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Senators Seek H-1B Cap That Can Reach 300,000 605

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-to-america-and-let-our-robots-replace-you dept.
dcblogs writes "A bipartisan group of Senators is planning to introduce a bill that allows the H-1B visa cap to rise automatically with demand to a maximum of 300,000 visas annually. This 20-page bill, called the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 or the 'I-Squared Act of 2013,' is being developed by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.). It may be introduced next week. Presently, the U.S. has an H-1B visa cap of 65,000. There are another 20,000 H-1B visas set aside for advanced degree gradates of U.S. universities, for 85,000 in total. Under the new bill, the base H-1B cap would increase from 65,000 to 115,000. But the cap would be allowed to rise automatically with demand, according to a draft of the legislation."
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Senators Seek H-1B Cap That Can Reach 300,000

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:10PM (#42693115)

    So what the hell use is a cap that rises with demand?

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:13PM (#42693143) Journal

    The same use as a "limited" copyright duration that extends on demand.

    I.e. it's a lot of use to the scumbags that purchase these laws.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:13PM (#42693147) Homepage Journal

    if you want to educate the next generation of IT workers in the US and have them stay here for their lives, adding to the economy, start cutting back on H1Bs now. it's just an excuse to in-shore cheaper help and shoo them away before they start complaining.

  • A better approach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobstreo (1320787) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:17PM (#42693203)

    Reduce the percentage of H1-B's by the unemployment rate every year.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:17PM (#42693211) Homepage Journal
    With unemployment so high in the US as it is....they'd better sign off that EVERY US citizen potential employee is hired first....then start letting outsiders in.
  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:18PM (#42693219) Journal

    is further destruction of the middle class. By replacing American tech workers with H1B slaves, they drive down the wages of the Americans who still have jobs.

    Once the rich have taken everything away from the middle, they'll have to turn on each other. That will be fun to watch.

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:24PM (#42693303)

    But the cap would be allowed to rise automatically with demand...

    Um, that is the exact opposite of a 'cap'.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:28PM (#42693329)

    Importing people who will be automatically put into a process of exporting if they lose their job always seemed more than a bit cruel to me.

    The effect of H1b has been to flood the market with fake job offers (intended to find no one available), increase the desperation of the average job seeker (where it doesn't lower wages directly, it has other effects), and to shift the job market gradually overseas as intimate knowledge of US business is shifted to people who aren't allowed to remain in the US market.

    It's a mixed result - but mostly negative for the US at large.

    Why not just allow more immigrants for technical fields? That way, they can start companies here, they don't have to live in such fear while working, and can pay socially beneficial taxes when they do (statistically) reach the higher incomes they are bound to reach.

    Passing laws just to increase profit margins of companies at the expense of workers seems highly corrupt/inefficient. We're a nation of immigrants - we shouldn't shy away from making the nation stronger with citizens - and we've had huge problems with, um, drawing distinctions about labor variants of citizens in the past.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:31PM (#42693383)

    Why on earth would we want to do that? Historically our technological innovation has been driven domestically in part because we have such an open policy to immigrants. The space program was dramatically accelerated by accepting German immigrants. The Manhattan Project owes a lot to immigrants. Let's get our collective nationalist heads out of our asses and acknowledge that there are people around the world who are smarter than most unemployed Americans. Unemployment for those with Masters in computer science/engineering is in the low single digits.

    Which would you rather happen: foreign talented developers to start their companies in Asia, Europe or South America or for them to be in the states and hopefully develop their idea in the states? Most tech startups are employees who work at Microsoft or Google and then leave to create their company. If they don't come to the US, their good ideas don't come with them and we lose the best ideas in the world because we're afraid a burger flipper won't somehow magically get a job at Google because of the big bad Indian who took his hypothetical job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:33PM (#42693409)

    The middle class is more than a handful of H1-B immigrants. The middle class has been systematically taken apart since the 1980s. You must be very young, to add to your xenophobia.

    The reason is all the non "IP" jobs are being pushed overseas, engineers are overseas, skilled maintenance staff man the oversea factories. The west shot itself in the foot when it chose to use child and near slave labor in eastern countries to make their widgets. You think Apple's "designed in America" means anything? They're building their iStuff from components that are designed and built, guess... yes, overseas! Even the likes of Intel are mostly staffed with either immigrants or overseas engineers.

