New H-1B Rule: Bad News for Large Tech Companies?

If the Trump administration gets its way, H-1B visas will soon depend on the relationship a potential employee has with the company.

The Department of Homeland Security has not implemented its new rule yet, but has defined it:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages. In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.

The crux of the DHS argument is the definition of “specialty occupation,” and who the “best and brightest” are. Speaking with Forbes, Dagmar Butte, a partner at Parker, Butte & Lane, said: “The drumbeat of an H-1B being intended to only bring the best and the brightest has been incessant the last three years or so. The problem is, of course, that was not the purpose of the H-1B and we already have a temporary visa for that – the O-1.”

An O-1 visa is defined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a “nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.”

Butte’s argument holds, but national or international recognition for achievements is incongruous with why tech companies hire under H-1B.

Other wordplay in the DHS definition suggests H-1B is under attack for the right reasons. Re-defining the employer-employee relationship could mean large companies will soon have to hire directly rather than rely on overseas clearinghouses for potential H-1B hires. When hiring several (sometimes hundreds) of H-1B employees, companies often do so through overseas companies meant to streamline the process. Going forward, DHS may require that companies such as Google or Facebook have a unique relationship with each hire before they’re actually brought stateside.

The “specialty occupation” designation is also a favorite target of the DHS and Trump administration. It seems DHS would like to distill what is (and isn’t) a speciality occupation to an official definition or wiki for job titles and skill-sets. Currently, the USCIS definition for a specialty occupation is loose:

A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.

If DHS is simply limiting the number of general tech hires that companies can make under H-1B, most would likely applaud this solution. With so many finding their way to tech education, and experienced engineers and developers seeking employment, many would rather see domestic talent get jobs first.

When the USCIS initiated its ‘specialty occupation’ missive, it said: “The updated policy guidance aligns with President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order and the directive to protect the interests of U.S. workers.” Now it’s narrowing its scope of what ‘specialty’ means, effectively putting companies reliant on H-1B in a chokehold. This, along with a separate plan to limit the ability of H-1B spouses to find work, may spur the oppositionwhich is already robust – into action.

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106 Responses to “New H-1B Rule: Bad News for Large Tech Companies?”

    • As pointed out above on the typo this editorial is also full of personal bias and slant against the DHS proposed changes. It’s one thing to make an argument against a topic from a purely reporting standpoint but its entirely obvious and different to do it with a skewed personal bias like the “author” of this “piece”. This is just another “fine” example of “journalism” as a result of America’s failed educational system toped off and ending at the money hungry colleges spewing out their entitled elitist graduates. There’s so many parentheses in my writting due to the overwhelming sarcasm.

      – Through peaceful means and lawful work let’s all MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!! :-)~

      • Your inability to distinguish between quotation marks and parentheses makes you a fool and not great.

        Stop spewing nationalist agendas indirectly and respect every talent whether its an UK-born, US-born, African-born or even Russian-born.

        All are humans for god damn sake.

        • Jakester48

          Ignoring your insult and gratuitous ad homonym…

          Humanity is not the point, employment is. Borders exist for a reason. Assuming you are a United States citizen, try getting a job in the UK or EU and you will find that out.

      • I actually found this article to be biased against hiring foreign workers and biased in favor or nationalistic tendencies. Maybe it actually is unbiased enough that it just presents both sides as pisses everybody off.

  1. There are a lot of Indian nationals who are under H1B and with their spouse under H4 EAD that are out of status and later on they changed to OPT or J1 student visa and continued to work on “client’s location” this is a loophole in the policies that are abused. They are causing the disruption in the job market condition from the Department of Labor which are initially allocated only to “high-skilled” workers category who initially awarded as H1 primary workers with the original allocation of the job. Please review and audit the whereabouts of these non-immigrant workers.

  2. Bill Porsche

    Give me a break,I have worked in the banking industry for 15 years and worked with many H1B visa holders. This Visa is not for exceptional talent in any way. It is used in the banking industry for cheap labor. Most are recent graduates with no experience but are willing to work extreme long hours for very little pay to stay in the country. This is the new American slavery. There is no other difference between recent US citizen graduates and these people other than that money. I forgot , the other difference is the spin the companies benefiting from the low wages are putting on it . Right Forbes ?

    • YupYoureCorrect

      Yup… I too work in banking (among the biggest in the US) and this is 100% correct. Not to mention the fact that many of these hires have falsified resumes and work experience…all aided and abetted by the very tech firms that place them.

      They didn’t give a rats ass about displacing an American job as they were getting a taste of the good life the US offers, but are now crying that the walls are closing in? TOO BAD… guess you were a dope for purchasing that house or buying that shiny German car huh?

      Good riddence. Previous administrations & existing scumbag politicians are to blame for letting this happen in the first place.

    • The major issue of H1B can actually be fixed with just 2 simple changes….

      1) Make it no longer a dual intent visa. It is purely a nonimmigrant work visa with no ability to perform an adjustment of status to PR. That alone will knock off more than half of the people who come over for pennies in the dollar purely because they know it’s a track to residency in USA.

      2) Change the ruling so that they must be paid same or higher than existing role pay. If the person is truly exceptional, they are paid exceptionally. No more cheap slave labour by bringing in so many people who will work cheap and long hours just to try for opportunity to achieve PR like point 1.

    • I think you missed the point in the article. H1B isn’t for exceptional talent. The current administration is trying to make it apply to people who are exceptionally talented and ignoring the fact that we already have a visa program for that. And yes people are paid lower who are from overseas. Have you considered that some of those people gladly work that because the opportunity to do that is so much greater than the opportunity that they have at home. They make more here…spend here…become a part of our economy…pay their taxes…& they get to send a bit back home as well.

