back to article Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork

An effort by tech companies to put the Trump Administration's tough new visa requirements on hold has been thrown out by a US federal judge in Arizona. Eleven outfits, led by outsourcing specialist Kollasoft, asked for a preliminary injunction against the rules, which have placed several new restrictions on applicants of H-1B …

  1. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

    Yeah. Silicon Valley's eternal quest for permanent wage suppression.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

      This is one very valid side of the argument. The other side suggests that there aren't enough U.S. Citizens to do the job.

      I think the truth is somewhere down the middle, but much closer towards the 'Silicon Valley Wage Suppression' side...

      maybe they should move their headquarters to a place where the cost of living is REASONABLE?

      1. Neoc

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        The lack of "enough U.S. Citizens" might also have something to do with the fact that the last decade or so has seen a rise in the denigrating of skilled non-manual worker (e.g. engineers or scientists). Add that to the current "my uninformed opinion is better than your years of learning and experience", and is it any wonder that white-collar workers are in short(ish) supply?

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        They could move elsewhere.. But then the glamor isn't there and if it was, then the costs of living would no longer be reasonable. It's an oddly cyclic thing.

        The UK has a similar problem with London leaving at lot of us elsewhere wondering what the draw is?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

          They could move elsewhere

          Many of them have, or never located in high-rent areas in the first place. Any list of high-tech growth areas for IT in the US will show that there are plenty of other areas with high concentrations of IT and other high-tech firms.

          the glamor isn't there

          From surveys I've seen, this appears to be largely irrelevant to many firms and most of their employees.

          Sure, Silicon Valley still has a cultural presence, and that draws some firms, the ones who hope to find success by basking in the glow of the FANG companies or want to be close to the venture capitalists so they can con them in person. But not everyone is so easily led.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

          The UK has a similar problem with London leaving at lot of us elsewhere wondering what the draw is?

          Work. It was always work. Never the beer.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        Maybe "there aren't enough U.S. Citizens to do the job" at that price? Often they replaced people who already do the job, but at a higher price. And how much offshoring happened because the people doing the job were not cheap enough, and were laid off?

        Now a relatively few highly skilled people may be in short supply, and need to be incentivized to come from wherever they happen to live, but how many were and are just lowly/medium skilled people, but jut a lot cheaper to pay, and so fattening the shareholder profits and executives bonuses?

        In turn it's OK to pay as less taxes as possible on the same huge pile of money, while ensuring the education system can't train enough skilled people, while promoting for-profit schools? But in a few expensive high-end schools only the wealthy ones can afford?

      4. katrinab Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        And also, most of the work doesn't have to be done in California. They could employ those same people in some other location. Then maybe house prices in California wouldn't be so expensive, and you could afford to live on the wages you get.

      5. ST Silver badge

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        > maybe they should move their headquarters to a place where the cost of living is REASONABLE?

        The places where the cost of living is reasonable are places where people don't want to move to. There is a supply-and-demand reason why desirable, high-density areas have a high cost of living. It's similar on the Northeast Coast.

        The solution would have been rent regulation, but CA has resisted the idea for decades. Now they have to deal with homelessness, insane cost of living and chronic traffic congestion on US-101.

        1. Adelio

          Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

          Too many companies looking to increase profits by driving savings i.e. get rid of all the skilled workers and employee cheaper staff with a LOT less skill, and then wonder why all the products are rubbish.

          I do not think I have seem many (if any) werb or phone applications that i would not be ashamed of being linked to and would rather NOT have to use. A 30 year old thick client can many times still beat for functionality the hobbled mess that is almost ANY web application.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

            A 30 year old thick client can many times still beat for functionality the hobbled mess that is almost ANY web application.

            Sure, as long as you have a way to ship that to all your global customers and get the buy-in of their IT departments to allow them to install it. Otherwise, you have a problem.

            I'm not saying there isn't a problem caused by junior javascript jockeys and other web devs (lets say up to 10 years experience), but thick clients aren't the solution to that problem.

      6. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        I'll bet you a living wage and no more student loans, that the "not enough American citizens to fill the jobs" problem could be solved by doubling the salary offered.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

          I'll bet you a living wage and no more student loans, that the "not enough American citizens to fill the jobs" problem could be solved by doubling the salary offered.