    Once the rich have taken everything away from the middle, they'll have to turn on each other. That will be fun to watch.

    Yes, it would, but it won't happen. They'll just focus on the global market next.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:36PM (#42693465) Homepage

    We're not talking about importing cream of the crop folks. No Einsteins or Von Brauns. We're talking about entry level programmers and tech flunkies.

    Sure, there are good people in that pile - that really isn't the point. The issue is that the transnational corporations are trying to drive down costs (and drive up profits) irrespective of the local damage caused. They can go elsewhere, after all.

    All it takes is getting a few cheap whores^Hpoliticians to do their bidding. Just the price of business.

  • by magarity (164372) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:38PM (#42693501)

    So what the hell use is a cap that rises with demand?

    What the hell use are immigration laws when people circumventing them are pardoned and granted citizenship?

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:39PM (#42693529)

    This isn't about "multiculturalism", nobody cares what nationality, color or religion they are. This is about keeping wages low. This is what it is always about. Cost and profit are what corporations do, they have no concept of anything else.

    No more H1Bs, slavery was abolished a long time ago. If corporations truly cannot find qualified citizens (and I think they define that as capabilities/$), then I would allow them to sponsor a certain number of people for green cards. If avg. wages dropped the next year, I would not allow them to sponsor any at all. Then I would say anyone here on H1B may either apply for a green card, or serve the rest of his sentence and return home, but there would be no more H1Bs.

    If this is truly about labor shortage, this process would work fine. But we know there's plenty of people out there who can do the job who are under/un-employed.

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:41PM (#42693555)

    H1Bs aren't the only way to do that. We have green cards for immigration. If those green cards aren't going to the right places, fix that problem.

    But the corporate world doesn't like green cards, green card means "can compete on wages".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:53PM (#42693731)

    Not sure if you're trolling...There's a huge difference between PhD holding nuclear physicists selectively brought here to work on projects and the average immigrants who by and large are un-educated racists who showed up for the free hand outs stupid white guilt liberals keep doling out at tax payer expense.

  • wrong approach (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:57PM (#42693769)

    Don't create more visa's, give the workers easy pathways to citizenship. Work on an H1-b for 5 years without run-ins with the law and you're a citizen. If you don't want citizenship then you lose your visa. Simple as that. Is there not enough skilled labor? Or is there not enough cheap labor? Making more visas brings in cheap labor. Making more citizens brings in talented labor. If you're a law abiding person and go through the proper channels citizenship should be easy in this country. I work in a shop with a lot of H1-B people, from India, Russia, Israel, etc... and I'd be happy to have any of them get citizenship here. They're great people and I like most of them better than my asshole neighbors.

  • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:58PM (#42693787)

    Except that you can't really "in-shore cheaper help" very easily using H-1Bs--you're required to pay at least the "prevailing wage". Perhaps foreigners artificially keep the prevailing wage from rising, but it can't go down due to immigrants under the current system. Also, you're supposed to show that no American wants the job at hand, which is rather difficult to show.

    And the H-1B has a time limit of 6 years, I believe. The foreigner has to get a green card or get out before the visa expires.

    Also, think of the alternative--if you are correct that the foreigners will work for less, if you keep them out of the US, then the tech firms will instead set up offices in India. It makes more sense to keep the jobs in the US, use a system to make sure the foreigners don't depress wages in the US.

  • by irenaeous (898337) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:00PM (#42693817) Journal
    You are completely correct. But I hope you understand that the H-1B scam does not do this. H-1B workers are not immigrants. The H-1B program is badly abused to the determent of American workers. Slashdot has covered this before [slashdot.org].
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:01PM (#42693835) Journal
    If there weren't a shortage of developers, then programmers wouldn't commonly be making triple the median income.
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:06PM (#42693931)
    As people above have pointed out there should be a minimum salary for H1-Bs. This salary should be borderline absurd. Then on top of that there should be a special H1-B tax on that salary bringing it down to below what is typically earned in that field. Then 100% of the tax should fund education or training in that exact field. So if H1-B programmers are hired it goes to programming education. If H1-B snake charmers are being hired then it goes to a snake charming school. This way the government doesn't pick winners for educational grants, they pick themselves.

    At no point should it be more attractive to hire a H1-B than it is to hire a local of the same qualification. If the system was properly tuned it would always be a last resort to hire a H1-B not the preferred case as with many exploitative companies. Then in theory there wouldn't need to be a cap.