  3. I love this logic: The Department of Labor/Department of Homeland Security calling H-1Bs “truly extraordinary” is like a self-fulfilling prophecy of a label. Once they point to an H-1B candidate and say “this one has EXTRAORDINARY abilities”, it makes it true. When in reality the judgement call looks more like Mel B judging Neil deGrasse Tyson. OF COURSE she’s going to be impressed. The people working for the DOL and DHL/USCIS are NOT the sharpest crayons in the box. Any country’s dumbest programmer is going to knock these morons’ socks off.

    • This is a good link to have. By the way the spouse who come along the H-1B steals another job and doubles the H-1B quota. Does anyone in think about this?

      This is a good link to have. By the way the spouse who come along the H-1B steals another job and doubles the H-1B quota. Does anyone thinking about this? Not to mention some of them come here with fake degrees and experiences and get trained by their colleagues on the job. Is this fair to the Americans spending thousands on their degrees. Now the Indians have found all the loop holes and saturated the market. No one is looking into these.

    • Even if that was the case, it is NOT an excuse to break the law like so many people with H-1B do to come to U.S. to work. Yes, falsifying information and resumes is against the law here in the U.S. Even if everyone does it.

  4. Haku na matata

    It is so hard to find local labour in the US who really understand technology. My company posted for 10 position in the US….we had to do the hiring in India in the end. Most of the locals who do IT are colegue drop outs who know who to do a few functions but they don’t understand the concept due to lack of education.

    • Your experience is completely atypical of the American IT labor market. Perhaps you posted ridiculously low salaries so the best candidates are not going to apply. Or, perhaps the skills needed are not in demand skills. Most of the devs and QA that I work with all have Bachelor degrees.

    • ONLY searching for “locals” in the U.S. but willing to import labor from across the world makes no sense at all. Offer remote positions or relocation assistance if you can’t find anyone in your immediate area.

    • My experience as an outsourcer with a fortune 50 company was the cheapest employee always got the job. You found out later how “extraordinary” they were. And when they were not, US resources were used to help. That’s what made me leave.

      The new rules, most especially the one that states pay must be commensurate, will help.

    • Madam Bovine

      As another reply reads, you must have posted too low salary. In general, this should be the reason why you can’t find any local candidate at ease. It goes to all tech companies as well. H1-B has been exploited as a tool of cheap labor, period (I was an H1-B recipient and so I know the situation very well). Now you mentioned hiring someone in india, I feel indian IT workers are overrated. In the US, there’s a myth that inidians are smart no matter what. If you consider the size of indian population, it’s probable that there’re more smart people. But NOT ALL indian IT workers are smart. I learned this through my IT career. There’s already a plethora of smart IT people in the US, yet you are not just willing to match the labor market in the US.

    • Victor Maitland

      “Most of the locals who do IT are colegue [sic] drop outs who know who [sic] to do a few functions but they don’t understand the concept due to lack of education.”

      Seriously? And how do their English grammar skills compare? It sounds more like they aren’t willing to work long hours for slave wages… unlike H1-B visa indentured servants.

    • “Haku na matata
      September 19, 2018
      It is so hard to find local labour[sic] in the US who really understand technology. My company posted for 10 position in the US….we had to do the hiring in India in the end. Most of the locals who do IT are colegue[sic]”

      in the US, it’s labor not labour (that’s British English) and I’m guessing colegue is supposed to be college?

      Maybe try a little harder when you’re pretending to be US hiring manager.

    • So funny. First they say the H1b visa holders are exceptional and that’s why they are needed.
      Now the guy says H1b visas are not exceptional and the O visas are for those.
      They’re grabbing at any excuse or justification they can think of to try to keep getting cheap labor. Sad.
      We have ruined careers of so many Americans who have been displaced by cheap foreign workers on these badly abused and (previously) little audited visas.
      Payback is coming.

    • AR Libertarian

      I doubt the sincerity of your comment. It hardly looks like the result of a college education, or even high school. There’s auto check in this box, but that still didn’t keep you from butchering your post?

  5. Dan Marinescu

    this is not news, present administration is just inforcing what was always there. that h1b is a sacrifice we do, for gifted needed people, extremely difficult to find here, the company hiring / apply clearly stating their life-time need for that very employee, to be turned into an American. companies porting h1b(s) are doing something illegal, actually (owners should be in jail!). also, the salary of an h1b cannot be lower than American counterpart. this is another violation employers do constantly and deliberately. also, in most cases of indian originating h1b(s) nepotism and discrimination are clearly there. you would not believe what employers break our immigration law with premeditation. their upper management should go to jail too, because this is not only a clear violation of present immigration law but also a security bridge. present administration does the right thing, in many decades and like it or not, corporation like microsoft, etc will have to learn how to obey the law or go to hell.

