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Businesses IT

New Book Sold Out Offers a Look At the H-1B Debate 331

theodp writes: The New York Post has published an excerpt from Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires and Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America's Best and Brightest Workers, a new book on the H-1B debate from conservative syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and programmer-turned-attorney John Miano. "Sold Out," notes a Computerworld review, "clearly has a point a view about the program (crapweasels, for instance), but it backs up its assertions and gives H-1B supporters a high threshold to cross. A serious argument in defense of the visa program requires explaining how America gains when a U.S. worker is replaced by a foreign visa holder hired to do the exact same job. If you are going to justify the H-1B program, then you have to defend firms that force their employees (no severance otherwise) to train their replacements. That may be the point here. This book lays bare the replacement process, the broad use of the H-1B visa by the IT offshore outsourcing industry, and the lobbying effort in Washington to minimalize the visa's use in displacing U.S. workers." With anecdotes like "how Microsoft wined and dined the Bush administration to expand the foreign worker supply through administrative fiat to circumvent public disclosure and congressional debate," the book seeks out a broader audience than just those already familiar with the H-1B issue.
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New Book Sold Out Offers a Look At the H-1B Debate

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  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @03:45PM (#50910275)

    That title definitely makes this book sound like it takes a balanced and objective viewpoint of the situation, with both sides of the argument covered.

    • by halivar ( 535827 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [reglefb]> on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @03:48PM (#50910293)

      Won't someone think of the billionaires and politicians?

      • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:51PM (#50910797) Journal

        Problem is that's ALL they do. But we're to blame too. FTFA:

        Yes, companies hire and fire workers all the time. But only in the case of H-1B and related foreign guest worker programs are American corporations and offshore outsourcing rackets explicitly aided and abetted by the US government- and routinely in violation of the basic principles of these programs. With no well-financed, high-powered interest group in Washington, DC, to advocate on their behalf, American technology workers have endured this systemic displacement and humiliation for at least two decades.

        Should have listened when some of us were calling for unionization to help restore some semblance of a balance of power.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sabri ( 584428 )

          Should have listened when some of us were calling for unionization to help restore some semblance of a balance of power.

          No thanks. Unions only advocate on their own behalfs. Unions are bad for the tech industry.

          I don't need a union to take money out of my paycheck under the cover of "mandatory union dues". In normal language, that's called theft, or racketeering.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes because when I am putting forth a position I ALWAYS make sure to argue against myself.

      Seriously where did people get the idea that opinion pieces need to be objective or balanced?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by JoeDuncan ( 874519 )
        Fox News?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:04PM (#50910443)

        Seriously where did people get the idea that opinion pieces need to be objective or balanced?

        During my K-12 education, in a public school no less, I was taught to do something like this when writing a persuasive essay. You would attempt to consider some of the best counterarguments to your own position and then address those in your essay and attempt to explain why your position is still the best option.

        Somewhere along the way it seems that we've gotten away from that and now it's just, "If you don't agree with me, you're an idiot." If I were to opine on why this change has come about, I would point to the rise of things like Fox News and MSNBC and the self-segregation based on political philosophy that they represent.

      • Seriously where did people get the idea that opinion pieces need to be objective or balanced?

        They tend to work better if they appear to be, or at least look like they're making a fair effort.

        You know I read a lot. Especially things that have to do with history & strategy and all that. I find that shit fascinating. So when you're trying to knock out the US Navy in one afternoon, you don't lead up to it by taking out ads in the Washington Post saying "OI! Pearl Harbor! We're gonna blow your ass off, L

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

      That title definitely makes this book sound like it takes a balanced and objective viewpoint of the situation, with both sides of the argument covered.

      Yes, keep your advocacy and lobbying where it belongs... at $5000/plate fundraisers where the candidate can essentially ignore you because you've already paid.

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:25PM (#50910597) Homepage Journal

      That title definitely makes this book sound like it takes a balanced and objective viewpoint of the situation, with both sides of the argument covered.

      There seems to be a cultural shift in recent decades where you can't make a clear argument any more.

      This starts with journalism, where "balanced reporting" initially meant that news organizations couldn't show only one side of a controversial issue (abortion, roughly 50% [lifenews.com] of Americans on one side or the other), and has progressed to where "balanced" journalism includes giving equal air time to climate change deniers (less than 3% of scientists [google.com]), ESP and paranormal believers, and other completely fringe views.

      To be completely fair, about 40% of Americans believe in Creationism [google.com], so it's probably OK that this gets equal billing. The point isn't about the beliefs per-se, it's about journalists unwilling to choose a side. Equal billing tends to prop up failing modes of thought.