          Doubling pay achieves nothing - same monkeys, more expensive peanuts. I've seen plnety of colleagues double their salary in the past 3 years but they're still just as inept as they were on half what they earn now. Money != capability, though they are sometimes correlated.

      7. fishman

        Re: s/specific skills that are in limited supply/willing to work for peanuts/g

        "maybe they should move their headquarters to a place where the cost of living is REASONABLE?"

        There are places like that. As an example, The area near Salt Lake City has the nickname of "Silicon Slopes". (Slopes for all the fantastic skiing in that area).

  2. prinz

    ... at the current price

    "specific skills that are in limited supply in the US" <---- this sentence is not true because it is incomplete.

    Rule #1 when someone complains about a lack of resources - add "at the current price" and one will find the real reason.

    "specific skills that are in limited supply in the US at the current price" -- much better - the Tech Companies do not want to pay US market rates for technologists so of course they cannot find enough people at the current price they're paying.

    Up until now they've been able to bias the playing field in their favor through H1B to import cheap labor and control that labor with contracts.

    Glad to see somebody has the guts to finally stand up to them and make the playing field fair again.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: ... at the current price

      Yeah, I've tweaked that sentence.

      C.

  3. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    awwww, poor H1B companies

    Tell that to the IT folks who used to work a Disney and other places and have been replaced with cheaper workers both offshore and imported in. It's not about the skills, it's about the money.

    1. Evil Scot

      Re: awwww, poor H1B companies

      Or only interested in the money if the number in the wrong column...

      I worked for a company (call it U)

      It was based in two sites. I developed software which distilled the knowledge of an individual at one site (Call it K) and was rolled out to site S.

      At site K this individual was co opted int sales support. Site S this role was made redundant and the operator of my software was down skilled. Now things get interesting. During a slow down in the market site S stayed tied to a 4 day week. Site K felt the pinch for a bit but soon recovered to a 5 day week.

      Who had the best policy U-K or U-S.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Its a scam.....

    I first came to the US in 1984 on an H1 visa. In order to qualify for this visa I needed a postgraduate degree, significant work experience and my employer needed to get for each hire labor certification that the job I was being hired for wasn't replacing or undercutting a comparable US worker. The present H1B is nothing like this. The kinds of jobs these people are being hired for are mostly support type work where you have to be physically adjacent to the facility, the sort of work where droves of local talent are put on the street because its a lot easier to underpay and abuse the kind of captive labor you get with a non-immigrant visa. (Corporations have no qualms about moving development work overseas if it suits their setup -- I've had this happen several times. Back in the 80s it would be more difficult because you were literally mailing floppy disks about but these days where you work isn't as important for many development jobs.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its a scam.....

      Totally agree.

      I tried on the H1 route and it was notoriously difficult. I have a degree and specialism in a field and, in the end, gave up on moving to the US. A few colleagues managed on an L1 transfer.

      The current H1B is filled immediately with low cost resources. I used to manage one of those Indian offshore teams and some of the developers said they were interested in getting into the US on that route. So I'm kind of glad it's been locked down.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Aahh so sorry

    The fact H1-B visas have been abused for years by Silly Valley and other assorted criminals to circumvent hiring qualified US workers at US market wages has been known for years. That Donald as part of his immigration control efforts decided to address this is not surprising. The effects of abusing the immigration system over here has been angering many who have often been directly affected. What the frauds and felons failed to realize is abusing the system will be stopped whether by Donald or someone else who has pair to go toe-to-toe with them.

    Given the horror stories of the woeful skills of many of the H1-B hires it makes me wonder if the frauds and felons would have been wiser to higher a US worker with minimal skills and train them.

    1. vaporland

      Re: Aahh so sorry

      Given the horror stories of the woeful skills of many of the H1-B hires it makes me wonder if the frauds and felons would have been wiser to hire a US prison inmate with minimal skills and train them.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Aahh so sorry

      >That Donald as part of his immigration control efforts decided to address this is not surprising.

      It is going to be interesting seeing how the UK version of "America First" is going to pan out, here "Making Britain Great" includes making it easier to use immigrant (non-EU) workers...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Aahh so sorry

        But don't tell those who voted Leave because of foreigners.

  6. rcxb Bronze badge

    Eliminate the H1-B system entirely. If someone has valuable skills, then make them a full citizen in short order, without the indentured servitude work restrictions.