  6. I am technology manager with a large health insurance company, I always struggle to find a Big Data developer or a good data engineer, I am not sure what is wrong.Eventually we had to mive this positions to India.Very SAD

    • Really? My husband just lost his job due to layoffs locally – he’s a “good data engineer” who is also a “Big Data developer” (learn what a proper noun is and also proofread, BTW). He’s one of the younger people working seriously in data and he’s in his 50s. What he’s seen in every job search over the past, say, 10+ years is that the company is looking to pay unrealistically low money for the work; wants a 25-year-old who can do it; has some checklist of tech skills that HR or general management slaps on a kitchen-sink list of tech skills (hint: if someone’s a well-paid specialist, then junk you’ve heard of, like HTML or Javascript, isn’t going to be an interest). Oh – and a general tech tip: If a technology has really come into its own in the past couple of years, don’t ask for 5+ years experience or even on-the-job work. I can’t say how many jobs wanted Hadoop experience a few years ago. My husband’s used it, but not on his at-the-time current job, where is was a major fight to get them to update their Oracle and SQL Server installs (he’d used it at a volunteer program he’s worked with for several years and messed with it personally). Here’s another thing about requirements: Don’t expect a PhD or advanced degree in data or “a related field” – that means CS – because (1) schools haven’t taught big-data-focused courses until recently and, short of a specialist PhD, it’s only a course or two; (2) there’s a lot of analysis and math that goes into getting large databases working properly and giving results. You don’t want someone who has X year experience as a DBA adding users and doing troubleshooting (although those skills are present, too, if you want to waste your big data architect’s time). You don’t even necessarily want a degree in computer science. Math, public administration, statistics are more of interest in being able to put together a good database (although with knowing the database inside and out) – Oh, and BTW, what a foreign school calls a PhD is not the same as a U.S. school; of course, people have also been known to lie on their resumes. Do you check up on Indian advanced degrees or assume the contractor has done it?

      Another funny thing about big data and DBAs in general is that they’re all older. In his mid-50s, my husband is one of the younger serious DBAs. You don’t learn it in school and every company’s data needs are different. Honestly, if you’re looking for someone to slap some data tables up, add users and do run-of-the-mill, non-creative work, then you’re OK outsourcing. If you want a good data engineer, then you have to have different recruiting and hiring requirements than for other tech positions. Oh, and if you’re offering less than 100K, you’re not hiring a big data developer or good data engineer (and “data engineer” is weird – engineering and databases are two different things – someone who says they are not has a bogus idea of engineering – that’s like the “systems engineer” stuff MS was doing a while back that got them in trouble in TX for using engineer incorrectly).

      Also, if you think that just because there aren’t a lot of big data jobs a person is going to pay their own way to move, you’re not being realistic. It doesn’t matter what someone does. If they own a house, have a family, etc., they can’t just pick up and leave. Is your company covering moving and living allowance so the person can afford 2 mortgages or mortgage plus rent? I’m thinking no, since that ship sailed years ago.

      Last, a lot of the rules and restrictions inherent in “large health insurance company” aren’t going to bring in top data people. If a job is in demand, you may need to both pay more and be a little flexible. Good database people aren’t looking to have layers of management and piles of regulatory stuff to meet. They also may often have ethical qualms about some tasks places want and will refuse a job rather than do something they feel is dishonest or not in the interest of users (another hint: You want someone like that. Do you really want to hire someone who has no sense of ethics and will do anything to make a buck?).

      I know this is long, but this just hit me really wrong. Moving the position to India means you had a problem workplace, a poorly defined job, pay too low for the work, unrealistic expectations or some other issue (like maybe not wanting to hire someone past a certain age).

      What about me? I work freelance. Yes, I’m competing often against people from outside the U.S. When I see a lowball price on a job, I don’t even waste my time on a bid, because I know the company isn’t interested in quality.

      • Well, I am sorry about your husband. The kind of situation that we are in right now, is self inflicted. Its all the greed of big corporations in diferent sectors that got us here.There is more damage happening because of outsourcing of tech jobs than H1’s, which is often criticised.Coming back to Big Data developers and positions in Hadoop related jobs there are few whom I could find. I think we need to overhaul the education system and have more people study Programming and Math.With AI and Machine Learning taking center stage the need to upscale and have a STEM degree is more important now.I am sure Trump’s buy American and Hire American is helping achieve that….

      • Amen! After 32 years in IT, I think the industry is ruined by greedy companies. They treat people like slaves and I am working towards starting a new, unrelated career. I have deep experience, have worked with top tier companies, have updated skills repeatedly and they want to pay me entry level wages and it is because they can get people that they basically enslave. I am not angry with Indians – we are both getting the shaft – but citizens deserve some sort of protection.

  7. I laid down the law that we will never use body shops or use H1-B’s or any other kind of visa. PR card or U.S. citizen only. What we do is spend 5 months training University Graduates and they were provisional hires. Then, one the probation period is over, and they pass a battery of exams with at least an 88% score, they are hired, get all the perks, and rarely leave. We also rehire those laid off and older because they have a body of knowledge that is exceptional in most cases, for the job function. As a result, we have loyal IT and coder staff. The average age of the department is 43 y/o. As long as workers keep attending training for changes at our expense, they can work here until they want to retire or want to leave. I’d like to think I saved a lot of bitter and cheated American tech staff who have happy faces now. I can see it. They will do anything at any time to keep our systems working in a multi-site environment. And they are rewarded for it. If a guy worked all weekend, he is getting 2-4 grand in his pay check because we run around the clock.

    • This is great to hear. Being a 42 year old senior systems engineer we need more owners/ hiring mangers to have this mindset. The relationship needs to go both ways too many times it has seemed as if the company just expected an extra 20 hours without compensation from its IT staff on a weekly basis.

