back to article Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

President Trump's immigration reforms are set to open a divide between Silicon Valley bosses and their technology workers – much as Brexit did. Unlike many of Trump's policies, this one will find favour with Congress and strike a chord with American technology and engineering graduates, who have seen wages stagnate as Big Tech …

  1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Good!

    The worst abuses are situations like Disney and Southern California Edison, where you can demonstrably point out that X number of American tech workers were fired and X number of tech workers were brought in from overseas to replace them.

    India won't be happy (they were going to take last years increase in H1B permit fees to the WTO), but frankly I don't think they have much of a leg to stand on either legally or morally.

    1. Schultz
      Stop

      "India won't be happy"

      But maybe India will be happy in the near future, as most bread-and-butter internet/apps administration moves to India, based on the significantly cheaper operation cost. Let's face it, the US relies on cheap(ish) foreign labor to fill the pipeline in a lot of science and tech areas. I am a scientist, and I can attest to the large number of foreign grad students and postdocs at the major US Universities. Keep them out and you'll loose the output they generate.

      I won't dare to make any statement whether the migration of young skilled people is good or bad for the US. But I'd claim that this is good for the larger world, because it increases the international exchange of knowledge .The US gets the fresh international blood and the rest of the world gets the returning Expats and their networking effect.

      1. Eduard Coli

        Re: "India won't be happy"

        No, the US taxpayers gets to pay to train and house unqualified, low skill labor and everyone else gets access to stolen US IP.

  2. Whitter
    Mushroom

    "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

    Sounds like every tech company in the UK then. Tech salaries lag well behind similarly qualified posts in other disciplines (finance, marketing, legal etc.).

    Thus the "we need more scientists" waffle we hear in the press every year. No you don't. You need to pay technical posts inline with the non-tech alternatives that STEMI folks are qualified to do.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

      Thus the "we need more scientists" waffle we hear in the press every year.

      That actually translates to "we want more scientists". The more who are trained the easer it is to keep the pay rates down. It was just as true 50+ years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        We need to form a professional body, with certification independent of this university degree crap.

        Dress OOP and template meta programming in Latin, or another opaque language (Eiffel?), phraseology to create barrier to access to all non certified.

        Snootily dismiss and refuse to listen to anyone who doesn't use the language dismissing them

        as an amateur.

        Mark words, in 100 years, IT will be a profession just like the rest. Of course, the wig wearers

        will be AI machines, and the other professions will have been replaced with AI.

      2. ChrisBedford

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        That actually translates to "we want more scientists". The more who are trained the easer it is to keep the pay rates down. It was just as true 50+ years ago

        Well apparently pay rates are already down, so actually you need fewer scientists, don't you?

        In any event, equating "scientists" with "tech jobs" is like saying engineers and mechanics are the same - a mistake the press makes all the time, where I live and probably in the UK too.

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

      This is very unlike the UK. Compensations in Silicon Valley are way over the $100k limit — you can almost double the amount — so I doubt that the Googles and Facebooks are concerned about this new rule, or their employees.

      It's the start-ups that are going to lose under this scheme.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        It's the start-ups that are going to lose under this scheme.

        Not really. Start-ups don't tend to have much in the way of HR or legal departments to hire H1B visa holders in the first place.

        1. oicur0t

          Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

          That's not true. I joined a startup on a H1B. I know a colleague who joined a different startup on another. There's a culture of startup hopping in Silicon Valley. Many people spend a year or two at different startups and move around to get the best stock options. Wages are sky high in the area and you cannot find good talent. Hiring H1Bs is a requirement to succeed.

          1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

            Hiring H1Bs is a requirement to succeed.

            Yes, because they're willing to live 6 to a room.

            The reason you can't find US tech hires in SV, is that there's no affordable housing. And US techies have college loans that need to be paid off. There are plenty out there, you just have to make it attractive for them to live and work in SV.

            1. Eduard Coli

              Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

              The you can't find US citizen/techs is that SV will not hire them. There is a discrimination suit bouncing around against Google and others. SV gets a tax incentive to hire unskilled labor from outside of the US.

          2. Noneyabusiness

            Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

            "Wages are sky high in the area and you cannot find good talent. Hiring H1Bs is a requirement to succeed."

