The Facts Behind the H-1B Debate

The debate over H-1Bs is both important and emotional. Given that it involves our jobs, that’s no surprise. However, it’s also an issue infused with myths and posturing, which is why we decided to produce this special report. We want to debunk the myths and set out the facts, describe the realities of the program as they are, not as someone wants them to be.

H-1B Special Report Put together in large part by Associate Editor Dawn Kawamoto, The Facts Behind H-1Bs presents how the program works, how it plays out across the tech workforce, and how it influences our economy. We’ve included voices on all sides of the issue, from corporations and professional groups to an H-1B who shares his experiences, good and bad, as a professional pursuing opportunities far from home.

Today, we begin with an in-depth look at the H-1B program’s background, proposals for reform and an outline of current guest worker programs. Come back Thursday, Friday and Monday, when we’ll share opinions from people directly involved in the debate.

The Special Report:

Once you’ve read the report, we hope you’ll join in the debate that’s bound to begin in the blog’s comment threads and Tech Talk. The only thing we ask is that you respect our community guidelines and Terms of Service. Those boil down to the notion of being courteous as you express your opinions, even when you don’t agree with what others are saying. You can see the guidelines here, and an explanation about how we administer them here.

Thanks for reading, and we’re looking forward to the discussion.

97 Responses to “The Facts Behind the H-1B Debate”

  1. Thanks for this series.
    Obviously, we all see things from our own perspective. Many of us (including myself) have probably not read the rules and only go from hear-say about what they are all about. Having this series helps explain more.

    Where I stand, I have a good set of skills that has helped me to get jobs, but I have also been displaced several times by people from India who are cheaper and less skilled than I am (although they might appear to be equally skilled since they might know tools A, B and C as I do, but I actually know how to do useful things with them that help the company, largely due to my experience with those tools and similar ones…making me more valuable in ways that companies don’t seem to recognize…or choose not to recognize.)

  2. Michael Evan Malbin

    I am REALLY hoping that they write about the agencies (mostly tech agencies) that buy up and hold most of the H1B visas. 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.

  3. MDbiker

    It’s all about equality. I work with excellent former H1B visa holders from around the world. I also see the flip side of that cheap labor that can do bit part work only. And I see American STEM students who are jobless with poor self motivation because they feel abandoned by their government.

    The bottom line is simple – insist the companies pay H1B visa holders the comparable salary and benefits of an equivalent American citizen. This will force companies to apply a completely different value set in evaluating hiring H1B holders – and then we will truly see those that want to hire them or not. And this will make a level playing field for home grown STEM graduates seeking jobs.

  4. I really feel that my non-citizenship status is hurting my job search. I’ve lived in a couple places around the world, but I’ve always felt that Los Angeles was Home for me. I recently graduated with a Master’s and I’ve been on the job hunt for a while now, but with my visa status, I’ve only got a bit more than a month left.

    It’s really disheartening when you get contacted by an extremely large company for an interview with three pre-screening questions: (1) are you free from the specified date? (2) will you be willing to relocate? (3) will you require sponsorship now or in the future?
    My answers were: (1) yes, (2) yes, (3) I can work for a year on my OPT and get a 15 month STEM extension, but I will need sponsorship eventually.
    Their reply was that they had moved on to other candidates.

    • Eric Dow

      I feel American Veterans and American Citizens should get first priority with jobs in this country. They have sacraficed, their parents, grand parents and so on for this country. Immigrants and non citizens expect a free ride. Freedom aint free!!!! Look at my brothers dying fiighting for this country. What have you done????

      • Samwise

        @Eric Dow-
        With all due respect, veterans do get first preference in most large organizations. I know that most big banks proclaim their commitment to hiring veterans on their websites. Whether they follow it or not, I don’t know, but I’m inclined to believe they would since they are stating it on their websites.

        Also, I encourage you to run a few job searches for different technologies on, or any other job website. A whole bunch of the job postings would begin with “Only US citizens or green card holders”, or “No sponsorship available”. So if you are complaining that US citizens are not getting first priority, I don’t think that’s entirely true. Not to mention that there are thousands of government jobs that are open only to US citizens. So, American Veterans and American Citizens are already getting first priority with jobs in this country in many cases.

        • Eric Dow

          All I can say is, yes they need not to reform imigrations laws. American needs to strickly in force!!!! What rights should illegals have after breaking laws of this country. We dont inforce as we should. We just pick and choose what laws we inforce. Let me break into your house and set up camp. See how long I get to stay……

      • Eric Dow — i absolutely agree with you on this. I am a veteran. I served in the Navy in a technical field and the training that i received in the Navy and my time studying at a local Community College prepared me well for my career as a DBA. The idea that you need a Masters Degree in Information Technology, or even Computer Science to work as a Database Administrator is completely false in my opinion. We see foreign born workers coming here and presenting there advanced degrees for jobs that do NOT require this level of training. After all, we are installing, configuring and maintaining the RDBMS environments for our employers, not writing the source code for the RDBMS.
        These IT jobs can be filled by native born Americans today, and into the future. There is absolutely no need to continue to bring in persons who are here to take the ‘better’ jobs from those whose families have sacrificed to build and protect this nation.
        Its our job as citizens to be aware of this issue and to speak up.

        Way to speak up Eric Dow, and all the best to you and your family.

  5. The joke about these quotas is guess who gets over 50% of the H1-B visa’s three companies, Tata, Infosys and Wipro all Indian companies. And don’t get me started on the L1 visa holders, what a joke.

  6. The real issue is still being put aside. Foreign workers, deserving or not, do not have a “Right” to work her, and businesses that reside in the US to not have a “Right” to cheap labor.

    What is good for Microsoft’s bottom line is not necessarily good for the US citizen.

    If there is a real shortage of skilled labor there would not be any arguments going on, the issue is the cost of that labor and the culture within the companies that over time prefer to hire foreign born citizens.

    The way it’s supposed to work is that if you can’t find a native citizen then you can fill the job with a foreigner with those “Special” skills but of course many times the skills are not at all special, just cheaper, and in some cases someones friend from the same company.

    It’s a fairly easy problem to solve, force the H1-B to get 125% of median pay (not a big deal since they are so “Special” right?) and then put a system in place to let native applicants that think they have been cheated be tested head to head with the H1-B hire by a neutral panel.

    If the native could have done the job then the company pays 1 year of salary to the native and the H1-B goes home.