      I've read numerous books and papers that posit a claim and then cite evidence to support that claim... I *thought* that's how science debate worked. For example, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind [amazon.com] does precisely this: establish a point, then bolster it with reams and reams (well, one ream - 512 pages) of evidence.

      Why does someone with a position to argue need to lay out both sides of an argument?

      That's not how human perception works. We rely on experts to sort through the information we don't have time or expertise to deal with.

      What's wrong with making a clear point in a book tagline?

      • Just a sec...

        I agree with the gist of your post and all, but there's a problem with it.

        Political opinions? Yeah, whatever. However, scientific opinions with any controversy in it at all should always get equal airing of opposing viewpoints, so long as there is science backing up the opposition (and yes campers, in the AGW debate there is enough of that to be worth looking at and/or airing.)

        One other thing, now that I think about it - it never hurts to lay out the opposing viewpoints in your writings, becaus

        • It should not be equal since that makes it seem like the evidence is equal. Maybe under the talking heads there should be some kind of number of bar to indicate the percent support for the view. 97% vs 3% is not an equal debate. Especially when the 97% is from a pretty wide mix of fields that are involved with the environment.

          Other viewpoints should be shown but you should have some kind of threshold. Should the media cover the 99.99% vs 0.01% ? At what point can you disregard the other side until it has at

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The clear point being made by this book. Corporate contractor propagandists as they lost propaganda value and their corporate pay checks shrunk felt sold out and screwed over by corporate crap weasels and decided to change sides. Stop paying the propagandists enough to preach for you and they will immediately seek to preach against you and try to get money from the other side. The authors, whose names are not to be mentioned (that's how they make their money) are manoeuvring to change sides as a result of

    • That title definitely makes this book sound like it takes a balanced and objective viewpoint of the situation, with both sides of the argument covered.

      Be sarcastic if you must, but I think it is still far too centric for my liking. What good does it do for America to lose an American worker in favor of an H1b? We have one less worker paying taxes, one less worker supporting the housing industry, one less worker buying your product, one more worker on the breadlines having to be supported by one less worker. The only upside is that the company can create widgets slightly more cheaply, but sales will go down because of the laid off workers. You can't sell t

  • The third H1B post this week?! And Hump Day isn't even over yet.
    • Re:This is what... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Raseri ( 812266 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:37PM (#50910695)
      Since many of us work in IT, the widespread, unchecked abuse of the H1B program has had an overwhelming negative effect on many /.ers, so it's no surprise that it would be reported on frequently. I find it strange that you'd complain about the number of posts on the topic, but not the rampant fucking over of IT workers.
    • Just be happy it's Wednesday, and not SJW Friday,

  • by dunkindave ( 1801608 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @03:52PM (#50910333)
    If the book is "sold out", then how are we supposed to read it? /s
  • And good business is always good. The jobs would have been offshored anyway, right? So what's the harm. This way they're here spending money. Renting cheap apartments, maybe buy a car. Of course, that means rent goes up, and used car prices. You know, it's almost as there's a downside to supply and demand.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly. Hahaha it's just funny when the chickens come home to roost, that's all. All the technology workers who just though they were so fucking clever by automating the shit out of everything, costing millions their livelihoods, and now when the cannon turns and points at us, we start crying foul. Too late! We've set the train in motion, there isn't any stopping it now. Don't you know the people in the corner offices always, always win? And we helped them.
      • All the technology workers who just though they were so fucking clever by automating the shit out of everything

        oh please. automation doesn't last long after the automators leave.

    • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:19PM (#50910545) Journal

      Renting cheap apartments, maybe buy a car. Of course, that means rent goes up, and used car prices.

      One culturally-related element of this is that most of the Indians I know in the US, highly value family and education (and properly-prepared food, incidentally). As such, I suspect many H1-B parents are instinctively motivated to apply continuous pressure to the local schools to ensure the curriculum is rigorous and the environment is conducive to learning.

      And who knows? The school lunches might improve too.

      • by Raseri ( 812266 )
        Indians do not value education. If they did, we wouldn't need to teach them how write a while loop their first day on the job (yes, I've actually had to do this and similar first-semester-level training on more than one occasion). You're thinking of China and Japan.
      • As such, I suspect many H1-B parents are instinctively motivated to apply continuous pressure to the local schools

        how many of them do you think attend public schools?