            Oh, like the time the University of California system laid off their IT staff to bring in H1B workers? If a California university just "can't find anyone with the talent", then either their IT degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on...

            ...Or more likely? They're LYING, and only care about getting the most labor they can for the cheapest price they can.

            Your gravy train is up, Silicon Valley, and thank god. No more exploiting immigrants and screwing over Americans for the sake of "being competitive". Time to start hiring and training Americans for these high paying jobs you say you "just can't find anyone to do". There's plenty of talent available here in the US, you all just don't want to pay people what they're worth.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

              Well, (much) higher wages also mean higher costs for developing the products/software, which means that for MOST companies (and I'm not talking about MS or Apple or Amazon or so which make billions of profits) the price of their goods needs to be raised.

              Which might mean that they don't get as much sold, and especially not outside the US anymore.

              And companies outside the US can now benefit from cheap labour, and they can provide the same products/services for a much lower price, perhaps even lower than the internal US prices after they paid import taxes.

              Are you aware of many highly skilled tech-guys or girls then, that aren't able to find a job? Really?

              The ones I know already got a job while they still were at school, and have hundreds of job offers to choose from, so....I don't think that there are plenty candidates to choose from.

              So probably you'll get a whole lot more of jobhoppers and wages will increase dramatically, or some companies might leave US if that is more profitable for them, and I'm thinking of the big players here.

              But hey, you won't hear me complain if I would get double salary....

            2. crazyfool69

              Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

              Hear, hear, I agree.

            3. smacky
              Linux

              Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

              The pro Trump IT crowd?

          3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

            No, H1B's are NOT crucial to succeed.

            What they ARE, is crucial to large companies' bottom lines.

            There are plenty of laid off US techies, their jobs outsourced to H1B subcontractors like Tata, Wipro, Infosys, and their ilk.

            What needs to happen, is audits by the Federal Government: for each and every H1B hired, companies are suppopsed to be able to demonstrate that they attempted to hire a US citizen for the job, but were unable to. Let's see some enforcement. We can start with IBM and Disney -- those laid off IT guys, who were told their severance pay depended on their training of their "highly qualified" imported replacements.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

            In your experience how typical is it for a startup to obtain H-1B's?

            Would you agree that the statement "Hiring H1Bs is a requirement to succeed." is self-serving?

            Are you so sure you are smarter than the average US citizen?

        2. Eduard Coli

          Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

          They have access to foreign government backed services that will place a job maggot and help them get a visa.

      2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        Compensations in Silicon Valley are way over the $100k limit

        Not really a fair example, since the SV cost of living is so high. $150K in the Bay Area is like $80K in Sacramento, or $60K in Houston.

      3. Eduard Coli

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        If not then why dump all of that lobby money into fighting legislation like this while at the same time look like a bunch of evil bastards (which for the most part they are...).

    3. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Flame

      Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

      The Managerial class (corpocracy) are quite simply a rabid dinosaur of the industrial revolution and needs to be put down, because their predatory parasitism is slowly destroying our civilisation, including their cynical support for insane Marxist Feminism to increase _short-term_ profits. Humans, including the two sexes, were/are never equal or interchangeable robot 'resources'; it's about fracking time that this was accepted.

      A lot of jobs in finance, marketing, legal and HR are frankly worse than useless, so should really be paid a lot less than genuinely productive jobs and eventually minimised or phased out!

      1. cd

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        Just make sure we have enough telephone cleaners!

        1. wayward4now
          Trollface

          Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

          I thought they were called "Telephone Sanitation Engineers"?

    4. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

      You have to remember if your IT job even remotely involves using the internet beyond social media then you should work for free or next to nothing.

      On a side not I had some guy ask me to reinstall Windows on his laptop last week. He asked what the price would be and I told him. He felt that was too much as it was just a 'case of slapping Windows back on!"

      I might have wavered had he not just spent the past three minutes telling me how difficult it had been for him and a mate to do it and that every way they tried had failed.

      I simply handed him the laptop back and said "By all means find someone else!"

      Most satisfying. Little twerp.