  8. The problem I see is that once H1B’s are entrenched in a company and in a position to decide who gets hired or even interviewed it’s only other H1B’s that are even looked at. I can’t even count the number of times as an independent tech consultant I don’t even get an interview if the recruiting firm/hiring manager is non-America. The H1B’s are driving down our rates and flooding the market with cheap labor. I have worked with many H1B’s over the years and my experience has shown that about 25% of them are “exceptional talent”, the other 75% are body shop hires that are no better than a new college grad from the US. It is very difficult to compete in the market when Americans aren’t even given the chance to fill a position. The talented people are already here, we don’t need the H1B’s. Let’s be honest, the H1B’s work cheap and help the bottom line.

      • In the Seattle area I had several interviews at Microsoft where 50% to 100% of the interviewers were Indians.
        Never got an offer despite having no problem with the technical part.
        Had several other interviews with other companies in the area.

        I had an interview planned with Amazon.
        When I found out that where 6 of the 6 interviewers were Indians (including the manager) I canceled my interview 2 days before the interview date.

        When I go to an interview I want my chances of success to be greater than 0.

        If the name of manager sounds Indian I do not usually bother anymore.

        I did get an offer with Microsoft when all the people I interviewed with (and the managers) were of not Indians (Americans or non Indian immigrants).

  9. I remember when they first started the H1B program, there was a wave of layoffs. After that when I found work it was half the pay I made before. It has happened a couple of time since then as the opened the floodgates more. In heavily Indian populated areas (80% up) of large companies I have worked for, I have been discriminated against (as an American) when less talented have been promoted over me, and even laid off. It’s about time!

    • Not only has the H1B visa program survived, it is alive and well and hurting American IT professionals. I had a phone interview yesterday for a developer role for which I am frankly over-qualified. The Indian interviewer asked questions designed to be dismissive or disqualifying and interrupted me consistently before I could provide complete answers. This behavior is consistent with what is mentioned in earlier posts; intentional disqualification of Americans in order to fill spots with Indian H1B visa holders. I was appalled.

      • Yep. Can’t tell you how many job requests come through my email that have ridiculous requirements. Things like a PhD in math, years experience in legacy programming languages (COBOL, anyone?), plus experience in cutting-edge languages and work; all for what would be a low salary here in the Midwest, but instead the job is in CA or NYC (no relocation allowance on top of the horrible pay). Job ads like that are absolutely for the “we couldn’t find anyone here,” because no one will take that job. These jobs also seem to purposely ignore the check on Dice of not being able to relocate. Oh, the company whines, we cannot find a single American who was willing to take our job based on requirements we got from an outsourcing company.

      • I had exactly the same experience in a phone interview as Tim for a role for which I am over-qualified. The Indian interviewer asked questions designed to be dismissive or disqualifying and interrupted me consistently before I could provide complete answers. Then he called in 4 other Indian interviewers to confuse things more! Consultant Systems Engineer with LOTS of good experience!

  10. It is about TIME a President started looking out for AMERICAN workers. If there is an American job opening, all efforts should be made to fill that job with an American worker FIRST! When I first started doing IT work in the mid 80’s, most of the people I spoke to in the industry were Americans. NOW, I consider it a stroke of luck IF I get an American voice on the phone. LITERALLY, 95% of the people I talk to now are Indian or Pakistani. The worst part is that they can bring their extended families here, who then buy hotels, gas stations etc. They are buying our country out from under us! I have nothing against Indians, but enough is enough – It is hard enough finding work without foreigners taking over every job in the country.

  11. Most of the rules Trump administration promotes are divisive in nature and designed to promote hatred among two groups so that it can benefit him. Be it be the tariffs because ‘The leading country’ in the world is discriminated by the poorer countries and need to ‘play fair’. Or now the legal immigration which is the backbone of the country because ‘Americans’ are discriminated against. Name one Fortune 50 company where immigrants do not hold keys to the IT sector. Having studied in one of the top 10 colleges in the world and worked at fortune 50 companies through out my life, I am not sure driving out the talent is the right way for USA. Especially when IT demand is about to sky rocket with Internet of Things and AI set to dominate the labor market for the next few decades. Probably passing more laws and incentives for Americans to prefer STEM education to meet the demand will help the country move in the right direction and makes more sense. But will people who support a president who thinks ‘Climate Change’ is a hoax realize that?

    • Victor Maitland

      So sad. It’s this sort of arrogant ignorance and condescension towards over half of the nation by the Trump-hating liberals that has destroyed the Democrats at a national level AND has driven the party radically left towards socialism while ushering in the era of President Trump… and guaranteeing a re-election victory for him in 2020.

      It is entirely refreshing for MOST Americans to see a president who actually cares about American citizens and the future of the USA. So much so that he values it all above the interests of ILLEGAL immigrants, H1-B indentured servants, and the other “treasured priorities” of the previous three administrations.

      By the way, you lose a lot of credibility when you conflate “Climate Change” with MAN MADE Climate Change. The climate is always changing… it’s just the easily manipulated zealots in Al Gore’s Religious Cult that think humans have any sort of power to change the entire climate. These people can’t even predict the weather 3 months from now but we’re supposed to believe they can predict the climate 100 years from now? Puh-leeeze.

