How 800,000 H-1B Workers Came to the U.S.

Here’s where it starts: Employers say there’s a lack of tech professionals who have the skills they need to compete in today’s increasingly technology-driven global markets. They can’t find computer systems analysts, programmers and software applications engineers, especially with advanced degrees. Without these skills, they contend, they’re at a disadvantage. But by hiring professionals from other countries, who are more than willing to bring their talents to the United States, they can solve the problem.

H-1B Special ReportBut American tech workers don’t buy it. The motivations behind the corporate push are all about suppressing wages, they charge. Plenty of experienced native-born professionals are available to do the work, right now, especially if Corporate America would spend the money to train them. Guest workers do the same work for less money, they argue. And, they contend, the claim that visa holders provide the only solution gives companies an easy justification for easing out higher-paid tech veterans.

While each side has valid arguments to make, too often the debate isn’t so much a discussion as a screaming match. So let’s look at the realities, without the emotion.

The Special Report:


The Numbers

Over the past six years, 775,957 H-1B visas were issued to foreign workers, according to the State Department, which is the last of three federal agencies to approve each successful petition. Since the visas can be valid for that long, that’s the number of H-1B workers who could be in the U.S. today.

That’s more than the much-publicized annual cap of 65,000 for a simple reason: Each visa is good for a three-year period and can be extended for another three years under certain circumstances. Thus the cap is only a part of the story.

After Congress created the H-1B visa in 1990, demand skyrocketed during the dot-com boom that came late in the decade. Since then, employers have come to rely on visa holders as a key source of highly skilled technical talent. Indeed, one company — the Sunnyvale, Calif., startup Blueseed, wants to convert a cruise ship into a floating incubator moored 12 miles off the coast of Northern California, beyond U.S. jurisdiction — and any visa caps.

Industry advocates say the program isn’t about displacing U.S. citizens but supplementing them with professionals who have the skills needed today while the workers of tomorrow are trained. And technology’s employment numbers back up their claims that talent is hard to find. Today, the industry’s unemployment rate is hovering around 3.5 percent, indicating that tech jobs overall are hard to fill.

And while the number of computer science graduates with bachelor’s or advanced degrees is increasing — up 11.7 percent last year, according to the Computer Research Association — employers still worry that there won’t be enough STEM graduates to fill IT and engineering jobs in the coming years.

H-1B Visas Issued

The Numbers – Part II

The awarding of 65,000 H-1B visas each year doesn’t tell the full story. On top of those, an additional 20,000 are given to foreign workers with advanced degrees. Most of these, according to the Department of Labor, are used in the computer industry. In addition to those, an uncapped number of visas can be used by universities and non-profit research facilities. In fiscal 2012, the total number of H-1Bs issued was 135,530, according to the State Department.

And H-1Bs aren’t the only visas the tech industry relies on.

  • L-1 visas allow companies to bring overseas employees to work temporarily in the U.S.
  • F-1 visas let foreign students study here and become eligible to work in their field for up to 29 months without a work permit.
  • J-1 visas go to visitors such as scholars or students from designated countries.

While J-1 visas are capped by sponsoring organization, L-1 and F-1 visas aren’t capped at all. Unlike H-1Bs, these visas don’t require employers to pay U.S. market rates, or the “prevailing wage,” as it’s called, for positions similar to those held by American citizens.

The Pipeline

Technology companies and trade groups contend that without guest workers, they’ll fall dangerously behind in conducting the kind of research and development that turned the U.S. into the world’s technology powerhouse. For example, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith recently told National Public Radio that the software giant hired 44 percent more engineers in 2012 than it did the previous year. Engineers, he said, represent one of the industry’s largest factors in its ability to innovate. Fewer engineers, less innovation.

Across the industry, executives point to the thin pipeline of STEM graduates as a primary cause of the engineer shortage. Intel, for example, told Dice News that a lack of computer, chemical, materials and mechanical engineers with advanced degrees poses a real challenge to the company as it works to maintain its edge in the increasingly competitive semiconductor sector. Gordon Coburn, president of consulting and outsourcing company Cognizant, was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying the college graduates his company hires typically had three other job offers.

That makes it sound as if technology graduates should be enjoying a favorable job market. And in some cases, they are. Between 2009 and 2011, the unemployment rate for computer engineering graduates between 22 and 26 years old was 3.8 percent, according to a report from Georgetown University. However, it was 8.6 percent for computer science majors in the same age bracket, 14.5 percent for communications technologies majors, and 15.5 percent for computer and information systems majors. Inexperience looks to have played a role in this, given that the unemployment rates were much less for similarly educated professionals in the same sectors who were between 30 and 54 years old.


In creating the H-1B program, policymakers wanted to avoid the very situation opponents claim is common practice: displacing qualified American workers with less-expensive foreign labor. According to the rules, employees hired under the program must be paid either the same wage or the “prevailing wage” local workers get for doing a similar job, whichever is greater. To determine the prevailing wage in a particular region, the Labor Department pulls numbers from surveys conducted by both private companies and government agencies.

But these surveys are only so granular. For example, explains Joshua Lamont, a spokesman for the Labor Department, while they can distinguish between activities performed within a certain occupation — a software applications developer, say, as opposed to a software systems developer — the surveys aren’t likely to track the wages of developers skilled in a specific operating system.

In other words, the prevailing wage doesn’t take into account the salaries of people working in hot jobs like iOS or Android developer compared to those working with more traditional platforms. So, it can put the H-1B at a disadvantage while making it harder for an American to compete. Guest workers hired as Android developers may receive lower salaries than their co-workers, since the pay is based on the broader software applications developer rate.

PREVAILING WAGE LEVELS - FINALOf course, policies and good intentions don’t always translate to perfect execution on the ground. Although one H-1B — who’s taken the name Samwise here to protect his privacy — a database developer and H-1B worker in New York, says that in his experience most wages paid to guest workers are in line with the prevailing rate, he’s also seen abuse of the system and personally encountered troubles soon after his arrival in the U.S. After being hired by a consulting company as a systems analyst for the prevailing wage, he was later trained on Cosmos, an open-source operating system. His employer charged its clients an accordingly higher rate for his time, but Samwise continued to work at the systems analyst rate.

Guest workers and their advocates aren’t the only ones who worry about such abuses. Many, like Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis and an outspoken critic of the H-1B visa, say the program puts guest workers into a kind of indentured servitude. Because their visa is good only while they’re employed by the sponsoring company, H-1Bs fear being dismissed and so tend to work longer hours and keep any complaints about working conditions to themselves.

Those dynamics, Matloff charges, play right into the hands of tech companies. “The industry wants the cheap, young, immobile people,” he says.

All of this sets up an obvious argument: Businesses say they’re essentially paying visa-holders at the same rate they pay American workers, while opponents retort that the inability of H-1Bs to move and their fears of losing their jobs have the ultimate effect of making them cheaper.

Perhaps the closest thing to a middle ground lies in the opinion of Ashok Bardhan, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. “In the absence of H-1B workers, it is true that wages of residents may rise faster,” he says. “But in an expanding sector with many spillover effects, like technology, the long-term growth prospects of both the high tech and the economy at large would be negatively affected in a serious manner without them.”

H-1B Myths vs. Facts

129 Responses to “How 800,000 H-1B Workers Came to the U.S.”

  1. “Today, the industry’s unemployment rate is hovering around 3.5 percent”
    I wonder where they get these numbers. While the rest of the country is at about 8%, why would tech be so much less.
    Specifically, I wonder why so many of my tech friends are unemployed here in San Diego, one of the tech centers of the country (I’d guess in the top 5 behind Silicon Valley and NYC, so maybe we’re 3rd.) We seem to have plenty of jobs out there and a large number are filled by people from India (and fewer from China and Russia and other places.) The last place I worked at, of the 30 people in our QA group, 15 were on Visas from India. On the development team, we had very few from India and more from China (but only about 15% visas)

    So there are lots of unemployed, lots of jobs, and lots of jobs filled by foreigners rather than local skilled workers. If the companies can’t find local talent, in my opinion they’re simply not trying or (as I’ve heard some claim) turning away “expensive” local talent to justify a lack of qualified talent.
    On the side I teach adult-ed tech and there are plenty of talented individuals looking for jobs. I probably see 2 per month that I would hire, and this is in classes that are TRAINING people. After the training is done, some have gained the skills and still get no jobs.

    • Dawn Kawamoto

      Hi RobS,

      The unemployment figures of 3.5 percent come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the first quarter. The figures are for the computer and mathematical occupations, non-seasonally adjusted. Hope that helps.


      • Thanks Dawn. I didn’t mean where do you/Dice get these numbers from…I meant where does the “source” get them from since they don’t seem to reflect what I see in my area or what I hear from other areas. From reading other articles, it appears that it might be a very specific, focused group, not representing the industry in general. I think it indicated it was specific engineers but not programmers and not other IT professionals.

        • Unca Alby

          Hi Rob. San Diego is at a disadvantage, as it is situated in the Soviet Socialist State of California. The Labor Statistics are a nationwide average, and SSSC is of course going to be much higher.

    • Nancy

      Dirty industry secret….. Even when they hire U.S Citizens, they are doing so as contract positions instead of full time employees. Most states do not consider individuals whose contract has expired as unemployed. Drum Roll… and that is how they come up with such a low unemployment for the IT field.

  2. Steve

    I am so tired of claims by industry that there is some shortage of STEM workers. This statement really gets me upset: “Employers say there’s a lack of tech professionals who have the skills they need to compete in today’s increasingly technology-driven global markets. They can’t find computer systems analysts, programmers and software applications engineers, especially with advanced degrees. ”

    I received my B.S. in Computer Science in August 2001. Furthermore I HAVE an advanced degree: I received my M.S. in Computer Science in May 2006. At that time, I was 50. Ok, Industry: come and find me! I have a STEM degree, and I have an advanced STEM degree. I only want an entry-level programming job….just don’t make my primary job be to lug-around cases of paper to all the work stations in an office.

    • Unca Alby

      Sorry Steve, you’re over 50. They’ll never admit it in a million years, but after you hit 45, you don’t exist anymore. (This is likely the topic of a separate article posted on Dice) A friend of mine put it rather succinctly: they want somebody who’s 25 years old with 25 years of experience.

    • scorpio

      50? no one was ready to hire me at campus coz i was 30.. yes a stem grad from top 5 university :)i was too old for campus hiring. they wanted 22-25 yr student 🙂

  3. Michael Evan Malbin

    Still they are ignoring one of the biggest problems, the agencies.
    The agencies hold the visas, and contract out the workers.
    While the hiring company pays proper compensation, the agencies can keep as much as they want.
    The hording of visas, the sometimes terrible compensation ratio to the workers, sometimes horrendous living conditions, threats of deportation if the workers don’t cooperate, and many other atrocious actions and practices need to be brought to light.

    • RK Sharma

      From an Indian perspective reality is; may be main culprits are not the end clients like JP Morgan, At &T etc, they pay but there are lot of middle men who sponsor H1B visa, these are small companies in New Jersey and they contract there employee to another middle men, this chain moves on till Prime vendor who deals with end client. These middle men never push resume of local American due to few technical reasons which nobody dares to right in media 1. All Middle men are Indians sitting in India using Magic Jack etc, it is easy to exploit immigrants from India rather then Americans who are in habit of suing or taking to courts over wrong doing, also local Americans work in process and don’t sleep in office because some Indian manager wants employee to do it 2. Regional mafia, technical reason is you are not qualified or are not fit for job but real reason is lot of these middle men have people from there own states in India (primarily South India, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Naidu) and these people prefer people from there region, under hand dealings are done where contractor pays $5 to $10 per hour to these Managers to survive in jobs 3 It is easy to threaten Indian by other Indian, you need to understand cultural dynamics to understand this, to some extent same goes for Chinese. (These contracts are not cheap for end clients which they don’t understand, only benefit goes to these big Indian companies with strong lobbies and don’t forget L1 visa, I have lived with 22 people in one Apartment in New Jersey in some of the most horrible conditions on H1B.)

