Tech Immigration, H-1B Reform on the Way, Most Big Tech Employees Think

At some of the country’s largest technology firms, technologists believe that a Biden-Harris White House will reverse Trump-era immigration policies, according to new data from Blind, which surveys anonymous technologists about a variety of current issues. That could result in some seismic change at many firms. 

Overall, some 66 percent of technologists think that President-elect Biden will loosen restrictions on hiring skilled foreign workers once he takes office; around 74 percent think that he will “remove executive orders limiting high-skilled immigration”; and 64 percent assume that future White House policies will increase “the pipeline of foreign-born workers for technology firms.”

“With any new president, there are many unknowns,” read Blind’s blog posting on the data. “We don’t know which tech policies will be prioritized—or others that may come to the fore. However, tech professionals feel confident that this administration will make h1-b visas more accessible.”

But the degree to which technologists believe these changes will take place varies from firm to firm. For example, 82 percent of technologists at Oracle believe that Biden will loosen restrictions on hiring skilled foreign-born workers, versus the 58 percent at Uber who think the same. Here’s that full breakdown:

It’s a similar situation when it comes to the potential for Biden to increase the pipeline of foreign-born workers: The majority of those at companies such as Bloomberg and VMware seem to believe that’s going to come to pass, whereas those at Facebook, Uber, and Intel are much less convinced:

Substantial portions of technologists also believe that a Biden administration is going to end the executive orders that the Trump administration used to limit immigration via the H-1B and other means:

In the days preceding the election, Dice compared the respective H-1B policies of Biden and Donald Trump. Although the Trump administration has spent the past four years tweaking H-1B policy, including the visa’s wage and skill requirements, Biden’s campaign suggested it will revert to many Obama-era immigration policies. 

Although Republican control of the Senate (which could very well happen, depending on January’s run-off elections in Georgia) could prevent a President Biden from pushing through broad-based immigration reform, a Biden administration could still reverse many of Trump’s executive orders. In addition, Biden could order U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to re-adjust their recent changes to visa requirements (such as a selection system based on H-1B applicants’ potential salaries).

Over at Forbes, there’s an extensive breakdown of the other ways that Biden could adjust immigration policy, including tweaking the per-country limit for employment-based immigration. In the meantime, though, it seems that many technologists at the nation’s largest technology companies believe that big changes to immigration policy are coming.  

38 Responses to “Tech Immigration, H-1B Reform on the Way, Most Big Tech Employees Think”

  1. Jake Leone

    Harris and Biden want more immigrants (eventual Democratic voters), but if they return to a foolish lottery for H-1b visas, here is what will happen:

    – More visas (approximately half of the H-1b visas) will be taken up by Offshore Outsourcing companies.
    – Offshore Outsourcing companies do not sponsor H-1b workers for Green Cards.

    Meaning, if you return to the stupid lottery for H-1b visas, fewer H-1b workers will be on a path to citizenship.

    I hope someone in the Biden administration is(n’t) listening.

    And here is another great reason to do this (Because Democrats are in the business of throwing Americans out of their jobs, for campaign contributions).

    I actually would benefit from a return to the ridiculous lottery for H-1b visas. Here is why:

    – Fewer foreign workers, at my skill and experience level, at a company that originates technology.

    – Lower salaries, means more beginner engineers will be hired at my company. I will train them (they can’t replace me, because I can’t teach my life experience to them, we’ve tried), they will move on to some other company or job (I have seen it happen hundreds of times over), because, again, I can’t teach my life’s experience to them.

    If someone hired an experienced engineer, at my specialty, at my company. Then I would be in direct competition with an H-1b worker, and my job would actually be at risk.

    So I hope the KAMALA HARRIS-biden administration, does the completely dumb things of:

    – Lowering H-1b pay rates (so we get more cheap inexperienced engineers, that make me look awesome), that will take about a decade to learn my actual job, but more typically move on well before that decade is out.
    – Keeps on giving half the H-1b visas to the Offshore Outsourcing companies, who I do not directly compete with. But many people at support jobs, help desks, human resources… their jobs are in jeopardy.
    – Gets rid of the Salary Ranking system proposed by that aweful, nothing can ever-be-right Donald Trump.

    And I hope you all understand that I don’t benefit at from those changes made by Trump. So as a specialty tech worker, I should be really glad we have KAMALA HARRIS-biden administration.

    Especially since the Offshore Outsourcing companies are concentrating on removing support jobs from Blue Collar companies like Southern California Edison, Disney, Harley Davidson … really salt of the Earth jobs that are easily replicated, because frankly you only have to right the script once for those jobs.

