideal under our new socialist regime. He gets to keep most of it and he might even get free health insurance that's better than the crap on the "marketplace". Get used to it, find a cheap place to live, do without a car... or go full expat."

        Ahem.... more than half of our former middle class *already lives like this* under a very capitalist regeime... and going even more to the right for the last 30 yrs or so. Try again.

  16. Synonymous Howard

    I must be a category 41

    4 as I have a CS PhD and 25+ years of techie experience but at times I feel like a 1 after being asked to 'fill in' when there are gaps in Sales, Helpdesk, Incident Management, Procurement etc.

    I am, of course, of the age when Level 42 was the Chinese way.

  17. Peter Simpson 1
    Mushroom

    Congress has been slow to act on years of reported abuse of the H-1B systems, but now they are finally noticing something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    That's because they've been paid very well to look the other way for years.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    This is Slavery

    I've said it before, and here's an extreme example:

    > In 2014, US print technology firm Electronics For Imaging admitted paying L-1 staff $1.21 an hour and working them for more than 120 hours a week.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: This is Slavery

      Trouble is, it technically isn't slavery if they're being paid.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        WTF?

        @Charles 9 -- Re: This is Slavery

        Trouble is, it technically isn't slavery if they're being paid.

        I'm sure that will be of interest to the "employees" in the so-called "sex trades".

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: @Charles 9 -- This is Slavery

          And as I recall, many of them don't really get paid. Any monetary proceeds go to the pimps. Point stands. It's just like the slaves having room and board and naught else. Plus both types tend to get traded around like so much cattle.

  19. Erik4872

    Time for a modern IT professional organization.

    The root problem isn't the visa program itself - it's the loopholes that Infosys, Cognizant, IBM, HP, Accenture, Xerox and all the other outsourcers use. The company is sold an outsourcing contract where the outsourcer promises to take over the entire IT operation. All the "expensive" IT workers are sent to the outsourcer, who then swaps in replacement H-1B staff, and fires the former company IT guys after the replacements are trained. As part of the deal, the company gets to pull a "Pontias Pilate" and wash their hands of the workers with no direct involvement. The company can point to the outsourcer and say "We have no idea how they provide services to us, nor are we in a position to tell them how."

    This is the loophole that needs to be closed. As it is, you're taking, say, a DBA or developer making $100K and simply swapping them with a $30K version. This is why the offshore houses snap up all the visas available. Any tech company that tries to buck that trend is going to get killed in the cost department, so I see why they do it. But, this is an example of an obvious unintended consequence based on lawmakers not knowing what's involved in technical work.

    I think the only long term fix is to come up with an IT professional organization (not union) with some teeth and a loose set of practice standards. They can then go and lobby (read: bribe) Congress and get the loophole closed for everybody at once, so that no tech company has an unfair advantage.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of an about-face from the Americans, not letting in anyone who wants to enjoy the Land of the Free. Whatever happened to..

    "Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    When was it decided that "We're OK, let's pull up the ladder so no-one else can spoil it."?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This kind of immigration looks too much alike that when some dark skinned people where invited by some ships, presenting them whips and chains, to travel by ship to the "Land of the Free"... a lot of them after two hundred years are still at the bottom of the ladder...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > after two hundred years are still at the bottom of the ladder...

        200 years? So you'd be referring to England then? England abolished slavery in 1807.

        The US didn't abolish slavery until 1865, a mere 160 years ago.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've a question on the H1B:

    Does the company applying for a H1B have to have a candidate lined up and ready to work immediately? As in they've conducted interviews and know who they want? It seems this would be time consuming approach.

    Or, is it a case that the company applies for an H1B visa and then that is an open ticket for them to then recruit a bring over a skilled person of their choice at a time that suits them? I'm assuming this is the case but I've read some conflicting reports.

    To put into a hypothetical situation; lets assume I'm a highly skilled, qualified IT architect with desirable skills that no US worker has. Would I now be bound to wait until the 2017 enrollment or could I find a company that had an allocation of H1Bs and work for them much sooner?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usually what happens in the USA follows over here a few years later. Looks like it's the other way round this time. The UK labour market flooded with foreign workers has supressed wages here for years.

    Zero hours contracts and minimum wage are a damning consequence of poor imigration control.

  23. hellwig Silver badge

    What Creates the Skill Gap?

    Could it be that Americans can't afford to go to college in America? And even those that do are saddled with mountains of student loan debt? And then of course American companies aren't hiring anyway, and why would they? Hire an American at an honest wage, or a foreign national on the cheap?

    American companies are not rewarding home-grown talent. Then they use the "lack" of home-grown talent as an excuse to hire MORE foreign nationals.

