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IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce 484

dcblogs writes New legislation being pushed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to hike the H-1B visa cap is drawing criticism and warnings that it will lead to an increase in offshoring of tech jobs. IEEE-USA said the legislation, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday, will "help destroy" the U.S. tech workforce with guest workers. Other critics, including Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University and a leading researcher on the issue, said the bill gives the tech industry "a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers." Hira said this bill "will result in an exponential rise of American jobs being shipped overseas." Technically, the bill is a reintroduction of the earlier "I-Square" bill, but it includes enough revisions to be considered new. It increases the H-1B visa cap to 195,000 (instead of an earlier 300,000 cap), and eliminates the cap on people who earn an advanced degree in a STEM (science, technology, education and math) field. Hatch, who is the No. 2 ranking senator in the GOP-controlled chamber, was joined by co-sponsors Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in backing the legislation."
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IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce

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  • Bipartisan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @08:47PM (#48815695) Journal

    See? They do work together! They are a team! The majority wants this. Don't even try to argue with them.

    • They do it for us! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:14PM (#48815855) Homepage Journal

      US Jobs Policy:

      Step 1: Export tech jobs overseas to increase corporate profit
      Step 2: Throw all low-skill immigrants back across the border
      Step 3: Now US tech workers can get jobs doing lawn work, picking crops, and nannying.

      • by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:50PM (#48816063)

        That is not what the eventual immigration compromise will be.

        Republicans will get their H1B's to help the corporations. The Democrats will get some form of amnesty.

        Our(IT workers) wages will go down and taxes go up as millions of millions of new citizens taking free healthcare and other government benefits.

        It's bleak, the worst of both worlds.

      • by bjwest ( 14070 )

        US Jobs Policy:

        Step 1: Export tech jobs overseas to increase corporate profit
        Step 2: Throw all low-skill immigrants back across the border
        Step 3: Now US tech workers can get jobs doing lawn work, picking crops, and nannying.

        Step 2 needs to happen so we can put our own uneducated unemployed to work. And before you start saying the current illegal immigrants in the country pay taxes I'll counter that with the fact that the current uneducated unemployed will not only pay those same taxes, but will also not be sending money to family out of country. This will both lessen their burden on the system (more/some income means less/no government aid) and increase the tax revenues for state, federal and sales.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday January 15, 2015 @08:04AM (#48818397) Homepage

          What happened to the American Dream (TM) where immigrants were welcome if they worked hard and tried to make their fortune in the New World? Seems like a lot of people who benefited, or people whose ancestors benefited from immigration now want to pull up the drawbridge.

          • by cmdr_klarg ( 629569 ) on Thursday January 15, 2015 @09:58AM (#48818891)

            What happened to the American Dream (TM) where immigrants were welcome if they worked hard and tried to make their fortune in the New World? Seems like a lot of people who benefited, or people whose ancestors benefited from immigration now want to pull up the drawbridge.

            Corporate America and the oligarchs decided that they wanted *that* slice of the pie as well as the one they already had. The American Dream is exactly that; a dream.

            As a Minnesotan I've backed Klobuchar but I am extremely disappointed that she is supporting this.

          • There is a difference between immigration and hiring US citizens then there is to hire foreign workers from another country...

            If there is a problem, then maybe fix the immigration and citizenship process rather than doing an end run around the whole process and makes what is essentially an "exception" to the rules to allow for it. As it is, the American Dream (TM) is being killed, where immigrated US citizens can't get a job in IT because all the work has been farmed out to cheap foreign imports.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OrangeTide ( 124937 )

        Step 2: Throw all low-skill immigrants back across the border

        low-skill immigrants don't usually come on an H1-B Visa. In many cases they are working here illegally.

        Step 3: Now US tech workers can get jobs doing lawn work, picking crops, and nannying.

        I might hire those US tech workers to do my lawn, if they'll take less than an illegal immigrant. I'm assuming working at a desk all day doesn't make them particularly qualified to work in the fields or do a proper job on my lawn.

    • Bribocracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @10:02PM (#48816143) Journal

      The majority wants this.

      Yeah, majority of campaign contribution dollars...

      • Re:Bribocracy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @10:33PM (#48816287)

        How much effort does it take to do some research and verify whether a 10 second political ad is truthful?

        If the power belongs to the people with the money to pay for TV commercials, it is only because the voters have voluntarily abdicated their power.