    Listen what I do for my employer is almost always a highly customized design job. You could learn what I did on one project, and be completely stumped at the next, you can’t really teach the experience I have. You either can do it because you have the brains (to learn new tech), patience (to find workaround to failing APIs), experience (30 years), and time (no kids in the house to worry about), or forget about it.

    And I benefit greatly from the fact that the half of the H-1b visa slots, that tech originating companies use are mostly taken up by beginners (so please, keep those H-1b salaries low, so no one great walks in on an H-1b visa).

    And I benefit greatly from the fact that half the H-1b visas are going to Offshore Outsourcing companies, who don’t sponsor people for Green Cards, and who don’t put people on a path to citizenship. And frankly, the fact that Offshore Outsourcing companies remove millions of jobs from Blue Collar companies, and relocate them to another country, has no affect on my position. Just points out how ridiculously stupid the KAMALA HARRIS-biden administration and the rest of the Democrats actually are on economic issues involving competition and business.

  2. US. Veteran

    Let us destroy the country post Covid19 flooding the country with a cheaper workforce. American’s don’t need jobs.. American veterans fight and die abroad coming home to unemployment and homelessness while people with foreign allegiance come here, don’t serve and make more income than the average American. Not me….. that’s what the Data says!

  3. Fred Pilch

    While I’m not going to write a page and a half, Jake is full of himself! I too once thought that way but then they figure your pay rate is way high and we can afford a few fubares with younger and cheaper people. Trust me been there and done that, trained a couple of young people and low and behold I was let go, everyone is replaceable!

    • Jake_Leone

      Well it has been going on for twenty five years. 5 with Sony, 20 with my current company.

      But I was also being sarcastic. Because you and I both know that past performance is not guarantee of future earnings. And on this, yes get a manager in who wants to try something, and anything can happen.

      I think, Biden, keeping the lower salary bar of the “Obama” years, will impact the number of starting jobs. And, keeping the idiotic lottery, guarantees that more than half the h-1b visas are going to go to the Offshore Outsourcing companies.

      Well, how does that affect me? It sickens me.

    • Jake_Leone

      If, on the other hand, we raise the salary bar. More experienced workers will come in on an H-1b visa. I know, we have many people who know our product very well in Western Europe, and Israel, and they represent a potential direct competition to the design work that I do.

      But, you have to pay them almost as much as an American.

      So keeping the salary bar low and making sure that half the h-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, makes it less likely that my company will be able to recruit from other than India, AND to recruit successfully (given that there is only a 1 in 4 chance of winning that visa).

      It’s also ironic, that many of the workers from India that we do bring in, often leave. And they leave because of the big Indian diaspora in the Bay Area (they have opportunities). As I have said, I have been at my job for 20 years (maybe no one will hire me), and while that means nothing to a new manager (who might see me more as a threat), it can mean a lot to upper management, who I get along with really well (hey, I have known many of them for decades and they know me).

        • Jake_Leone

          Yes, do the opposite. Keep H-1b salaries low, thereby attracting only freshers.

          Last thing I need is for some expensive software guy (yet heavily experienced and therefore expensive) coming through the door and replacing me. Keep up with trainees.

          And yes, do the opposite, keep the idiotic lottery for H-1b visas. Thereby, making sure that when the Offshore Outsourcing companies game the system, they continue to win more than half the H-1b visas. And don’t challenge those Offshore Outsourcing visa wins, that way the rejected slots will not return to a second lottery process.

          Oh and Silicon Valley companies will continue to enjoy a 1 in 4 chance of winning an H-1b lottery each year.

          I have to laugh at those odds. It’s like will someone in the Silicon Valley business lobbying groups just get it right? No, same mistakes over and over again.

          Indeed, do exactly the opposite of Trump. Completely out of spite on Biden’s part. That the dynamic that has kept me in the job and will keep me in the job.

          You could just tell Joe Biden, you know that 100 million dollars we gave you in campaign contributions, well small change in script, ditch the lottery keep the salary ranking. I know, I know, ‘But that’s TRUMP!!!’. Well, it will increase our (Silicon Valley’s) chances in obtaining H-1b visas, we just realized. Hey, thank’s Jake.

          Oh, and by the way, people in HR, Accounting, Support … People with fixed script jobs, that never change. Keep moving those jobs, offshore. That way I can go and buy up your abandoned houses and drive on vacated roads. Excellent plan, do the exact opposite of Trump, because you refuse to think and would instead prefer to just sit in a state of hate, that’s the way to go. Yes, I am sure, gosh your so right, never would have seen it if you hadn’t pointed it out.