    Next make it easy for the H1-B to transfer to a different company

    Suddenly you would see H1-B applications going through the floor, they would only be used as intended and not as cheap labor by lazy US company’s that don’t care much about anything other than the profit motive (which is fine, it’s the Governments job to protect our citizens, not the companies)

  7. Roshan

    I work for a high tech company in Taiwan and I’m not Indian or Chinese. I left US after my PhD declining the offer from Global Foundries and no plan to come back either, but I would also like to shed some light.

    The truth is US doesn’t have enough high tech workers to be competitive in the world and the work force shrinks down as Asia is investing billions in high tech sector. If you look at closely, the trend has changed as now many people will go back after their graduation However this trend doesn’t help US workers because they are not qualified enough (yes I’m assuring that they are not qualified enough). Most of US high tech workers have just BS and Masters and that is inadequate. Most high tech companies in US have vacancies due to lack of qualified US citizens and H1-B restrictions. The so called salary and benefits restriction is a complete myth because most of the high tech companies start from $100K (during training) for PhD holder with tons of benefits.

    • Michael

      Simply not true. Most jobs in this sector have no use for someone as specialized as a PhD, and that doesn’t take into account years of experience which are more than equal to any PhD for most of these jobs..

      • Brian O'Connor

        I agree with Michael. “Simply not true”. The jobs i see the workers from India taking over and over again in America within my area of expertise are these:
        Database Administrator
        Software code developer (4GL) code. (Not 3GL, “C”, or “C++”, or Java)

        I know that these jobs could be filled with workers, American born workers with Technical School, 2 year programs. The idea that you need an advanced degree in Computer Science to be a Database Administrator or someone who creates computer applications is just wrong.
        Our American technical schools could produce all the Database Administrators, JAVA coders, and 4GL software coders to fill the market. But first, American companies must be made to recognize the value in the American born worker.

        I believe that an unemployed machinist from Detroit could be taught how to be a Database Administrator in less than 2 years. There are many unemployed semi-skilled workers, I.E. Electricians, Machinists, Book Keepers, etc that could move into these employment markets in American companies were forced to train and employ these people.

        High Tech workers don’t always write the advanced software of the future. Sometimes we are making a great living just installing, patching and operating the software that someone developed at a software company.

        PhD — Really, too focused to be part of the ‘regular’ skilled workforce.

        • RipMJ

          @BRIAN O’CONNOR Yes a machinist can be taught how to be a Database Administrator but

          1) Who is the one that teaches ? Why don’t you go teach on weekends and enlighten people when you are so concerned about your fellow american’s instead of wasting time by commenting all the BS ?Go publish on Craigs list that u teach for free on weekends.

          2)Who is the one that is willing to learn ? People want to explore their passion in life (Arts,economics,music etc)

          2)American’s are scared of math which is logic that is required to do programming or even the DBA work.It come’s from one’s brain and not by teaching.So a menial job taker cannot be taught.

          If i were you instead of blaming the other’s i would definitely help my community .

          • Since the employer is the one who has the need, it is THEIR responsibility to do the teaching/training. That’s the way a *free market* works. Nowhere in the Constitution are employers given the RIGHT to fully trained employees; nowhere in the Constitution is the government given the responsibility of training employees for private industry.

            I’m certain that many unemployed people would be happy to be trained in a field that will secure them gainful employment once again. Certainly not all of them, but many of them. Not everyone insists that their work reflect their “passion.” A lot of folks just want to be able to work and earn a living, then pursue the things they enjoy on their own time. The notion of working in a field you are “passionate” about is actually a new concept; 40 years ago, people just got jobs, and anyone who claimed they needed to be “happy” at work was scoffed at.

            Your comment about how “American’s [sic] are scared of math” is every bit as xenophobic as those coming from Americans who hate “foreigners” and claim that all of them are stupid.

            Just for the record, I’m an American, and I’ve had three semesters of Calculus and two of Numerical Analysis, along with Number Theory, Diff Eq, and a wide variety of other college-level maths. My undergrad degree is Math/CIS. I would have loved to have obtained work that would have utilized my math and logic skills, but the jobs just aren’t there, at least not at the entry level. I ended up having to start my own business in a wildly unrelated field. BTW, I train my own team members; I don’t expect the government to do it, and I don’t expect them to do it on their own. I also don’t want to take on people who already “know everything,” because the problem with those people is…they allegedly “know everything,” and go nuclear if you offer even the most minimal suggestions or constructive criticism. They do things THEIR way, which might not be the way their employer wants things done. I don’t want an arrogant, untrainable know-it-all; nothing poisons an organization more quickly.

            I feel that H-1B visas are only a small part of the overall problem, which is that our economy is fundamentally broken. I look at the big picture; I don’t obsess over individual pieces.

          • Samwise

            I think the comment about Americans being scared of math was stupid and uncalled for. I’m an H1B worker from India, and in the many years that I’ve been here, I’ve learnt not to generalize a populace as smart or stupid. The same also goes for people commenting “those workers from India are stupid and don’t have any skills”.

            Very balanced comments, I appreciate your objective frame of mind. I also have a lot of respect for the fact that you are running a business and **doing something**, rather than just following directions in a company. I wish I could do the same, but you’d be surprised to know that I cannot start a company while on H1B visa. I’m having all these ideas from my work experience that I think would make a good product, but I’ve been suffocated on this H1B bonded visa for the past many years with no end in sight. That’s another piece of absurdity of laws in a country with 7-8% unemployment and where the government talks about creating jobs every other day.

          • I agree with RIPMJ. It is simply just a biased statement that American born workers cannot compete with foreigners for IT jobs and H1B situation. There is one field that most of the foreigners are not eligible to – the government jobs. Nowadays, there are lots of government IT jobs left vacant for months, years. I was told by many people from different government/departments that they want their kids to study computer science at college cause there are so many IT jobs demand, but very few supply within the government. I mean in this case, foreign born workers don’t even get chance to compete, apparently the qualified American born workers should be able to apply these jobs as they claim themselves are very competent. Not mentioning the security clearance issue, it should be prevent people from applying the jobs.but if there are so many of qualified American workers in IT, the gap between the demand and supply should not have been this large. Just think about it.

          • Its sad that there is such a level of distrust and quite honestly hate towards foreigner workers. I don’t understand it. We advertised for a job opening in 3 different online sources, 40% of applicants where from India another 40% were from China. There were only 20% US Born applicants. These are the facts. I don’t think its up to the government to motivate all the intelligent young people to go into STEM related fields. I have encouraged all the young folks that I work with to intern in our IT dept. Unfortunately, they are just not interested. They want play instruments, paint, do stuff that they love. IT has lost its luster. Its no longer cool. A lot of young folks think that IT is for loosers. So there is definitely a need to change that perception. Being a developer is like being a mechanic. Its not on the same level as a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. There is definitely a need. What people don’t realize is that by keeping H1B’s tied to a single company, the pay drops dramatically. If people could change jobs based on the market then the price for developers would rise. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop folks from coming in to work. It just means, allowing them to change jobs and giving them green cards from the beginning. The only winners here are the big corporations. They don’t want this system to change because they get to keep workers at a cheap rate for 5 years.