    Personally I have always thought that any work you hire in cheap countries should have their labors taxed until the domestic company had paid the same as if the work were done locally. So if you have a company in country X that is getting the work done for $0.50(shipping included) per unit because they pay their people pennies and pollute the crap out of some river and the domestic rate is $1.00 per unit then there should be a $0.50 per unit tax. So if you think the offshore company does it better then you get them to do it. This prevents the economic concept of us not only importing their products but prevents the import of their crappy standard of living.

    Oddly enough the above idea encourages simply paying higher wages when you do find yourself having to hire outside help. Thus raising the standard of living in other places.
  • by yurtinus (1590157) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:12PM (#42694017)
    Fighting the immigrants is the wrong battle. I'd much rather have that Pakistani born programmer be working here as a US citizen - protected by US labor laws and paid a competitive US salary than be "on loan" under an H1-B visa which his employer can use to depress the wages of his other employees.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:12PM (#42694019) Journal

    Why? Our border is such a bad fucking joke you could just walk a bomb across the thing along with the dope and slaves brought over it annually, they won't do shit about the scumbag companies that will hire Paco for $3 an hour and make him work in unsafe conditions (and don't give me that "Paco only takes jobs Americans don't want" horseshit, in my area construction USED to be a way a guy who wasn't cut out for college could feed his family. Now you can drive by any site and yell "Immigra!" and watch them scatter like fucking deer and guess who gets stuck for his care when the scumbag contractor puts his ass on a rickety ladder in high winds and he fucks himself up? That would be YOU through higher hospital bills) and they have completely wiped out several professions. Being an IT worker USED to be a good job but between H1-Bs and offshoring I wouldn't recommend my worst enemy go into IT now.

    The whole thing is a fucking scam that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as degrees cost us a high 5 digits to get yet they expect us to "compete" with some guy that paid like $5k for HIS degree (if he even has one, so many of those body mills just lie their asses off, you could ask for somebody with 40 years of .NET and they'd send someone right over) so nobody with a functioning brain will go into those fields because they see it ends up 400 guys competing with each other for one fake job ( see this video [youtube.com] for examples. Once you know what to look for you can check your local paper and will find dozens if not hundreds of fake jobs) so the bloodsucking leech of a corp goes "See? We can't get somebody with a dozen degrees to work for less than the guy that cleans puke at the Chuck E Cheese so we NEED more green cards and H1-Bs! Sob!" and write a fucking check to our joke known as "public servants" and there you go, the systematic gutting of the American middle class.

    Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson who could see this stuff was coming: "Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:14PM (#42694049)

    If there weren't a shortage of doctors they wouldn't be making 10 times the median income.

    Lets import 300,000 doctors and get that problem under control. Much more urgent since they charge so much more.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:18PM (#42694099)

    Except that you can't really "in-shore cheaper help" very easily using H-1Bs--you're required to pay at least the "prevailing wage". Perhaps foreigners artificially keep the prevailing wage from rising, but it can't go down due to immigrants under the current system. Also, you're supposed to show that no American wants the job at hand, which is rather difficult to show.

    It's in how you define the prevailing wage and how you define the job requirements.

    If a company can hire a senior DBA for $90K even though the local employee with equivalent experience would have be paid $110K, they can pay back their legal fees for the H1-B application in less than a year. It's easy to fudge job descriptions and pay scales to say whatever you want them to say. For example, it's usually something like "Employee must have experience with XYZ application that no one outside of the hiring company uses, then they can point to the off-shore contractor that's been working for them remotely for a year and say "Only he has that experience!" -- oh, and we're going to pay him what we'd pay an entry-level DBA because he only has 1 year of verifiable DBA experience".

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:26PM (#42694205)

    I'm sorry, but I see no reason why programmers shouldn't make triple the median income. If anyone could do it, that right there is a huge incentive TO do it. I define a shortage as "there are more jobs than applicants". I've never worked anywhere that we didn't reject 50% of the people who interviewed for various arbitrary reasons (i.e. didn't have niche skill in X, would require ramp up, couldn't drop-in), and that was after HR rejected countless resumes.

    The only "shortage" of jobs owes from our snobbery and cliquishness, because we CAN be, there are so many applicants we can shop until we get bored with it. If we just had to hire anyone who walked in the door, THEN I'd believe we have a shortage.