      That is why Americans have only one way, get into top university like MIT or Stanford, focus on campus placement where facebook or some other picks you up directly, if you want to get job through online portals or middle men you are wasting your time, I am seeing this for 15 yrs and no journalist or American will tell u these 3 real reasons

        • RK Sharma

          US politicians can do one very simple thing which American Journalists can’t tell because they don’t know, I am telling because I have struggled for long enough. See Indians will give one excuse or another, saying qualified people are not available, Coke and Pepsi are selling products in India, well Coke and Pepsi are not snatching jobs of Indians, Bottling plants belong to Indians, Taxes are paid in India, Indian Advertisers make money and finally Indian consumers are happy. I heard this comment from lot of people from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Naidu basically one’s who control IT market including recruitment, If US politicians can put one rule that say “There can only be one layer called prime vendor or implementation partner between end client like AT &T or Goldman Sachs and actual H1B sponsor” lot of exploitation and this regional mafia will go away, Americans will be getting jobs and I can tell you Americans are pretty hard working and thorough people, plus honesty and integrity standards are high, only thing is they don’t fake resume, there degrees are not fake and they are suffering because they can’t tweak everything in resume. Lets say if company A sponsors H1 of Candidate X, and this Candidate X can work at lets say Goldman Sachs, then only one intermediary should be allowed, right now People sitting in South India are using Magic jack and controlling market, no American can even dream that his/her resume will be pushed. With this one line Amendment lot of problems will go away, existing H1 Candidates will get less exploited, Americans will get jobs because lot of these Middle men who are squeezing blood out of foreigners will go away, where in the world you see someone sitting in India taking $10-15 out of every hour a contractor works, I haven’t seen this anywhere, Exploitation done by big Indian outsourcing companies is one thing but exploitation by these middle men can be stopped using regulation, Bring this simple one line rule and see the difference. Some good start up, Google etc can always hire people from MIT, Stanford etc, Problem is this middle men who are spoiling market and eating everything, what I am suggesting is not difficult also so if someone can suggest this measure to gang of eight senators, you will be doing lot of good to cause of America and employment for Americans, once few Americans are pushed in projects, this regional mafia will die down since use common sense cultural and work ethics make difference, Read Indian News paper world report corruption Index, check the corruption level, what do you think will they work with people from other countries, go to any IT company see what is ground reality, whole floor has sometimes 8-10 Americans only, Playing with Excel or copying code from Google is not Rocket sense, just start segregating between full time employment at Google or Microsoft through College or even otherwise and this middle men market. Further if you want to make it better bring a rule that says Indian IT companies need to employ at-least 50% Americans onsite in USA, this way poor people citing in India will also have better lives, local employment will get created and companies will be forced to train Americans. Regulations are must to change large trends, no individual can do this.Do something about L1 visas who are exploited like animals. But to start with take care of Middle men, i am telling you lot of these fraud companies in states like New Jersey will pack backs. Why American media is not reaching the exact ground reality. I really don’t understand.

          • Christopher G.

            The difference is that Coke and Pepsi hire and train local workers to make their soda.How many Americans do you see immigrating to India to make your steel or chemicals. Very few, That was a bad analogy.

          • I am from Mumbai in India and I agree with your thoughts, these pimps are eating all the money and US citizens are suffering like a hell, condition of Indians working in big outsourcing companies or even otherwise also is pretty bad. Comprehensive Immigration bill should help before things become impossible. I hold Master degree in Computer from UCLA and I am seeing all this going on for few years but now it is going out of hand. One can count Americans on fingers in IT department of any company.

      • This is true, I am Indian and a US Citizen that graduated in 2003, could not find a job for 4 years. I had the skills, great GPA..I even tried these Indian companies to place me at a job, but they would just do the training for a fee and push fake resumes of OPT students / H1b. They will also only deal with there own south indian people. I know I had more skills and was smarter then most of the people in the training batches. Anyways, One of the students I met at one of the training decided to take me in and fake my experience for 100K job. Worked with them for 6 months. Went to other interviews got 3 out of 4 offers for senior level programming job.Long story short, the shortage of visa’s is just crap. We should be training Americans to do this job, there is more than enough talent here, just need good training programs when students come out of college.

        • just to add, that student had opened his own company, the billing rate was over $1000+ per day, but I only got paid at the rate of 65K a year, they kept the rest.

          • Samwise

            I do sympathise with your situation, but there seem to be some facts that you overlooked –

            (A) you said you did not have a job for 4 years since 2003. If an H1B worker does not have a job even for 1 day, the law states that he/she is out of status and has to leave the country immediately. You already got a major advantage that being a US citizen, you could stay without a job for 4 years.

            (B) There’s nothing wrong with the fact that you were paid 65K a year – that’s how the free market works. If you don’t like what you are being paid, find something that pays more. I also don’t understand how H1Bs are to be blamed for driving down your wages, if they were getting paid more than you. Doesn’t make sense.

            (C) Agree with the fact that fake resumes, training, south-indian only does happen. In fact, it has happened to me. You know what I did- I never ever went back to those companies again. You (and others) should do the same, that itself will drive them out of business.

            Again, I’m not siding with what companies are doing. My only refrain is the H1B visa holder gets all the blame, but in reality, they are the ones who are exploited the most by companies that bring them here.

          • Sorry Samwise, but this just came across as silly (even though I know what you meant.)

            (A) “You already got a major advantage that being a US citizen, you could stay without a job for 4 years.”
            Yes, what a wonderful advantage to be unemployed for 4 years. 🙂 The biggest problem is that you continue to pay the high cost of living versus being forced to return to a country where the cost of living is much lower.

            (B) “that’s how the free market works. If you don’t like what you are being paid, find something that pays more”
            The problem here is that it’s not a free market if certain groups get advantages, such as those subsidized by their govt (not Indians but I’ve heard about this in other places), or those that cheat to get in (use fake credentials). Also, depending on what you believe, the $65K salary is hard to increase because of the overly inflated supply of workers.

            (C) “fake resumes, training, south-indian … I never ever went back to those companies again. … that itself will drive them out of business.”
            Not really….they will just continue to get more foreigners. In addition, these days when companies start struggling, they get Congress to bail them out, which means that the tax-payers (many of whom are unemployed because of the problems in the market) have to pay even MORE to a company that is abusing everyone.

            On a side note, what do you think would happen if the visa-work program where immediately stopped? I think that companies would hire the talent that is sitting waiting to be hired and these companies and the workers would thrive not just in the short-term but in the long term since workers will actually have money to buy the products that their companies produce.

          • Samwise

            Well, if the program is stopped, the first thing that would happen is that I will have to go back to my native country :). But, as a side effect, here’s the other stuff that will also happen –
            ** All the “bad elements” who are exploiting the program will not be able to do so, and since there is no H1B program, many of these elements may go out of business.
            ** Students who have come here to get a masters will no longer be able to work here. So, you will have many scenarios where someone with a PhD in nanotechnology from MIT will be booted out of this country. He will go back to his native country and might start a nanotechnology firm there, and generate employment there.
            ** The wages (and consumption) may go up in the short term. Longer term, wages will be so high that it might not be feasible for smaller companies to pay (imagine paying 150K for a C# programmer).
            ** Companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google, Facebook, that have hundreds of programmers offshore, will have troubles in the short term. You can hire american workers here, but what about the intellectual capital that has already been transferred to the offshore offices of these companies. That’s never coming back.
            ** Companies will find more ways of outsourcing even more jobs, since they wouldn’t want to pay higher wages.
            ** Outsourcing companies would find other ways of bringing in foreign workers – L1B visa, B1 visa, company sponsored green card etc.

            Personally, I would go back and start a company- I’ve wanted to do so here, but the rules of the H1B program bar me from starting a company here.

            I’m not trying to paint a scenario to justify the program, but you only asked my view on what would happen if it were stopped.

          • Wow! Sounds very feasible and other than the short-term pain for people on the visa program, it seems like a win-win for everyone and the outsourcing countries would be forced to improve themselves, workers here would get hired, companies would probably see record profits as the great local talent produces products that the local area needs, etc. Small companies could hire kids out of college for much less than $150K and would only do so if they knew their product was worthwhile rather than the junk we see on the market now. Also, many individuals would help fill the need of those missing apps since they can self-publish.

        • john kon

          The american companies mentality has to change here. In any project you need experinced and also mid-to-entry level resources to make it successfuly. This is a balanced approach. Most companies and manager want experienced people only. So for mid-to e-entry level the H1B body shops fudge resume and fake interview get into job and work side by side with experinced people. This mindset of companies. managers need to change to also promote the balances. This way we can avoid the fraud.

      • Dude please…You seem to have a problem with south Indians. Stop trying to act like you are sympathizing with Americans. It is very obvious what you are trying here. Why the hell did you go stay with 22 people. I can’t imagine how your apartment would’ve looked. Besides if anyone has a majority in the the NJ are it is the Gujaratis. If you haven’t noted that yet, you have poor observational skills. You wouldn’t be complaining on dice if you had a job or someone from your state had got you a job. Stop blaming your shortcomings on other people.

      • @ RK Sharma, your analogy is almost perfect and whoever is in IT sector in US knows that these are bitter truths. Regarding American kids going to top universities like MIT etc.., They are nowadays hesitate to take loan and go for good colleges in STEM(computers to be specific). Reason, If they take big education loans for MIT etc, what is the guarantee that they will get a decent paying job and will be able to repay the job?( since they have to compete against cheap Foreign Workers) So this foreign worker program is a double edged sword. US Universities are funded by this big silicon valley companies to keep their fees high , so that a middle class American cannot reasonably afford. So that these companies can bring more foreign labor by saying there is no enough STEM graduates.

  4. James

    This article says nothing new. It comes down to money for the companies that are looking to push new products at the lowest cost possible.

    What isn’t covered is how many H1B employees also work as double-agents for firms “back home” who are willing to pay top $ for trade secrets, code, or any product development initiatives being pursued by the employers they work for. Since all US tech workers have to go through a rigorous background check here in the States, what’s the process used for these foreign workers? With so much corruption in both India and China where you can forge or hide your true identity/visa and/or criminal record with your local and national governments, how do US firms know that they’re hiring ethical workers?

    I’d like to see an article that tracks this never-discussed reality. I’ve seen it first hand which is why I’ve brought it up.

    • This is truely nonsense. If you are not familiar with process, please don’t go blaberring. Before any visa applicant comes to us, a thorough background check is performed. His photographic identity is verified. Two times fingerprints are taken in India. Once incumbent enters US, before crossing the border of DHS, fingerprints are taken and matched against database.
      I understand there is corruption in India, but to raise question on visa fraud is raising question against your countrymen itself.
      Don’t you trust your own politicians or Congressman/Congress woman as you call it ?

    • My mister used to watch his coworker’s husband remotely log in and transfer code from his company.
      A friend tells me one of her company’s employees “working from home”, but left the country years ago, lives in China.
      Another routinely gives employee 6 weeks off, paid, not marked as vacation.

      The companies have _no_ idea what their workers are doing. Or not doing.