          • Really, Ty? You can’t believe the amount of distrut and hate towards people who are basically taking jobs from us? And on a dishonest basis, to boot? Every request that has come across my desk is basically a flat out lie. These people can be found in this country very quickly, but most management does not want to hire the US workers for one of two reasons 1) pay or 2) they will question management. Management in this country does not want to deal with US workers because they want to be involved in the work and contribute to higher quality of work. I have never worked with a foreign worker who questioned management – ever – and management likes it that way, and the quality of work has always suffered because of it. This is H1B is a great way to being low cost, horrible quality to the American shores. I think that American workers should be angry about it.

          • Samwise

            You are again talking about the symptom, not the problem. (Many, not all) H1Bs work for low pay and do not question management because they are being subject to indentured servitude. Wait until they get their green cards, and see how they question and fight with the very “management” who they treated as unquestionable at one point. Also see how the number of hours they work quickly goes down, from the regular 10-12 hours to exactly 8 hours, not a minute more. I have personally seen and was amazed by this transformation – which is why I restate what I stated above – let H1Bs change jobs at will and remove the threat of deportation. The market will correct itself, because they won’t work for low wages, will question managers etc.

            The way the system is designed is harming Americans also- it’s giving incentives to companies to hire H1Bs vs. american citizens.

          • Jack — i totally agree. The foreign born, H1-B workers on my team rarely comment on managements position of any subject. In the case of my foreign born, H1-B worker, team members from India, they do not speak up. Its as if they feel it would be rude to question authority. I believe this is part of the cause, and perhaps the single most important reason that the typical Information Technology project today goes over budget, or fails totally. The foreign born, H1-B worker generally keeps their head down, and typically does not share the ideas or suggestions for a solution with others on a team. The idea of contributing to the team, to help the entire team learn processes appears foreign to my team members from India. If the idea would contradict or reflect poorly on a Manger, or Directors opinion they will not comment.

          • @SXYZ
            you are way off base SXYZ.
            The issue here is the overwhelming number of foreign born workers undercutting the American born IT worker positions. I am usually the only native born American on my team, until you get up the ladder into first level management. I expect as time goes on those positions will start to be encroached upon by the H1-B worker.
            As an native born American IT worker whose family has fought in every war America has been called into protecting our freedom from World War 1 to Vietnam, i know we have earned our place in this society. We are here by birth and should be entitled to our birthright.
            The idea that we should export IT jobs because they are not they do not directly add to the core business revenue of the local company we may work for is way off of point. Our skills within Information Technology field could be quickly adapted to Defense Project work. It is shortsighted to move these skill sets overseas.

        • —-PhD — Really, too focused to be part of the ‘regular’ skilled workforce.——–

          EXACTLY. Ph.D.’s are for people who want to spend their careers in academia or high-level research. A Database Admin or a Software Engineer doesn’t need a Ph.D. in CIS anymore than a VP of Marketing needs a Ph.D. in business (yes, they do exist – people who wish to run business departments at universities get them).

          A Ph.D. is of no benefit outside of academia/research, because, as you said, it’s too specialized. You spend the entire time you’re getting the Ph.D. researching and working on ONE problem.

        • Samwise

          The reason you see workers from India taking over DBA positions is that a DBA job by itself is **NOT** a money-generating occupation any more at most companies. Unless your database is your business (like a data provider, or a something like facebook), the DBAs in a company are just back-end folks guaranteeing high availability, backup/restore, database hardware management etc. among other things.

          The problem is, these operations are not generating revenue for most companies. So why would a company pay between 70K-100K for a DBA position ? Most such companies are outsourcing their DBA operations to India, Singapore, Romania etc.

          What I’ve learnt from my years in the IT industry is, when a particular type of skill becomes dead in the industry(like the dba is getting to be slowly), you retrain yourself for the next hot skill and move on. No point blaming the inevitable.

          And may I also add, you also need to be flexible about your work location. There are thousands of DBA jobs in New York city every year, and all of these job descriptions begin with “US citizens/Green cards only”. Have you even tried applying to any of those ? If someone sitting in Minnesota thinks that he is going to find a secure, long term job within 5 miles from his house, those days are long gone.

          • We as Americans are willing to travel if we must. But, if the H1-B visa holders were expelled from this nation’ workforce we may not be forced to travel from city to city doing contract work.

            Yes, i see the DBA JOBS listed on the East Coast. And, yes i have worked those jobs. I mean really, its like a have a choice, i have a family to take care of.

            I read the contempt that you have for native born Americans between each line of your comment.

            Move our jobs with skills you refer to as “dead” to a third world country? Really, i think we are better off keeping those mid-level technical jobs here in the United States. These salaries, paid at American pay rates may impact the bottom line of the American Corporation, and may impact the multi-million dollar salaries of the CEOs, but America is better off as a society if we keep these jobs, and grow the number of these jobs within our borders.

            Not every high school student, or college student is cut out to design rockets even if they do have an interest in math and science. Even if they have the ability, outside forces may keep them from reaching this lofty goal. They may have much to contribute as a hands on technical worker supporting a local banks back office systems, or a regional hospitals database architecture.

          • Samwise

            I take strong objection to this – “I read the contempt that you have for native born Americans “.

            Please, I have a lot of respect for americans. In fact, some of the best people I worked with have been born here. Please do not try to paint me in false colors.

      • I agree with Michael. I cannot speak to the labor market in other countries, but here in the U.S., a Ph.D.–in any subject–is worthless outside of academia. You don’t get a Ph.D. in CIS so you can work at Google; you get one so you can head up the CIS department at MIT, or perform government-funded research.

        Ph.D.’s center around independent research of complex, high-level problems, not teaching someone how to build a product that will compete with Microsoft Office.