  • by Paracelcus (151056) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:29PM (#42694241) Journal

    When the whores in Washington hear the commands of their corporate master, they forget all about unemployed Americans!

  • by yurtinus (1590157) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:30PM (#42694259)
    The truth is more onerous than that. The thing is, they *don't* want that. No major American company actually *wants* to wipe out the middle class. After all, who would you sell your products to if nobody has any money? Companies need a strong middle class and are well aware of that fact. Yet they still work to reduce wages as cost cutting measures for a temporary return. It's blatantly self-destructive behavior that everybody seems to be in on, aware of, wants to stop, but consistently take the wrong routes.

    If there were a few guys up at the top in swivel chairs with fluffy cats going "mwaahahahaha" as they plot and scheme, that would be one thing. They could be stopped. How do you stop a society from marching over the cliff - fully aware the cliff is there, fully aware they don't want to fall off it, yet somehow not willing or able to stop themselves from doing it?
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:33PM (#42694319)

    If you could get Inda and China to let me compete for jobs there I would agree. Otherwise we are just being cheated. Once again free trade is used to screw anyone who is not a CEO.

  • by bmo (77928) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:41PM (#42694401)

    Your corporate bootlicking is disgusting.

    Arguments like yours are based on the assumption by Milton Friedman and his ilk that jobs are just as fungible as money, and that it's *your fault* that your price is too high by your simply living in civilization. You are being forced into a race to the bottom. Races to the bottom have no winners.

    --
    BMO

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:50PM (#42694491)

    Forgive me, but I dont really understand why people in this country deserve jobs more than people in another country, particularly if theyre more skilled or asking for less money.

    You know why members of Congress are called Representatives?

    Because they're supposed to represent us. They are supposed to stand up for our interests. Not because Americans are somehow cosmically more worthy than non-Americans, but because it's our fucking country and it is supposed to be run for the benefit of "ourselves and our posterity."

    If Indians want good stuff then they have their own democratically elected government to go to. I expect the Indian government to put the interests of Indians over the interests of Americans, but likewise I expect the U.S. government to put the interests of Americans over the interests of foreigners.

  • by JoeSchmoe999 (782579) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:51PM (#42694499)
    I like that idea, hey there must be a shortage of "C" level executives since they make so much, lets H-1B a bunch of them in from 3rd world companies. We should be able to drop the median CEO salary from ~500 times the average employee to ~50 times the average employee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:54PM (#42694527)

    In your logic, everyone who came to the US as an immigrant was in a race to the bottom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:54PM (#42694533)

    Arguments like yours are based on the assumption by Milton Friedman and his ilk that jobs are just as fungible as money

    By definition they are, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. Jobs go where they can be done cheapest, and will continue to do so. Sure, you can build an Iron Curtain around America and refuse to let anyone in or jobs out, but that didn't so the last lot of Commies much good either.

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:58PM (#42694585)

    That requirement is already easily circumvented, and the method is already in place.

    HR departments frequently use applicant scanning software that (intentionally or unintentionally) is badly configured to make finding a qualified applicant near impossible. Sometimes they make impossible requirements, such as being a developer for languages and platforms for a number of years that exceeds their time in existence.

    Not only might you need to have 100% of the desired skills, you sometimes have to guess the right keyword they use for that skill, and will get rejected if you use synonymous terms to describe that skill. You are also screwed if you happen to have a skill that is almost completely transferable to what they are looking for, but just not the exact skill.

    Companies don't want to invest in training anymore. They want you to be trained by another company, who also likely have the same attitude towards training.

    Companies don't want to hire someone unless they are already employed elsewhere. I recall reading that you have better odds of getting a job with a criminal record than if you are currently out of work. However, that doesn't mean that they are going to offer you enough to make it worth it to leave your current job.

    The list goes on..

    Maybe the reason they can't find the right people in the U.S. is because some are being unreasonable (and/or possibly idiotic) greedy assholes.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:09PM (#42694711)

    Thank god someone with a brain saved me the trouble of writing that out.

    We seem to be the only country more interested in making everyone besides ourselves (assuming you exclude corporate 'personas') happy...at our own expense.