  5. Echoing ROB’S statements, I’m pretty sure that those tech employment numbers are phony and/or companies are cooking their books. There is no “shortage of talented individuals” anywhere, just a shortage of companies who want to give out an honest/livable wage. Companies don’t want to pay local American workers a decent full-time salary and would rather bring on foreign workers to save money. Raising the cap on H-1B visas just means that companies can suppress wages and fatten their pockets. I wonder what the excuse will be if the cap is raised, more foreign workers are brought in, and these companies maintain their position against their “competition”. I guess they’ll come up with some other lie to take the heat off of them.

    So not only do companies create artificial barriers to hiring people (outlandish job requirements pertaining to experience and/or certifications) but they are simultaneously going to bat for themselves in Washington so they can flood the market with foreign workers. It disgusts me that these companies made their money off of the American people and now they don’t even want to hire and train the same people who made their companies what they are.

  6. kp_on_h1b

    I am an Indian on h1b and hold a MS degree. This article is so out of touch from what the h1b visa has done to this country. This might surprise all of you since its coming from someone with a H1b and from India and frustrated with Indian outsourcing companies who have flooded the market with cheap incompetent labor
    FACT no1. American Employers want cheap labor, period! The prevailing wages that are set by the government are so low that they are not suitable for the American standard of living. No American programmer is going to work 12 hr days at 50-60k unless its entry level. It the same analogy why manufacturing has gone to china, any contest? only in this case it is happening at home
    FACT no2. The bitter truth is, old employees are out. Especially if you want to start at entry level, i would personally suggest Americans to network in such a way that you can get a job by pulling strings around through your friends, or else forget it. No one wants to say it on your face but its what I have seen and i feel very sorry. The cheap h1b outsourcing companies are adding on to the misery.
    FACT no3. Lobbying by Indian IT giants is only going to increase until the wages are so low it will be close to $15/hr. Thats the law of supply/demans. Most indians from small villages are willing to work on minimum salary to come to the US. (an HR guys from TCS, the indian IT giant told me the inside truth..people from india are ready to work as programmers at $1000/month!!!). If you go to hyderabad, you will see small pamphlets being distributed on the streets for java,c++,sap and what not just to get a months training and get your visa sponsored.

    The Big Problem: IT industry has no standard. Anyone (especially any indian/chinese) with half knowledge of writing java code can get into the industry while the real talented ones who work hard are shoved away.

    Solution: An IT regulatory body that sets a higher standard for people to pass before they be qualified for any job. Just look at Australian immigration for computer professionals. I am asking atleast a few American’s to come forward to set up this body. For eg., set up a minimum bachelors/masters degree requirement from the US. Set up standardized computer based tests that focus on fundamentals of computer science. why not let them pass the big O notation test? then lets see who is qualified enough to compete. To give another perspective, just imagine professions like doctors/lawyers having no standard of qualification or experience for their job and the market is flooded with cheap outsourced doctors, would you like it? thats why you need a stricter and higher standard and you need it NOW!. The only ones who would go against the standards are the mafia like indian outsourcing companies, then the truth will be out.

    • Indian Assault

      Partly agree and Partly disagree with you fellow Indian. But of course, you have to understand that there is life after coding and high tech stuff as well. Who would do the bug fixing, maintenance releases, testing, reporting, co ordination, management, liaisoning? Would you spend 12-13 hrs a day for this? Would you lose sleep attending calls from India at midnight ? or prepare for a production release on a sunday?? You are an advanced degree holder and imagine you are asked to create tickets and answer phone calls or advice the users on how to use a system. Would you like doing it??

      Even Apple iPhone says “Designed in California” . Why dont they manufacture it there?? We can crib about standard, quality etc, ultimately everything is driven by economics, not Technology.

      • R. Lawson

        Those jobs you speak of can be staffed quite easily through on the job training or 2 year degree program. Many could be learned in high school as a trade. Low level jobs like that are easy to train and easy to fill using domestic talent. Tech support needs a HS diploma, some basic training and certification, supervision, and a good manual they can refer to.

    • Samwise

      I agree with the fact that companies want cheap labor, nothing wrong with that. Also agree with the fact that, especially in IT, the older you get, the tougher it becomes to survive – mind you, this is true for american citizens *as well as* H1B workers.

      However, I don’t agree with the stuff you said about Indian IT cos. If a company hires somebody @ $15/hr, the quality of work they get is of the same rate, $15/hr. And, I know from experience that it’s a tricky proposition when a company outsources – if things go south, and the offshore company fails to deliver (which it does, in many cases), heads do roll, and managers do lose their jobs. So, outsourcing cos. market cheap rates because it’s their business model- it’s up to the companies here to choose whether they want to hire an offshoring company or not.

      I do agree with your proposal of setting a higher bar, though not exactly the same way. I think the solution is to make H1Bs more mobile, just like their american counterparts. If someone on H1B doesn’t like his/her employer, he should be able to quit without worrying about the H1B transfer, fees, paperwork, and thinking what’s gonna happen to their green card. That, I think, is the root cause of the problem – the H1B visa bonds an employee with the employer, and the employer can pretty much dictate whatever terms they want. If H1Bs are freed of this bondage, wages would automatically rise, since nobody would want to work @ 50-60K just so that their status is maintained. Also add to that better transparency from US authorities on visa stampings/rejections, putting a stop to the practice of rejecting people who have gone for visa stamping, and a clearer green card process.

      • R. Lawson

        “I do agree with your proposal of setting a higher bar, though not exactly the same way. I think the solution is to make H1Bs more mobile, just like their american counterparts.”

        That is half of the equation, but I agree this must be done. The second half is to require ABOVE market wages. If the skill is for the best and brightest, there is a shortage of experience in that skill, the market will naturally pay more. So let’s weed out the Bull-sh###s from the people who truly need a unique skill they can’t find locally. Require the rate of pay to be in the 75th percentile or above instead of the current 25th percentile where the body shops pay.

        The 75th percentile rule is really just a BS test. If you aren’t willing to pay a premium for a niche skill where there is a shortage, you really just want cheap labor. And we don’t care about those companies, and shouldn’t.

      • Niyl_P

        Agree w/ R. Lawson.

        You only propose favorable terms for H1-Bs … make them more mobile and “free them from bondage” … well like someone said earlier that it’s up to US companies to decide whether they want cheap labor or quality workers. Doesn’t that sort of onus also fall on H1-Bs then that it’s up to H1-Bs to just quit if they don’t like the employer and go back ??? Free yo’ selves from bondage ? As far as I know, no company can forcibly keep you here if you want to quit if you’re not treated right… no ?

        I would only agree to this kind of “freedom” if they can prove their part of the bargain … that they are indeed QUALIFIED !!! Because let’s not forget … H1-B is not immigrant visa … it’s work visa … if you want to stay in US on permanent basis … why not require H1-Bs to follow the same process that is required of anyone else who wants to immigrate ? US is a country of immigrants and I don’t have anything against immigration … but what I am seeing a lot of is gaming of the system and using H1-B (work visas) as means to become permanent residents in US. And that too by incompetent workers who “craft” nothing more than fake resumes and lie their way into jobs with the help of their buddies in (as RK SHARMA put it) “regional mafia”. Once in the job, they form this strangle hold on the job in their area of the company/dept and will only hire their fellow “countrymen” and actively avoid American workers.

        The question I ask is how many H1-Bs that came to US actually went back ? So, it shows that its being used to immigrate and nothing more. Also, H1-B sposes (H-4 visas) … they also use their spouse’s “network” in the “regional mafia” and slip into jobs they don’t qualify for w/ fake resumes and then train themselves for years on the job (well many still remain incompetent) but they have nerves to say that Americans need to get training … yea I’d love to get a job I don’t qualify for at all and train on the job all while getting high pay. So the spouses of H1-Bs pretty much double the number of foreign workers that came in the quota … but are not counted.

        So, no “freedom from bondage” unless you prove your skills … and need the lack of integrity is something of a bigger issue which I don’t see a quick solution for.

        • This leads to an interesting question: If work visas only allowed foreigners to work and at the end of the 3 years/6 years/etc. were required to go home with no possibility of a green card (through the work visa program), how many of them would even apply for H-1B visas? I guess we’ll never know but it would be interesting to survey H-1B applicants to see how many would LIKE to get green-cards if they get the visa…

        • Indian Assault

          Half cooked information is dangerous. Its sad that you took clues from RK Sharma ‘s post that lacked any sense. The Americans debated decently that they are at disadvantage due to influx of H1B workers. Whereas you, RKSharma, you are neither a complete American nor an Indian and you start abusing South Indians. You North Indians have been ruling India for the last 50 years and see our state of India. ANd of course, dont forget it was a South Indian Prime Minister PVN Rao, who led teh nation into a right path and not some betraying Northies like you. Bear in mind such stuff before you make outrageous comments against a region.

          • Indian Assault

            By arguing with you , I feel i am degrading myself. Hence closing. Please dont ruin USA also, as you have done in India for half a century. Are there reservations in USA also ,since its hard to beleive you are from a top university there, owing to your choice of words used.

  7. Mark Feffer

    In the interests of transparency, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have deleted several comments from the thread. Most of them weren’t about the story or H-1Bs, but were insulting either to a particular culture, another user, or the team who put this package together. All of those things go against our guidelines and terms of service, which is why I removed them. Like I’ve said before, debate and disagree, even take the editorial team to task, but please be courteous while you do it.



    • R. Lawson

      Not sure if one of mine were one of those or not… so far I think all of them made the cut… but I would like to take the editorial team to task on your “Fact” image. It’s not very factual.

      The actual writing on the topic in Dice however is some of the best I have seen in a long time. So I applaud how you have gone about this overall. Even those I don’t agree with seem to be doing a better job than usual in terms of presenting their case without using bogus data to support it. It’s one thing to have an honest disagreement, and quite another to manipulate people into supporting your position by intentionally using faulty information.

      One of my pet peeves is how NFAP “studies” are handled by the media. NFAP is a front group by definition. They conceal their contributors identity and it’s really just a single person running a one-man show with an occasional guest researcher. So beware of any “research” presented by them, or at the very least cite them as an industry front group so people can weight the source.

  8. This sounds like it would make a good case study for this article.
    You say you have 100 requirements daily and place ads. Can you list some of those requirements and where/how you place the ads? How many responses do you get? Are the responses only from agencies trying to place people with you, or do you get individuals too?
    (Personally, when I see “100 new daily requirements” it makes me think that you need a systems analyst to evaluate why you have so many requirements, but that’s off-topic.)

  9. Samwise

    Here’s my response to the comment ” I have seen whole project teams of H1B workers. I have wondered if they are all really more qualified than US workers? Why is there not one American worker on the team?”. — first of all, I haven’t ever seen large project teams of H1B workers. Sure, there are large project teams, with all workers **from the same outsourcing company**, but they are not all on H1B visa.

    There are numerous ways companies bring in employees – the L1B visa (valid for 1 year), the H1B visa (valid for 3 years), the B1 visa (valid for 6 months, I think) …. so, just because you see a room full of people from one place, does not mean that they are all on the H1B visa.

    Also want to point out that many of these workers are in the 3-5 years experience bracket, so no, they are not more qualified than an American worker who has 10+ years experience. But then again, blame the company management who decided to outsource all these jobs for their own profit. No point blaming the H1B workers – they are exploited enough already.

    Also do not agree with your tone towards the article, which I think is pretty balanced.

    • This brings up an interesting question. Since there seem to be a variety of ways for companies to bring in foreign workers, why is all of this push toward the H-1B program? Why not tap into the L1B and B1 (and other) programs to find the talent they need, especially since so many of the projects change focus after 6-9 months. Companies should be able to pick up talent for short-term projects and throw them away (as they do with so many Americans now, where the positions are all “contract-to-hire” and then after the contract is done they throw you away rather than hire you (as I’ve seen several times with myself and others around me.)