    • The problem is the billionaires have rigged the Supply and Demand thing. The Demand for IT workers was high while the supply was low so salaries climbed. Now how to we get more supply to drive the salaries down, train more citizens? No that costs money and those new workers will want a good salary. I know, let's import foreign workers that are used to making 1/10th the salary and pay them less, Win Win, more supply less cost.

      That's how the H1B visa program has been used to keep salaries down.

      The Law o

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:02PM (#50910435)

    As a former hiring manager for a lager fortune 500 company, whose ass is on the line to finish projects on time, I can assure you, I was not looking for the cheapest hire, but, the most qualified hire. I desperately looked for software engineers with experience in the area of embedded systems and some amount of networking knowledge, but, who are excellent C programmers. For the several positions I recruited for, I could not get a single qualified resume. The good ones don't want to do any C/Linux/Unix programming and are more interested in App or web development for startups. We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits, but, I did not have much luck hiring any good candidates in the Silicon Valley. I completely open to hiring anyone regardless of age, sex, nationality, diability, etc. Being myself an immigrant, I felt bad that I was much more harsh in reviewing the applicants who required H1B and put them at the end of the pile. Believe, me it is much more work for the hiring manager and the company has to spend a lot more to hire a H1B candidate.

    What people generally confuse is the abuses perpetuated by the so called body shopping companies, whose primary intent is to get people with some random degree from overseas and try to place them in a position in the US. In contrast, the people who are directly recruited by the large companies as their full time employees, are no different than any other full time employee in that company.

    In my opinion, what should happen is, the US congress should close the "body shopping" loophole in the H1B and allow for skill based immigration, instead of H1B.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits, but, I did not have much luck hiring any good candidates in the Silicon Valley.

      How did you come up with that rate?

      I ask because a local company was offering a "competitive market rate" with "excellent benefits" and I laughed at them. Seems the system they were using to get competitive rates from was 5 years out of date. So they had the position listed at $85k (Unix/Linux Engineer with 15 years experience) All the local positions I had interviewed for were running $114k to $140k a year.

      When you offer "Competitive" rates and do not get a lot of response, i would first check the rates. T

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:25PM (#50910593)

      As a former hiring manager for a lager fortune 500 company, whose ass is on the line to finish projects on time, I can assure you, I was not looking for the cheapest hire, but, the most qualified hire. I desperately looked for software engineers with experience in the area of embedded systems and some amount of networking knowledge, but, who are excellent C programmers. For the several positions I recruited for, I could not get a single qualified resume. The good ones don't want to do any C/Linux/Unix programming and are more interested in App or web development for startups. We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits, but, I did not have much luck hiring any good candidates in the Silicon Valley. I completely open to hiring anyone regardless of age, sex, nationality, diability, etc. Being myself an immigrant, I felt bad that I was much more harsh in reviewing the applicants who required H1B and put them at the end of the pile. Believe, me it is much more work for the hiring manager and the company has to spend a lot more to hire a H1B candidate.

      What people generally confuse is the abuses perpetuated by the so called body shopping companies, whose primary intent is to get people with some random degree from overseas and try to place them in a position in the US. In contrast, the people who are directly recruited by the large companies as their full time employees, are no different than any other full time employee in that company.

      In my opinion, what should happen is, the US congress should close the "body shopping" loophole in the H1B and allow for skill based immigration, instead of H1B.

      About 30% of my company's workforce is H1-B workers, and like you, they weren't the cheapest for the job, but the most qualified for the job. Being in the SF Bay area, we face a lot of competition for local workers (even interns get swooped up by the big names like Google, Facebook, etc, so we recruit from various colleges across the country). All of the H1-B's we have hired are either PhD's, or are highly skilled in their field (or both).

      But that's what the H1-B program *should* be -- it should only be used to hire highly skilled workers. General IT support workers shouldn't be included since they are much easier to find (even in the SF Bay area).

      • by blue9steel ( 2758287 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:37PM (#50910693)

        For the several positions I recruited for, I could not get a single qualified resume. We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits, but, I did not have much luck hiring any good candidates in the Silicon Valley.

        Then by definition you were not paying competitive rates. If you were, you wouldn't have had any trouble poaching the available talent from another organization or paying to bring them in from outside the area. The H1-B program is not for local worker shortages "No good candidates in Silicon Valley", it's for NATIONAL shortages as in "No qualified workers in the United States". If you saying that are no qualified embedded programmers in the US with the skillset you need, then I'm going to want so extraordinary levels of proof because that seems highly unlikely.

        • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:00PM (#50910871)

          For the several positions I recruited for, I could not get a single qualified resume. We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits, but, I did not have much luck hiring any good candidates in the Silicon Valley.