      • You validate my point about dividing the nation. I am neither a liberal nor a conservative. The only thing I care about is sustainable global leadership for America and its interests. It is never about us against someone else for people. All the people working for common benefit. I don’t even want to argue about your climate change argument. I just hope my child will live on earth in a better condition than I am living. As opposed to bottling up gas to breathe oxygen

    • Divisive in nature? For H1B visas? Tarriffs are a different story, they exist, have existed for centuries, and it’s about time someone stood up and said “slap a tariff on us, and we’ll slap one right back”. Free trade is well and good, but that isn’t what is going on. I can certainly attest to the fact that American IT workers are discriminated against in the hiring process, I also work for a VERY large outsourcing company. Frequently I get 20-30 calls per week “would you be interested in a job”, maybe every 3 weeks does one come from an American headhunter rather than a call center (where they obviously have never read my resume). I also know my nephew obtained a computer science degree, but works in a window factory because he couldn’t even get an interview for an entry level tech job. Obviously the H1B program is being used as a “cheap labor” pool rather than its original intent, to whit, hire the best and brightest and allow them in. The law obviously needs a minimum wage addendum, there are plenty of qualified local people, but they need to actually pay (a VISA is not pay).

      • Most employers are equal opportunity and do not discriminate. If that is the case there would be hundreds of lawsuits. My argument is – Should USA be focusing on increasing talent gap between what employers expect vs what are available? Are college costs too high for people to purse degrees? With automation and IOT taking over peoples lives, is USA better off sending jobs to other countries where there are more hard working people? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in 2020 there will be 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them. Schools and other tech education programs can’t seem to produce candidates fast enough. What do we do to increase the candidates count in our country, rather than focusing our efforts on blaming other countries?

        • Incidentally, the India based companies that are providing the majority of the H1B visa holders to the US are NOT equal opportunity employers. For example, TCS employs a 95% south Asian workforce. 95%! What American employees they do hire are systematically un-allocated and terminated after 20-24 months of employment. These are facts that have been revealed via the ongoing class action lawsuit against TCS that was filed by the very same American employees that were discriminated against for not being south Asian. In other words, they were discriminated against for being a non-Indian US citizens when it came to pursuing jobs in the U.S.! With regard to increasing the number of IT candidates in this country, it is the H1B policy that has stifled the number of students and other potential U.S. citizen IT professionals by creating an landscape where there is little opportunity for success as an AMERICAN IT professional. U.S. college students and other potential IT professionals know what they are up against and are pursuing other careers. End the H1B visa program, and we will all witness a resurgence in the number of Americans that pursue IT careers to satisfy the future demand predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

          • TCS is an Indian based services company and most of their workforce will be Indians. It is like saying why Alibaba has Chinese professionals working for it unlike Amazon. Also, are you saying that a total of 600,000 H1B workers are creating problems for American Citizens from taking up 6 million available jobs in IT sector. These are the official published numbers. And by eliminating the 600,000 workers, all the 6 million jobs will get filled immediately

          • It is normal that TCS has an Indian based services in India, that Alibaba has Chinese professionals in China, but why wouldn’t it be normal for the American companies to have mostly American employees? These 600 000 H1Bs are only the latest batch. There are millions of Indians and Chinese people who got their green card or citizenship. From what I have seen, most employees in STEM are now of Indian or Chinese origin.

    • Sorry but no. Cracking down on H1B visa fraud isn’t a Trump divisive issue. I despise Trump and I did not vote for him but I honestly wish that this had been a bipartisan crackdown that all our leaders had taken seriously. Outsourcing houses have been undercutting American workers through visa fraud for years and politicians on both sides looked the other way while they fought about health care and let people get laid off and laid off and laid off

      • H1-B needs to terminated because the next president from the unholy alliance of democrats or Republicans will abuse it and flood us with ‘cheap labor'(republicans) or ‘minority voters'(democrats)

        Despise Trump all you want and hate Trump for being an A-hole. Don’t invite Trump to dinner. BUT, if you like having dinner with actual food on the table, then keep Trump in the Whitehouse and vote for a Republican House and Senate in November.

  12. It is known fact that Indian are made to over work and they do indeed work lot of extra hours to keep the american firms competitive and the benefits ultimately flow to american citizens too.
    H-1B was excellent concept introduced with good intentions to benefit america as well India(whcih has notriously meagre opportunities and environemnt for the best and brightest).
    over the years especially in the last 10 years CEOs of some Indian IT firms started misusing it to bring in fresher with one or two years experience from Indian with low US pay and found a way quickly boost profits and grab that hefty CEO bonus. Once one guy did other were under pressure to do the same and it salaries fell so fast the american companies outsourcing work to india sensed the bllod and the result is offshore billing rates crashed leading to large scale layoff of older employees in Indian who have been replaced by freshers so that profit margins of companies (read Indian IT services firms) remain high.
    Except Infosys whose erswhile CEO Sikka who warned agains rekless undercutting of billing rate by firms TCS, and Tech Mahindra and other tier 2 firms. No one said work.
    it is high time standards are restored and I think Trump is right in takign this step.

  13. I see lot of comments on employee level. Real problem is the big company who want to save money on hiring. Even if those company asked to bring back all jobs in US, there should not be any unemployment crisis and everyone will have different area of job opportunities to work on. Employee will invest in job training when they have only option as US. All students from either country if study in US, they are qualified for work as they earned US degree. Having job in US will circulate income in US market and open other small business opportunities for business minded people.

    Need to see big picture for our country and if we resolve outsourcing issue, it can resolve other problems. Nothing is easy but need to work on resolution. Sometime company’s interest (saving money) take priority and country’s interest get lower priority.

    • Wow! After reading the post four times, I cannot seem to decipher the content well enough to understand the complete argument. However, what I did grasp completely was the last sentence that read, “Sometime company’s interest (saving money) take priority and country’s interest get lower priority.” This statement reflects the type of mentality held by the typical H1B visa holder when attempting justify displacing American IT professionals. It is never acceptable to sacrifice the interest of the country to simply bolster any business’s bottom line!