      • Samwise

        That is what companies have already been doing for years now (since 2001) – the L1 visa is the visa favored by outsourcing companies, because (A) it does not have a cap, unlike H1B, and (B) there is no provision for an employee to switch to another employer. So essentially, companies can bring in a truckload of workers on L1B without any caps, and the workers are guaranteed to work only for the company that brought them here. Most often, these employees work for minimal wages (50-60K), live in shared accomodations etc., since they know that they are here only for 1 or 2 years. Companies use them, get their jobs done, and throw them away.

        My point is, everybody blames the H1B workers as driving down wages, whereas actually it really accounts for a relatively small portion of overall immigration. There are a bunch of other ways – L1B, B1 visa, marrying an american citizen, family based green card – all of which bring in technology workers, that also contribute to the overall situation.

        • idic5

          I see from the article that there are about 800k h-1b workers But other visas are noted in the article. WHat is the total foreign IT workers from all types of visas and not just h-1b?

    • Steve

      @Samwise It appears that after I made my posting to this article yesterday (posting is the only May 14 post from a ‘Steve’) that there has been 1 or several postings from another ‘Steve’ who has had his postings removed, and who has received several replies. I just wanted to mention this since your posting (and possibly others) don’t seem to deal with anything I posted. Regards and have a nice day!

      Steve in AZ

  10. mramacha

    775,957 H1-bs in 6 years? I am not sure whether they are counting even the extensions. In reality only 65000 h1bs are issued every year + 20000 h1bs in advanced degree… so total 85000 h1b per year. If you do the math it will come around 500,000 H1b only. Apart from that thousands of H1bs approved job seekers never traveled to US due to lack of project/change of job in India. So not sure how they arrived this figure. the only exempt case from the above figures are non-profit organization/university workers which are very less.

    Now regarding the cost factor. I dont think H1b’s are cheaper compare to american tech workers. Especially in California, i can show umpteen cases of equal or more pay for H1-B visa holders. But majority of the cases, the H1-b worker will end up getting less pay due to the number of layers between the client and worker. But Clients(Banks and other Major companies) will pay the same billing rate to the main vendor and depends upon the availability of candidates, they will recruit h1b/greencard/citizens. The only cost savings for the big companies are outsourcing. Even for the Point of Contacts send by tech majors from India and other countries to US to look after the project will more or less get a good/par salary here in US.

    • Mark Feffer

      Hi Mramacha – The breakdown of the 775k is in the story – it includes the 85,000 you mentioned, plus other H-1Bs awarded. Here’s the main thrust:

      “The awarding of 65,000 H-1B visas each year doesn’t tell the full story. On top of those, an additional 20,000 are given to foreign workers with advanced degrees. Most of these, according to the Department of Labor, are used in the computer industry. In addition to those, an uncapped number of visas can be used by universities and non-profit research facilities. In fiscal 2012, the total number of H-1Bs issued was 135,530, according to the State Department.”


      • These numbers are based on maximum available quota of (65k+20k).
        As already pointed out by some one, significant chunk of these issued visas are not used for full term of 6 years due to many reasons –
        1) visa holder just wanted to have some overseas exposure (shorter than max term) and then go back to home country to be with family and friends.
        2) lost projects
        3) bad economy and stress of losing contracts all the time moving from places to places to find new one making applicant quit and go back home for good instead of constant juggling.

  11. Hi All,

    To my point of view, OUTSOURCING jobs from US is causing MORE and MORE trouble than the H1B cap or any such work visas.

    Point 1: Any visa worker, pays the same taxes, buys products made here, lives here. So, most of his income is spent here for this economy.

    Point 2: I know the second generation of few of immigrants contributing much to this country and society similar to native people.

    Point 3: The number of visas are mostly restricted. To be clear, w.r.t this 65000 is just the visa application cap and not the visa itself. I know lots of people’s visa petition application got accepted (within 65000) and their petition rejected. I also know people whose petition got approved and visa got rejected.

    Point 4: I never seen an American employee got fired because of recruiting an visa holder. Mostly they get fired when another offshore development center is opened.

    My friends, you all know why the industrial production sector got killed in America… Corporates wants all the manufacturing units to set up in China or other places where it is very cheap. Also that helps them to ride their private jets, yacht, have vacation for 100 days and still earning 6 digit pay checks and 6 digit bonuses.

    I would say, these kind of visas and few restrictions are still trying their level best to avoid this kind of situation in IT and related sectors. At least people here need to raise their voice to limit outsourcing jobs first to slow this down.

    Please mind that, when a job is given offshore, corporates can earn more than recruiting a visa person. Most of the corporates are doing that. This visa thing might be to keep the people away and miss guide.

    I know people who shout against visa… outsourcing… totally turns their side once they become managers/directors/vp… May be this needs to change.

    Lots of corporates are Americans (not immigrants)… Why they cannot think about this situation and try to give brilliant ideas to the white house.

    Solution: (My point of view)

    Point 1: Strictly limit the offshore development activities based on technical characteristics. Encourage companies to increase jobs here rather than outside (other than supporting customers outside). For example, a company XXX should have a development center in YYY country to support its customer in YYY and not the customers of US.

    Point 2: Encourage more global businesses with very strict quality standards (not out soursing jobs… but accept only quality products from other countries)

    Point 3: Support more small scale industries rather than big corporates… When companies are small, they are friendly… but when they become large, it gets its own mind…

    Point 4: Dont blame immigrants blindly. They too did a lot of good things to this country. People who blame too might be from an immigrant family few generations back.


    • >Point 4: I never seen an American employee got fired because of recruiting an visa holder. Mostly they get fired when another offshore development center is opened.

      My team was let go and replaced by three Native Indians (whom we assisted while we were there.) I don’t know if they were H-1B, but within two weeks of them being there, the project was scrapped (according to insiders there) because they couldn’t figure out how to get it done. We were on target to complete it a week after they let us go so they got cheap labor that created a failure rather than keeping us and getting a success like the 1/2 dozen other projects we completed in the previous 6 months. Oddly, another native Indian (probably not H-1B) was brought in as the head of IT a few months before we were let go.

    • Samwise

      “Point 1: Strictly limit the offshore development activities based on technical characteristics. Encourage companies to increase jobs here rather than outside (other than supporting customers outside). For example, a company XXX should have a development center in YYY country to support its customer in YYY and not the customers of US.”

      –You can’t tell companies what to source from where. Would you tell a garment manufacturer that they cannot source garments from Bangladesh ? Or, would you tell Apple that all the iPhones they manufacture in China can be sold only in China, and not the US. Just doesn’t work that way.

  12. scott

    H1-B is a serious scam. The myths are not myths. I was an American working in numerous consulting firms. A foreign firm brings in H1-Bs and converts them to permanent residents! Then brings in more. If they are comparing skills and they have someone in India that has a skill that person will win the H1-B role above an American. This is a numbers game. Look at Wipro, IBM, Verizon AT&T and their IT employee/H1-B numbers. Verizon had a lot of foreign developers and from India because the development managers we’re from India..and the VP.
    Fact is that they can always show preferential treatment to Indian workers. In Verizon I had a Legal VP tell me that Indian workers are better. A completely prejudice statement.
    Stop sitting on the sideline writing articles and see the real world. Corporations can overlook American workers or push down rates/wages by taking a foreign alternative. Employees pull double duty until a job request is old and then take it down the H1-B path. It happens every day!

    • Scott, I’d like you to take a look at the job listings in your area, or even nationwide. Pick a common technology (or an esoteric one if you prefer) and sign up for job alerts.

      Then watch as emails pour into your inbox…
      “Green card only”…
      “US Citizen preferred”…
      “We do not sponsor H1Bs”…
      “GC/EAD/Citizen only”…

      Its illegal to discriminate against national origin in the US (luckily) so you have the H1B visa as the last frontier in the discrimination against foreign workers. It is NOT easy for the average foreigner who needs to get an H1B, to get hired.

      I agree fully with the other comments, that the H1B system needs to be overhauled and be made more transparent and less slave-like, and the wages will fix themselves. As the wages fix themselves, it’ll become less attractive to unscrupulous employers who want to make a quick buck by keeping a foreign worker down.

      However, as long as you have green cards and H1Bs that can only be sponsored (and easily withdrawn) by employers, the country will continue to have these problems.

      • Samwise

        Very nicely summarized. Most people don’t know how hard the system is for immigrants and start blaming H1Bs. If an H1B holder is out of job for even a day, you are liable to be considered out of status, and need to leave the country immediately. Just imagine this – you buy a house, have kids who are going to school here, BUT, you get laid off one day and need to immediately leave and go back to your native country. This part of the law is just ridiculous.

        • This is certainly an unfortunate side-effect of the law. However, knowing that risk, should you buy a house and do all of the things that could go away overnight?
          Likewise, if you are an American worker and buy a house and are thrust into unemployment (which pays about $7/hour), you will likely lose your house since you won’t be able to pay the mortgage. Then where do you put your kids? Maybe on the streets?
          How quickly will you get your next job? Another person indicated that it took 4 years so you certainly can’t assume that things will happen quickly. For myself, back in the 90s, I was unemployed for most of 3 years before the economy picked up. I had just gotten a house, had a baby and the car broke down. I was taking long bus rides to interviews and my wife helped pay the bills (with much lower wage) until she was unemployed too. Since we had just moved to the area, we didn’t really know anyone to assist with our problems. We struggled and it took almost 15 years for us to recover from that hit, in spite of getting some decent paying jobs (and then getting downsized several times.)

        • idic5

          “just imagine this – you buy a house, have kids who are going to school here, BUT, you get laid off one day”

          I don;t have to imagine this; this exact thing occurred to me, but I am not Indian, but a 27 year American computer programmer whose IT dept from an fort 100 company was 85 pct displaced with floors of Indian workers (1000s).

          I assumed they were h-1b workers, but this article clarified that there are a whole bunch of other visas available for a company to wield, many with even less restrictions than h-1b (not that the restrictions for h-1b meant anything in my case since the company made patent violations of the h-1b terms such as prevailing wage (I know from talking to a manager that the ex company is paying each pgmr about 60 pct less than the americans who formerly were doing the jobs) and qualified americans (we were displaced when we were doing the jobs already).

          And it is indeed an awful feeling to be summarily let go from the same company you were at for a couple decades and for which you slaved on so many projects, when you have 3 kids , 2 just going into college and you have the highest bills in your lifetimes. All in one day w/o notice. And my maternal great grandparents went across the Delaware w/ Washington.

          For my skill set , the other companies I have applied to are engaged in similar activities, so I am left with $100k in credit card debt and food stamps to continue this middle class std of living , the most important element of which is higher ed for my kids. Globalization. has been berry berry bad for me.

          Just curious ,I would not want to do this to someone else. How could others do this to me and so many of my fellow Americans? I do nt mean the Indians , but the gov’t especially (you know, ‘of the people’) – why dont they have oversight and enforcement of visa regs? how cd companies get away with stuff like this ?

        • R. Lawson

          Agree with Samwises’ sentiments 100%.

          It’s not just “an unfortunate side effect” because the law was deliberately constructed in a way to indenture foreign workers to their employers. It’s a black mark on democracy and that a freedom loving nation would indenture our guest workers. Frankly all Americans should be ashamed of our government for doing such a thing.

      • Similarly, look at the pockets of workers in an org. chart under an Indian V.P. in large companies (big banks for instance), and you’ll find the other side to this story. These groups aren’t posting their jobs, they are using an existing network to hire Indians who will fit into their management style, Indians who know what is expected and will fit into the group’s culture. Americans and even Americanized Indians make them uncomfortable, they think differently and push back. Its really a shame that the HR teams in these companies let it happen.