          Then by definition you were not paying competitive rates. If you were, you wouldn't have had any trouble poaching the available talent from another organization or paying to bring them in from outside the area. The H1-B program is not for local worker shortages "No good candidates in Silicon Valley", it's for NATIONAL shortages as in "No qualified workers in the United States". If you saying that are no qualified embedded programmers in the US with the skillset you need, then I'm going to want so extraordinary levels of proof because that seems highly unlikely.

          H1-B doesn't require you to go door to door across the USA to find candidates, you advertise the position and see if you can attract interest. It's becoming harder and harder to find qualified candidates willing to move to the Bay Area because no matter how much you pay them, you can't give them the same lifestyle they had at home. In many areas of the USA, you can have a nice 2000 sq ft house with large yard and a 30 minute drive to work for both spouses and good schools for your kids. In the SF Bay Area, even if you have a million dollars (or more) to spend on a house, there are very few options places where you can have that. And the good candidates already have good jobs, so it's really hard to entice them to move with more money. We had one candidate move across the country who left after 2 months because he couldn't find suitable housing for his family within a reasonable commute. He repaid his moving expenses and signing bonus yet still felt he was better off back in the East Coast town he moved from.

          • So basically what you're saying is that you need to move your headquarters.
            • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

              So basically what you're saying is that you need to move your headquarters.

              Yeah, that's a distinct possibility - we may open a development office in Europe and cut our USA engineering staff by 50% as we ramp up over there.

              • Not a bad idea--you might consider opening one in the US instead, but that's your affair.

                I remember IBM, way back when, used to put their engineering offices inconveniently close to big cities. For example, I know there used to be a development office in Essex Junction, Vermont (it might still be there). It's a day flight to New York or Boston, so you can go for a sales meeting or something if you have to, but it's far enough away from "where the action is" to keep employees from getting poached. IBM use

          • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:38PM (#50911169) Journal

            In many areas of the USA, you can have a nice 2000 sq ft house with large yard and a 30 minute drive to work for both spouses and good schools for your kids. In the SF Bay Area, even if you have a million dollars (or more) to spend on a house, there are very few options places where you can have that.

            In other words you WERE NOT offering a competitive wage nationally. You right the H1B program does not require you to go on some national talent search but to simply advertise the position. The point of the law though was to address national worker shortage, that is how it always is/was talked about and sold to the public. So the H1B program is broken! The law does not work as expected and is instead having unintended consequences.

            Salaries in any field consider the local cost of living. H1B was not developed to make sure your company have bodies in seats in a particular corner of California. There are always economic efficiencies in certain areas specializing. If you want the efficiency of having all the nations tops tech talent living in silicon valley you have to pay for that or you should have to pay for that! Yes that means paying them enough that they will personal enjoy a better quality of life than they can have for what someone is willing to pay them in Kentucky. That might be a dump truck full of extra dollars.

          • by ZPO ( 465615 )

            "Market Rates" are usually quite slanted in the favor of employers. The market rates are also depressed artificially by the H1-B workers already in the country. The legal departments at tech firms tend to be careful to speak of "shortages of qualified applicants." In this case, "shortage" means people willing to work in the location for the amount offered.

            I'd like to see the hiring organizations increase salary by 20-50% over "market rates" in steps and see how many qualified candidates they get. Welcome to

        • The H1-B program is not for local worker shortages "No good candidates in Silicon Valley", it's for NATIONAL shortages as in "No qualified workers in the United States".

          I love this completely one-sided viewpoint so prevalent on \. First of all, a shortage doesn't mean none, it means fewer than able to meet demand. Second,

          Then by definition you were not paying competitive rates.

          In May 2012, the median annual wage for all workers was $34,750, and the median salary for a software developer was $93,350 per year! [bls.gov] That's from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I know it's popular on \. to not care about the ability of a company to start, grow, or even sustain itself...but when you have to pay 3x the average salary for labor, and unemplo

      • The statement, "get swooped up by the big names" suggest to me that you are not making competitive offers. Yes, working for a sexy brand my get folks to accept a slightly lower salary offer, but as part of a total compensation package includes intangible such as brand and interesting projects. This sounds like you are not paying prevailing wages to match the work.
        • by sabri ( 584428 )

          Yes, working for a sexy brand my get folks to accept a slightly lower salary offer

          On the contrary. Those brands usually offer better compensation packages.

          I remember the first time I get recruited by a headhunter. When I asked how the salary negotiations would go, his reply was simple: "usually, negotiations are not necessary".

          He was right.