    Unemployment remains high, jobs are not particularly easy to come by for many, pay is lower than it should be, companies are cutting jobs and marginalizing other work, and so on. Do we really need to add another several hundred thousand jobs for non-citizens where the majority of the money will simply leave the country? Other than serving corporate greed, it does nothing to help our country. Tax them at 50% and put that money into training for US citizens.

    Honestly with where unemployment is right now, the whole program SHOULD have been terminated. Those Representatives should consider who they represent these days.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:18PM (#42694817)

    Mod me troll or flamebait but it has to be said...

    Seriously? You want to see a "news article showing the government suing a town's PD" regarding immigration? For fucks sake. Google 'news article showing the government suing a town's PD + immigration' and hit the I'm feeling lucky button.

    Yeah. First link. Was that so hard? I mean, if you're going to take a position and argue something at least make a *SLIGHT* attempt to know what you're talking about.

    Related to the discussion, I think it's ridiculous that there are laws on the books which 'can' only be enforced by certain agencies who are quite intentionally being extremely lax in enforcing.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:19PM (#42694829) Homepage

    I doubt Friedman would have looked positively on this. I'm a libertarian, and I'm totally against this. It's interfering with a market. There will always be "more demand" because they'll just drive wages low enough that no American will want the jobs.

    This isn't the free market at work. The free market raises wages when there's a labor shortage. No, this is crony capitalism, a very different beast.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:32PM (#42694991) Homepage

    I'm just a bit daunted by the concept of working to death.

    Don't worry, if things like this law keep happening, you'll get a chance to try it for yourself.

  • by morgauxo (974071) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:55PM (#42695219)

    You know why they call it a Representative Democracy? Because you are supposed to be electing the people that will represent you. Stop re-electing these asshats America!

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:57PM (#42695233) Journal

    Your post is a nice contrast to the entitlement so many Americans (and westerners) have about their life and jobs. The dedication to family and society is part of the Filipino culture that it really stands as a stark contrast to American Culture. AND we are less off because of that aspect of our culture. We American (and westerners in general) have no real concept of extended family clans any more.

  • by Vicarius (1093097) on Friday January 25, 2013 @05:03PM (#42695291)

    So you don't want to sound xenophobic but you really are. Foreign workers contribute to the economy, pay taxes, and bring specific talents that are badly needed by companies but you think we should hire Americans just because they are Americans?

    As a foreigner in USA who worked on H1B, I will tell that, yes law makers should be creating laws that make it easier and cheaper to hire Americans than H1B workers. Don't think of good or evil in terms of "people" or "world", but try to realize that each and every country should focus on their own first and should not be increasing own unemployment just not to look xenophobic. H1B's should be a temporary solution while you are training your own citizens.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday January 25, 2013 @05:38PM (#42695777)

    I grew up here, paid taxes for over 30 years, I have a life here, I am invested in my people here, I have an interest in what happens in the future.

    foreigners: NOT SO MUCH.

    there used to be this little thing called 'social contract'. maybe you heard of it? its not around anymore but it used to be.

    any other stupid questions, you selfish republican prick, you?

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:19PM (#42696715) Homepage

    I was not aware we had an infinite supply of anything, let alone of skilled / employable CS or IT workers.

    If I have a 10 gallon bucket, 11 gallons of water is the same as "infinite" for some operations. The bottom line is that if x IT jobs open up in the US then we can always find x foreign workers to fill them at a lower wage. For the market to think the supply is infinite, I only need one more worker than there are jobs.

    Look, I explained this in an earlier post on this subject. My wife came here on an H-1A as an RN. They brought her to work for substandard wages at shitty nursing homes. The nursing homes could easily have hired Americans to work for them, but they found it was cheaper to claim they couldn't find anybody (a legal requirement for petitioning an H-1x) and then hire some foreigner to do it at a paltry wage. They're supposed to treat them well, but trust me - there's a world of difference between a boss that can fire you and one that can put your ass on a plane back to Asia.

    I obviously benefitted greatly from this arrangement, and I'm damned glad that I have an asian babe for a wife. Seriously. But the bottom line is that these companies are depressing wages by bringing folks like her over here and then creating a vicious cycle whereby the depressed wages cause even fewer people to want to join that part of the labor market causing them to bring over more foreigners.

    I'm not anti-corporate. Hell, I have an ownership stake in multiple companies. What you see here is crony capitalism, and it's good for the cronies and bad for the rest of us. We need to put an end to work visas like this all together and let the market pull these wages up to the level that they should be.

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