  13. Scott

    I have no problem with marriage based green cards life happens.
    What we need is scam tracking. Basic statistics for any position a corporation hires in Fortune 1000. These positions should have skill sets of the hired employee (10 years UNIX SA for example), a legal name, and citizenship status. Presently, a person submitted for a position has no stance or understanding of what skillsets win the position. People wonder why their not hired for a positions or even interviewed. Justify the hire. The corporations have the data available easily.

  14. I find a couple of the “Myths” and “Facts” to be bogus. “Myth: Workers on non-immigrant visas take jobs that could go to Americans.” Myth? So why was I laid off so my former company could give my job to an H1B? I’m perfectly qualified and had no performance issues at my job, they kicked me out the front door and gave my position to a H1B from Cognizant. “Myth: Guest workers are paid a fraction of what Americans are for doing the same job.” I agree that on-shore resources are expensive because of the prevailing wage but this fails to account for the fact that the off-shore counterparts are paid really low wages. When you average the cost of the onshore/offshore resources the actual wage being paid per resource is cheaper. That’s how these companies like Cognizant land the big contracts, their cheap offshore guys bring their overall cost down to undercut American labor. And the idea that these H1B workers are the “best and brightest” is just absurd. I’m sure some of them are top notch, but I’ve worked with a ton of these H1B folks from India and the vast majority are mediocre at best, never mind the language/cultural barrier and high turnover rates.

  15. The corporations only want cheap disposable work force. The so called shortages of skilled works is a farce. The rules are to easy to circumvent. They claim they have to look for at least a year but all they do is post the job ad that superman couldn’t fill.

  16. GThompson

    This idea that there is a shortage of software engineers is total BS.

    I’ve got a stellar resume, advance degrees in Computer Science, 15 years in the software engineering industry, 6 of those in mobile app development, 4 of those doing iOS.

    Half the time, I don’t even get a response to my resume.

    It’s all about cheap labor. Hello! If companies can buy off it’s government, to allow importation of an army of cheap engineers, of course they will. Along with, making up some fiction for the public, about not being able to find enough engineers. After all, these companies have a reputation to maintain, in order to keep Americans buying their products. At least, those that can afford them. :/

    • Have a question if you do not get call which means HR would not have talked to you about salary expectations etc. then how do they decide you will be expecting too much without having discussion ?

  17. A U.S. Citizen

    The H1-B program is America’s Trojan Horse.

    They come; they study a system and take the knowledge gained back offshore. The reduction of costs follow them and the host company doesn’t have to pay a competing U.S. salary.

    As a result there are no Federal Taxes or Social Security paid on the lost outsourced jobs. How does a government, whose economy is in the tank, expect to effect an economic recovery by giving jobs away? The major H1-B requester, does not require mainframe expertise, but there is a great influx of H1-B foreigners seeking this type of employment.

    In many known cases, foreigners have taken over entire Information Technology departments within the U.S. An example of this, from a reliable source, during the 2001-2002 time frame 300 U.S. citizens lost their jobs (30 per month for 10 months) at a company in San Antonio, TX. Their replacements were foreigners.

    Several U.S. consultants participated in a very successful creation and implementation of a payroll system to pay over 75,000 hourly and salaried employees for a major U.S. company, The system was monitored by the U.S. consultants for six months (with no issues), At this point, for purpose of a “project phase change”, the U.S. consultants were required to educate foreigners in all aspects of the new system and turn over all responsibilities. I had to go 500 miles out of town to find another contract (they gave us a nice recommendation letter, but no gold watch).

    A foreign controlled consulting company will go to great lengths not to retain an American for a consulting engagement. This is evidenced by the fact that a contract appearing three different times by three different foreign controlled consulting companies. At that point I had 14+ years of experience working with the particular piece of software in which they wanted expertise. There was little or no interaction after the receipt of my resume from these companies. Later, an American controlled company ran the same ad, I contacted them and acquired the contract. The foreign companies wanted to fill the position with a foreigner, not an American.

    I personally know, for a fact, H1-B holders target the taking of jobs held by employees of U.S. companies.

    I know of a foreigner telling a U.S. citizen “go get another job, we’ll take care of the Information Technology jobs”.

    Unfortunately there are thousands of these type of untold stories which have been experienced by U.S. citizens. In the Government, our pleas fall on deaf ears and are viewed by those who are blind or have no interest in the issues created by the H1-B program. Again, our Government will rubber stamp the H1-B pork in the up-coming Immigration bill. The foreigners all want a piece of America, if some of us natives are displaced, it is of no concern to the H1-B holder/seeker.

    The average salary in their home country is less than $1800-1900 (U.S.) per capita. They live well on the jobs off-shored from the U.S.

    We, who invented electronic Information Technology, designed and created many systems are left out in the cold. Ask those who are greatly underemployed working greeting and other non-technical jobs. The real unemployment rates for this group of displaced citizens, probably exceeds 25%.

    The bottom line, the secret goal of the H1-B holders/seekers is to control all the world’s Information Technology. Our government is gracefully giving it to them through the H1-B visa program. It is a very sad state of affairs, when our government prefers foreigners over 6-7th generation native born Americans who participated in the creation of Information Technology.

    H1-B foreigners are a security risk working for companies that provide military solutions to the U.S. Government. I would not want a foreigner writing programs to control the software functionality for a weapons system. Neither, do I feel comfortable having foreigners scrutinizing my personal accounts, including my bank accounts.

  18. The H1B program ultimately was devised by large corps to reduce their operating costs.
    They have succeeded….enormously. The average pay for any CEO in the USA last year was 10 million dollars !
    Hooray for them. To hell with us.
    We’ve had our incomes cut 30-50%.
    Thanks to the lawyer-lobbiests that went to Washington to tell a bullshit story that there was a shortage of techies in the USA.
    Biggest lie of all time.
    We paid for it.

  19. Christopher G.

    I don’t buy most of the arguments made by proponents, because I have lived and worked in the Bay Area since high school. I went back and got my Master’s Degree, and got a job until the economy turned. On the last layoff, all of the worker’s in our group were moved under one boss, and all of the H1B employees kept their jobs, while most of citizens were layed off.

    I tried desperately to find a tech job for the next three years, including back at that company. They had job openings for the exact same job that I had , They were open for more than a year. I never got a call., despite good reviews. I kept getting told that I was too qualified; that I should take my Master’s degree and other qualifications off my resume.

    While getting my Master’s degree, I worked at another big electronic firm. After making friends with many of the H!B engineers, I found out that they were only paying the engineers with Master’s degrees $6000 more than the Co-ops. This was below the prevailing rate for newly graduated engineer’s with bachelor’s degrees, so you cannot tell me that any of these companies suffer any consequences for paying below prevailing wages. I don’t believe any of them are audited for their compensation of visa holders. I worked there for several years and they never got audited. HR knew all about it.

    In addition, the Indian managers would routinely pass over native US engineers that they ranked at the top of the candidate hire Indian engineers. I overheard two of them stating, “We will just train her and she will leave when the job market picks up”. It just shows you that even they know that they can get cheaper indentured labor with H!B candidates.HR knew all about this, too. I was told so by my HR rep, but she said she could not do anythng because the HR manager knew all about it. They look good to the top brass, so they are not going to rock the boat.

    “Intel, for example, told Dice News that a lack of computer, chemical, materials and mechanical engineers with advanced degrees poses a real challenge to the company as it works to maintain its edge …” This is a crock. I have a degree in Chemical engineering and a degree in material engineering. Intel would never give me the time of day at job fairs, and never contacted me for even a phone interview when I applied for jobs.

    This is all about cheap, trapped labor. This cheap labor depresses tech salaries, which leads to fewer students getting STEM degrees, which is supposedly something that all of the tech CEOs is working to remedy. Sure there are some jobs where these visas are needed, but most of the H1B visa holders that I worked with were fresh out of school with no experience at all. Ask yourself if we really are 800,000 engineers short? Doubtful.

    I finally gave up and got an aerospace job. I am writing my congesspersons to ask them to vote against any increases in H1B visas. These companies are self-serving. They do not care about anything but makng more money; why does everyone assume that they are recommending these this for the good of the country? It is what is good for them, not the country.

  20. Angel

    Looks like you guys in USA are having the same problems as we have here in Europe. I’m a lucky guy living in Switzerland (unemployment rate of only 3%, France 11%, Germany 6.9%, UK 7.8% and Spain 26.7%). As the European economy goes really bad, we had IT people from all the Europe arriving legally in Switzerland (thanks to the UE <- I'm sarcastic here) and competing with the local people for the same jobs, that cause that all the salaries are going down here, unfortunately the cost of living doesn't. Some multinational companies had outsourced a lot to India and even worst they brought indian employees here, of course for less salary. Headhunters offers 30 or 40% less that I used to have 10 years ago.

  21. orcldba

    I have no problem bringing talented people here to the U.S., as long as we can give them a REAL path to citizenship. That makes us more competitive as a country in the long run. However, many of these companies who bring H1Bs to the U.S. have no intention of helping them attain citizenship – they prefer to keep them in their indentured servitude status.

    I have worked in companies that use the Indian outsourcing companies – Wipro, Satyam, Infosys – and the folks that they bring to the U.S. really have little chance of becoming citizens. They bring them here, abuse them for a couple of years, they soak up knowledge from U.S. citizens and then they go back home.

    I’m OK with companies like Microsoft, Oracle, etc. bringing expertise in, if they sincerely help those folks become citizens. What I don’t support is transferring knowledge and skills to people who in all likelihood will take that knowledge to another country – in that case, we’re just slitting our own throats.

  22. Books Will Save The Planet

    In as much as the Myth Fact section of the argument contains much less fact that reality the article has considerable flaws. Yes there is a requirement to search for US capable employee before contracting to lower wage H1B Visa, the truth is seminars given regularly offering the steps to take to request a hardship reduction from the time frame, and where to place the search resources to avoid the high salary US talent poo. The average wage difference between foreign and US citizen has dropped to just over 18%,

    The prevailing wage quote does not have teeth since action against employers who violate wage and number of foreign workers employed hardly ever goes beyond the warning letter stage. The Federal Government simply does not have enough inspectors in any agency to make a difference, take the SEC and FDA for example.

    The United States is the pilot of technological change and economic power, it was so before the H1B Visa allowed for the infiltration of the workforce by foreign workers to control US talent seeking market driven compensation, and it will remain so not due to the foreign talent, but in spite of the H1B Visa program. Having worked within a company that went from 70% US workforce to 45% US workforce, the talent was not the issue. As a matter of fact US talent is far more capable than anyone gives us credit for and without doubt are pat or best H1B in every category. This is not a myth this is reality, and can be found within the same database the myths were pulled from.
    I welcome H1B Visa workers to help strengthen the economy and their standing within., However, the wage issue needs to be addressed. Let there be transparent parity with the US citizen and H1B Visa worker. If they do the same or better, they should be paid the same or better. fortunately for foreign workers their education is not as costly, yet at the same time it is not on par with the US educational system in College level skills.

    Clear heads, and a debate with verifiable facts is needed, perhaps that is the one area i agree with Dawn, the rest I have differing opinion, then again that is what makes for productive argument.

    • As a matter of fact US talent is far more capable than anyone gives us credit for and without doubt are pat or best H1B in every category. This is not a myth this is reality, and can be found within the same database the myths were pulled from.

      This is what i base my company on, highly experienced American Talent, we dont offshore anything and wont.
      I believe it works best for the companies when the resources know the local customs, slang, language, traditions, sense of urgency. I have based this out of the last 16 years of ITO/BPO experience working for fortune 100 clients.