    • and quit bitching. You literally just said outright that you have qualified applicants ("The good ones"). They're working for startups because it's better for them. If you want to get them from the start ups pay more. A lot more.

      The other option is to train people and retain them (that's "retain", not "retrain"). That means you don't get to pay someone for 9 months and ship 'em back to India when you're done. You keep them for that 3 months between projects. What India gets you are on demand workers tra
    • by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @08:48PM (#50912169)

      We were paying competitive market rates, with excellent benefits

      no you weren't. you stated yourself the proof of that: you couldn't hire anyone.

      more interested in App or web development for startups

      uh ... no. people are interested in a fair wage for their skill set. embedded engineers are in high demand. IMHO it's generally more complex work that requires more experience. you're going to have to pay more for that type of skill set.

      basically what you are saying is that your company had a salary they were willing to pay for a embedded systems, but the salary wasn't enough to lure anyone in. so instead of paying more, you decided to import someone that would work for cheaper. you've generally hit the nail on the head here. it isn't that skilled workers don't exist in the US, it's that hiring them would cut into the precious profits of your fortune 500 company. of course, you are going to lobby for and hire cheaper workers. it's what corporations do.

  • by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:14PM (#50910511)

    Amazingly this is the only book for sale at Amazon with the word "Crapweasels" in the title.

  • Caveat: I'm Canadian.

    I don't get it. This whole "H1-B is an evil scam!" moral panic seems to me to be just another aspect of the virulent anti-immigration bigotry that has republicans screaming: "They're taking our jobs!" (as if *any* USian is going to pick fruit for less than minimum wage!)

    I'm a software engineer at a large multinational, and we've been trying to find qualified candidates for software positions, but we're having a REALLY hard time. There just aren't any qualified people available. This ide

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:29PM (#50910625)

      AC here for reasons. The problem isn't H1Bs coming over to take jobs that can't be filled. The problem is H1Bs coming over to displace entire IT departments that are already fully staffed.

      http://www.computerworld.com/article/2879083/southern-california-edison-it-workers-beyond-furious-over-h-1b-replacements.html - fair example.

      Either you're naive to the issue or you're schilling for the other side. Hopefully the first thing.

    • by blue9steel ( 2758287 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:42PM (#50910729)

      (as if *any* USian is going to pick fruit for less than minimum wage!)

      Of course they won't, and it's illegal for anyone else to do so. The correct response would be a massive crackdown on employers who violate the labor laws. Daily raids, random inspections and audits, harsh prison sentences for executives and severe financial penalties for the businesses involved. Failure to do so is class warfare.

      • he correct response would be a massive crackdown on employers who violate the labor laws. Daily raids, random inspections and audits, harsh prison sentences for executives and severe financial penalties...

        Yeah, I guess this will "create" jobs for law enforcement, but it's also going to jack the price of fruit at the supermarket and drastically reduce it's availability.

        Good if you are fond of fruitless police states, I suppose.

    • I'm a Canadian and I call BS.

      First off, Canada doesn't have an H1-B program. We have the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

      If you had watched the news, you would have known about RBC bringing in workers to replace Canadian IT workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program [www.cbc.ca]. They only backed down - this time - because of all the negative publicity exposing the illegal practice in this one instance.

      Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.

      "They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas," said Dave Moreau, one of the employees affected by the move. "The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury."

      When you write: "WHERE in the hell are all the unemployed, competent, software developers this would create? Their absence is suspicious - they just don't seem to be out there", maybe it's because after decades of BS working for smug, self-satisfied people who don't even know what's going on around them, who can't even tell the difference between Canada and the US, we get completely out of the field. Change career paths. Retire. Whatever. Any way we can to give a big F*CK YOU to the people "managing" the industry, because what goes around eventually comes around, and it's their turn.

      This problem has been going on for years in Canada [theglobeandmail.com].

      And if you're getting people who think that knowing Dreamweaver and Photoshop makes them qualified, then you (or your HR department) obviously have a problem spelling out minimum requirements, or the recruiting companies you deal with are just sh*t monkeys throwing sh*t at the wall and hoping some of it sticks. Either way, the problem is on your end of the line.

      • First off, Canada doesn't have an H1-B program. We have the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

        Thus the reason for my caveat.

        Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.

        If that was actually true then either those laid off IT workers AREN'T looking for jobs, or they were replaced because they're not actually competent enough to do the job.

        maybe it's because ... we get completely out of the field. Change career paths. Retire. Whatever.

        In that case then, you're not actually *losing* jobs to temporary foreign workers, are you? Where do you expect businesses to find talent if the only competent, qualified local people out there have decided to leave the field?