        Like Alexis de Toqueville said (probably apocryphal):

        In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.

        • “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

            H.L. Mencken,

        • Re:Bribocracy (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tburkhol ( 121842 ) on Thursday January 15, 2015 @07:53AM (#48818363)

          How much effort does it take to do some research and verify whether a 10 second political ad is truthful?

          In politics, "truth" is very flexible. For example, it is true that the Obama administration has reduced the number of annual drone strikes by 80% (over the past five years, in Yemen). It is also true that the Obama administration has increased the number of annual drone strikes by tenfold (over GWB). Likewise, Obama has both increased deficit spending by $1.3T, and reduced deficit spending by $1.2T (although even these numbers are suspect, depending whether you consider 2008 spending to be "Bush's budget" or "Obama's budget." This is one of the reasons you'll hear a lot of percentages and deltas in political ads - they can avoid telling you the denominator or reference point. They can choose a reference that makes their point, regardless of whether that reference is reasonable or relevant, and technically be truthful.

          This is the reason no one believes a politician, unless he's saying something they already thought was true.

    • Re:Bipartisan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by careysub ( 976506 ) on Thursday January 15, 2015 @02:22AM (#48817419)

      Bipartisan today means bought with the same corporate money.

      Whenever the two parties work together today, that will be the reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So when a "disruptive" technology forces down prices for Taxis (Uber, etc), Hotels (airBnB etc), Music (Spotify, etc) Software (Linux etc) Banking (Bitcoin) I see that the old guard are like "Buggy Whip" makers and they have no automatic right to be profitable or in business.

    So here is a shock, if that applies to the businesses it must also apply to the workers.

    Capitalism applies to wages just as it does to anything else, if you can buy it cheaper elsewhere, do it.

    • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:10PM (#48815849) Journal

      Did any of the other areas have a congress that was actively importing cheaper labor?

      • Did any of the other areas have a congress that was actively importing cheaper labor?

        No, but the POTUS is actively trying to give every semi-skilled American worker competition from anyone who chooses to illegally immigrate. Does that count?

  • by jalfreize ( 173125 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @08:57PM (#48815759) Journal

    Considering the way China and India are growing, many of the brightest graduates that are turned out from state-subsidized universities are better employed at home.
    There was a time in the last 2-3 decades where a highly qualified engineer from these countries had no choice but to emigrate to the states to have a career. This is increasingly no longer necessary. Making it harder for people to move to the US will have the beneficial effect of halting the brain drain in these countries and keeping the brightest minds home.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else notice this: STEM (science, technology, *education* and math)

    Pretty sure that should be Engineering...

  • by jcam2 ( 248062 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @08:59PM (#48815777) Homepage

    Explain to me how allowing more foreign workers to come to the US under H1B visas will increase offshoring? Surely not allowing people to work here is going to cause work to be sent overseas, not the other way around.

    Every H1B worker I've met (including myself) wants to get a green card so they can live and work in the US permanently. At which point they are just as much part of the US tech workforce as a citizen who was born and raised here.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:07PM (#48815827)
      It's using the phrase "offshoring" to mean Americans losing jobs to cheaper foreign workers in general. Probably because by now everyone understands that "offshoring" == "bad".

      It doesn't change the fact that the basic point (the death of American IT) is correct. If you can bring anyone in with an "Advanced STEM" degree then India will just open more schools to rubber stamp 'em. Race to the bottom.
      • by fightinfilipino ( 1449273 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:13PM (#48815853) Homepage

        It's using the phrase "offshoring" to mean Americans losing jobs to cheaper foreign workers in general. Probably because by now everyone understands that "offshoring" == "bad". It doesn't change the fact that the basic point (the death of American IT) is correct. If you can bring anyone in with an "Advanced STEM" degree then India will just open more schools to rubber stamp 'em. Race to the bottom.

        except that's not what the law says. it's an advanced STEM degree from a U.S. institution. to qualify for the H-1B cap exemption, you have to have been awarded a degree from a U.S. higher ed institute. this drives immigrants to come to the U.S. for schooling and become invested in the U.S.

        the law also requires H-1B employers to meet prevailing wage levels set by the DOL, so that U.S. workers are not undercut. enforcement has been admittedly shoddy, but has gotten much better in recent years. (the fines against Tata and Infosys being two of the better known examples).

        • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:31PM (#48815963)

          ...except that's not what the law says. it's an advanced STEM degree from a U.S. institution. to qualify for the H-1B cap exemption...

          The Indian body shops already have set up diploma mills in the US to rubber-stamp master's degrees.

          • by fightinfilipino ( 1449273 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:44PM (#48816033) Homepage

            ...except that's not what the law says. it's an advanced STEM degree from a U.S. institution. to qualify for the H-1B cap exemption...

            The Indian body shops already have set up diploma mills in the US to rubber-stamp master's degrees.

            you're...you're claiming that employers are laying out large sums of money to set up diploma mills to intentionally hire foreign nationals?

            the Dept. of Homeland Security has a pretty high standard on what they deem a valid higher ed institution. they rely on AACRAO standards [aacrao.org] in their determinations. that weeds out a lot of the diploma mills.

        • by Livius ( 318358 )

          It's not about formal wages, it's about all the other abuses of workers' rights.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And the business can get away with paying them half of what a local is worth. My last job was at a company that heavily abused H1-Bs, eventually I was let go once they found another cheap Indian to take my place, even though really I was more than twice as productive than the H1-Bs they already had. Of course though I was free to leave whenever I wanted, they can hold the threat of deportation over the heads of these people so of course they were all Yes Men while I could afford to be honest.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "And the business can get away with paying them half of what a local is worth."

        A resource is worth whatever provider and consumer agree to be its price.

        Maybe instead of "what a local is worth" you should say "what a local values himself", not the same thing.

      • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:44PM (#48816029)
        These sorts of Shenanigans are what make me think that H1B visas should be replaced with a transferable work visa. Don't tie them to just one job; if they're good enough to compete and there really is a severe shortage, then they will have no problem finding one. Thing is, it's never about actual shortages, and more just not wanting to put up with the salary/benefits/etc demands of actual American workers.
    • At which point they are just as much part of the US tech workforce as a citizen who was born and raised here.

      Except for starting from a significantly lower pay base, and being capable of initiating chain migration.

      Whether those are good, bad, or indifferent things depends on your point of view. But they are different.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:20PM (#48815891)

      1. Bring H1-B over to be trained and work.

      2. Send back.

      3. Open up foreign branch.

      4. Reduce costs -> increased profit.

      Model 2:

      1. American company gets H1-Bs.

      2. Sells services as "American" company (really important to government and politicians.)

      3. Charge "American" fees.

      3. Reduction in costs -> Increased profit.

      I'd also like to point out that Hatch was the one who forced to FDA to reduce regulations on the supplement industry so that instead of having to prove their products work, the FDA has to prove they don't. And with state laws of Utah, there is a reason why the supplement industry is based in Utah. (see Bigger Stronger Faster [imdb.com]

      Meaning, I'm not saying he's corrupt, unethical, or anything like that. Or that he is a disgrace to the Senate and epitomizes everything wrong with our Congress and legislative system in the US and how they are all in the pockets of big business.

      Nope. Not me.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      And what if you don't get the green card? Then you will go back home, and be the ideal candidate for offshoring the job you care currently doing -- although at much lower wages.

      Understand, I *want* you to get the green card too. We should just issue more green cards faster to tech workers if we need them. If there is an H-1B program, it should be a fast track toward permanent residency.

      Concentrations of tech workers *create* jobs. That's why Facebook moved from Boston to the Bay Area. Boston has plenty

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:04PM (#48815809)

    for senators? They may be cheap enough for ordinary people to bribe.

  • It increases the H-1B visa cap to 195,000 (instead of an earlier 300,000 cap),

    Now I aren't no math genius, but ... increases?

    • by DavenH ( 1065780 )
      "Earlier" means earlier revision of that bill. Both of those numbers are increases over the previous cap.
    • Re:math? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:20PM (#48815893) Homepage

      For whatever reason, the summary chose to describe this bill in relation to a previous (failed) bill, rather than current law. The number that would have been meaningful in that sentence is the current cap; wikipedia [wikipedia.org] indicates that it's 65,000, with caveats about a system of loopholes permitting an increasing figure over time.

      • Re:math? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @10:37PM (#48816315) Homepage Journal
        Well, considering that I don't have a job, 65,000 seems like 65,000 too many. Since the current unemployment rate is about 6% (not including people who have fallen off the chart due to not being able to find a job within a certain amount of time.), and 193 million people between the ages of 18 and 64, it looks like we need to fill another 11.5 million jobs with American unemployed people before we allow any H1bs in.
        • Well, considering that I don't have a job, 65,000 seems like 65,000 too many.

