How Do Tech Pros Feel About H-1B Reform?

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about President Trump potentially overhauling existing work-visa programs such as H-1B, which would have a significant effect on how tech companies source employees.

How does the tech community feel about those potential changes? According to a new survey from Spiceworks, some 67 percent of 429 respondents said they were in favor of H-1B visa reforms. Another 24 percent indicated they weren’t sure, while 9 percent said they weren’t in favor of changes.

That survey followed up another one from Spiceworks in which they asked tech workers if H-1B reforms would impact their organization. Around 71 percent of the 260 respondents said “no,” while 16 percent said “not sure,” and 13 percent said “yes.”

Given the relatively small sample sizes, it’s debatable whether the opinions expressed in these surveys are representative of the tech industry as a whole. And within the industry, there’s a lot of debate over the work-visa system in its current form. As Spiceworks pointed out in a note accompanying the most recent survey, supporters of visa reform believe that some tech companies abuse the current system enough to warrant significant changes.

“Opponents of changes to the H-1B visa system worry that raising barriers to entry for highly-skilled foreign workers is essentially ‘kicking out the best and brightest minds’ and ‘closing off avenues to bring in talented, diverse employees’ that help the American economy grow,” Spiceworks added. “Opponents of reform are also quick to point out that many new tech jobs and businesses have been created by the likes of Elon Musk (born in South Africa) and Sergey Brin (born in Russia).”

Meanwhile, a new H-1B reform bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives proposes eliminating the “per country” cap on the visas, and raising the minimum salary for some visa holders from $60,000 to $130,000. Companies where the number of H-1B holders make up more than 15 percent of the workforce—so-called “dependent employers”—would avoid that wage hike if they could prove their visa program doesn’t displace domestic workers.

During his Presidential campaign, President Trump declared the H-1B visa “very, very bad for workers” and suggested the U.S. “should end it.” But the contours of his actual visa-reform program remain unclear at this juncture.

In any case, it seems (at least based on Spiceworks’ survey data) that tech pros are interested in H-1B reform, even if many of them don’t think those reforms will have much (if any) impact on their organization.

Image Credit: Vinokurov Kirill/Shutterstock.com

Comments

15 Responses to “How Do Tech Pros Feel About H-1B Reform?”

February 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm, Rahul said:

These small Indian companies providing training and placement and sponsoring h1b visa should be reported to uscis .
Trust me there r lot in every state escpecially in nj ,ca
Let’s stand together and get rid of these fraudsters .
Otherwise Americans graduates won’t get job .

Please guys let’s write letter to the president and ask him to make changes asap .
I m not against h1 visa holders , I am against those companies messing around by committing frauds.

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February 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm, jo said:

I do not see much difference if anymore reforms will be added to H1Bs as Obama Administration already made severe changes to it.
Example : Client Itinerary where beneficiary will work, Site Visits, Employer Employee relation and control over employee while at third party site, Increase in filing fees etc.

At the same time I really wonder how the consulting companies still able to file thousands of H1b as future employment because no client will wait for 6-10 months to bring a h1b consultant on board for a contract position. So where these new employees really going to work? Do you think client had interviewed the consultant and assured him that they will bring him as contractor after 6-10 months?

Also multinational companies doing major damage to US employment because they take the project implementation(client outsource to third party, might be laying off max full time employees as a costs cut) from the client and bring and send back L1/H1B visa candidates as and when needed. Most of the jobs are internally filled. I do see most of the jobs in web are fake or conduct interviews just for records.

Not only IT jobs, I do see most of the customer support services, Recruiter jobs etc gone to other countries.

Another issue observed was number of fake Universities grown huge opened doors for thousands of average or below average students. These students gets masters certificate easily and will manage somehow to get a contract position.

I doubt globalization and global warming are not easily controlled anymore.

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February 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm, Steve said:

Aside from the H1B stuff, I think recruiting agencies need to reigned in, since they mostly offer temporary jobs, which does not offer any sort of future for IT or technology workers. They need to have their practices changed to either by offering workers full benefits and long term employment and PTO hours, if needed, or absolute temp to perm.

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February 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm, Kevin said:

Agreed on Fake Universities and mass import of students from abroad, definitely effects students who studied in US since childhood.

Agreed on Consulting companies training and job placement practices, Genuine experienced US Citizens/Green Card holders are worst effected by these companies wrong practices.

But it is USCIS job to question themselves on approving the petitions. I believe they go by size of the company and if they feel they have good revenues they simply approve it. Not by legitimacy of the petition.

H14 EAD, L2 EAD kind of employment authorization shouldn’t be given.

Since outsourcing cannot be stopped, If certain measures like stop downloading students, cancel EAD’s have not taken, it appears life in US will not be easy.

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February 16, 2017 at 3:18 am, Kumaran said:

The minimum wage should be increased to $150,000. The exploitation of H1-B workers should be abolished. Human Traffic through H1B should be banned. No more H1B Slavery. Companies should hire the workers directly. Modern Slave-Masters should be eliminated.

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February 16, 2017 at 7:04 am, NRMD said:

H1B is completely broken system with so many people abusing it. We need to stop giving further H1B for at least 2 years and concentrate on local grads giving them ‘on Job training’ . Also, 50% of the salary goes to job hunters. We need cap those limits of profit and need some trasperancy on those limits.