  23. My experiece has been that jobs are only offered to the american contractors/employees, after a satisfactory person is found oversee’s. they would rather have one of their own come to the US as a reward , promised to them at the time of hiring. If they do well they can go to america to work, I have had first hand knowledge of this. Even the indian workers have told me, do not trust the company. Some of these companies are even using the amercian workers to train their own people.

  24. Carl C

    The problem is that while encouraging say, a hypothetical genius PhD at MIT from overseas, the H1B also let’s in 1,000 middle-of-the-road IT drones. And those 1,000 jobs could be done by an American, albeit they would want/need more than the spurious salary (and dont’ tell me about “it’s the same” as I’ve been hiring and see how companies get around that all the time). There is a visa for actual genius or shortage workers — what’s amazing is that the H1B keeps being pumped which is taking away probably 95% of jobs that could be done by an America (ie DBA, network engineer, QA person, programmer, website developers etc)

  25. Carl C

    What is ultimately bizarre is that in the middle of these “Great Depression II” times and a “jobless recovery” — CEO’s like Gates & Zuckerberg et al, as well as the paid of politicians from both parties, really think we need an “I-Squared” initiative that could potentially have 200,000 to 300,000 H1B visas PER YEAR? That would be like Greece throwing open their doors to massive immigration in the midst of their 20-25% unemployment rates. These “3.5% STEM unemployment rates” seem very spurious indeed.

  26. Carl C

    Also, what is listed as “H1B Myths” is often reality — for example – it’s so easy to get around the salary requirement by “downgrading” the job ie they really are getting a “software engineer” but list it as a “tester” or something. And one common trick is a job shop puts an ad out that matches the H1B resume 100% so no American (or indeed few other H1Bs) can match it exactly — they then claim “nobody out there fits this requirement so we need this H1B.” There’s so many games in this business….

  27. Indian Assault

    Most of them talk about having a master’s degree and doing high tech jobs in IT. But in reality most of the big outsourcing firms, provide back office or support to their clients. Many of my friends and even me did the same thing – raising tickets, calling customers, installing some software, giving them access etc. YOu dont need an MS or 80K guy to do this..The big corps have realised this, the employees who complain about lack of opportunities also should realise this also.

  28. R. Lawson

    Rarely do I find a technical requirement that I don’t have a transferable skill in. The bar shouldn’t be “have you done this specific task using this specific platform”. It should be “have you got experience on this platform or a similar platform, and have you done work similar to this”.

    You are attempting to commoditize our profession and pick people off the shelf matching specific skill to specific task, and then put them back on the shelf (discard) when done.

    That is not healthy for our profession. You need to invest in training or allot time for self-discovery (on the job training). There has been no task in the years of software development I haven’t been able to solve through brute force, lacking documentation or experience. Usually there are people to turn to in the community in online forums as well, or internal resources to assist.

    I just don’t think your “100 unique requirements a day” argument holds water. Every project I have been on had hundreds of unique requirements. Our job is to figure out how to get them done. We use the knowledge we already have to do that, and we RTFM to figure out the rest.

    I’ve written software for ASP, ASP.NET, VB, C#, Silverlight, Flex, C, C++, JavaScript, SQL, T-SQL, PL-SQL, *-SQLs (many other flavors), and others I’ve forgotten about, and even though I have a related masters degree the vast majority of my experience is on the job.

    I can assure you that by the time you locate a resource in India, agree to a contract, get them moved over here, and get their badge working so they can get in the door and their laptop installed with the appropriate software – I could have already figured out how to solve your problem.

    What you really want is cheap labor. The rest is just excuses.

  29. Colonialpara

    I am an IT and Telecom Sourcing Manager for a foreign owned company that operates globally. The company is a HUGE user of outsource companies like Wipro, INFOSYS, Cognizant and others. Despite some dissatisfaction with these companies here in the USA, our masters in Europe swear by them, don’t want to hear criticism and plan to outsource more and more of the IT function(s).

    As a sourcing manager in this space, I am held to very stringent standards for savings goals, which in turn forces me and my colleagues to deal more with Indian IT companies that DO UNDERBID U.S. companies and consultants. Invariably, they provide their employees onsite here in the USA and all are H-1B holders. I have yet to see an American who works for any of the companies above at any of the sites I am supporting.

    I have become increasingly opposed to the H-1B process and the abuses we ALL KNOW exist. Sadly, my current employer and those that preceded this one only cared about costs and denied that quality, functionality and other issues were increasing. As someone who spent 28 years in the uniform of the United States and was wounded more than once in some of the Third World sh*tholes near and around where the majority of the H-1B holders come from, I will state that if given the chance that I WILL ALWAYS push for the American owned company, that employs Americans, that presents American candidates for IT and telecom projects. I am certain this is an uphill battle and one I will probably lose, but I will fight the good fight nonetheless.

  30. @BY MANI – I would look for my own problems if i cannot find a job in 4 years and would not waste my time here being cynical. Also, 65k is a good start for a college fresh-out without any real working experience. In this economy, I don’t understand why you think it is so low? I assume if there are no H1-B workers around, the companies would still not pay you 90k or plus for the first year if you don’t have any experience. If you are looking for companies like MS and Google etc which pay big bucks, then show your qualities. I personally know few foreign born students who graduated from the college here, were hired during their senior year. There was no layer of tech hiring firms, it was a fair campus interview. One person I know was hired by MS with 6 digit salaries the first year, this person has 2 years of working experience in IT before he went to college in the US.

    Like some other people here, I also have a hard-time to understand that most of the jobs, IT jobs description state – Only U.S. citizens and green card holders are eligible to apply. It is still a myth for me that why lot of people still have a hard-time to find a job. So I guess we should do more work, start networking, stop complaining. I always believe if you are really trying, you will find a good job. cheers!

  31. 2002 EE/CS grad here, from a top-20 university. In the top quartile of my class. Despite submitting thousands of resumes to tech firms, many of whom were filling their campuses with H-1B workers, I never received much more than a dozen responses over the past decade for jobs. Most of my classmates have been forced to leave the profession or have seen no traction in the profession. To say that the unemployment rate is low defies credibility.

    It is disgusting to hear of people claim a need for guest workers when our own domestic talent isn’t receiving proper consideration, nevermind interviews from the employers. Basically when I’ve talked to employers, they inform me that the is no entry-level any more. They want people who are immediately productive in every possible tool. One big employer even had its recruiter rattle off the names of some of their internal proprietary toolsets, and quizzed me on whether I knew them. Of course I didn’t! If I had known them, then someone would have been guilty of blowing their NDA.

    • Steve in AZ

      Thank you, Mark. I couldn’t have said it better myself. But furthermore, I’d like to know how it is that IT workers from India managed to obtain their superior education that made them desirable? What well-known compilers, debuggers, and operating systems have been the product of all those workers in India?

      I am also in agreement over what you say about internal proprietary knowledge. This isn’t just limited to IT, either. It is my understanding that the CEO of GE regularly advises the president regarding employment and the need for trained workers and the current shortage of trained workers etc. However, I’d sure like to know (and my previous degree was in electronics) just what universities have been teaching electric generator design so that workers can come right out of school and work for GE, especially the H1B workers….where did THEY learn the GE-proprietary toolsets for designing and building generators? I don’t think they did: I think it is all a red-herring to get more cheap workers here. Meantime, I can’t even get a job running a cash register because the HR person says “I don’t have 6 months of experience with money”. The advice I ge tis “you should turn-off your computer when you aren’t using it so you can save big $$$ on all that electricity you are wasting.”

  32. all people in this blog who have been screwed with h-1b , please contact your House Reps to nix the immigration bill if it contains the garish increases that was passed in the senate (or almost passed – last I hear it was thisclose from being passed in the senate).

    Bernie sanders says in his asture critique of the bill that around 54 pct of h-1b visas are used in entry level work – vs the guru type of work that this visa is slotted to address. perhaps 6 pct of the number is needed for this guru kind of work.

    the fact is the companies have grown used to have virtual indentured labor – tehy like it ; it is nice and convenient , and not they need more to grow. But it is not in the interests of the US for this to occur.

    here are sanders’ comments on the bill when it went to the senate floor. they thre bernie a bone of a jobs bill for youth to shut him up, but his comments are still spot on.

    “Immigration Reform:

    The Senate on Tuesday voted to advance an immigration reform bill. The legislation would open the door to citizenship for 11 million people living in the United States. By a vote of 82-15, the bill overcame the first procedural hurdle in a debate expected to last throughout June. Sen. Bernie Sanders supports a path to citizenship and he supports the DREAM Act. He strongly objects, however, to big corporations using the bill as a way to lower wages and benefits for American workers.

    “I want to see comprehensive immigration reform passed,” he said, “but at a time when nearly 14 percent of Americans do not have a full-time job and when the middle class is working longer hours for lower wages, I oppose a massive increase in temporary guest worker programs that will allow large corporations to import hundreds of thousands of blue-collar and white-collar workers from overseas.””

    at 3:00 he starts on teh employment problem
    at 4:00 he gets on guestworkers; 1st lower skilled. but the ideas he says is exactly the argument for the hitech guestworkers
    at 12:10 —
    at 14:10 – h-1b
    Watch the speech here:

  33. here is a bay area IT firm that not only recogniszes the problem (hooray for some truth) , but is trying to do something about it

    my take on this after reading many of the comments here is that after the last increase to the h-1b visa, if memory serves wd have been in the 90s/ early 00s with clinton rahm emmanuel and perhaps obama even arguing for an increase as puppets of the IT companies being their source, companies have carefully built out and cemented into their operations the use (I’d call it patent abuse) of the H-1b visaholders w/ their ‘pimps’ , the offshore companies running interferecne and handling mny of the sundry details associated with this. Of course, they had to get the upper limits from our gov’t which they got. Now they are all dressed up – in Indian clothing – and no where to expand to , w/o the extra numbers. their operations now depend on these people and offshoring-outsourcing-insourcing firms.

    They got to 65k and now they want or need 185k and w/ all the auto renewals this gets to the millions after 3 and 6 yrs.

    This is one of the reasons behind our jobs crisis in america , and to triple this number of h-1b , there will be a continuing and a deepening of this crisis, this economic doldrums.

  34. Samwise

    @idic5 –
    So now, H1Bs are also responsible for the jobs crisis in America. Not the profligate spending on wall street, not the borrowed money from China, not over-the-top retirement promises, not the death of US manufacturing thanks to Chinese goods flooding the market …. nope, none of those. It’s the 65,000 H1B workers coming here every year who are single-handedly bringing the economy to a halt.

    Open your eyes and see the real problem – H1Bs aren’t the problem, they are here for 3-6 years on a legal US government program, unlike 11 million others, who are here illegally and will shortly become citizens and compete with you for social security. Pls get the facts first and lay the blame where it belongs.

    • Indian Assault

      I agree its a pain, when the citizens suffer due to influx of foreign workers or foreign goods. But the real reason lies in the greed of the Capitalists/Rich . In this regard , India and USA are no different. Here in India , rich men’s greed leads to corrupting the government and people suffer. In USA, they persuade and influence the government, and hence people suffer. Atleast in USA 10% of the population suffer, in India its over 60%. Atleast you have a good standard of living for majority of the citizens, whereas in India, even if i drive a Mercedes , i still get stuck in insane traffic. And as a conclusion , common citizens pay the price for the greed of a select privileged few.

      • BINGO. the corporate rich elite own the gov’t and craft laws to their own benefit w/o regard to what is best for the greater country that they are supposed to be surving and representing. As I said , in america , it is supposed to be a govt of the people, but it is a gov’t of the corporation.

