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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 tibit (1762298) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:14PM (#42693165)

      It's political lingo for removing the cap. You see, politicans know full well that people will buy whatever as long as the packaging is right. Thus the cap is, in reality, removed, but in words it remains.

      I wish they did that to green card caps, though.

      • by pla (258480) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:41PM (#42693557) Journal
        I wish they did that to green card caps, though.

        Why bother? Not only won't they enforce immigration laws, they outright sue state and town PDs who attempt to do so to force them to stop.

        Visas? Immigration? Meh, c'mon in, apply for welfare, and retire. Only those of us dumb enough to work for a living as natural born citizens have anything to complain about here.
        • by tibit (1762298) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:21PM (#42694855)

          I'm not a citizen and yet I not only work, but I pay taxes and, oh horror of horrors, I invest all my money here. And please, cut the BS about not enforcing immigration laws. If my status were to lapse for some reason, they'd be knocking on my door and kicking me out of the country within a couple of months. There is a big difference between an undocumented immigrant, and one who has a long paper trail behind him. Protip: the latter are easy pickings.

          But I don't completely blame you on not having much of a clue of how immigration laws are enforced, because if you asked me anything about immigrating into the countries I am a citizen of, you'd get a blank stare as I never had to deal with any of it. My only beef is that it you're not clever enough to realize that you have no clue what you're talking, nah, spewing about.

          Besides, you can't really have, effectively, three different sets of laws (federal, state and local), and expect that it'd be OK for the local police to enforce it all. Either there is a need for FBI and state police, or there isn't, you can't have it both ways. Now it is of course a thing to discuss whether we need all those three layers of policing to begin with.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> 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."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by GoogleShill (2732413)

          ...they won't do shit about the scumbag companies that will hire Paco for $3 an hour...

          I truly believe that cracking down on this alone will solve 90% of the immigration problem. If it becomes too risky for companies to hire illegals, there is less incentive to come here illegally and more jobs go to tax-paying Americans. Instead of spending billions on a wall, we could just send feds out to every construction site and fine the living shit out any company who is taking advantage of the system by hiring illegals. The system would pay for itself in short time.

          • by cusco (717999)
            Tyson Foods would never stand for it. They've gotten caught, repeatedly, paying truckers to bring mojados in to work in the Midwest chicken processing plants. It's not because there is a shortage of rednecks willing to be bathed in guts and blood for crap wages, it's because when an illegal gets injured rather than call their worker's comp insurance company they can call La Migra and he gets shipped back to Mexico on the taxpayer's dime. The savings are enormous, and the past fines amounted to less than
        • by tibit (1762298)

          All I know is that way too many of legal U.S. contractors are lazy bastards, and the only people who seem to be willing to do any real work are illegal immigrants. It's not even about taking jobs the citizens don't want, it's simply that the citizens seem to be useless. At least that has been my experience. With one exception, every legal contractor I had to deal with turned out in the end to be a piece of lying, lazy scum. The presumably illegal mexican crews hired by some companies were the only ones doin

    • 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 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 magarity (164372)

          If you think H1-B visas hurt US technical wages, look up the L visa and prepare to be outraged.

  • 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.

    • 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 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 smooth wombat (796938) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:35PM (#42693457) Homepage Journal
          The space program was dramatically accelerated by accepting German immigrants.

          Try again. We didn't accept them, we captured them. We got Von Braun and the other Nazis and had them work for us. Our rockets kept exploding but it was the Nazis, with their usual efficiency, who got us on the right track and took us to the moon.

          Obligatory XCDK comic [xkcd.com]
        • 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 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 starless (60879) on Friday January 25, 2013 @05:17PM (#42695519)

            Coming to the US with a green card is very difficult. I know of nobody who did that where I work (federal government science lab).
            I have a PhD in physics, I came to the US on an H1B visa (as did many of my colleagues).
            Then, after several years, I got a green card, then a few years after that I became a US citizen.
            That path (H1B -> green card -> citizen) has been followed by very many of my scientist and engineer colleagues.
            I'd like to think that we make a strong contribution to the US scientifically, economically, and culturally.

        • 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 JDG1980 (2438906)

          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 scie

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 1s44c (552956)

        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.

        That's just silly. You are saying you would not import one single programmer until every single American who has no aptitude at programming has a programming job.