    • Sam Erhagbai

      That is not true. You do not need a PhD to be efficient in a chosen field in the technology industry. I am not sure why we need H1B in this nation at this point in time. There are tons on qualified home grown engineers who cannot find employment. I have a friend who has a masters degree in software engineering. He has not been able to find employment for almost five months now. He was let go from a company in Hartford because the company was able to find a cheap replacement whom he trained for about a few weeks before he was let go. This is not fair to our brothers and sisters. We should take care of our own first. Besides, most of the tech jobs are off-shored and at the same time the small number of on-shored ones are being taken away from home grown engineers. This is not right

      • Sam Erhagbai, I totally agree! Why Washington is bullied into keeping H1B worker in the country is a mystery to most people, with technical backgrounds here in America. I have worked in small consulting (read staff augmentation) firms that bring in H1B visa workers, charge the client 105$/hour and pay the H1B worker, maybe 35$/hour. When the job is over the H1B worker is either fired, or used to leverage another American born work from an opportunity.

        • Samwise

          Really, $105/hour for H1B workers ? But then, wasn’t you point that H1B workers are paid less. Wonder why the company did not hire an American worker if they really wanted to pay that kind of money, $105/hour.

          • I work on a team with 14 senior level DBAs. Seven of these are in India, and 7 of these are in the United States. Of the 7 in the United States, 5 are from India working on an H1-B, and one is a naturalized citizen from Canada. The one other worker, me was born in American, and is a veteran.

            The companies change for me as a contract worker, but the mix of workers and background stays about the same. Me, the ‘American Guy’, and my co-workers from India. So much for a diverse workforce.

            What i do, (Oracle DBA work) does not take some graduate level education. In fact, the P3-C Orion i worked on as an In-Flight Avionics technician in the Navy was MUCH more complex. I know that not one of the guys that were working in my squadron in my job (20 years ago) would have any trouble understanding the RDBMS technology, and or architecture. But, unless American companies are forced to find, and employ the American born worker, the H1-B worker, and the staff augmentation firms that are forcing themselves into the access point for these jobs will continue to strip away opportunities that should be made available to the American born worker.

    • Totally disagree. I have worked in the Information Technology industry for over 30 years; I have NEVER met a PhD that was worth 1/3 of an experienced (10+ year) IT professional, NEVER. The last PhD (was my boss) that I worked with was fired (I replaced him) after 2 years because he would constantly focus on insignificant issues and we simply could not continue to cover for his inability to provide real solutions.

      • D… I agree with you! In fact a fellow IT worker is on a BI project that is being led, by the application architect that has a PhD from Stanford. Yep, ‘STANFORD’!. I have nothing but respect for this great school. I sure wish i could have went there by i went to the Junior College just down the road.

        To continue, the project our fellow IT worker is part of is sinking fast. The Stanford PhD appears to come to work each day with book on Data Warehouse design, and notes from what he read last night under his arm. The Stanford PhD does what come really easy to him, he reads and does his best to regurgitate what he has read, as he passes this off for practical experience. In short, all textbook (and lets face it our technical manuals are not that difficult for a Stanford man to read/comprehend), and little if no practical success experience.

        I think the Stanford PhD is on his way ‘Out the Door’ soon.

        They hope to be able to get the project ‘out of the ditch and back on course’ soon.

    • @ Roshan

      The so called salary and benefits restriction is a complete myth because most of the high tech companies start from $100K (during training) for PhD holder with tons of benefits.

      This may be news to you but there are entire other branches of STEM which pay nowhere near those salaries despite the jobs being located in very high cost of living areas. In my field (chemistry) a new Ph.D. graduate can spend months if not years trying to land that first job; even then starting salary is in the $70k at most, even in expensive coastal California.. They might be lucky to hit $100k in 5-7 years with long hours and little job security.

      This debate is bigger than just software professionals.

  8. Chandan Thour

    The problem is not H1-B, its how we think about IT jobs. Lets not confuse with one straight fact i.e. IT is global , and though US is still leading the IT scene, its not the only country now. So when two facts are out, why US folks are so confined with working within US.

    I myself is on H1-B and I am from India, and what I see as the biggest problem with US students /citizen work force is that, they want to change IT world, without changing themselves.

    IT work force is becoming global and I see people traveling and working in UK, Australia, Canada etc for IT related jobs and they pay at par with US if not more. Its time that US students also boot up to that competition.

    And whosoever is considering outsourced IT as cheap labor, be clear that its not cheap labor but fast adaptability of technology and culture which is making them valuable asset. Aren’t companies looking for that?

    • Samwise

      Yeah, I’m sure that if the folks who say that they are **unemployed** here on these forums never even considered moving to another country. They can easily go global and do the same thing that people on H1B are doing- moving to another country for a job.

    • I have been working with H1B’s for more than 10 years now, I can say that they are fast and willing to do whatever management asks them to do, and in 80% of the cases it is wrong for the project and has to be re-done. Let’s call out the elephant here folks, US IT or engineers want to do the job right and are willing to question management – H1B’s want a job and will not question management. Who do you think management would want to hire. I have seen management lie, cheat and steal on applications to displace extremely talented people because they didn’t want to have to deal with being questioned on projects. In my opinion the whole H1B program is a national joke and should be investigated and trashed.

      • @Jack
        I agree with your analysis that H1bs dont question management, they simply do what they are told even if it is hard on them. I agree management cheats US workers in favor of H1bs. Why??? Coz H1b visas give too much power to employer and too little freedom to visa holder. The root cause is indentured servitude that is designed as part of this visa. If the visa holder is given freedom to move jobs without being tied to a particular employer, then you would see H1bs demanding more pay, equal working hours, questioning management on right & wrong etc.

        If H1b visa is actually given to visa holders then the situation will be beneficial to both H1bs and US IT workers. Currently, with the existing laws both H1bs and US IT workers are on loosing end and only employers are making a killing.

    • If you are willing to leave home for any reason, does not mean US workers should too. Please feel free to go and work in any of those other countries which pay you same as US. Problem solved.

  9. I have a PR Card for Canada. I am also on an H1B Visa. I really like the US but at times I am tempted to take my skills to Canada because there are no strings attached. The H1B system feels like slavery. I have changed jobs twice. Once, simply because my boss told me he had leverage over me in front of his friends. I didn’t like that because he treated like he had “leverage” over me. When I left the company, he was very upset with me because he felt as if he “owned” me. Canada’s system is very fair. You full rights, you do work for whoever you like. You can also open up a business if you have the desire and within 3 years you get a passport. So left with this choice, I am waiting to see what type of reform comes but I don’t like the fact that I have followed the rules since I was 17 years old. I graduated from the University of Texas and I am 30 years old now and still waiting for the green card. I feel this is unfair because if someone came when they were 16, they are going to the front of the line simply because their parent brought them here against their will. I came willingly with skills and money.