        ...if you're getting people who think that knowing Dreamweaver and Photoshop makes them qualified, then you (or your HR department) obviously have a problem spelling out minimum requirements...

        Nope. We don't use recruiting agencies, and our job requirements are anal retentivel

    • by LDAPMAN ( 930041 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:55PM (#50910827)

      They are out there, you just don't want to pay for them. The are two answers to your problem that would be much better than hiring H1B:

      1. Increase the offered pay until you get the qualified people you need. This is the best option when you don't have time for training and development.
      2. Pick the best of those your now rejecting and train them. Many of them would be willing to work for below market rates while in training. Of course some of these will not work out but you will find some real gems as well.

      After you have done this then H1B may be appropriate for the the really rare cases it was intended for.

      • They are out there, you just don't want to pay for them

        1. Increase the offered pay until you get the qualified people you need. This is the best option when you don't have time for training and development.

        Nope. We offer slightly better than market rates, and have various other incentive programs to attract talent.

        2. Pick the best of those your now rejecting and train them. Many of them would be willing to work for below market rates while in training.

        I've actually suggested this to management, and I think it's a good idea, but they don't want to make the investment just to have them leave for somewhere else once they're trained.

        They're really only willing to hire senior devs who already know what they're doing.

        If established developers are losing their jobs to H-1Bs/TFWs, then there should be enough out there that fit management's bill for us to

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      I'm a software engineer at a large multinational, and we've been trying to find qualified candidates for software positions, but we're having a REALLY hard time. There just aren't any qualified people available. This idea that there are competent, qualified STEM people out there who are being denied jobs by the H1-B program just doesn't seem to jive with reality.

      Major economics fail here. Are you trying to tell us that if you doubled or quintupled the salary for those positions, you still would not be able to find people capable of doing them? Good qualified engineers would not happily leave their other jobs for a far better paying one at your company? I'm pretty happy where I am, but for a 5x bump in salary I'd probably be happy to buy a few extra layers of clothing and move up north.

      But as somebody who actually studied economics a wee bit, it looks to me like yo

      • Uh, huh. Why yes, clearly instead of paying someone a paltry $100,000/yr they should raise the pay to $500,000/yr. I mean companies are rich, right? They can afford to pay their entire workforce salaries that fall in the top 1% income bracket nationally. For Google, this would only be about $26 billion dollars. No sweat.

      • Major economics fail here.

        Nope.

        ...if you doubled or quintupled the salary for those positions, you still would not be able to find people capable of doing them? Good qualified engineers would not happily leave their other jobs...

        And that solves the overall issue of not enough qualified people how? You can't make a blanket longer by cutting 2 feet off the top and sewing it onto the bottom. Those companies losing people are then going to need to fill those jobs somehow...

        ...for a 5x bump in salary I'd probably be happy to buy a few extra layers of clothing and move up north.

        For a 5x bump in my salary, I'd move to the bloody moon, but it's not going to happen. There's just no way a business is going to pay it's employees 2-5x what competitors are without hemorrhaging money.

        What I'm seeing you say here is "We don't want to pay the market price for this labor."

        Again, nope. We pay slightly *above* market rates...

        What I'

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

          Again, nope. We pay slightly *above* market rates...

          Obviously not. Market rate [wikipedia.org] is BY DEFINTION the rate at which a buyer can acquire a good when they want it. If you can't acquire the type of labor you want at the salary you are offering, then you are, again by definition, not paying the market rate for that type of labor. That's what the term means.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      There just aren't any qualified people available.

      But what is that? -- is what the question we should be asking is. The US and Canada have university systems that are the envy of most of the world. The US is far and away the worlds biggest hightech center.

      Certainly we have the resources here to educate, train, and develop qualified people. How come that isn't happening? Is possibly because people don't want to sink tens of thousand of debt financed dollars into something the might not succeed at like Computer Science and instead choose to major in bus

      • Is possibly because people don't want to sink tens of thousand of debt financed dollars into something the might not succeed at like Computer Science and instead choose to major in business where they can be assured of graduation on time and being somewhat employable?

        Could be, but this just supports my point: whatever the reason, there aren't enough qualified people. The scenario you presented here is:

        "not enough qualified people because govt is underfunding education"

        Which is an *entirely* different narrative than:

        "there are plenty of qualified people out there who nobody will hire because of H-1B workers"

        Is it because companies no longer want to develop talent and as you say refuse to higher anyone that does not already have a job and exactly the right specialist education?