        • No, but the foreigners shouldn't be chosen just because they are willing to work for less. What they should be required to do is offer the new worker the same pay as the highest paid job in the company (including benefits, bonuses). If they are unable to find a worker that will work for that, they should be required to offer the same deal to an H-1B candidate. After all, if his skills are in such short supply he must be worth at least as much as a CEO.

      • 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.

        Absolutely why the H1-B Visa program is a major problem. H1-B's work cheaper than similarly skilled citizens, and so are preferred by employers. In turn it will keep those otherwise employable American IT workers on unemployment. This legislation should be treated as an assault on the US citizens that it is.

      • 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 im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:18PM (#42693233)

      Agreed. Seriously reduce H1Bs and offer them citizenship if they agree to stick around for 10 years.

    • 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 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 Cyberax (705495) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:16PM (#42694081)
      That depends. I'm applying for a H1B (after years of working with the US companies remotely) and I'm going to be in the top tax bracket. I'm not going to undercut anybody on salary, obviously.

      US has always attracted people from all over the world, and that has always been a great advantage for the US economy. Our startup (that has been recently bought by a large company) consists of 6 people: 2 Russians, 1 Israeli, 1 Finnish, 1 Indian and one US-born person, I think we can speak about 10 languages in total. Making immigration more complex by cutting the H1B would just drive a lot of labor to other countries.

      It would be really great if H1B included the requirement for a minimal salary at least 1.5 times more than the "prevailing wage" crap that exists right now.
      • by AK Marc (707885)

        That depends. I'm applying for a H1B (after years of working with the US companies remotely) and I'm going to be in the top tax bracket. I'm not going to undercut anybody on salary, obviously.

        The top tax bracket starts at $400,000, so, with deductions, you'd have to be getting paid somewhere around $450,000 to $500,000 per year on an H1-B. What is the job? That doesn't sound anywhere near the average H1-B wage of about $75,000.

        • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday January 25, 2013 @05:12PM (#42695441)
          Yep, it's pretty close. The job is software development in a pretty senior position (since our startup got bought). A lot of people I know who are on H1B also receive pretty good salaries (in the 100-120k range). H1Bs are not exclusively used to undercut the US labor, and most H1B holders are actually actively interested in reducing the amount of H1B fraud.
  • 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 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 globaljustin (574257) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <labolgnitsuj>> on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:20PM (#42693243) Homepage Journal

    Trying to weigh all the parts of the bill, I think I would oppose it.

    I think foreign workers in all jobs are good, but increasing the number of visas granted is bad in an economy like ours. We need our jobs to rebuild our individual financial infrastructure. Younger workers need to be able to pay off those credit cards.

    Google, Yahoo, IBM, etc *should* be forced to hire more US workers. First it would force companies to start giving people with a criminal record a chance. Felons at age 26 with marketable skills in IT, web design, or coding/software engineering are still Felons...they never make it past HR...

    Just look at any thread on /. about getting hired...Human Resources is a difficult barrier even with a spotless record.

    A second reason to oppose more H1-B visas is that it would force Americans to go back to college or get marketable skills another way. State university systems are economical and could be adapted to be essentially profit-neutral and give 100% financial aid to all who are accepted.

    So yes, Americans do need to get off their asses, get some skillz and get to work...adding more *non-US* workers than we already allow is dumb right now

    • by undeadbill (2490070) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:46PM (#42693623)

      I think I'd like to see this bill at least tied to the following:

      1. No more questions about prior felony convictions. It is too easy to get popped with a felony, a class of crime that used to be limited to serious criminal offenses.
      2. Tie this to an additional H1-B payroll tax, with the revenue going to online certification training (much like the ACM offers as part of their membership), as well as vouchers for a certain amount of tests.
      3. Make it more desirable to hire and promote junior staff. H1-B is attractive because they have fewer workplace protections, and have to take a bigger gamble to come to the US to work. Fix some of those restrictions (such as severe limitations in job-hopping), and institute measures that promote hiring interns and junior IT people.

      Right now, it is harder than heck to find qualified IT staff, and HR departments are all asking for 3-5 years of experience in whatever they are hiring for. The problem isn't in the lack of willing senior staff who want to train and mentor people. It isn't in the lack of available training for the unemployed. It is in the lack of will on the part of C level execs who don't want it, and can't see the labor shortage coming up on them, or what that can mean in the long term (in my view, out past 5 years. In the view of a CEO, the long view is not more than 5 years).