  7. cortland

    Hmm.

    Das Heimatsicherhietsamt sieht ALLES.

  8. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    I wonder if...

    ...one could start outsourcing jobs at outsourcing firms. Could it become recursive? To what depth?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: I wonder if...

      That train left the station years ago.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully...

    I work for a US defense contractor company. No H1B's there! Nice place to work but the timesheets are a pain :-)

    Life goes on...

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Thankfully...

      but the timesheets are a pain

      I spot an outsourcing opportunity for someone to complete them for you....?

      Steve

  10. nxnwest

    This happens all the time in the US at the State level, through contractors. The vast majority of IT workers are H1Bs directly sourced to State IT projects due to the push to decrease the State workforce. Each H1B contracted is not another employee, thus it appears the workforce is being reduced. Good PR. Costs go up tremendously, the Contractor makes a ton and every two years or less we see a complete turnover of project teams and have to start over. It takes over two years to master our existing systems and learn what is expected, and IT is contracted o replace it with a more modern one. The contractors never learn the existing one and completely switch out just before utter failure. I've watched the cycle several times.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      FAIL

      Well, that explains the meltdown of the Steamship Authority ferry reservation website on Tuesday.

      Must be "new contract year".

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Unintended consequences ?

    If wages in the US rise, it will make it a more attractive place for immigrants. Not less.

    1. ST Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Unintended consequences ?

      > If wages in the US rise, it will make it a more attractive place for immigrants.

      Naaah. Trump is building a Wall. And Mexico is paying for it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump is building a Wall.

    In the same way the UK is leaving the EU ....

  13. Erik4872

    You have a labor underclass, and don't want to jump through one more hoop for it??

    I work for a very international company and we often bring people in on H-1B visas as well as others for the purposes the program was intended for. What I hate seeing is the body shops using them as cheap on-site labor for offshore outsourcing contracts. The authorities either don't understand that a low-level sysadmin you can easily get locally off the street isn't a hard-to-find globally scarce resource, or they just turn a blind eye and say, "Oh well, it's the law, someone paid for that law, etc."

    These body shops have an amazing deal...they can pay their H-1Bs $60,001 in high-cost areas like SV/SF or NYC where local people will want almost double that because the minimum salary was never changed to reflect inflation or cost-of-living. And even though the visa is portable, it's a royal pain to get another company to re-sponsor you, so they might as well be a captive workforce. The H-1B reform amounts to additional paperwork; it changes nothing substantial...and these companies are still complaining.

    If we could get rid of this underclass of explotable people and still maintain the ability to bring in people who really deserve to be brought in, I'd be all for this. But as it is now, all the Tatas and IBMs and Accentures and Cognizants of the world just have a huge loophole that they're not too grateful for apparently. Most people in IT in high-cost areas don't have to live 6 to a house or get guilted into working crazy hours...it sucks that some do.

  14. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Clamping down on a loophole

    Anyone who has followed the H1-B fiasco is all too aware that people are being brought in from abroad to supplant more expensive local staff which is not the (written at least) basis of the visa program itself.

    Nothing in this stops an outsourcer having staff that work at a client site; what this does stop is an outsourcer deliberately bringing in people on a non-immigrant basis who will not be working at the site of the sponsoring company. That does, of course, mean they would have to employ US citizens or legal immigrants for those roles, and they are denied the use of indentured servitude an effectively captive workforce.

    At one place I worked there was an Indian on one of the various 'work' visas (very probably H1) and she was desperately trying to find a new sponsor so she could change jobs. The rule then (and probably still is) was that you could only work for a sponsoring company - if you left that job and no other company took up the sponsorship, the visa was void so back where you came from was the effect.

    I seem to recall that once you had a number of years full time employment, you could apply for legal immigrant status.

    These outsourcers use the sponsorship rule to effectively profit from the misery of others as they have no effective freedom to change jobs and therefore have no ability to walk away (unless they leave the country, although there are some very nasty tales of the outsourcers demanding money from these people if they ever do leave that way).

    Whatever the reason(s), this rule update is actually a bit refreshing in that it clamps down on one of the worst loopholes in the H1 scheme.

    Disclaimer: I lived and worked in the USA for 22 years (as a legal immigrant, not on a work visa) and saw some of the effective carnage caused by the cut price outsourcers.

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