        Could be. Certainly my company prefers to hire experienced devs rather than hire & train, but this seems like it has more to do with not wanting to lose the inv

    • and a bit of a social safety net left. In America our medical care, access to financial help when unemployed, credit and pretty much all other aspects related to our quality of life it tied to our jobs. It's something we did in the 50s, I forget why (IIRC it wasn't for the sake of evil, it just turned out that way). I've seen several jobs outsourced to Canada because health care is so pricey for businesses here it's a better deal even with your taxes being higher (which are usually negotiable for a business
  • Moving jobs around (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:32PM (#50910655) Journal

    Reduce the cost of labor instead of raising minimum wage.

    High labor costs accelerate and, more importantly, compact the removal of jobs, while slowing the reuptake of jobs. Jobs always reduce: we've come from every single individual requiring 15-20 labor-hours per week to acquire food (that means a population of 1,000 people needs 20,000 working-hours per week to feed it) to a society where 2% of workers are ag and we expend 27 labor-hours per year producing food (so a population of 1,000 people needs 520 working-hours per week to feed itself). With the spare time, we've been able to build roads, cars, space ships.

    The Industrial Revolution shows us an important model: machines suddenly became cheap, and the 479 labor-hours going into making clothes immediately dropped to 96 labor-hours--80% unemployment even 60 years later. What would today be a $4,000 shirt ($8.75/hr * 479) is now a $15 shirt, as we've improved the manufacture processes to use even less labor-time. Back then, that $4,000 shirt became an $800 shirt; most of the consumer base vanished--not for shirts, but for food and everything else--and much of the economy fell apart.

    Contrast that to agriculture or car manufacture. In 1970, India was producing 2 tonnes of rice per hectare and selling for $500 per tonne; by 2001, they were making 6 tonnes per hectare at cost so low the sale price had dropped to below $200/tonne--note that inflation would have raised that $500 to over $3,000 in 2001, and so India was investing less than 6% labor per tonne of rice produced in 2001, compared to 1970. That transition occurred spread over 30 years.

    During the spread transition, jobs were lost, and rice became cheaper. A few jobs lost--3% in one year is kind of rough, but that's only 3% of the agricultural sector and much less of the whole market--and a whole shitload of consumers (over 99% of the market) facing cheaper food meant they had almost a whole population with more money to spend. Find a way to make a product with little enough labor and you can sell it to those consumers, pay your workers, and come away with captured profits. Looking at the Industrial Revolution, we can conjecture this works less well when only a fifth of your population still has jobs.

    What can we take away from this?

    Alternate management--geoshifting jobs (H1-B or outsource to India), automation (outsource to machines), or rearrangement (cellular manufacture uses less labor than assembly lines, which are less labor-intensive than guilds and artisans)--transfers your labor needs to another form. That form often takes less or lower-priced (cost) direct labor, but may require more total labor (e.g. the machines are expensive, or QA to try and make standard measures work in 803BC is ridiculously labor-intensive thanks to undeveloped technological capabilities). If it takes more total labor, then you're paying someone more--the machines are expensive, you just hire real people.

    By this, reducing the cost of labor at least delays the transition to geoshifting or automation (less outsourcing, fewer machines, for a while).

    With the march of technology on a low-cost labor market, early adopters will get screwed. Your strategic adopters will recognize $10/hr labor vs $8/hr machines, but also notice the machines coming down in price: if they invest $25 million in a 30-year machine that will cost $8/hr to maintain now, they'll find themselves less-advantaged as if they wait up to 5 years for a cost range of $6/hr or lower, and so will decide how much risk they're willing to take and will jump into the automation game at that point. You get traditionalists who wait until their business nearly collapses, too.

    By this, spiking labor costs *rapidly* moves labor to cheaper sources (including automation and H1-B): a $15/hr laborer versus a $10/hr machine is more encouraging to the entrepreneur considering a mechanized labor force. Lower labor costs *spread* the loss of jobs.

    Lower labor costs translate, eventually, into

    • Faulty analysis. Prices going down reduces inflation. You can't say that inflation would have raised that $500 in 1970 to over $3000 in 2001. Different goods hand services have different rates of inflation.
      • Not faulty. Inflation is a matter of how much money versus how much goods. The short of it is you have 3x as much money, but it buys 5x as much goods, even though those goods bear a price of 1.67x as much.

        If that $500 of rice were made with as much labor in 2001, it would cost over $3,000. You couldn't sell it for $200 because you'd pay your agricultural workers over $3,000 to make it, and you'd take more than a $2,800 loss. You're trying to say that the rice was cheaper to produce--less human labor-

    • Just wanted to say that this is a great post. It takes a position, supports it with statistics, and makes predictions and recommendations.