      I don't just 'slap Windows back on'. It gets fully updated, tweaked, checked over and fully setup ready to go. If you want it 'just slapped on' go to PC World or similar and pay twice as much for the privilege.

      1. robin48gx

        Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

        did it have USB3? some versions of windoze don’t know about those drivers (even though the bios seems ok with it) and you have to make your own install image on a USB stick...

    5. Schultz
      Pirate

      Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

      Let's face it, those tech guys are just bad at fighting for their compensation. The manager types know how to maximize their returns, it's their day job. The tech guys have their heads in the cloud (pun intended) and believe in the fairy world of just compensation. Some century ago, there was a solution to this issue called a union, but for some reason this became unfashionable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a union

        When joined the company I work at now, 12 years ago I asked about unions on my first day only to be told that no one was in one. I couldn't believe it, didn't even think to ask in the interview.

        In the UK software development is pretty much middle class. Since I've been there we've gone though 3 TUPE (some more depending on what project they worked on) and 5 redundancy exercises. Each one has been hard and involved a lot of hard work and brave people sticking their heads above their monitor to raise their voices. Mention a union who would stand up for us and you are looked at with complete be-wilderness.

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

    The current H1B visa is specifically and directly targeted at low qualified labor. Changing the visa wage floor does not change the visa nature - it still targets low qualified labor from outside the developed world.

    The key restriction in H1B is not the wage floor - it is the mandate that the spouse spends the next 4 years under "house arrest" looking after kids forfeiting any career aspirations.

    THAT is the actual exclusion clause which stops mid-career qualified labor from developed countries even looking at H1B. If the applicant is past his PhD, he (or she) is probably married and have picked a wife (or husband) while they were at the university or in one of the first jobs. The likelihood that she is a highly qualified professional in her own right is 50%+. Try telling a European woman professional that she is to "put a hijab" (figuratively speaking) for 4 years and spend these years cooking, because that is "proper place for a woman" (I would not sell you health insurance if you intend to do that).

    Raising the floor to 100, or 200 or 300 or whatever does not change the nature of the visa. It will cause some short term salary floor raise in the valley and we will back to square one in a few years (just with even more ridiculous house prices). Now, combining the floor raise with making any family applicants clear the same education and work visa reqs - that will change things quite a bit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

      Total BS.

      What the provision means is that a Visa for one spouse does not automatically turn into two Visas because they are married.

      Nice try on twisting this tho.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

        Total BS.

        No. H1B precludes the spouse from applying for a job visa status. L - does not. M - afaik does not, need to check what is the latest state. E - depends on when - there were points where it did, points where it did not.

        By the way - Aussies actually have done it exactly that way - their point system has bonuses if you bring in a spouse applicant which hits the right notes. The end result is that they bring in significantly more qualified labor on immigration visas than US or UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

          There is one thing that many people don't understand about the conditions that many Indian IT workers have to endure.

          Many have to pay their employer a bond to ensure that they don't get another job during their contract.

          Indentured Labour. One I used to manage had to pay the equivalent of 3 months salary before he could get a job with one of the big Indian body shoppers.

          The sad point is that IT people in currently living in India and wanting to get to the UK/USA don't see this as wrong.

          1. CommodorePet

            Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

            You may be right about workers pay to play, but H1B (and L1) visas are valid only for the employer that sponsered it. If you quit, the visa is immediately invalid and your become an illegal alien.

            Source : I was L1, now GC.

            1. jdoe.700101

              Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

              If the employer was decoupled from the visa except upon renewal, then the visa holder would be free to find a better paying job once they realised that they were being exploited. In theory this would naturally raise the salary floor and make such visa less attractive.

            2. oicur0t

              Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

              Nope. I was made redundant and transferred my H1B to a new position I got. H1B transfers are common. I just hired one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

          No. H1B precludes the spouse from applying for a job visa status. L - does not. M - afaik does not, need to check what is the latest state. E - depends on when - there were points where it did, points where it did not.

          Total BS - as of May 26, 2015.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

            Actually,

            H4 Visa holders can only get an EAD (work authorization) once the H1 visa holder has passed the first part of the green card process (I-140 approval). For most lower level workers that is going to take several years (because of the DOL PERM requirements, and slow processing times).