        When there is a jobs crisis in the USA, how can they add 2.4 million jobs to another country? It doesnt make sense.

  35. @samwise – did you see the title of this article?
    65k —> 800k ; that is a helluva lot of jobs lost to americans and this has a negative synergistic effect in both finding a job and also in keeping a reasonable wage that keeps up with a middle class std of living. There are also other factors at play related to h-1b that keeps Americans (like the many many that I have seen just in looking at this blog) from getting jobs – specifically, if a company’s main IT build out or dev structure is the use of h-1b (using the complex revolving door mechanism of one person coming in and another going out like reusable lego pieces or some sort of object oriented coding), then new americans will not be a part of this.

    Like the old chicago adage, where I hale from, ‘we dont want nobody, nobody sent’. sort of like ‘If you ‘re from channai, you’re OK.’.

    The current immigration bill’s legislation proposes to triple the upper limit of H-1b visas, so extrapolating, that 800k would be around 2.4 million. that is way serious.

    “The Numbers

    Over the past six years, 775,957 H-1B visas were issued to foreign workers, according to the State Department, which is the last of three federal agencies to approve each successful petition. Since the visas can be valid for that long, that’s the number of H-1B workers who could be in the U.S. today.

    That’s more than the much-publicized annual cap of 65,000 for a simple reason: Each visa is good for a three-year period and can be extended for another three years under certain circumstances. Thus the cap is only a part of the story.”

    Yes, there are other drivers to the jobs crisis in the US and the general hollowing out of the american middle class – deregulation which created uncertainty, unpredictiblity and general havoc in the econimc landscape, the evisceration of unions, the rise of corporation tailored laws (the govt of the corporation vs of the people), but the scourge of globalization with the concomitant lack of protections to the american worker, is a main driver to the jobs crisis in the USA; THere is way too much outgo off of our borders w/o some kind of financial consequence to the company such as tax penalties per job lost, eg.. Using H-1b as a sort of foriegn in-sorcing is similarly egregious to the american worker.

    IT is a sort of the new manufacturing in the USA. We pretty much invented it. Further, it is probably the best and most common way for people to get into the middle class in our times since computers are used virtually everywhere. But a significant part of US IT has been hijacked by this H-1b abuse, where over 54 pct of the h-1b are for entry level work when it s/b used for ‘guru ‘ kind of work, work where americans are not available to do it.

    It is surreal that google , microsoft and facebook are among the biggest players yelling that there is a tech talent shortage when there are 40,000 people vying for the 3,000 google intern spots. My rising junior computer engineer son at UIUC got complete non responses to all three.

    I am especially concerned for the next generation who want a piece of the american middle class using IT as a path that this proposed legislation will take away .

  36. yes, samwise, the 11 – 30 million new permanent citizens will cost the US significantly.

    Here is bernie sanders critique of the immigration bill, zeroing in on the guestworkers (h-1b for skilled IT ) and other guestworkers,

    “Immigration Reform:

    The Senate on Tuesday voted to advance an immigration reform bill. The legislation would open the door to citizenship for 11 million people living in the United States. By a vote of 82-15, the bill overcame the first procedural hurdle in a debate expected to last throughout June. Sen. Bernie Sanders supports a path to citizenship and he supports the DREAM Act. He strongly objects, however, to big corporations using the bill as a way to lower wages and benefits for American workers.

    “I want to see comprehensive immigration reform passed,” he said, “but at a time when nearly 14 percent of Americans do not have a full-time job and when the middle class is working longer hours for lower wages, I oppose a massive increase in temporary guest worker programs that will allow large corporations to import hundreds of thousands of blue-collar and white-collar workers from overseas.””

    at 3:00 he starts on teh employment problem
    at 4:00 he gets on guestworkers; 1st lower skilled. but the ideas he says is exactly the argument for the hitech guestworkers
    at 12:10 —
    at 14:10 – h-1b
    Watch the speech here:

  37. If 65,000 h-1b’s correlate with 800,000 jobs over 6 yrs, then a tripling of the h-1b limit to 187,000 will yield something like 2,400,000 jobs. Incredibly, this increase is being proposed when we have 20 million americans either out of work, grossly unemployed, or have stopped looking.

    THere has been a noises from many people that we should have a jobs bill to help out with this problem; but this do nothing congress can only talk about made up scandals, gays, and zygotes and not jobs.

    Nut there IS a jobs bill now – it is the immigration bill under debate.It will create 2.4 million jobs, benefiting the middle class – but the jobs will benefit the middle class of Channai, India, and not the middle class of the USA,

    pls call your House reps to nix this bill while there is such an alarming increase to guest workers. when american companies really only need a small fraction of that for the true brilliant gurus for which the h-=1b visa was designed.

  38. Bob Anderson

    This article immediately starts off wrong. Companies are arguing that they cannot find anything! Financial analysts, database admins (which is very easy to learn), accountants, legal help, engineers, lowly data grunts, and on and on and on. Lowly data analysts are crammed into former break lounges at Microsoft, Amazon hires young Indian Asian and Chinese workers to do the most mundane tasks from low level accounting and data analytics to high level engineering,and Deloitte argues that they cannot find workers locally. This is an accounting consulting firm that audited Washington Mutual before it imploded. You would think all those layed-off auditors, accountants, computer engineers, and legal staff would be of some use to them. Nope – need to go straight to India to find the real brainpower. It certainly is a good way to work employees over 80 hours a week on a salary. It is also a good way to lower working conditions, create shared working spaces like at Microsoft and Amazon, and to acclimate workers to all of the above. That is the real game plan. I have seen it first-hand. Even the Dept. of Labor shows that college graduates qualified for these positions GREATLY EXCEEDS the supply of these jobs over the next ten years. The stats are very clear.

  39. 3.5 percent unemployment in Tech? I also wonder where do these numbers come from??? I am older and I can assure you at this age bracket it is a lot higher than 3.5 percent. 35 percent sounds more reasonable. I can give you a list of IT professionals (friends) looking for work and not counted as unemployed due to the length of time out of work.

    • Agree with Jeff C that the IT unemployment rate is significantly higher, especially in the 40s-50s YO range. Also there is significant UNDERemployment. My 40-50 something cohort who also lost her IT job ( a major cut due to H1b use before me), is now working at the TSA – not in IT or as a director, but frisking people at the airport. SHe said the place is full of ex-IT professionals, all making a lot less than what they made before and being underutlized.

      • No wonder TSA personnel are all so grumpy. Starting today, they get to work those wonderful jobs for zero pay. I’m starting week 419 of unemployment, but I really feel for them.

  40. FACT. 577.428 LCA applications were GRANTED in 2012 ALONE

    This article is full of more holes than Swiss cheese

    There are now Over Four Million H1bs in America and over 90 percent unemployment for our best and brightest engineers. There are only 4.5 million tech jobs in America.

    Cut the crap and the lies my numbers come from official audits Not the caps

    • @Sam Snred,

      Hmm … I’m confused, is that 577,000 approved H1Bs in 2012 ? But the quota is 64,000, so are you saying that the USCIS/Dept. of Labor are breaking the law ?

      Can you post a link to where you got the fact from ?

      • how 67k can yield 800k in country is the point of this article, I think it is becuase of the 5 year duration that can be extended and is routinely extended .

        THe immigrations bills in the senate and House (and Issa’s own bill) seek to triple the 67 k limit. SO if approved , this would triple the 800k to be 2.4 million. INSANE while 30 million amreicans are either unemployed, gross underemployed, or have given up looking for work due to the employment doldrums in this landsacape. So in this context, lets add 2.4 million foreigners in a line of work where around 90-94 pct actually push out and displace americans. the concept of H-1b is solid – provide talent to US IT companies that is not available in the US, but the only 6-8 pct of the total are used this way – ie, only 6-8 pct are the gurus. the rest are the ‘coolies’ if you will, and companies get the use of them for dirt cheap wages and a signiifcantly curtailed lack of movement and discretion (one move and they are back to the hovel in India) , and so this is companies dream workforce – ie, virtual slave labor.

        and yes, the us govt looks the other way in oversight and enforcement. I have see this first hand as a former IT pro who along w/ a 1200 others were replaced by h-1b.

        • @IDIC5-

          I agree with the fact that the H1B limit should NOT be tripled, as I have argued in my article at That is a pure wage control tactic by the big tech companies.

          However, you cannot link a guest worker program with the number of unemployed, they’re two different things because of differences in skillsets (real or perceived), whether they can be subject to bonded labor (as immigrants are subject to many times) etc.

          Also, I disagree with your point about the gov. looking the other way – I’ve seen immigrants(esp. those from India) subject to uscis investigation resulting for overly strict enforcement of the law. Anyways, as I have argued, the solution is to make the H1B program stricter by putting measurable criteria to qualify on the one hand, and on the other hand, providing more freedom to those that qualify so that they can change jobs, start companies etc.

          • You have seen some things; I have seen different things. I have seen a significant number of Indians who were not gurus, but IT workers with pedestrian skills taking over the positions of americans. YEs, they also suppress the wages of the americans who do not get let go. I have also seen an IT shop that need a couple three four IT workers versed in a typcial langueage, and who did they bring in? Indians from channai, tho the company was smack dab in the middle of the USA in ILLinois.

            THis leads me to another adverse outcome of having lots of H-1b workers in the US work force – and that is H-1b begts H-1b. The HR operations of hiring and getting workers is predicated on clicking a couple of buttons and then getting the workers. THat is, in the example just cited , which was what my son saw at this place, it was easier to get 4 people from India than to do whatever steps a company does to get workers locally. THat is, the local americans were treated as foreigners and the remote people 50,000 miles away were set up in the q, logistically to get to the company. the hiring HR people were INdians, IT is that old thing – it is who you know.

            When I pointed to the 30 million unemployed , obviously most of those could not code in HTML. But a goodly portion from that set could so code or they cd be trained. TRAINING? huh? why woud IT companies pay for training labor when they can click three buttons and get someone who is fully trainied and 2./3 cheaper? I can see why IT companies would want this , but it is not in our country;’s best interest to have millions unemployed. it does nt make any sense from our nation’s perspective to remove an american making $75k, paying the treasury 15k in taxes to getting food stamps and getting back 7k in EIC welfare at tax time.

            Obviously the full 30 million unemployment problem is not due to this malicious practice of offshoring-in. But as IT is one of the good solid industries that our kids are studying with the hopes of getting an entrance into the middle class, this industry should not be injured by this absurd H-1b practice.

  41. typo: “and that is H-1b begts H-1b. : “and that is H-1b begets H-1b. ” The idea here, to reiterate, is that H-1b use tends to continue and entrench its use, so that what is supposed to be a temporary fill in method has become the normal way to fill labor in much of the IT world. With the automatic extensions of the terms which is routinely done, companies have this revolving door of H-1b slots continually filled , extended, and refilled again.

    Since this process is so entrenches, when companies eventually want to expand, they then need to expand the H-1b limits. THis is what we see now. After they expanded to the too high 67k, they want to triple it, THey dont go to the local american work force , the colleges that are chruning out IT compsci majors by the thousands because they have a better deal with H-1b ,. agains, not good for america. might be good for some corporations. and lawmakers are supposed to manage our borders and make sure we do nt epidemic levels of unemployment.

    • Muslims Are Abuse For Humanity And Peace

      Looks like YOU are someone who has worked on H1 and then through backdoor or otherwise seeped in to be an American, no? Thus knowing these tread secrets? 😉

    • Vic, from the title of this article, tho now probably a year old, says 800,000 H-1b in the usa today. Now , this does not include a breakdown by country, but the large majority of IT H-1b are from India because there is the largest intermediate infrastructure and personnel which are dedicated to training, finding and placing Indian resources with US companies.