    • Samwise

      Dude, same situation. I’m 31 and still waiting in line for green card. My previous boss (another Indian) also acted like he owned me, and I quit that job because of that. I’ve alreay given the most productive years of my life to this country, paid social security and other taxes, followed the laws. It’s just unfair overall, and then we have American workers saying that H1Bs are at an advantage. Just try a swordfight with both hands tied behind your back.

      • @TY & SAMWISE
        I am also in the same situation. Waiting for green card since 10 years. I am sick and tired of this indentured slavery of H1b visa. I am getting very good offers nowadays for fulltime employment but could not change employer. As soon as I say I am on H1b, employers run away coz they dont want to go through the hassles of sponsorship. Even if someone is willing to sponsor me, I would have to start my Greencard process from scratch again. Its so unfair. I have seen people from other countries getting greencards within short times and climbing up the career ladder.

      • You are forgeting one thing… you are here on a temporary visa. Do not expect same rights as a citizen of permanent resident. If that does not suit your taste, feel free to return home. I’m sure, no one is blocking your way.

  10. Three percent of all H1Bs who work in this country ever become US citizens. If they come to this country to work but never become a citizen how can you call them immigrants. H1Bs and outsourcing are hurting are economy on every level. They take jobs from US citizens, they are a security risk, they send invest most of the money back home and most of all they discourage the youth from going into technical fields since they know as US citizens our youth doesn’t stand a chance against an H1B in the hiring market. Support tax incentives and policies that bring manufacturing and jobs back to this country and support tax incentives to hire US citizens. This type of policy has been in place in Canada for more than 20 years. What Mitt didn’t say during the election is if a corporation wants to get the low 15% tax rate they have to hire Canadian citizens.

  11. Terry

    I worked in Colombia for a couple of years and in order to get a job there, the company had to have at least 95% of its employees as native born citizens. I think the US should institute the same policy.

    • Brian O'Connor

      Terry, if not 95%, something like that. I believe that Americans would rise to the challenge and fill the technical positions left unfilled by H1-B ‘visitors’ before they could get on the boat/jet back to India, or wherever. Americans rose to the challenge in 1941 and previously unskilled American workers, and housewives with little or no technical training were assembling highly complex aircraft, weapons, ships, tanks and other items that helped beat back the Axis powers as World War 2 raged overseas. These people, unskilled in most cases, quickly learned and began to out produce manufacturing numbers from the previous year, or even previous month. They did this while worrying about there husbands, and sons fighting overseas.

      We don’t need foreign workers imported into the Unites States. We need the political will to remove these workers and then to train our native born American work force.
      I believe if we wait only one more generation we will be unable to ‘get back’ to where we once were, a world leader in manufacturing, medicine, computer, and communication technologies.

      • Concerned Citizen

        There is little to no need to train anybody; the US has 15,000,000 STEM-related degree holders and only 5,000,000 STEM-related jobs. The problem isn’t supply; the problem is companies not willing to pay the going rate for the skills they want.

  12. Diana

    Just one comment about the numbers. Yes, there is a CAP… 65,000 H1B but if the candidate has a family with, the cap goes down not just 1 visa but 1 per each family member. So In fact 65,000 is not a real number. I know this by my own experience.


  13. What if they invested more in qualifying American people instead?
    I’m not American, so from a selfish perspective, I’m pro H1B visas.
    But what I really think is that a country should invest more in education and make sure everybody is qualified before bringing foreigners. Of course, this is way more expansive… 😛

    Brazil is using the same excuse to open the borders for immigrants. It’s true, we don’t have enough qualified workers in the tech area over there. In the other hand, there are plenty of people with no conditions to purchase a higher education.

  14. Tech companies want the H1Bs and other foreign workers so they can increase their profit margins.

    I worked at a major computer manufacturer in the early 90’s when the company formed it’s alliance with TATA industries of India.

    I have a copy of a fax that was sent back from India clearly outlining how the company could save 15K for each Indian programmer they brought in who replaced a US Citizen.

    Later on another assignment at a large energy company, I was told by senior managers that the company maintains a 90% out-sourcing model and as a US citizen, I was not eligible for full time employment.

    At still another company, the CIO formed a company with an Indian partner and started shipping jobs off-shore as well as bringing foreign works on-shore to replace US citizens.

    Throughout my 20+ year IT career, I have seen numerous instances of companies laying off US citizens and replacing them with foreign workers; it happened to me personally 4 years ago.

    The H1B program may have had lofty goals when it was conceived but it is completely corrupted today.


    To qualified here for a H1B Visa is quite a professional competition. The job must run on News Paper several month here and is needed to interview first the local candidates for this position, if somebody thinks that is not hire based on employer wrong interpretation and evaluation can call EDD and make a claim ,if is proved correct the employer needs to hire him and treat well to avoid serious penalty or close of business. After that is needed to advertise in the country of prospective employee and find candidates who needs to prove their employment, experience in the field, advance education and references. There is an engineering test interview to prove competency in the field by working on design project and to express your knowledge, creativity, and capacity to improve,optimization and development. Al this is analysis is quoted by the US Employer and made a decision and a final grade of hiring. English is also a good factor to have in skills but attitude passion for work and dedication means also a lot . I was one time a beneficiary of this H1B Visa, and when I was accepted to work here I was happy because I did not know anybody here no connection at all I got success based on my engineering qualifications, design experience and passion for work . I was pay well but I did not compare my earnings with others my goal was to do a good job ,to be creative and useful and continue my education. Now I applied for citizenship.

      • You have no idea! Please read the rules for getting an H1B in US and you will understand how difficult it is to get a VISA! The VISA application is highly scrutinized and also they interview every candidate at a consulate and validate the skills before issuing a VISA!

    • Concerned Citizen

      You’re absolutely wrong. The law states they must have made a “good faith” effort to find a qualified and interested US applicant. But they don’t do that. They meet the letter, but not the spirit, of the law and go out of their way to ensure they do NOT find a qualified and interested US applicant so they can get their cheap indentured servant. Here is a video of businesses attending a conference informing them of exactly how to place ads and take other steps specifically to AVOID finding a US applicant. How can that be possible if there’s supposedly a shortage of US workers for these jobs? Fact is there isn’t.

    • bluemountain184

      You are right that Caste System is alive and well in the U.S. with regard to the African American security guards and Indian H-1B employees.
      This system is for the benefit of mostly white Top 1%ers.