            So for an H4 to get work authorization, the H1 holder has to persuade their employer to sponsor them for a green card, then go through a long process to get the first part of the authorization. Then the H4 holder can submit a request for EAD, then after three months or so, they get work authorization.

            If the employee is not going for the international manager green card category, and they are from India then they face a wait of c. 7-8 years before they get a green card. H1b is a tough proposition for a family from India.

            Mind you, I'm all for H1b reform. Maybe make a limit on the total % H1b workforce any organization can have. That would kill the body shop outfits who are the biggest abusers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

      The current H1B visa is specifically and directly targeted at low qualified labor.

      ?? That sounds like corporate shill nonsense.

      The regulations define a "specialty occupation" as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent as a minimum [models excepted]

      We're talking about IT workers, not strawberry pickers here.

      If you're saying that well, H1B workers are not experienced, and can only fill entry-level jobs - then I have another group who can fill those job for you - recent US college graduates - who actually need jobs.....

      Raising the floor to 100, or 200 or 300 or whatever does not change the nature of the visa. It will cause some short term salary floor raise in the valley and we will back to square one in a few years

      How would it go back? Raising the entry level wage should cause all IT wages to increase - that's the whole point here - to not allow foreign workers to undercut wages paid to US workers.

      Now, combining the floor raise with making any family applicants clear the same education and work visa reqs - that will change things quite a bit.

      Wait, the kids have to have Bachelor's degrees too?

      Or do you mean that an H1B holder and spouse both have to have the same qualification?

      If so, then you've just killed the H1B program.

    3. John 104

      Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

      @Voland

      I'm sorry, but no one is forcing these people to take jobs out of their country. If their own country can't support the field of study they have chosen, perhaps they should have studied something else? Either way, I have no sympathy for the scenario whatsoever. Don't like the requirements? Don't do it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As long as the H1B visa has the present restrictions, it needs to be cut

      Let's shine some light on the ignorant. If you feel offended, I can offer to explain in several ways, but I cannot guarantee that you'll understand. Here is first hand knowledge of one H1B's history. You tell me if you think that this was fun or if you'd have the gonads and dedication to do it as a migrant. Further still, I'm guessing that you believe in a meritocracy, right? Yes? Alright! Compete!

      F1 for 6 years. Wife had F2 for the last 2 (if you think that H4 is restrictive, try F2), before that, she was still overseas finishing up her degree. Yep, long distance for 4 years.

      F1 OPT for 1 year. Wife still on F2

      H1B for 6 years. Wife on H4

      Finally got GC and wife finally got authorization to work and after 13 years of not working still landed a job as a scientist at a lab in under 4 months.

      After 5 years as GCs both eligible for Citizenship. Original H1B is a now Director of R&D at a tech company in Atlanta. Wife does research for a government agency. What are their degrees? Math and Biology. What level? Both graduate.

      So... You think that having these people here is bad for the country? Can you and your partner pull something like that off? And don't come with BS about they being motivated by the horrible conditions in their home country. Both sets of their parents are upper middle class professionals, so they might have had a higher standard of living if they had not reset to zero their social capital by coming to the US.

      How do I know? I went to school with him and we're still close friends.

    5. Schultz
      Alert

      Protect indigenous workers? very unAmerican!

      I think that setting a lower salary limit may be a sensible act of immigration control (for good or bad), but the requirement to "show they couldn't fill the post with an American resident" sounds like a pointless paper shuffling exercise. What's a sensible burden of proof? What kind of extra cost or performance hit should be acceptable for the indigenous worker? (I hope you like the use of indigenous here.)

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Calls for more selective, skilled immigration controls winning the day

    Unfortunately, the effect so far seems to have been to deter those with more skills while leaving the need for lower-skilled labour potentially unmet. Perhaps that might change over time, but policy change doesn't always have the intended result.

    While employers are basically taking the piss with the H-1B scheme, it helps keep down the absurdly high - and constantly-rising - cost of operating out of the Valley. Getting rid of the cheap labour might just, paradoxically, reinstate the full effect of financial gravity.

  5. Syntax Error

    Immigrants

    Immigrants are easy to exploit. Firms get more for their buck from immigrants especially if the employer has control of the issuing of the visa.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Immigrants

      Immigrants are easy to exploit.