          Try to find some joy on your ride down.

    • Jake_Leone

      I think, Biden, keeping the lower salary bar of the “Obama” years, will impact the number of starting jobs, going to our domestic Gig generation. And, keeping the idiotic lottery, guarantees that more than half the h-1b visas are going to go to the Offshore Outsourcing companies, instead of say to my company.

      Hey, sorry I have a lot to say on this. It’s been a 20 year rant and you pick up a lot of self-, external-, political-, legal-knowledge. (But I still make errors in my essays).

  4. An Indian American patriot

    First of all I am not against immigration after all we all are immigrants or children of immigrants.
    But I am against the corruption which these companies ie Infosys cognizant ibm etc bring into America
    H1 program should be tied to the unemployment of our nation
    There should be no h1 b visas if unemployment is greater than 3 percent
    Also salaries have to be more than 150k for any skilled h1 b
    Heck I don’t care how much someone else makes as long as they don’t bring salary down for locals
    Also there should be severe penalties for any fraud or corruption cases ie $1m per case for the sponsoring company and end client
    I was one of 72 million people voted for trump even though I may not be a big fan of him just for this reason
    Everyone has right to protect their country and so do we
    If you see corruption do something
    We have right to defend ourselves

    Thank you
    An Indian American patriot

    • Jake_Leone

      Indeed, life itself, on Earth was likely an immigrant.

      I often wonder, what did the aliens ship (that visited near the proto Earth) eject? On its search for heavy elements (post the supernova cataclysm).

      That’s the remarkable thing. I mean did they like, you know, do a #1 or #2 or something else?

      (Given that the Universe is 14 billions years only, other civilizations may well have several billions,maybe 14 billion, years on us). Given the way we argue, I have to think the only way to survive is to adapt to the vastness of space. Earth is doomed human, because of human.

      When we argue about immigration, and deny any policy because the “wrong” guy said it. We are like lobsters fighting in the aquarium at the restaurant.

      Just trying to add some perspective to the conversation.

  5. Like the article, all the comments are pure speculation. While the US has high unemployment, people should be given the opportunity to be trained to become a developer, those who can show the aptitude should be trained before bringing more outside developers into America. There’s simply no excuse for not providing training opportunities for Americans.

    Perhaps the Trump policy on this one issue might be ok but most of his other ideas were not good and so, he is replaced, whether he accepts it or not. He could have tried for a home run for his H1B policy but instead just went for a line drive.

    People should realize that fixing H1B may not be at top of Biden’s list. Trump has left quite a mess and there are more important things to fix than this.

    I hope that Jake is wrong and companies start hiring Americans for those jobs. I do hope the salaries go up for American workers because they have been kept artificially lower since the 1980s even as the cost of living has steadily risen. I’m mad too. I’ve been ripped off since the 80s but at least the cost of living wasn’t bad then. I’m back to making the salary that I made in 2008 and I’m happy to be working but I would like to be fairly compensated for my experience.

    I think companies are over the top when it comes to hiring. The hoops that candidates have to jump through is absurd. All of America is right to work nonsense so if the candidate doesn’t work out, you get rid of that person. The other issue is that they want 1 person to do the job of 3 people. And, let’s not get into age and gender discrimination, that’s a whole different topic.

  6. Reverting Trumps H1B policies means more harm to Americans. Biden-Harris should should work towards reducing unemployment percentage for American citizens. Companies are already deceiving American citizens by outsourcing high paid jobs, replacing high paid tech jobs with H1b workers. Whatever be the executive orders companies are finding roundabout methods. Loosening Trump executive orders means more resistance to democrats in the next elections. Hope they don’t take foolish decisions.

  7. American citizen

    The h1b should be limited to scientists, doctors and researchers.
    We do not need those offshore people from India coming to take our jobs not because they know or have skills, the know nothing, they come we train them they take or job because they get pay a low salary.
    That’s what companies are looking for on h1b
    People cheap and slavery. They can treat them however they want as they own their visa and the employee has to put up with anything or they retire the sponsorship.
    H1B is a program to import slavery not high tech foreings.
    It needs to end

  8. Jay Conne

    I disagree with most of what I’m reading here.

    First of all, we are individual humans beings with the right to think and work and compete with every other human being. That allows the best to rise to the top where we all benefit. That creates value and more jobs. There is not a fixed pie to divvy up. There is an ever growing pie if not constrained by government interference and constraint.