      Whether I agree with it or not, it's very well constructed.

      Bravo!

      (Can someone with points mod his post up?)

  • Malkin is a professional troll. Shouldn't /. know that you shouldn't feed trolls? What gives?

    • >> Shouldn't /. know that you shouldn't feed trolls?

      If there were no trolls there would be no /. It's why this place is considered an "entertainment site" not a "news site."

      • >> Shouldn't /. know that you shouldn't feed trolls?

        If there were no trolls there would be no /. It's why this place is considered an "entertainment site" not a "news site."

        Damn - you've let the "secret sauce" out! Next thing you'll be telling everyone to browse at -1.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:07PM (#50910921)

    OK, I'm pretty left leaning, but unfortunately the conservatives appear to be the only ones attacking this issue at all. I think that's just because it doesn't affect "average people" yet, but it's creeping that way slowly.

    I posted a piece the other day about Cengage Learning kicking out their entire IT department to Cognizant and forcing their "unskilled, unqualified" staff to train their H-1B replacements. Here's the deal -- nothing is going to get done until some of us become "beltway crapweasels" and buy favorable legislation through a professional organization. Not a union, an AMA-style guild dedicated to making sure salaries stay reasonably high and employment remains stable. Every single one of these Zuckerberg "everyone can code" initiatives or pushes to increase the visa cap is designed to get what these companies want - cheap labor.

    I walk the employee-manager line in a "lead" role, so I have to hire staff as well as do actual work. (I'm a pretty well-seasoned systems integration guy with a solid reputation, if that matters.) I'm not entirely deaf to the "we can't find talent" argument, but I do think it's overblown. Even if you're not looking for a drop-in replacement for someone who left, and I'm not, there are some pretty big gaps in knowledge. Nothing is insurmountable given the right attitude and background, but I've seen lots of padded resumes and people who call themselves "expert level" without any justification for that label. It makes the hiring process frustrating because you have to wade through the obvious liars, then phone-screen the people who might be somewhat close, and then still interview a bunch of duds.

    Being "experienced," I don't like the trend of entry level IT and dev jobs going away, because that kills your talent pipeline. I like the idea of a professional organization for the following reasons:
    - If done right, it could ensure a basic vendor-agnostic, technology-agnostic fundamental education for members. No more "web architects" who can only stich together node.js snippets they saw on Stack Overflow or MCSEs who can't troubleshoot basic TCP connectivity.
    - Gives members a career progression while still allowing them to be individuals -- makes the Libertarian crowd happy.
    - Unlike a union, each member would be their own person rather than bargaining collectively.
    - Gives employers a consistent experience and recourse in the case of malpractice -- professionals would need to be responsible for their work, which is sorely lacking today.
    - Allows members to buy favorable legislation via lobbyists. I can't imagine Congressmen would turn down millions in campaign donations in exchange for a few limits on the H-1B program.
    - Provides a pipeline of newbies to train as apprentices so companies aren't reliant on these offshoring firms for basic work in the future.

    I just don't know how bad it's going to get before people wake up and realize they're not going to become billionaires just because they let them get away with things like this.

  • by Pontiac ( 135778 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:18PM (#50911013) Homepage

    When the H1B bill was passed in 1998 it set a reasonable for the time exemption pay of $60,000 pr year. Paying a H1B employee more than $60k let the employer bypass the no displaced worker requirement. At the time you could almost fall out of a tree and get an IT job. Workers were hard to find and H1B filled a need.

    Now here we are 17 years later and the $60k threshold has never been adjusted for inflation. What was once a tool to protect US workers is now a low wage target off shore outsourcing company's use to bid low ball IT contracts that displace US workers.

    Adjusted for inflation the limit should be closer to $90,000 in 2015 dollars. Congress needs to bring the H1B minimum pay back into balance with today's job market.

  • by admiralh ( 21771 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @06:27PM (#50911465) Homepage

    Michelle Malkin has the credibility of a ... a .. um .. a "crapweasel."

    Why can't an actual journalist have written this?

  • H1B is good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 )

    What's wrong with a global marketplace? If somebody needs someone to do a job for them, what's immoral with choosing the best deal? When you go to the grocery store do you not choose the best value for your money? The free market works, and even if it didn't it's the only moral solution. Why shouldn't some chick in India who learns programming have the same shot at a job as you .. Especially if she is offering a better value to whoever is hiring her?

    The more people we have building stuff the better for ever

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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