      Quite; once upon a time they were called "slaves". If the matter wasn't so serious it would be funny to recall that the US had a civil war to rid itself of slavery (other factors may also have been in play) and having abolished slavery in the south it is now the north that is so heavily dependent on them.

      Perhaps calling them "Slave Visas" might awaken people to the truth. For the avoidance of doubt it seems likely that the UK is just as guilty, if not in the IT field as much as the vegetable one. Of course being in the EU makes visas unnecesary, but that's a totaly separate argument...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slaves and the Civil War

        It is a common misconception and often repeated -- but the truth is that by the time the American Civil War started, most slaveholding states had already withdrawn from the union. Only four slaveholding states remained in the United States of America, and slavery in those states wasn't abolished until after the Civil War.

        As such, the claim of "eliminating slavery" falls flat. The war was over land and power, specifically, the North wanted the agricultural land and southern seacoast of the South, and was willing to kill for it. The South was willing to kill to defend their homes and farms.

        The North had the population and industrial base, while the South had little heavy industry and a smaller population -- as well as having the misfortune of being the battleground as the North invaded. Once the Union fully committed their forces, the South never had a chance.

        Yes, the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves -- but only in concurred territory. The purpose was not so much to end slavery, but to create an insurgent force to undermine the Confederacy. Racism was just as strong in the North as it was in the South, and more free black men fought under Confederate flags than did under Union standards.

        1. pugnaciousfool

          Re: Slaves and the Civil War

          Let me guess -- You're from the South?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Slaves and the Civil War

            Actually not. I'm a northern Yankee through and through, but I'm also a student of American history. I don't condemn the North for the decisions that they made, or the South for the decisions that they made when the North put their backs against the wall - but I do condemn the revisionists trying to change history to match their current political views. History should be viewed objectively, and if we don't make an attempt to understand the point of view of both sides of any conflict then we don't learn anything.

            Was slavery wrong? Of course. The Confederate constitution even forbid the importation of slaves. They didn't want more slaves, they just didn't know how to get rid of the ones that they inherited from their predecessors without destroying their economy. But was it the reason that the North invaded the South? No. Like most wars, it was over land and power.

            When America revolted from England, were they wrong? Was England wrong to try to retain their colonies? Both sides had valid issues. Both sides were willing to fight and die. That doesn't mean you can pick out one issue such as Taxation and claim it was the primary reason. If anything, Liberty would have been the primary issue -- just as Liberty was the primary issue for the southern states in the American civil war. Of course, the meaning of "Liberty for All" was quite a bit different then than now - and if you don't understand the difference then you don't understand the war, and you learn nothing from the country's previous mistakes - condemning us to repeat them until the lessons are learned.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Immigrants

      I was moved to the US on an H1-B in the mid 70's - I was paid $8k a year just outside Washington, DC - I thought it was a great deal because the UK was under a wage freeze at the time. After I arrived I discovered that it's a bit more expensive to live in the US than the UK, plus no company car any longer.

      Sure, I got screwed but I was working for a British company and was told that I needed to be patriotic about it and anyway, they were paying my national insurance in the UK ... I left after I discovered that "an accounting error" meant that they weren't doing a damn thing.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    They could set a limit to the number of new visas issued each year in that class...

    and auction them off to the highest bidder, using the revenue raised to promote STEMI in the domestic education market.

    Just tossing ideas out here.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: They could set a limit to the number of new visas issued each year in that class...

      The problem with that sort of auction is that it can still be easily dominated by large corporations buying up all available visa's, leaving the smaller companies that REALLY need that one smart guy from Germany who knows a particular process inside-out SOL.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: They could set a limit to the number of new visas issued each year in that class...

        Hm... you have a point there. I suppose you could have a quota reserved for merit-based case, released monthly. It's just an idea really, I mean damned if you do, damned if you don't, right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They could set a limit to the number of new visas issued each year in that class...

      They do, its 65,000 for 'normal' H1b and an additional 20k for those holding a (US) masters degree. In the last round there were 236,000 total applications.