    Thanks to our government near monopoly of K-12 education, we have no real competition driving educational quality and now have a dumbed down population in general. Lots of sheep ready to be hearded by the power hungry. I’m told on good authority that most people educated in the current US K-12 educational system are unfit for many high tech jobs in Silicon Valley. That’s tragic.

    So let these companies thrive and rain great benefits on us, Let them freely hire the best talent they can find regardless of nationality, race, religion, gender, etc.

    No collectivist lottery or constraint from any government is consistent with individual rights as reflected in our Declaration of Independence. Let freedom reign!

    Nether the left nor the right in our current culture has this right. Let’s take back individual rights and constrain the power hungry politicians on all sides. That was the purpose of our US constitution.

    Trump did it in the name of making America great again, while not understanding the freedom and honesty that made America great. Harris/Biden want to constrain the competent in the name of the masses with redistribution of wealth to buy votes. “Progressives” want progress along what path? To what end? Read Karl Marx to understand that path and the end to which they are striving.

    Then think for your life.

    • Jake_Leone

      Term limits, for the executive branch, are one of the best constraint on government. Inherently, Marx is effectively abated by eliminating any possibility of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (which is always usurped by one person be it (Stalin, Hitler, or some other Henry the 8th like character).

      The other estates of:
      – Judicial
      – Legislative
      – Free Press
      – Free Speech
      – Free Speech on the internet

      Are also critical. Some might argue that the 2nd amendment is also another part of that estate.

      The covid crisis shows us that we have to do some things colletively, Capitalism cannot be relied on for all task. Capitalism doesn’t solve the extinction problems, extinction level events are always handled collectively.

      There are many factors that can result in big disasters, and without regulation or some oversight, we would quickly fall into them.

      Covid, really is born of trade, it sailed the oceans of air with the human beings being exchanged. We can’t all live in Wyoming.

      And listen up Liberals, the answer to bad-speech is always just more speech, never censorship. The statement that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil needs is for good men to do nothing.”

      Well that is complete wrong.

      What evil needs is to coerce all the good people into having no choice but to be silent. That’s the reality. It doesn’t sound as sweet as the Edmund Burke quote. But it is closer to an actual statement of what really happens.

      The German government in the 1930’s (we all know their name, not saying it hear for fear of auto-censorship). Killed anyone who spoke out. People were reduced to pathetic print of leaflets. And literally, there was a coup against the Hitler, which failed because “Good men were executed and therefore silenced”.

      Democracy is an effemoral thing, realize it and protect it.

      And BTW, I am all for Trump leaving office once the election is certified and he has had a quick day in court for any other issues (maybe leave even before then, if we run out of time).

      It was a close election, so was the last one, anything could have happened. Keep that in mind President Biden when making policy.

  9. That corporations cannot be allowed to self-regulate has been proven repeatedly. Capitalism is not a moral philosophy, but an economic one. A country that does not invest in the well being, education, and employment of its citizens is doomed. Corporations have unlimited power to buy politicians and write laws, which has resulted in power being removed from citizens. Yes, we need to fight for our individual rights, to undo Citizens United and other catastrophic decisions have caused the imbalance in power. The wealthy/corporations contribute to politicians, then are given tax breaks to repay them. This is robbing our country and our tax dollars. Then they control where our tax money goes, and it can’t be for things like healthcare. Ridiculous! What do progressives want? Try actually looking at what they propose – clean air and water, education, things that help people. This country needs to invest in training and educating people here to fill tech job openings, not hire foreign labor, which prevents the advancement of peoples from disadvantaged area and entry level grads from getting jobs. They should not be allowed to destroy employment or move jobs overseas while still being considered American and getting benefits from this country. They are free, no one else is. Laissez-faire capitalism cannot work in a country that claims to be Of, For, and By the People.

    • What do progressives want? Try dictatorial socialism. Try confiscatory taxation. Try criminal prosecution of anyone who worked for or supported the Trump administration.

      Did you forget what the North Vietnamese did to soldiers of the defeated ARVN or government officials who didn’t manage to escape? Or what Castro and his thugs did to landowners, professionals, academics and others who opposed him.

      What do progressives want? To create the conditions for a civil war. And they will get it.

  10. Ahh yes, let the criminal BIDEN Enterprise continue to betray this country as more and more foreign labor INVADES the USA and its workforce and displaces Americans. Let the treasonous and new socialist federal monstrosity permit China to flood the US with its wares, continue its currency manipulation, attack and take Taiwan, and all while “Heels Up Harris,” the Whore of San Francisco waits for two years and a day so her fellow DEMOTHUGS backed by SOROS can complete their coup and remove SLEEPY JOE using the 25th Amendment.