  16. First misconception is H1b = ‘Talented worker’ ,H1B = petition by a person to work temporarily in the US in IT.requirements are 3+ years of unverified experience in IT.anybody can get a H1B visa petition approved and enter the united states and then learn some technology and apply for a job .As a person on h1b i always thought it would have been easier to get that job at nasa, get that federal job if i were an american citizen,i come across many jobs which says “Citizenship required’ and i still struggle to understand how an american citizen who logically would be the first preference for any job thinks that an H1b is taking away your job. i strongly believe citizens with right “skills” still are the first priority for any jobs. As i type here on dice i see Microsoft ad which says “1.7 million cloud jobs went unfulfilled in 2012 because job seekers lacked training and certification for a cloud based environment’ ….heres the link

  17. Steve Jacks

    After you wipe your nose with a piece of Kleenex, do you keep it or throw it away? Big employers, like Boeing, save on government taxes by using alien workers. And despite the H1B fee, these employees are paid roughly half an American employee would be. And when the project is done, disposal of “human Kleenex” is simple. (Health care industry gets other countries’ physicians, but not recognized by AMA, as “physician assistants” doing doctors’ work at nurse wages.) Forcing Industry to pay the true costs of substituting American workers, e.g. Doctors’ malpractice plus “stolen taxes” for every PA, would negate the predatory advantage of H1B. Precious little intellectual (STEM) need for H1B over trained American employees. (Lets stop subsidizing Universities’ profit motive with lopsided Federal Laws.)

  18. 40% of the largest US companies founded by immigrants or their children.

    Elon Musk was born in South Africa and was on an H1B visa – Founded Tesla, Paypal, Space X, Solar City.

    Job creator or Job Taker?

    Sergey Brin was born in Russia and migrated to the US at age 6 co founded Google.

    Created Google Glasses.

    There is a myth around the pool for talented skilled workers. They can migrate to any country they wish. As long as they are “talented”. If you look at a company with bad HR policies, they loose talent. Countries today are like big companies and need to adopt the same policies that big companies use to attract the best talent.

    What differentiates the US from a banana republic? Technology and innovation. Its Ironic that Elon Musk had to migrate to the US to create new products. He could have never done that in South Africa today. The same thing happened with Sergey’s parents. They were Russian Jews that weren’t given a lot of opportunity. He would have never created Google in Russia. This is the greatness of the US. Talented people can build their dreams like all the folks in this article:

      • RE: “TY — Job creator or Job Taker?” >>> Elon Musk was born in South Africa and was on an H1B visa – Founded Tesla, Paypal, Space X, Solar City.

        Sergey Brin was born in Russia and migrated to the US at age 6 co founded Google. >> Created Google Glasses.

        If you are implying that all, or even most H1-B workers are coming with the skill set, ambition and desire to build the next Billion Dollar Company, or Rocket to the Stars, i am here to tell you that your WAY OFF BASE. You are caught in some type of fantasy. Those individuals you mentioned are the ‘wildcards’ that walk around in our global population in every time throughout history. In the past some of those wildcards walked into Rome, and what became other great cities/societies.

        The H1-B issue ties directly to the companies that leverage the lower cost labor against the needs of the native born citizens of this country. The United States government is leaving the mid-level technical worker to ‘SWING IN THE WIND’. Those workers who are new to the Information Technology field, and those who are just leaving college, after either a 4 year, or 2 year program are competing with CHEAP labor thanks to the current H1-B loopholes.

        The elite students, and graduate level students may have little or no trouble finding a job in Industry, or Academia. But, the ‘middle of the pack, and what would be the average middle income American worker is being displaced by what are in many cases poorly training workers from overseas. The foreign worker keeps her head down while working here. She may not understand what is going on at all times, and may not be qualified for the task she is assigned to. But, in our new society of the ‘Politically Correct, and always Kind’, we are not able to point out someone who may not be qualified to do the job. That may appear to be ‘mean spirited’, or in some way ‘un-american’.

    • “They can migrate to any country they wish. As long as they are talented”, what about the citizen of this country whose jobs has been taken by the folks you are defending. If you don’t see difference between US and banana republic, then visit India!

  19. Why Government is supporting H1 is not a mystery: Biggest supporters of H1 visa are Microsoft, Oracle, Bloomberg, IBM, those companies have a largest contributions and donations to a White House and If White House will not comply with their requests, naturally donations will stop coming.

  20. 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.

  21. Unemployment is at high levels and we are bringing more workers from other countries, SHAME ON US.

    Let us all wake up and say NO to this Immigration Reform bill, by writing to your local Congress person.

    Well!, I am familiar with this H1B program from last 12 years; I can say that it is there simply to cut down the salaries of American IT workers by exploiting H1B workers from other countries. On the other hand, H1B consulting firms are making millions of dollars by blackmailing H1B workers with the promise of sponsoring H1B Visa/Green cards. Companies who are sponsoring Green Cards will only pay 40% of the salary to these H1B workers throughout the period of H1B Visa/Green Card application (5-10 years).

    Legally H1B’s has to be on jobs all the time through their sponsoring employers (Often Consulting firms), so H1B’s are willing to work for even $15-$25 in some cases. Adding to the insult, most of the H1B spouses want to work legally or illegally to earn the second income, so their salary expectations are much lower to their H1B spouses. Overall, H1B’s have been taking American IT worker jobs for long period of time and the spouses of H1B workers have been taking IT and other sector jobs…..Well! you do the math to find out the Negative Impact that ONE H1B is having on American IT workers and to their families through the life cycle of H1B and Green Card program……..It is basically a set up from Employers from the beginning with the support of local lawmaker’s support.

    We should abolish H1B program all together.

    *Let us all wake up and say NO to this Immigration Reform bill, by calling our local Congress person.


    God Bless Your Job!

    • ustca

      I think the government should give a try by suspending H1s for next 5 yrs. and Analyze the effect on the economy and it’s global competitiveness. If all goes well while the H1s suspended, good. And following that they should abolish H1bs for ever from US. But if this won’t work…Option is yours, Uncle Sam. I am sure they are not that Full, who is heading the globe.

    • Satya

      I agree with Jay and understand Americans wise and i strongly support locals(Citizen) first bcoz this is the only country you can live for which you need a job/income.

      I am H1B holder staying in USA since 2007. Our life here getting worse day by day becoming hell. We are frustrated but no one wants to go back(few going back actually).If the law says every one go back , we will happily go back.

      Ultimately employers and consulting companies making money. Of course we are saving some money too but hardly 10K a year but our W2 shows 70K plus.

      Ending up paying taxes, insurance, rent, moving and immigration fees, attorney fees , moving expenses.
      We don’t get any tax, SSN benefits. we pay around 1000$ a month for medical insurance.
      Think guys , pls don’t hate us.
      We are part of the game of big people and governments. Let forgive each other.