      The biggest number of applications came from (in order):

      Inosys

      CapGemini

      TCS

      IBM

      Wipro

      Accenture

      The problem this creates is twofold (IMO). Firstly, the big body shops just sell on the labour, lowering wages, extracting more work etc. Secondly - the smaller organizations who may genuinely need an employee to fill a role have a c 1 in 4 chance of getting them a visa. The visa is applied for in April for an October start so it's already a tough call for an organization that actually needs the role.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor Timing

    I was reviewing my career ambitions recently and "working for a while in America" was the only big one unfulfilled. Look like it my remain so for some time yet.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Poor Timing

      If you have any sort of higher education the H1B visum was probably not the right route anyway. Look into it, there may be many other ways to make it happen. If you can find a company that wants you to work for them in the States there is probably a way for them/you to make it happen.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally. It's taken two weeks of chaos, but at last Trump has got a policy that actually has some logic and sense behind it.

    It's still going to be controversial and upset a lot of people, but at least as a concept it's not demonstrably insane and could actually have the effect it's intended to, without too many unintended consequences.

    I still wouldn't put it past him to screw it up though. He'll probably make it apply retrospectively and with immediate effect, and the next day all the people with existing visas will find themselves getting deported.

    1. thomn8r

      It's taken two weeks of chaos, but at last Trump has got a policy that actually has some logic and sense behind it.

      Don't hold your breath. As soon as those with the money and motives get to him, his position will morph. People seem to forget that his MO is to request something extreme, then "graciously" accept a more reasonable counter-offer which was what he actually wanted in the first place. The fact that he gets away with this time and time again - even after publishing his strategy, speaks to the idiocy of those that deal with him.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    self interest

    Of course Zuckerberg etc support 'liberalising immigration', they not only massively profit from the exercise but they also get to tell the world how wonderful, liberal and humanist they are in the process, all of course while ironically admiring the self centered philosophy of folks like Ayn Rand.

    Trump is a total c&*$# but these tech leaders are just the flip side of the same self-interested coin.

    1. cd

      Re: self interest

      That is the entertaining part, not having a dog in the fight and watching rich dogs get their ear bitten.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Number6

      Re: Pay attention to "high-skilled"

      The L-1 really is the serf visa. An H-1B can normally be transferred, for some value of 'yours' it belongs to you once granted. An L-1B only authorises you to work for the specific company that acquired the visa, and if you lose the job then you're expected to leave the country pretty shortly afterwards.

      On the other hand, the L-1B can be really valuable if used correctly - it allows a short-term stint in the US with relatively little paperwork, and provided both the employer and employee agree the terms of reference, it can be fun.

      I spent nine months working in the US for my company about eight years back, it was quite enjoyable. Now I'm here permanently with a blue passport and all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They always find a way NOT to hire the higher-paid American

    [Posting anonymously because ... read on ...] The people doing the hiring will always find a way NOT to hire the higher-paid American, if they have some cheaper off-shore friend they want to hire. I live in the States and was once was interviewed for a state job. The interviewer did not have an American accent. In the interview he zeroed in on one specific thing that he could already tell, from reading my resume, I clearly didn't have experience with. Bingo! I lost that interview. But he had done his due diligence. Now he could prove to any official who inquired, that he just, plain, darn it, couldn't find an American who actually qualified, no matter how hard he looked. Therefore he would be justified in hiring an H-1B visa holder. The fact that he would have to shell out considerably less bucks ... well, never mind, nothing to see here, folks.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: They always find a way NOT to hire the higher-paid American

      It is sometimes easy to tell that a company is trying to find a way to show that they can't find US citizen to fill a job when there are very disparate requirements for the post. For example, an senior IT person with experience in material stress analysis or non-destructive testing. The odd ball requirements won't appear in the job posting (in a foreign language) when published overseas. Who's going to check?

      Another thing that is interesting is how employers are able to verify education and work experience of somebody overseas. A little work in Illustrator will produce a fine looking diploma and a couple of minutes in Word will yield some nice recommendation letters on company letterhead. Hmm, I wonder if there are any entrepreneurs that have a phone/mail answering service to backstop fake credentials.

  12. HandlesMessiah

    Lofgren and Issa

    Not every legislator belongs to the "world's most exclusive club". Both Darryl Issa and Zoe Lofgren both represent California in the House of Representatives, not the Senate.