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February 16, 2017 at 8:10 am, Joey said:

The salary requirement is a joke. Consulting companies might be charging 65K per head, but the worker is probably getting only half that. A large consulting outfit like TATA is probably rotating Indians into and out of the USA without work visas approved yet. Large projects can be started by just hiring temp laid off US works with no benefits until a boatload of visa get approved. Forget the wall with Mexico, we need a wall at the Air India terminal at the airports.

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February 16, 2017 at 8:35 am, Chris Fox said:

I’ve worked with a few H1-Bs who were gifted software engineers. They’re.the exception. It’s abundantly clear they aren’t hired for their talent, but for their lower cost and for their obedience. The shoddiest work I’ve ever seen came from H1-B workers, all of it.

Tata puts completely inexperienced people through a six weeks course in C# and bills them out as *senior* software engineers. They know nothing.

Raising the income to match American engineers would end the program. Just watch.

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February 16, 2017 at 8:59 am, Kay said:

If these companies can’t find skilled workers then why haven’t they gone to America’s top universities to develop programs that develop the skills? It’s BS!!
National Security should also be factored in when eliminating these visas! Shut the visas down President Trump!!

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February 16, 2017 at 10:09 am, jlo said:

American companies like Apple and Google want to keep wages down, and by hiring foreign workers they save on salaries and keep unemployment higher for American workers. Like they aren’t making a big profit already. And Apple and maybe Google have profits hidden over seas and have not paid taxes on them. These kind of businesses are holding this country down and Trump ought to make examples of them. Trump wants to make America great again and Google and Apple want to keep America poor while they make a fortune hiring alien workers.

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February 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm, Mark Edwards said:

We don’t need H-1B reform, or L-1 reform, or OPT reform, or reform of any of the myriad types of work visas that have caused so much unemployment in the STEM workers/graduates in this country. Until we have almost full employment in these fields there is no reason to import foreign labor. 67% of the I.T. hires last year were for workers from India. Some companies/organizations in this country are almost 100% Indian, with a smattering of Chinese thrown in for a bit of “diversity”. The “we can’t find qualified workers for the position” is one of the biggest lies told in the history of this country. What that really translates into is “we really like to have an unlimited influx of cheap labor, so that we can keep the wages down and have better control over the workforce”. I believe that most of our politicians are aware of this, but rather than put a stop to this abuse, they would rather continue to receive graft from the special interest groups. Basically, they have sold out the US workers for campaign donations. They are traitors – no doubt about it.

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February 16, 2017 at 7:47 pm, Jon Boecher said:

Dear Mr. Kolakowski,
I’d like to see a companion article entitled: How Do Unemployed AmericanTech Pros Feel About H-1B Reform?

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February 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm, APParAtChiK said:

While I loathe Donald Trump and 95% of the reactionary policies he advances, I wholeheartedly support H1-B reform. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes working in IT in a major U.S. city can recognize the outright scams that abound in the field. There is a common denominator regardless of the scam in question – to drive wages down so that greedy companies continue to raise profit margins.

H1-B is the biggest scam in the industry. The nonsense that corporate media feeds the public – that there aren’t enough skilled U.S. tech workers to fill the needed positions is absolute garbage. There is a vested interest in keeping this lie going. The primary function of corporate media is to serve corporate interests – a point so obvious it might as well be a tautology. They do this by obediently regurgitating the same tired points of debate around topics like H1-B. Very quickly the crucial economic point of the debate gets swallowed up by useless back and forth about whether reforming the Visa program is descriminatory, anti-immigration, anti-growth etc.

The debate should not be about the people who come to the U.S. on the Visas. I’ve worked with plenty of H1-B holders over the years. They’re people, just like any other people. Some are friendly, educated, and competent while others are clueless, lazy, and arrogant. And all points in between – just like Americans.

The H1-B program should be reformed because it allows large, profitable corporations to exploit cheap labor at the expense of U.S. workers, while enriching themselves at levels never before witnessed in history. The current neoliberal economic order (commonly referred to as globalization) has done more to drive down domestic wages and consolidate corporate dominance than any preceeding system. It has decimated the working class in the United States by forcing the domestic workforce into competiton with their vastly cheaper counterparts abroad, many of whom work in dangerous, exploitative sweatshop conditions. Of course this topic is never discussed by the corporate media, for the obvious reason mentioned previously.

Economic policy decisions should be taken with the interests of the U.S. workforce in mind, not the interests of Apple, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Facebook, etc. Again, a point so obvious it should be regarded as a universal truism.

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February 18, 2017 at 9:45 am, John Doe said:

There is an Indian national, in the OKC area, who operates a consulting organization by bringing in people from India. He runs them through short boot camps and then sells them to local companies as Senior Engineers. A friend of mine related how one of these “experienced SQL people”, sold as having 5+ years of experience, couldn’t even write a Select * statement. He told this person to either fess up and quit or that he would notify management.

I’ve seen too much code written by Indian nationals, here on H1Bs, that has clearly been plucked from a Google search and pasted, rather than used to formulate a well-constructed solution. I honestly believe that out of every 100 Indian engineers there are only two or three who truly understand coding and problem solving.

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April 25, 2017 at 3:02 am, Server Guy said:

Many in this thread have commented about companies selling labor that’s not legitimately trained. Hey guys if you know of companies doing this, how can you ask us to write a letter to Trump if we don’t know who to point the finger at?

Give us the dirt.

If you are working for a company that has foreign labor that is incompetent then rat them out here or at least in a letter to the POTUS or to Homeland. Homelands got their marching orders. Give them the ammo to look good in front of the president. Times a wastin’. Git er done.

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