    The American people inflicted this mortal wound on themselves, and these great unwashed masses will get the government they deserve.

    Synonym for American? Try SHEEPLE.

  11. H-1b is better than offshoring a job, having lost my job in 2016 to someone in the islands. However, they need to be paying payroll taxes if they are going to work more than a year in the U.S., and should make the prevailing wage.

    • Jake_Leone

      The problem is that more than half the H-1b visas were taken up by the Offshore Outsourcing companies, using the old (Obama) rules.

      The changes that Trump has made will dramatically reduce the number of visas the Offshore Outsourcing companies can grab. Because salaries will be higher and a salary ranking will be used to determine which H-1b applications win.

      Currently we have a low salary bar (set decades ago) of 60k/yr. And the random chance lottery is gamed and mostly won by Offshore Outsourcing companies. Also, Obama never challenged any of the visas won by the Offshore Outsourcing companies, but Trump did. And the law provides several challenges, that Obama never applied, but Trump has applied.

      Under Trump, 50% of the H-1b visas going to Offshore Outsourcing companies are being rejected when the actual law is applied. Under Obama that rejection rate was less than 2%.

      And our domestic tech companies are not being meaningfully rejected (there rejection rate is only a few percent (1-2%)). When pundits talk about a 30% rejection rate, they are deliberately confusing/averaging the Offshore Outsourcing rejection rate (under Trump) of 50%, with the domestic rejection rate of a few percent.

      Such misleading quotes don’t help the situation and they don’t help us see what really needs to happen in order to take the H-1b program from being a huge job destroyer in the United States, to one that has a chance of helping the entire american economy.

  12. If the H1B was being used as intended there would a large representation of people from countries all over the world. The fact that you have a few countries representing the vast majority of H1B recipients in and of itself tells us the system is joke, it was designed to bring high level immigrants with a path to citizenship if they choose to do so. It is being used to bring in low talent, low pay entry level workers, which displaces the US citizen trying to get into the workforce and learn valuable skills that will help secure employment, and put money back into the economy, not send it over seas to family to never be seen again. The H1B if used as designed would likely decrease people seeking a path to citizenship because they would come here to work on complex problems and go back home at some point, which tells you why the liberals want to continue the abuse, they have a steady stream of new voters, not all but the majority are going to vote that way which is the only thing the Democratic Party cares about, it has nothing to with economy, the American worker, just votes and keeping power. The conversation is really mute at this point, the path is set. Congratulations to all the people who voted for an Admin that cares nothing about the American dream, you have likely just secured the slippery slope from which as Americans will never recover. When I say Americans, I am talking about citizens, those on a path to citizenship legally, all of us and even the current H1B who are here to embrace and join the melting pot that was America, I fear that dream is done.

  13. Biden already proved that he can get away with corruption and the big tech will protect him. America lost in this election and China and India won. Do they let Americans go there and work there for American companies at local wages? No, they say they have enough of their own people and their employment policies (which we do not have any) will not let foreigners take jobs, even if the jobs are coming from outside. Then I heard Indians say, ‘can Americans work in India in that heat? It is dirty there’. Why do they keep the country filthy? so people do not come from outside? In covid pandemic, the strain in India is less lethal, so it makes sense for people to go work there, or even move there and work for the big tech there. Globalization works both ways.

  14. This is a sad day for our country. We are in danger of creating a permanent underclass of Americans. There was a time when corporations would train their employees but those days are dissapearing. The global corporation workforce plans should make every red-blooded American furious.

  15. The reasons used by the Obama administration as justification to increase the number of H1b visas are no longer valid. As a result of Obamas’ policies more Americans got STEM degrees – and now need jobs in their fields. There were plenty of Americans before, but now there are more. Things change and we do not need to have so many H1b visas now.

  16. We’ll, my two cents is beware of leading questions from reporters ! Although, I think the editorial was fairly balanced to a degree. I wouldn’t assume that the new administration will change H1B Visa policy due to their stance on DACA and wanting to do the right thing by reuniting children separated from their family at the Southern border . . .

  17. If Biden does this than it is true that he is more interested in his special interests than the well being of Americans. A lot of people are out of work do to the Pandemic. There is NO need to bring in foreigners to take Americans’ jobs.

  18. Indian companies have been abusing the visa programs for years, they have brought lots of low skilled people posing as engineers, this has damaged the local labor markets. I’m not a Trump supporter but I feel he was right to curb this abuse.While opportunies are given by outsource indian companies, American companies don’t give such opportunities to American young people but better go around any commitment by giving contracts to Indian companies.