    Side observation: the H1B visa is the mechanism to allow models to work in the US (it's easier for a model to get one than a programmer: http://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/why-fashion-models-are-twice-as-likely-to-get-h1b-visas-as-computer-programmers.html). Somebody looking for Wife #4?

  13. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    This will surely backfire in the long term

    Many exceptionally talented tech workers & engineers in developing countries such as India and even in developed countries such as the UK will emigrate to the US to enjoy the (real or perceived) higher standard of living and higher salary. If they can no longer do that, those people are instead more likely to stay and work for a company in their own country, which will in many cases be competing with American companies. An Indian company will always be able to undercut an American company on price, and if they can also compete equally on technology it is bound to affect American sales.

    The "brain drain" has long given America a huge competitive advantage and allowed them to become World leaders in many fields. Stopping that policy will be their great loss, and the rest of the World's gain. Ten mediocre American engineers will never be able to do the job of one brilliant foreign engineer (though it will keep domestic unemployment figures down in the short term).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will surely backfire in the long term

      Ten mediocre American engineers will never be able to do the job of one brilliant foreign engineer (though it will keep domestic unemployment figures down in the short term).

      The whole point is that H1B visas are being abused to replace one competent American engineer with one competent foreigner. I suggest you actually read about some of the controversy - e.g. the workers replaced at Disney, etc.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: This will surely backfire in the long term

      There are plenty of other ways to enter the U.S., beyond the H1B program. H1Bs are supposed to be used for situations where you cannot find a qualified American or legal immigrant worker. Instead they are used to undercut wages and even directly replace existing American workers who already hold jobs.

      If H1Bs were used as advertised, there would be very little controversy over them.

  14. DougS Silver badge

    The salary should be in the top 10% of the range for tech in the area

    So like $250K in SF and NYC, and say $120K even in cheaper places. The idea of H1B is to bring in highly qualified people you can't find in the US. Not "just another coder" which is what it is now. Force them to only bring in the most highly educated, and the US will benefit. Allow them to bring in someone who can do the work of a fresh college graduate for less than he'll take, and all it does is take jobs away from Americans.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: The salary should be in the top 10% of the range for tech in the area

      "The most highly qualified, highly educated" - can get in on better terms than an H1-B.

      As a non-US tech worker, I say scrap the program. Completely and permanently. None of this "reform" bullshit.

  15. John 104

    H1B Victim

    Having been the victim of such layoffs (at Disney) I applaud this. I packed my shit while H1B or greencard or whatever workers got to stay. Not a good day.

    The wage floor needs to be raised. Period. Make it too expensive to hire them and the jobs will come back to our own soil and might even encourage kids to study STEM subjects.

    I also find it humorous that this has been an issue for some years and one that DT promised to fix during his campaign. Only now that he is in office does a Dem step up and say "Hey! this needs fixing and we are here to do it!"

  16. PT

    Why we have H1B Visas

    In case there should be any doubt about the purpose of the H1B Visa program, allow me to quote from the memoirs of Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Fed from 1987 to 2006 and regarded as a living god by politicians of both parties -

    "As awesomely productive as market capitalism has proved to be, its Achilles' heel is a growing perception that its rewards, increasingly skewed to the skilled, are not distributed justly. A dysfunctional US education system has failed to prevent a shortage of skilled workers and a surfeit of lesser skilled ones, expanding the pay gap between the two groups. Unless America's education system can raise skill levels as quickly as technology requires, skilled workers will continue to earn greater wage increases, leading to ever more disturbing extremes of income concentration. We need to address increasing income equality now. By opening our borders to large numbers of highly skilled immigrant workers, we would provide a new source of competition for higher earning employees, thus driving down their wages." (emphasis added)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Why we have H1B Visas

      So immigration as a form of wage control? That's nuts as a long term plan. All it does is increase the burden on state education whilst lowering tax revenue.Is it that much of an anathema to invest in STEMI education?

  17. roger stillick
    Joke

    H1B visa a red herring..