          Are you "competing" for a tech job. Do you have an MSc in CS from an internationally recognized institution?
          I put "competing" in quotation marks, because my inbox has emails from a lot of recruiters who just wants to talk (they aren't all job offers).
          Actually, if you happen know your way around open source projects and has some experience with js, linux, python, node, aws and release engineering, + a non-empty resume; feel free to drop me a line...

          Either of 11.5M unemployed Americans I suspect most peop

  • Immigration systems are always unbelievably complex. The intention is apparently to allow immigrants to fill labour shortages. Labour shortages can be seen when people are getting paid well over the median wage. So create a visa that allows working in any job paying over three times the median wage, or whatever.
  • Keep people in fear of losing their job at any time so they are forced to act grateful for any low wage and position an employer deigns to give them. Fuck the people responsible for this legislation.
  • Have members of legislatures in China, Russia, India, Eastern Europe, Africa, et al represent us instead of Congressmen, and outsource the president's job to Vladimir Putin.
  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @09:30PM (#48815951)

    Great. It's bad enough that the Indian body shops have set up diploma mills in the US handing out master's degrees for a little C# work and writing some database queries so that they can brag "x% of our programmers earned master's degrees in the US". Now that bullshit will get them around the H1-B cap as well.

  • by myid ( 3783581 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @10:20PM (#48816221)

    This article [uscis.gov] lists some H-1B employer fees. Let's increase that by $50,000 per year per "guest" employee. That should cut down on the number of employees who are brought here in order to save on wages.

    However, some non-American hiring managers will want to hire only people from their own countries, because of feelings of patriotism for their countries. So we should have a law that states that "guest" hiring managers must hire at least 50% Americans, and that each year, the lowest starting salary of Americans that he/she hires must be higher than the highest starting salary of the non-Americans that he/she hires.

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @10:51PM (#48816393)

    We are finally to a point where economics are forcing companies to put serious efforts into college hire programs and workforce development of college hires. I consult with many large companies as a programmer. Up until recently I went nearly a decade without seeing a programming department have college hires.

    If you were to remove all caps on H1B companies would go back to facing a decision between hiring a college grads that need professional development or H1B workers. The college hire could choose to take a different jobs years later. The H1B worker is far less likely to change jobs because they risk deportation if they fail to secure a sponsor (a fact that does not go unnoticed by employers).

    IEEE-USA's position is STEM workers should be afforded Green Cards accommodations (most likely capped) thus not be beholden to employer sponsorship. I personally think any change to H1B or Greencard programs should be dependent on the majority of college hires finding jobs post graduation.

  • by andy753421 ( 850820 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2015 @11:54PM (#48816703) Homepage
    For what it's worth, the legislation is called the "Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (I-Squared Act of 2015)". Here's another article [sciencemag.org] along with the senate press release [senate.gov] and the bill [senate.gov] itself.
  • They took mah job! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Thursday January 15, 2015 @03:16AM (#48817621)
    Seeing the slashdot crowd, which is pro-capitalism and laissez faire when it's the other people's source of income which is being put in jeopardy, suddendly start to scream in pain because of the fear of a modest reduction of their earnings, is priceless.

    What did you say when shiny gadget manufacturer #1 announced that workers had better learn to "run against the robots"? And when shiny gadget manufacturer #2 exploited underage workers in dangerous sweatshops in China? I haven't read any comments about "unions turning the IT sector into another Detroit" on this page, but instead I now learn that government regulation is in "the true spirit of America, because it's againt slavery". If selling stuff in Spain but paying taxes to the British Virgin Islands is not only moraly acceptable, but even a duty, because it's in the interest of the investors, then why would hiring IT developers from abroad be any different?

    Capitalism is about making money, and that's it. It's not a philosophy, it won't make your lives better by itself. And rightly so. It is a government's job to ensure that the interests of those making money proceed in harmony with the interests of a nation as a whole; to which extent is matter of debate. When the government turns out as an expression of those with the most money (bi-partisan agreements...) rather than the choice of informed voters, we'd better learn to love the "invisible hand" and wait for its positive effects on the economy to trickle down on us.

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