      • @Satya, Are you waiting for American citizens to buy your return ticket? Please feel free to leave as soon as possible. We don’t want you to suffer anymore.

  22. ustca

    If anyone thinks, that getting a job on H1 is easy, please present self as a H1 candidate in in the application and in the interview, you will get the test. Companies, so far I have experienced, prefer GC or citizens over H1s, if they have same skills set.

      • Most companies have an H1B candidate in their sites before they even fill out the paper work. The last company I worked at was having the people who were being replaced review the paperwork of the H1B. And the funny thing is that the replacements weren’t half as qualified. If this isn’t a corrupt practice, I don’t know what is.

        • Samwise

          Partly agree with you – companies sometimes use dubious practices to get around this requirement of “can’t find an american worker”. But then, isn’t the law as dubious ? Here’s an example to explain my point –
          Let’s say the government imposed a similar requirement on buying cars – you cannot buy a foreign-made car unless you can prove that there is not an american-made car available in your area.

          So when you set out to buy your next car, you have two options – buy a Toyota for 20K, or a GM for 30K.

          In this case, would you even visit a GM showroom ? Of course not, because you are required to show that you couldn’t find an american car in your area. In fact, you would make extra efforts to show that the only car you could find was the Toyota, because you don’t want to spend 10K more for the GM. Doesn’t mean you’re not patriotic, just means that you don’t want to pay 10K more for the same stuff.

          Point is, companies are faced with the same issue – they want to hire H1B workers for lower wages via indentured servitude, BUT, they need to find innovative ways to show the “we could not find an american worker”.

          In my view, the whole idea is absurd- how, exactly, would anyone show that they could not find an american worker for a job – of course, there is always “an” american worker available for any job. But, is he available on terms that are profitable for the company ? I think the H1B provisions missed this important point – as long as H1B/L1/B1 etc. workers are proving profitable for companies, they will find ways to show that there is a shortage of american workers.

          So, the only solution is to free up the H1B workers to work for whoever they want, and thereby level the market for everyone.

          • I think the point is that management is looking for workers on the ‘lower wages, indentured servitude plan’. I have been at unemployment where I was questioned about finding work in my industry and I said I could handle any number of jobs that the H1B folks are doing but the issue is that I have a tendance of asking questions and trying to perform quality work. I don’t care about have to make high wages, its about indentured servitude. If American management could, I’ll bet any amount of money they would love to set up worker camps like in China and other 3rd world countries.

          • Not at all. H1-B IS for a specific job. That job is over or eliminated, the visa holder returns home. He/she can not claim the same privilages as a citizen or permanent resident of the country. End of story. These examples you are giving are not relevent at all for H1-B or any temporary workers in the country.

      • There is no question of a job interview. H1-B is given for a specific job. If that job is over or eliminated, the H1-B holder must return to his own country. End of story.

  23. Numbers Guy

    The H1B has been abused by people looking for cheap labor. In 20 yrs in the IT field I have never had an opening an American could not fill. The latest trend is to base the opening on price per hr- which means now I have NO positions an American can fill. I have seen organizations walk over a standard Windows Admin and have him touch an Oracle server, physically touch it, and then write Must have hands on experience. This was done to make sure while renewing no American can be found with all the skills.
    As of rates, I have watched the highest level positions of IT be staffed by people getting paid help desk rates. Their resumes look GLORIOUS- but the reality of their work is that marketing still works as they did not have any of the true skills. I have seen salaries for these people in the 1/3 to 1/4 range of those qualified to do the work. No CFO is going to sign off on a bid for a project that is 3 times the lowest cost, and when you accept it, some director is losing his job. When the resources show up and are unable to perform, they try to sell you more resources, all H1b Visas. When this does not work, they climb the management chain to say it is a “Leadership Failure” not a resource skill failure in efforts to get paid on project that are milestone based that they clearly came nowhere close to meeting.
    Then the resource is canned, and you see all the ads on Dice that say “ASAP, START ASAP, Interview Immediately” Unfortunately, the price for such resource is locked now, and the only person to fill it will be another H1B visa. I cannot tell you all the laments I have heard from directors who have been forced by higher managers to accept the lowest cost resources. The trend is the same- they hire a few, need to hire more, need to hire support, budget is blown.
    I think if you are a director or higher, you have to post positions as OPEN on rates. When you find your top 3 candidates, then ask for cost. This will allow you to determine the best cost to risk value. In doing such filtering, you end up with the best available. You should also demand to know what the resource is getting paid. If you’re paying someone 200 an hr and they are paying the H1B only 35, they have “Dumbed Down” your talent and have introduced risk. Using the Open rate method is one way to combat that and the 35 an hr resource would be filtered out quickly.
    Project failure rate is above 75% now. Hiring someone who has a 90% success rate is easy if you are willing to pay. I have found those resources and paid for them, and in all honesty, even with higher cost, they were much cheaper than the army of H1B visa’s we had at our insurance firm who ripped us off blind, and accomplished nothing.
    If you can’t find an American to do your IT work, you have the wrong staffing firm helping you- and when you fail, they will not offer you a job anywhere near your current salary. Partner wisely

  24. Numbersguy is totally right. America has plenty of skilled workers. But the H1B program is mainly used as fraud to screen out American workers, and pay less.

    It is corrosive. Zuckerberg goes public saying he needs cheaper workers — Americans are too expensive for him. That is a multibillionaire talking. What an ass. How about just hire people in your country? Really, Mark Zuckerberg?

    America is an unlimited talent pool, but if you insist on paying 30% under the market rate, obviously your only choice is to import foreign labor, whether legally or by fraud, which is what many H1B placements are.

    H1B has a real purpose. It should be for above-average performers paid 125% of the median American salary for that job title in that company. If people really contribute without hurting American wages, that is great an we are pleased to have them in the profession.

  25. H1-B, L1 and B1 visas are permissions for foreign workers to enter USA to meet the country’s specific need at a specific time. There is no assumption of any right or fairness or parity with citizens implied or guaranteed and neither should it be. If there is any adverse impact of these visas on the citizens and permanent residents of the country, then these visas must be eliminated or numbers adjusted to meet the change in need. If foreign workers think this is not fair, then they should be reminded that these visas are a privilage and not a right. They should choose to return to their own countries in those cases. Under the present economic situation, I believe the numbers must be drastically reduced, if not completely eliminate for a few years at least.

    • Really? And do you have facts to back that up? What types of companies were they? Software development companies? Were they producing products that were of value to the typical person walking down the street? Were these real companies or were these companies shell companies or were these people just used in name only so that the company could claim it was owned by an immigrant? I mean a company wouldn’t hide its real ownership status for special perks would it now.

