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View Diary: Obama, H-1B, and the Secret Tech Lobbyists Don't Want You to Know (30 comments)

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  •  I don't know about IT so much, but in (0+ / 0-)

    biotech nobody who's on a H visa even has had his or her c.v looked at in the past 18 months or so - it's straight into the circular file because the paperwork is just too much hassle.

    In general, it's probably better to have these people working here than offshore . . . (you know, they maybe, just maybe, might go to McDonalds and generate some secondary jobs?)

    •  American STEM workers are being cheated (3+ / 0-)

      Is it better to have foreign tech workers in US jobs than it is to have qualified Americans working in the same jobs?

      •  Unfortunately we don't live in that world. (0+ / 0-)

        The world we live is that Microsoft either builds the entire facility over in Bangalore, or they bring Indians over here to work.

        Facing that reality, the second option seems just a tad better . ..

        •  Not in Software (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tech ed

          I made a fortune owning and running a SW development outsource/contractor house, and have been in the SW field for about 2 decades. The most important part of the SW development process is developers communicating with the stakeholders (the users or whoever buys it for them). That communication is best when the devs and their users have the most in common, including shared culture, language, and even work in the same industry. The best case is people writing their own SW, followed by people working the same office together. But the need for flexibility (like not employing developers all the time, when development isn't a core business) pushes the balance just outside the office. The ideal is a developer in the same building, free to meet with users at will, but also free to go out of business without affecting those users (shifting tech support to yet another outsource nearby).

          Telecom has made it possible to develop SW for people the developers have little in common with, rarely or never see. And that means there's a place for them, where SW quality can be much lower than optimal but still be worth the cost, or in the rare cases where the distance is bridged not just by telecom tech, but by wizardly managers, designers and other collaborators.

          So Microsoft ain't moving its facility to Bangalore, out of the world where most of its customers live. Americans are better SW developers than foreigners, but mainly because we live in America, close to our customers. Our global customers are those who are willing and able to do things the American way, to use SW that has been vetted by Americans rather than get custom SW themselves. They can indeed develop for their own nearby customers, but they're not as good as Americans at developing for countries next door or across the world, because "American" is the language of SW development worldwide, and most techniques are American style even if just by momentum.

          More and more foreign "head shops", especially in India and China, are turning to their local markets for business, especially as US customers face downturns, cut costs in marketing overseas before cutting them in the US. Eventually there will be more competitors to American preeminence in overseas SW development. But it will be a long time before an overseas development team is anywhere near competitive in the US with teams located here.

          That is the real world of SW development.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:19:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose we should call their bluff and cancel (0+ / 0-)

            the H (and probably L) visas and see how things shake out . . .

            •  Just Revise Them (3+ / 0-)

              We should do as this diary advocates, and require employers to first try to get domestic American labor to fill any job (at US job market median compensation) before hiring a foreigner to do it. Maybe even require that paying foreign labor less than the median also pay the difference into a Federal programme for training more Americans to do those jobs. Unless the employer can prove a special case, that America somehow lacks the expertise that only foreigners have (but somehow charge less to do it in America).

              America also benefits from bringing foreign laborers here, in moderation - and not when they're just cheaper. The balance to be struck can be found by simply prioritizing equally qualified Americans in America, but flowing foreigners in when they truly are the last resort.

              FWIW, we shouldn't forget that the American SW industry is vastly indebted to public spending on basic computer science, R&D and buildouts for its existence and success. Returning the favor by ensuring Americans get the job dividends when we're qualified for it is just breaking even.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:46:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I suspect the reason that the requirement to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassandra Waites

                first look for American workers was done away with was that it was basically meaningless.

                For example, consider the case where there is a requirement to post the job advertisement in a public place for 2 weeks.  So, at 10 am on Friday you post it on a popular public bulletin at your local university where there is likely to be a pool of putatively qualified American job applicants.  By 2 pm, the bulletin board (and the job advertisement) is covered over by 7 layers of advertisments for the weekend's frat parties.  

                Two weeks later, the organization seeking to hire the H visa person conscientiously goes back to ensure that the ad is still there - and sure enough, likely it will be (if you dig deep enough . . .).  But nobody has seen it.  

                OK, that's a rather banal (but real) example of how the requirements to hire Americans  can be thwarted.  So basically, you need to either keep the program or ditch it - any tweaking is likely to become meaningless in short order.  

                •  Cheating is Catchable (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassandra Waites

                  I operated an office full of programmers in Toronto. I wanted to bring in some of my American workers from my NYC office. For them to get work visas, I had to show the Canadian immigration examiner documentation of my search for Canadians, including interviewing some. They didn't include a test of whether I was paying the immigrant less than I'd pay a Canadian, but that would have been a trivial rule to enforce, either in granting the visa or when either of us reported their income. Perhaps triggering a followup interview between immigration and myself. Which, even if it didn't find me hiring foreigners of equal or lower qualifications than available in Canada, would still have produced data about what employable skills were demanded in Canada but weren't available, for Canadian training puropses.

                  So even in my own experience, such labor protections are entirely workable. If Canada can do it, America can do it, because we're similar enough in our operations that following them is just a tweak.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:14:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  SB 1035 (0+ / 0-)

                  SB 1035 will do away with the labor contractors. It will prevent a company from bringing their tethered workers into the US, and then putting them to work for a client company. The labor contractors will need to hire Americans to provide the services that they provide to clients. That is an extremely valuable change, for us.

                  Support Durbin's bill. Pass SB 1035

        •  Companies use tethered workers to move jobs (0+ / 0-)

          The company has to bypass American workers to do the job. Have you seen any company outsource jobs without foreign workers to do the move? We are providing the training for the workers who will carry out the move.

          In recent Infosys SEC filings, it is indicated that any changes to the H-1B and the L-1 programs would significantly impact their ability to serve their customers. Moving them offshore.

          Does anyone know any outsourcing company who can provide an example of an outsourcing project where no employer visas were used?

          Show me a company whose outsourcing company who does this task for a client company without first bringing in tethered workers on employer visas.

          Thank you for bringing that issue to the attention of the forum.

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