      • H1-B needs to terminated because the next president from the unholy alliance of democrats or Republicans will abuse it and flood us with ‘cheap labor'(republicans) or ‘minority voters'(democrats)

    • It is people like this who give India a bad name. If you cannot write a paragraph in simple English so that others can understand what you are trying to say – what does it say about you?

      This exposes the lack of thinking (which is apparent as you try to read and then re-read the comment to understand it). There does not seem to be argument at all and then this leads to a question – why comment at all?

  14. Nice comments and thoughts guys. It is human nature, nothing to do with your country, to follow and take advantage of opportunities. I don’t disagree to all the cons of H1B.

    But Goal of companies is to reduce cost and increase profit. So, companies will send more work to offshore if you stop H1B, unles you have a policy that mandates ‘has to be Made in America’. And all of us know if we have capacity or not to meet our demand.
    On the other side, without H1B and if everything is made in America as all of us want, cost of production is going go higher. And you know who is going to pay the price. US citizens again. Higher salaries but also higher cost of living. Not as easy and as simple as we can think right.
    The problem I see if not H1B but unequal distribution of wealth. Look at how the funds allocated by US govt. were utilized by banks that filed bankruptcy during recession. A major portion went to top line management.

    Keep brainstorming and may be we will find a better solution.

    • And there it is, “living is an art”. I’ve heard this before, and it can be translated as, “do whatever it takes achieve one’s goals”. The definition of “whatever it takes” can be largely attributed to cultural background. Unfortunately, when it comes to H1B visa candidates, “whatever it takes” includes falsifying skills, education, and experience on resumes and lying in interviews. And I’m not referring to a little embellishment, I’m talking about total fabrication. You see, what the H1B visa candidates have learned is that they are rarely vetted and that the interviewers normally don’t have the expertise to question the fabrication. The interviewers are just so thrilled to fill a position at such a reduced billing rate, they WANT to believe. The practice of just telling the interviewer what they want to hear is not only NOT frowned upon, but encouraged from the top down by the companies providing the H1B visa candidates. This boils down to an enormous cultural difference. By and large, the majority of the American IT professionals believe the it is dishonorable to lie, while our south Asian counterparts believe that it is only dishonorable to lie if they get caught.

  15. the issue with india in that they have gammed the system. and do it so as to make a point to prove thier
    intellictual proudless. I use a van pool to work. the folks that ride with are H1B’s they worry about Trump and his slant
    visa. these are humble, low key people. that are highly educated. mostly comming from asian back ground.
    from china,japan,phillipeanes,korea. what I heard from they is very disturbing. they all spoke of how indians game the visa system and openning mokoing it. bragging about different stragies to game it. and different groups they have available to help them or abuse it! it unfortunate and this needs to be stopped.

  16. H1-B needs to terminated because the next president from the unholy alliance of democrats or Republicans will abuse it and flood us with ‘cheap labor'(republicans) or ‘minority voters'(democrats)

    Despise Trump all you want and hate Trump for being an A-hole. Don’t invite Trump to dinner. BUT, if you like having dinner with actual food on the table, then keep Trump in the Whitehouse and vote for a Republican House and Senate in November.

  17. I am an H1b technical professional sharing my thoughts on this – heavily commented article.

    There are two sides to any story – hence while there are certainly cases of H1B abuse. There are equal number of stories where companies are struggling to fill-in vacancies due to lack of enough manpower. I am leaving the price (lesser priced engineers) out of the equation.

    I think the argument that Americans have a first right to jobs is undeniable and should not have to strive for jobs.

    At the same time – if you see any large organization you will see several people who get by – by doing the minimum needed for the job – not giving their best.

    Here is what I think – I fully agree with suggestions regarding closing down H1B. After 1 year of closure – this should give clear indications in the job market as to

    a. Whether all the Americans who earlier lost their jobs got these back or not?
    b. Are there enough people in America who can do the work that needs to be done or not?

    The only challenge in this scenario is that jobs could flow into India – either due to issues related to cost or due to lack of people available to the job (however, it will be hard to tell which). However (which seems very likely), even if this happens – hopefully, enough jobs will stay in USA and it will still be possible to measure the answers to the questions above.

    Further – there is another question that is related to jobs though not tech jobs. Since the 1970s (or 1980s), manufacturing jobs are moving out of USA into China/Mexico or other countries with cheap labor. From what I understand the reason this has been happening is because of policies which reward companies to buy back their own stock rather than have them make investments. So while I see passionnate people writing about jobs (which is very valid and no criticism is intended for them), the same passion should also have been there for manufacturing jobs.

    After all not everyone can and should work in IT – for all others (people of all levels managers, sales people and factory workers who are not in IT) – should there not be jobs in manufacturing? True America is large a service and IT oriented economy – however, the number of jobs a manufacturing industry can bring will be HUGE.

    On another topic – there is a lot of debate as regards illegal immigrants – however, why do illegal immigrants come to USA? As I understand it – it is because there are employers who want to hire them at lower costs. So the simple solution would have been to make it illegal for employers (which is more easy to enforce). This is already done in Canada and I don’t see any discussion on this (forget about supporting it) in political circles.

    • As far as people doing the minimum needed for the job, that is true. I have worked with many of them. I worked in the 1990s with a guy who came back from lunch drunk every day. Best thing to do is fire them and replace them with other citizens. How do you find the citizens? Teach them in corporate-sponsored coding camps and through business that have six month coding camps. That is what was done in the 1980s and what would still be going on now if not for the H-1B visa problem.