    I said it before, won't be long before Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, Russian, etc. companies have to start hiring cheaper US engineers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Creates the Skill Gap?

      With the cost of education being as high as it is in the US there will not be any cheap American engineers until that is addressed, but more importantly there shouldn't need to be. The whole process is set up to work against the employees and that is wrong.

  24. JaydeeEire

    Maybe I was lucky with one of my past employers.

    They brought me to the US on an L1 visa, paid me well and both secured me a H1-B and were trying to get me the green card just prior to a merger with another company.

    I was not paid less than other employees doing the same job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That is how the program should work; although, due to many other issues that if addressed one would have to wonder about the necessity of the program, at all, other than to drive down wages and benefits for residents.

  25. Someone Else Silver badge

    "The CEOs are not villains"

    Uhhh...Yes they are.

    1. pete 22

      Re: "The CEOs are not villains"

      I was going to say this. Let me expand on it a bit. These are the guys who paid the lobbyists, to lobby the cogress to pass these3 H1B expansions laws. But no, they can't be responsible, business made them do it </sarc>

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "The CEOs are not villains"

        Well, as they say, "Nice guys finish last." When everyone else around you is cheating, undercutting your business, and your clientele is not in a position to know or care about honest business, what are your options? Usually, it's either "start cheating" or "bail out," only many are already in too deep to bail out (it's the bread line if they do).

        1. pete 22

          Re: "The CEOs are not villains"

          "Well, as they say, "Nice guys finish last." When everyone else around you is cheating, undercutting your business,..."

          Many people seem to think that this is a Law of Nature or something. It is not. "Just because everyone else is doing it" doesn't fly on a 3rd grade playground yet it is OK with adults for some reason.

          The reason why nice guys finisgh last is because lobbyists are being paid to help executives "bend the rules". Regulations don't happen in a vacuum, they happen because some hyper-competitive asshole went too far and caused damage. Nobody sticks a gun to their heads and *makes* them behave like assholes. Collectively they choose to do so in a race to the moral bottom. This is not the way to build a stable society, or any civilization at all, in fact.

          "... only many are already in too deep to bail out (it's the bread line if they do)." Many of their former employees are already in the bread line. What makes the CxO so special? Why is the risk they took worth more than mine? Can't they do a bread line too?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "The CEOs are not villains"

            "Regulations don't happen in a vacuum, they happen because some hyper-competitive asshole went too far and caused damage. Nobody sticks a gun to their heads and *makes* them behave like assholes. "

            YES THEY DO. The "gun" in this case is the threat to take their business to another state or country, meaning bye-bye tax dollars that the state needs to keep the citizens happy. Money talks, all else walks. Just ask Detroit what happened after the big auto companies decided to pack up.

            "Many of their former employees are already in the bread line. What makes the CxO so special?"

            They've got the money and connections. You don't. Simple as that. They can close up in the walled garden and compete amongst themselves and not give two shakes of a dead dog's ding-dong about everyone else. Who needs them? Too many people in the world anyway, in their opinion. One dies, get another.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Between visa programs like this, outsourcing and the offshoring jobs and profits by the wealthy and corporations it is little wonder that the ever shrinking middle-class keeps getting hammered with taxes.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Hall of Shame

    Just search "H1B sponsors" and "H1B willful violators" to see who the villains are...

    Wow, I also learned that there's no cap on H1B visas for universities and government. According to visa statistics from the State Dept website, they issued 172,748 H1B's in FY 2015. Not 85,000.

    And, the number of all "H" visas increased from 312k in 2011 to 478k in 2015. That includes the 173k H1Bs, 125k spouses & children, and 180k agricultural and other "guest workers" who surely earn less than those on H1Bs.

  28. joeldillon

    Why 'from American universities'? A Cambridge MSc isnt also highly skilled for example?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry pal, if you haven't spent $200K at an American university, no American job for you! Protectionism FTW :-P

      I really have nothing against immigrants. In fact, I say open the floodgates and let anyone who wants to work here do so legally, with the same legal protections as citizens. (Of course, we'd also have to curtail our socialist policies to avoid being bled dry...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Everyone says to curtail Socialism...until a twist of fate finds them NEEDING it just to see tomorrow. Since many people really are dependent on Socialism just to live (because, say, they're very old or permanently disabled), are you willing to tell them to just go somewhere and DIE? Because curtailing Socialism WILL have that kind of effect whether you like it or not.

  29. herman Silver badge

    If the H1Bs are so much in demand, then why are they not paid more than US workers? The congress may be able to fix it by charging 50% employer paid tax on H1B salaries.

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