  26. Steve Hansen

    There is a legitimate need for specialist workers, who have very specific knowledge. The PhD who wrote the seminal paper in a specific topic might be very helpful as a consultant for a project that is seeking to use and extend that research, for example. But the great majority of the H1B visas are not for such specialists — they are for ordinary programmers and administrators with bachelors degrees. The business people prefer to hire foreign workers because they are less expensive. By adding to the workforce, they also increase supply and reduce average compensation levels for all IT workers.

    Foreign workers were proposed as a short-term solution to alleged shortage of highly skilled workers
    in specific fields… But the effect is to reduce the compensation in that field, which further reduces the
    number of available workers. The result has been exactly the opposite of what is really needed. No student in his/her right mind would study computer science, now. Other subjects, including business and law, are both easier and lead to higher compensation.

    The proper “conservative” or “market based” solution to any alleged skills-shortage is simple: Offer more money. If the number of persons in a specialty is fewer than the number of jobs, the price should rise. Even in the short term — If a business really needs a person with specific knowledge, the manager can easily justify offering a higher salary. Another business that cannot or will not offer that higher salary, does not really need that worker. The market will clear, and the higher compensation levels will attract more students.

  27. USA corporations have one and only one goal “More Profit!” .
    The H1B problem is deeply rooted in our education system.
    Take a guy from India or Russia, his studies cost him $0, all financed by his government, his dream is to own a 70k house somewhere in India…
    His USA colleague/competitor got his degree from U of X, and have a 60k educational loan by the time he graduate at 6% apr , mean he will be spending 650$/month just on loan repayment for the next 12yrs. his dream of a house St Francisco (600k…) obviously, he won’t settle for a 70k job… Corporate America want to keep big bonuses for them-self and get the job done cheaply In India of from Indian’s

    Are they shortage of Tech professional? to be sincere, YES but there is also a high unemployment… Make schools affordable and people won’t be afraid to go get the degree needed for the jobs available out there. I thought twice before taking a 40k loan for my MS. It paid off but i can’t understand why someone would rather drive that truck and deliver UPS parcels rather take taking the big risk/gamble with ED. Loan.. BANKRUPTCY DON’T CLEAN THEM UP!!!


    Dice once had a vigorous debate on the corruption and cruelty to US workers imposed by the H-1B visa. Then Mark Feffers was hired by Dice and entered the picture censoring and selectively editing the comments of participants in the debate, essentially denuding comments of the thrust of the comment.

    It is not that Feffers is evil. He was simply not sophisticated to the extent necessary to moderate the debate. After multiple “warnings” to me instructing me to discontinue my discussion of the Mark Feffers “thought police” at Dice, I was removed as a participant in the debate. Others too were removed by Feffers from the debate. After awhile, everybody in the debate was gone. Feffers in fact destroyed the discussion and later nuked the forum.

    If you want to understand the pros and cons of the H-1B visa, reviewing that debate would be more useful than the corporate public relations propaganda being pushed by Dice and Mark Feffers. You have to conclude that is the reason that Dice and Feffers destroyed the discussion and the forum, to silence those whose lives have been destroyed by the H-1B visa.

  29. As a director in information technology I have to comment: The Visa system is being totally abused in order for companies to avoid paying retirement and healthcare benefits to US workers. There is no lack of qualified US workers for posted positions. There is no lack of US coders that can do C or other programming. In the US a coder might charge 100+ an hour for IOS design. Indian programmers will charge 14.00 per hour for their local folks and 75 to US companies. I have found that you get what you pay for. Locals produce and folks in India carry a contract out as far as it will go and produce confused trash.
    Be warned – you get what you pay for. Treat your employees right and as part of the team and you will get excellence.

  30. H1B Employee

    With full regard to comments here which does reflect concerns and frustration, here is the other side of story. Please do take it with a pinch of salt and rest assured, I’ve full respect for all H-1B employees and American citizens alike.

    3 points to make:

    1) H-1B is not a symptom or problem by itself. Please look at end-to-end story to understand the market dynamics. In a US-led capitalistic global economy, the companies needed to cut cost to stay competitive. Therefore, they evaluated non-core operations like IT and decided to outsource through bids. Outourcing by itself would not cut american jobs, but as IT bids got lesser and lesser due to market pressure, Companies started offshoring the IT work leading to displacement of US workers. Today, typically IT engagements are 80% offshore-based. Therefore, H-1B program can, at best displace 20% of IT jobs while 80% jobs are moved to offshore.

    2) I work in IT and make hiring decisions on daily basis. Here is what our “American” Recruiter tell me as reason for preferring H-1B workers and trust me, low cost is not the prime reason: 1) Most of the positions are short term and American citizens are not ready to relocate due to mortgage, family etc. H-1B are more flexible; 2) American citizens are fine to travel, but companies don’t want to pay travel cost; 3) If the jobs involved training, then having H-1B employees mean there are some barriers to exit, but American employee have no barriers and they can switch, making the entire investment of training go waste. Essentially, like other countries, US has no culture of signing bonds to ensure the companies reap the benefits of training investments.

    3) Lastly – but very subjective point: Please remember US forced many countries including India to open up their markets and companies like IBM, Coke, Pepsi, Intel destroyed the local business through their large-business tactics. At that time, Indians had same opinions as expressed in this forum. That time, the lever was the marketing budgets and expertise of these companies – now the lever of IT companies is their ability to reduce operations cost. In fact, while I see a lot of comments about TATA, Wipro, Infosys – but please remember Accenture, HP and IBM employ more Indians than most of Indian IT companies.

    Summary – Understand the frustration, but I think if American citizens can become more amenable to relocations and try to get over this H-1B vs citizens business, their are enough jobs for everyone to survive. Of course, H-1B program needs much more improvement, but it is not a deadly as it is shown to be.

    God bless the world (why only America 🙂 )

  31. Eric Schneider

    Complete BS, My Veteran status has never helped me so far. I just got informed 1 week after Veterans day that my contract will end, yet they can keep a bunch of H1B Indians and not me? And I have more skills and years experience then most of them.

  32. Jumping in here to say that unfortunately many of the H1-B visa workers I work with are not skilled for the task. They learn on enterprise software and come over terribly outdated to the latest trends in software. Also, there are many typos among H1-B workers whose first language is not English. In general, the H1-B friends I have made confess they are only here for the money. There is no passion in what they do. Many had no options for study except IT or medicine. Of course there are exceptions, but please don’t be fooled into thinking foreign workers are better or brighter than our own.