      I’m not so concerned about jobs flowing into India, because there have been many attempts to do that in the past that have not worked out well at all and the work was brought back to the US.

      “Here is what I think – I fully agree with suggestions regarding closing down H1B. After 1 year of closure – this should give clear indications in the job market as to…”

      I would like to see H-1B visa jobs require a sizable premium in pay over jobs given to citizens, such as a minimum of 150K for jobs outside of silicon valley. If H-1B visa workers are supposed to be such exceptional workers, companies will not mind paying exceptional wages.

    • In reference to SK’s comments concerning illegal immigrants, it IS illegal to employ them, and it IS NOT easy to enforce. With regard to ending the H1B visa program, I believe that a 36-60 month period for reduction of the H1B visa workers ending with elimination of the program makes more sense. This approach would mitigate the impact to the organizations that currently employ a disproportionate number of H1B visa holders and allow time for American IT professional workforce to fully adjust to any changes in demand for particular skills and expertise. This sort of phased approach would result in great gains for the American workforce with minimal impact to organizational operations.

      • Yes – that makes sense for the people who are working on H1B too. If there is a clear indication that program will shut down in say 3 years or so – people can make plans.

        Once the employment patterns and vacancies (shortages of people), if any are observed after the shut down is in effect for some time (say a year), an informed debate and decision can be made which will be fact based.

        Right now the issue is so emotive that no one can make any argument without causing the other side to go to extremes and that defeats any meaniful debate.

  18. India has always had a corrupt and overly bureaucratic government. Along with a cast system based society, Indian people and corporations have no issues with breaking the law or cheating and lying to advance.

  19. Jakester48

    Interesting that the only person quoted in this article is a partner from a Portland based immigration law firm. Gee, I’m sure her firm is really anxious to see the cash flow from northwest based sweat shops drop off.

  20. Bryan Jackle

    In the aerospace industry over the last ten years they have been falling over themselves to adopt the tech model in hopes of ringing in more profit. They are essentially getting rid of the quality checks that competent engineers provide in favor of bringing in H1B folks that are paid far less, and are far more willing to falsify the engineering for documentation to the FAA; as they really have no clue what they are checking, or what the correct answer is, just putting numbers through programs and populating massive documents to meet flight safety certification requirements. Likewise these H1B’s have a cheaper perspective of life and are use to cheating just about any way possible.

    In short, safety is being marginalized for profit by the wall street folks. Over time the results are certain to become more people will die on commercial airplanes in the future. It could get so bad that the most of the aerospace industry goes bankrupt through lawsuits. Why is the federal government and corporate executives ok with this, they have to know its going on and are turning a blind eye.

  21. Guys being a US Citizens let’s not get personal with H1 or H4 fellas.
    None of them have them creative abilities nor capable to work at NASA and Federal Organizations that requires Security Clearence Work.

  22. Yes – that makes sense for the people who are working on H1B too. If there is a clear indication that program will shut down in say 3 years or so – people can make plans.

    Once the employment patterns and vacancies (shortages of people), if any are observed after the shut down is in effect for some time (say a year), an informed debate and decision can be made which will be fact based. Right now the issue is so emotive that no one can make any argument without causing the other side to go to extremes and that defeats any meaniful debate.

  23. Every time Dice posts an article about H-1B system it elicits a huge number of comments. Clearly a sore subject!
    What amazes me the most, is the rare comment saying there is nothing wrong with the system. Either the person is 100% ignorant of the reality, or they are one of the ones culling financial gains from abuses and are attempting to keep their pocket lined by stalling reforms.
    My real life story:
    I am a senior software engineering manager. I had a team of 5 excellent engineers. The company hired a director of software above me. (This person was of India origin, btw). Soon thereafter, my new boss announced he was laying off my team, effective immediately. Reason: “they don’t have the skills needed”. He then hired two H-1B guys, also from India. They reported directly to him — not to me. I filed complaint with HR. The action was excused by: “the new hires are doing different kind of work than was being done before, and we could not find anyone in the US to do this work”. As time past, it became grossly apparent that the two new guys were doing exactly the same kind of work that my former team was already highly proficient at doing. To make it worse, the two new guys were far below all my former team, in terms of skills, quality of work, effectiveness, and communication abilities.
    I also filed complaint with the USCIS.
    So, in this case, any feeble excuse at trying to claim “we couldn’t find any qualified US persons to fill the positions” is entirely a moot point — the necessary staff was ALREADY ONBOARD!

  24. Always keep in mind, that anywhere there is a regular flow of significant amounts of money, there is always corruption grabbing some of that flow. The H-1B engine clearly falls into this camp.
    Although the rules of the program state that the employer must pay the holder of an H-1B the stated amount on the the LCA filing, it is one of the top known abuses of the system that the employee is actually paid less. The gov’t does not routinely audit and enforce this, and relies only on filed complaints before checking things out.
    So, what if the H-1B employee is actually getting paid the amount stated on the LCA? Does that mean no financial abuse is taking place? Don’t be naive! In the background lurks hundreds of ways that the cash paid out to the H-1B employee makes its ways into other’s pockets. When there are intermediary agencies involved, the door is wide opened for hidden pathways of cash flow. Or, another simple example: when the hiring manager is from India, and the hired H-1B employee is also from India, all it takes is a little “arrangement” between them, such that the employee agrees to send cash regularly to his family in India, whom then moves the cash to the manager’s family in India. (or whatever country)
    I’m sure you can think of many other such “arrangements” which are being used!