  42. I know this article’s a year old but it annoyed me enough that I had to comment on yet another spin doctor produced piece of corporate propaganda.

    I love the earlier suggestion that the only hope is to go get a degree at MIT or an Ivy League school. Hell, I can’t even afford the student loans I racked up from going to the University of Phoenix for 3.5 years and collecting a piece of paper that I can use for sanitary convenience.

    There’s been a relentless assault on education in the U.S. that dates back to the Reagan administration. That’s left the U.S. with a bunch of brilliant people who look really stupid on paper. That’s played right into the hands of industry and built a perfect (albeit corrupt) argument to suppress wages at home (remember relative wages haven’t increased in 30 years) and abuse entire populations of 2nd and 3rd world countries for the sake of a bottom line.

    The American dream only exists for those willing to throw their brother under the bus.

  43. desiramesh123

    This is an old post and there is nothing new about the main article. I was more fascinated by comments section to read from various people. There is a clear difference in approach to view this issue. While most of the Americans are analyzing this problem with agreeable logical analysis using economic indicators, value propositions, cultural synopsis but only one comment actually has hit the bull’s eye. The sweet irony of all this analysis is that no one seems to have noticed. His comments are right on spot and the advocates of ‘American Citizens for American Jobs’ need not go any further than push for very simple reform suggested by this lone commenter. It is really simple and bulls eye, although somewhat poorly written but that is ok – language skills are not what we are talking about here. Please read the comments by BY RK SHARMA POSTED MAY 16, 2013.
    Again, the irony is, one has to go through that process and experience it first hand to really know about this issue. The commenter hit bulls eye when she or he analyzed about myopic view that prevails in these sort of article re H1B. We are not talking about Silicon Valley IT jobs that hire top university graduates from all over. The deal here is thousands and thousands of foreign IT workers on H1b visas working for NJ based recruiters who work for companies like BOA, Citi, Amex, StateFarm, Walmart, Nationwide, Disney, Progressive, WellsFargo, TIAA CREF, Ameriprise, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Federal Contractors. These foreign IT workers are paid $80 – $150 per hour by Walmart etc to Prime Vendor Contracting Companies like IBM, TCS, Wipro, Cognizant, TekSystems, Accenture, Infosys, TechMahindra, Capgemini etc then these primary vendors pay $55 – $80 to xyz companies (most of which are based out of NJ, Dallas or CA) then xyz pays $40 – $45 to abc co. and abc co. might pay $30 to the real human being who is working. Both xyz and abc people are in Chennai and Hyderabad with Magic Jack. They have a nice house with Porsche. The real human being is either an H1b worker, F1 graduate on OPT, CPT etc. Way to go Commenter “RK SHARMA” for pointing to this reality that might be reflective of at least 33% – 45% of h1b worker scenario in US today. Your proposed solution should hit them where it hurt most and more Americans will get this relatively easy jobs.

  44. Fallacy that an H1B is a temporary worker.
    Fallacy that the skills aren’t available. Google management looked into it and publicly (5/2014) said their white and asian young boys will not hire anyone but white and asian young boys. Ageist, sexist, racist.
    Fallacy they spend a year looking for qualified US citizens, because “qualified” in the normal definition has to do with skills, not race, sex, or age.
    Fallacy that prevailing wage designation accepted by FLC is prevailing wage in actual industry.
    Fallacy that there is any difficulty in changing a J1 student visa to an H1B visa.
    Meaningless implication that expired H1B is illegal immigrant. Are we supposed to be assuming that a) they aren’t working for a body shop or b) they vaporize because they’re illegal?

    • @Amy Meaningless implication that expired H1B is illegal immigrant. Are we supposed to be assuming that a) they aren’t working for a body shop or b) they vaporize because they’re illegal?

      Not sure about choice, a, but the federal government probably assumes b. I read a recent article that the agency responsible for the hardcopy records of current H1B visa holders has implemented a policy of shredding the records of said visa holders after 5 years….which is before the visa has expired….and one reason given for shredding the records is to halt the dissemination of the records under FOIA… I am guessing that the feds want to think the workers vaporize with the records-shredding 🙂

      Note: I would have thought the records were computerized, and not paper-based, so I’m puzzled a bit by the use of the word ‘shredding’, but that was the word I’d read in the article.

  45. A simple question would be, since 2000 with all the grads from top universities lets just say in California and those from trade schools/ JR Colleges with STEM degrees and experience, companies like facebook, msft, Deloitte, apple and the like could not find or hire enough talent that the had to go to Bangalor india? WTF! The average salary at some of these place is $89-$110 USD. When I see Americans loosing their homes do to no jobs and high school grads not being able to find work and colleges with full classes prolonging our kids from trying to get an edge just to find out non-Indians need not apply I cant but help but ask W T F!!! Just get on Zillow and look at the home value in Monte Soreno, Los Gatos, Silver Creek to see who is buying. Hell yeah America is great – If your are from India.

  46. sally chils

    The numbers are all a lie and so is the US Unemployment numbers.

    Go tot eh DOL and you will see that for 2013 they issued 265,000 H-1B visas that year, and most of our recent years. In 2000 and 2001 and 2002 they issued 400,000 + visas each year.

    The total number imported who STAY here is OVER FOUR MILLION.

    The total number of technology jobs is just 4 million.

    We are facing TOTAL GENOCIDE by the Government AGAINST the PEOPLE. They couch it in lies BUT IT IS GENOCIDE.

  47. your writings are a joke.
    Americans are being discriminated. First, Corp America keeps telling our government that they can not find enough American workers to do the jobs. Complete BS!!! Corp America can not find enough American tech workers that can work for $30/hour. So the tech companies scream for more H1B’s and pile money into political campaigns.

    AND, now over 70% of the recruiting companies are now nothing more than shadow fronts to mainstream a constant flow and reassignment of H1Bs – cheap labor.

    So an American applies for a job posting. We’re interviewed by a man named Jim Tripathi with a Hindi accent. Really(?), his name is really Jim? And when we actually get an interview, said interview is sabotaged via questions designed to disqualify the candidate – not hard to do in technology. WHY? To continue the flow, selection, and reassignment ofH1Bs.

    I actually once received a forwarded email from an Indian hiring manager stating that he “does not hire white people” (meaning Americans).

    Absolutely,Americans are being discriminated.

  48. Bob Barnard

    Having worked at Microsoft for over a dozen years, and having lost my job to an H1B worker, let me lift the covers from a very crafty practice Microsoft uses to displace American workers with cheaper H1B’s, while still being able to state that they compensate H1B’s at the same grade level as American workers:

    Microsoft accomplishes its goal of replacing American workers with less expensive H1B’s with an HR ‘sleight of hand’: the company simply reduces the lower boundary of an established pay grade to accommodate the lower salaries offered to H1B’s, who they then use to replace ‘more expensive’ American workers.

    For example, the salary range at Microsoft for a level 62 employee might previously have been $90k to $110k. By simply reducing the lower boundary for level 62 from $90k down to $60k, Microsoft is able to terminate an American earning $90k, and bring in an H1B to replace the American at $60k. At the same time, Microsoft is able to say (with a straight face) that a new H1B hire is being brought in at the same pay grade (62) as the displaced American worker. Done deal. Happens all the time, folks. So much for Microsoft’s loyalty to long term, dedicated American employees.

  49. Spundone

    Seems to me these companies have no moral foundation nor if you please a solid foundation of civil responsibility and love of country . Americans first.
    I believe when a corporation isis in need of kit delivery pressures they being lazy go to the entities mentioned and receive instant gratification. Then they blame Americans for being stupid to justify their nefarious actions. They are people in this world concerned only by quick profits and care not if they even create a environment where violence will come due to poverty from those whose fore fathers shed their blood to defend America and her allies. Corporations are not people is so we would have seen a descent conscience by now.

  50. Indians are explicitly saying it ” we fake resumes, credentials, and experience”; moreover, they are advising not to look for an IT job if you are not Indian since it is all about “connection” if you know an Indian manager you got the job. Simply!

  51. In NYC, most programming jobs are taken by South Indians. It’s important to realize that a South Indian manager won’t hire an Indian programmer from other parts of India, let alone NON-Indians. I’ve been told all about it by Indian programmers themselves. As ridiculous as it may sound to some people, there’s also corruption in hiring programmers in NYC. One of my former co-workers, a programmer from India, told me how he got a new job in September 2015, in one of biggest state-owned public companies. My former co-worker personally knew the hiring manager so the hiring manager initiated a hiring process, and invited 5 people for the interview, while the hiring decision has been already made (bribery)! So, 5 people came for the interview thinking it’s “real”, but they had no chance no matter how good they did in the previous job, or at the interview itself. Unfortunately there’s not much that can be done about that, unless Non-Indian programmers will go on strike.

  52. I have lived this for 20 years as a Project Managaement consultant. I have managed Infosys and Tata resources. India wants all tech jobsin the US. They have killed Computer Science US Citizen Graduate interest due to charging 1/2 to 1/3 the pay of US workers. Infosys, Tata, and Wipro will do anything to populate Hindi speaking Indians into US companies. They are not better,smarter , or more inventive than US students and workers. They can go back to India and US companies using them can movetheir headquarters there as well. Indian business dealings have taken US jobs, entire IT groups have been let go in US companies with replacements in the aisles who are taking US jobs. Their business ethics are not US business ethics. They have taken US jobs offshore as well, H1B’s have replaced. Let the H1B’s train US citizen replacements and jettison them to India. Put tariffs on all services over the web and over the internet for US companies from India,

  53. Hello,

    I’ve been laid off after working as a Senior Developer/Developer for 18 years. I don’t see how I can ever get a job in Software Development (given that there are over 320,000 Indian IT workers in the NYC area). For 18 months, I have not been able to to get a job. Can anyone provide some information about the IT occupation/Job Title with % of Indian workers? That way, I can try getting a job in “Non-Indian” field. For example, Software Development vs. Analyst, or vs. Project Manager?
    Thank you.

  54. Hi ,

    1) If Indian companies recruits USA ppl as onsite employees in USA,
    there will be no work progress in India (offshore )
    2) no Indian wants to study in USA(MS) , if they not allowed to work in USA . Bcoz India has best education system compare to USA .
    3) USA govt has to change the theire rules to issue h1b..

    • Fiordiligi

      You are absolutely wrong. the opposite is true. 1/3 of India is illiterate, which is certainly not symptomatic of an educational system superior to the US. So don’t bother studying here ( or coming here) if you think your system is so much better than ours.

  55. Sridhar

    Reading all these comments I could understand how the H1B is exploited and US citizens are affected by it.

    I guess the H1-B visa policy should be revisited by ensuring that qualified professionals only brought under H1B while ensuring US citizens are given preference at first. It will help both US and other foreign countries.

    Here are few ideas:
    1. H1B wages should be uplifted more than US counterpart.
    2. Companies(customers) should directly hire H1B employees. No multiple layers, corp to corp employees.
    3. H1B employees should be allowed switch jobs easily without any dependency with employers.
    4. 6 Years maximum duration and must return to home country at the end.

    Also note that americans cannot compete foreign workers by knowing only the legacy system. If you are not ready to learn new things and work harder than your foreign counterpart, the corporates will obviously lose interest in taking you for jobs.

    Moreover with automation and AI raising, it’s going to be even more difficult for find jobs, let it be for americans or foreigners.

    I will not be surprised to see same kind of article written in 2025 but complaining on automation instead of H1B. Together we win!.