    Here in the good old USA any spouse holding a H1B residence visa can simply BUY an EXISTING BUSINESS and get on with making money.. Here on the NW Oregon Coast failed restaurant and motel franchises are sold on the cheap to just those folks.. If they are any good at milking a cash cow they are legally working without the Green Card (their employees work, owners pay themselves first)..

    IMHO= Being successful in a Business seems to Trump any immigration laws (the joke)..RS.

  18. Noonoot

    Prioritise "the protection of American workers – our forgotten working people".

    Trump is seen as a modern-day tyrant over the pond. But if this his mandate, the US people should hope that he sees it through.

  19. EmilPer.

    go Trump, make demands for developers in my market great again :)

    raise it further, to 200000$ and send even more work in our direction :))

    we, the offshore code monkeys working outside US for multinational companies, salute you

  20. Noonoot

    First your own, then the others

    Everything starts at home. First your own, then the others. That's the way it has to be.

    Educate your own, put the mechanisms in place to ensure they have a chance of being hired, then, and only then, if you can't find who you are looking for, you bring in manpower from abroad.

    These mega corporations are just milking the system globally, any way they can to f**+k us all over, several times. In the US, in Europe as well.

  21. Potemkine Silver badge

    Education 101

    If the US educational system was good, there would be no need to get 85,000 highly qualified 'aliens' to get the jobs done.

    Anyway, it's a good thing for the rest of the World if U.S. products are more expensive, they will be less competitive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Education 101

      You completely missed the point of the article. Those foreign workers are being brought in because they are cheap, not because there's a lack of educated workers in the US.

  22. Lotaresco

    Meanwhile, in the UK...

    People here thought that they were voting to save jobs when they voted to leave the EU. What they didn't realise was that the government wants to leave the EU so that their chums ion what's left of industry can recruit wage slaves in India and China for lower rates than any European will accept. It was the EU that kept the cheap labour out with rules that stated that European labour must be employed in preference to any extra-European. A move that filled jobs no Brit wanted to do, that protected the wages of people born in Britain and prevented the exploitation of British workers.

    Turkeys however voted for Christmas.

  23. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    " doubling the H-1B wage floor to $130,000"

    so its currently £51,000. that'd be nice wouldnt it? i wish!

  24. The MOTO

    If you can't bring the workers to the work ... you can bring the work to the workers

    Has anybody considered that the large firms will just move their development out of the country!

    How is that going to help the locals?

    I'm just a techie myself and not an "economicast" (as I like to call them) to understand basic market forces. Think of it like this. I can spend a lot of money to have the project done in the USA or I can spend a lot less money to do the project in "pick a country". Mmmmm .... which one should I pick ???

  25. amolina

    Stop with the slander of H1B holders

    I have worked for Silicon Valley companies, and we never ever could afford to say "we will reject this US qualified application because this other foreign one will take less pay". This is because we were never in a position where we had more qualified applications than open positions. And in fact, we were happier to hire people who did not require H1Bs, because the H1B paperwork is horrible, and can take years to complete.

    And then, after having dealt with this on an everyday basis for a long time, one goes home and hear from demagogues about how the scourge of H1Bs need to end (rather than the reasonable position of simply stopping corruption of the system, which everyone agrees with). What the fuck.

  26. Eduard Coli

    Umm... more of the same

    US corps. are supposed to already perform due diligence about looking for a US citizen before giving the job to a maggot wrangler. That many do not is just part of the reason why there should be a new visa freeze with existing visas allowed to expire with the option to allow the holder to nationalize or leave. There also should be reciprocity as it is there is no way to legally work in India unless you find yourself there as an internal transfer.

  27. bobajob12

    Lies on both sides

    There is indeed a lack of high class IT talent, and some immigrants fill that need.

    There is indeed no lack of mid-range IT talent, and too many immigrants fill that need.

    The truth is that countries like the United States need talent - bloody great gobs of it - in order to remain an innovative, dynamic economy. In other words, fill the first need. It really doesn't need buckets of mid-range talent.

    The solution then would be to make it easier for people who study STEM at an advanced level in the United States to stay here after they graduate, and make it harder for mid-range H1Bers to come over. I know Congress doesn't do Grand Bargains any more, but it surely can;t be beyond the wit of man to devise a suitable scheme.

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