  25. I am a graduate student and yes I am from India. I think many people here are busy insulting Indians but they have never known what is being like an Indian student. We compete with 1300 million people and achieve a degree. studying 5-8 hrs a day is normal in school. Regarding apti and general knowledge I don’t even want to compare. But ya the point here American talent is justified lets say from a citizens point of view but then wont the cost of a product increase ?. The reason America is so rich is its fortune companies and now the competition is really at its peak in computer science field. Paying 15/hr vs 60/hr will make a great difference in the market. So best I suggest is start working hard and study more or else today the jobs are shifting and tomorrow the market itself will shift somewhere else. And I hate insulting any country because I feel its not just to do so based on a few experiences but still WE MIGHT FORGET TO CLEAN A MICROWAVE AFTER USE…BUT WE DONT FOGET TO GET A SHOWER..

    • Every Indian I have ever worked with in IT has a degree in engineering, not in computer science, so what has all that studying you are speaking of done to make him better skilled in programming than an American citizen?

  26. (Long post, but please read to end if you are interested in protecting the rights of US Workers or are concerned about disastrous US immigration policies.)

    Alarmingly, mainstream media has entirely overlooked the trojan horse inclusion of Bill HR392 into the “must pass” DHS Appropriations Bill. HR392 sounds innocuous – it’s titled the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act”. It’s impact, however, is far from harmless. The bill would remove country caps from all employment-based visas (green cards). Currently, each nation is allocated 7% of total green cards, which creates a “backlog” for countries with high demand. (But most low demand countries never use up their 7% allocation, and their unused “left over” green card allocations are redistributed to high demand countries. As a result, India, which receives the most green cards of any country, usually ends up with 17% to 21%.)

    The large current Indian backlog is a direct consequence of the country’s virtual monopolization of the H1B program. It is no secret that certain Indian IT consultancies have successfully gamed the H1B system in multiple ways that close to 80% of H1Bs are issued to Indian nationals each year. This system has led to enormous job losses for thousands & thousands of American tech workers, who have been displaced by lower wage foreign H1B workers. Many of our STEM graduates have also found it near-impossible to secure entry level tech positions. (We do sympathize with truly high-skilled Indian workers who are not party to H1B abuse – they are also victims.)

    All this will come to a head over the next weeks and months in the form of HR392 and its inclusion in the DHS funding bill.

    Because H1B visa holders are the key input source for the green card application pool, India’s receipt of such a high % of H1Bs over many years has resulted in a massive backlog of green card applicants (now more than 630,000 applicants). This has in turn resulted in multi-year wait times for those in the queue. No other country has a backlog, except China (the most populous country in the world), which then has a substantially smaller one.

    Now, Indian workers say the “per country cap” system for allocating green cards unfairly discriminates against Indians and insist country caps must be eliminated in favor of a “fair” first come/first served system. And how convenient for them – since the FIFS system they propose places all backlogged Indian nationals at the front of the line and results in close to 100% Indian employment-based immigration for many years (and thus 0% immigration from any other country), in some employment categories for more than a decade. HR392 would not in fact “fix” the backlog problem, but simply shift the long wait times from India and onto every other nation in the world.

    Equally troubling, HR392 would not only guarantee years of India-only employment immigration, it would also result in the vast majority of those green cards going to H1B IT/tech workers. US tech workers, who have already been battered by years of H1B abuse, would take another (and ongoing) enormous hit. HR392 rewards this abuse with the gift of US citizenship.

    Indian workers have waged an aggressive & decades-long lobby effort to pass HR392 (supported by big corp donations which seek to ensure a continued supply of cheaper foreign workers), and the bill has garnered high levels of co-sponsorship in Congress. It is deeply troubling that a foreign lobby would be able to so strongly influence US policy & may push through legislation that only benefits immigrants from a single country, directly harms US workers, and would result in virtual cessation of employment immigration from every other country in the world.

    More alarmingly, the inclusion of HR392 into the must-pass DHS funding bill has received zero coverage by mainstream media.

    Those who perceive the deeply troubling impact of HR392 must act now and call Congress ((202) 224-3121) to strongly voice their opposition to this bill. If not, HR392’s radical and permanent transformation of US immigration policy & immigration demographics has a high likelihood of becoming the law of the land before year’s end – and before Americans are any the wiser.

    For those who would like to help protect US workers, please follow on twitter: @puw_thebrave.

    • Look like you just hit it on the head. The problem is not the H1-B visa program or any immigration programs, but your career politicians in Washington who are beholden to money (rather than serve and go home-as the founding fathers intended). Trump is the trend change, but maybe merely a slow down, but altering the trend might be more difficult than the truth. Hence, the huge polarization. All the comments that are posted are certainly true, especially if it affects you directly, but you are barking up the wrong tree. It is the political system, all republic eventually becomes an oligarchy; as you can see in the last presidential election (news media such as CNN even calling out H. Clinton as winner before the final vote was counted-“Those who vote don’t matter. Those who count the vote matter.” Quoted by Stalin. So, if you want America to be the America of old, tackle your political system now. Not the H1-B program.

  27. Moonlight

    Go after the Biggest Culprits! These companies have destroyed US labor market

    IT contract Companies
    – TekSystems
    – KForce
    – Apex Systems
    – Modis
    – Collebra
    – Insight Global
    – Robert Half

    Major Outsourcing Companies
    – TCS
    – Cognizent
    – Infosys
    – Wipro
    – Tech Mahindra

    Why there is no visibility into L1 Visas ? That’s bombshell with no cap on L1 visas.