    • by sjbe (173966) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:01PM (#42693841)

      I think foreign workers in all jobs are good, but increasing the number of visas granted is bad in an economy like ours.

      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?

      Google, Yahoo, IBM, etc *should* be forced to hire more US workers.

      You've never tried to run a business have you? Forcing a company to hire substandard talent is literally counterproductive. Companies need to and should hire the best talent they can get regardless of where the person is from. If that happens to be people from the US that is terrific. Companies need specific skills and those skills don't have anything to do with national boundaries. If the US workers are the best available option then I guarantee you that companies will hire them. If they aren't the best then they don't really deserve the jobs now do they?

      A second reason to oppose more H1-B visas is that it would force Americans to go back to college or get marketable skills another way.

      So less competition for jobs is somehow supposed to push Americans to get more training? Curious logic since generally less competition has exactly the opposite effect. If I don't have to compete for my job, I'm going to have zero motivation to spend money or time on additional education.

      • 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 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 dkleinsc (563838) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:30PM (#42694969) Homepage

      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 rule that H1B visa holders lose their right to be in the country if they lose their job is one of the attractions of H1B holders for bad employers. Imagine, if you will, an abusive boss or company that's making you put in lots of 80+ hour work weeks for $45K a year (It was supposed to be closer to $75K when you took the job, but for some reason the deal changed after you moved to take the job). Now, you have 2 basic options: You can quit, or you can put up with it.

      As a US citizen, if you quit, you might be unemployed for a while, which will suck, but you have a decent chance of finding new work sooner or later and have access to social safety net programs if you need them. As an H1B Visa holder, if you quit, you have to leave the country basically immediately and your best bet is going to work in your home country for $30K a year for a different abusive boss / company. Which means that the US citizen is more likely to quit when abused than an H1B holder is.

      And I don't blame the H1B holders for coming to the US to work - they're doing this because it's the best they can do. But I will absolutely be angry at the employers who want to cut costs by making it difficult to quit and then abusing their employees.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:30PM (#42693369)

    This is unthinkable. It's this kind of corporate pandering that has gotten us into the unemployment problem we're currently in. I have no problem with hiring people from other countries -- when there is a surplus of work to go around.

  • Senator Sanders (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:31PM (#42693385)

    Here's hoping Senator Bernie Sanders pushes back again on this one. Anyone familiar with the Senator knows that he has been a thorn in the side of H1-B advocates, introducing and pushing amendments to limit the program and fund US STEM for years.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/05/24/338394/-H-1B-Labor-Sen-Bernie-Sanders-Introduces-Amendment-to-Strengthen-America

  • 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 Pop69 (700500) <[billy] [at] [benarty.co.uk]> on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:58PM (#42693797) Homepage
    Anything that has Orrin Hatch involved is an automatic vote against as far as I'm concerned
  • 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 HangingChad (677530) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:08PM (#42693949) Homepage

    This to address the shortage of developers who will work 70 hours a week for $35K a year and are afraid to complain about working conditions for fear of being deported.

  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:20PM (#42694123) Homepage

    Realistically, I view an ability to bring in highly skilled workers as a huge boon for us. Tax revenues, technological innovation, business agility - etc. People who are really driving technology and innovation create way more value than they capture and they become the rising tide that lift all boats.

    But how can you identify them? We all know companies that want to import workers for less skilled jobs carefully tailor the job descriptions to avoid any domestic competition, don't publicize the jobs widely, etc.

    Salary is the answer. We should prioritize H1-B visa imports by salary. The more you are paying the worker you import, the higher on the list they get to be. Any increase in the cap requires a certain number of workers at the top of the salary curve; if your salary would put you in the top 1% of workers in any science or technology field, then come on in; I don't care how high the "cap" goes. As you move toward the middle of the bell curve, the total number of workers we'll import declines. We shouldn't import even one worker below the median salary. I don't think we should move an inch over the current cap unless everyone over the cap is at least in the top 20%.

  • 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!

  • H-2B or not 2B (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smugfunt (8972) on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:40PM (#42694379)

    I noted with interest a recent advert in one of the newspapers here in Belize. It was offering Belizeans jobs in New Jersey driving ice-cream trucks for $8.50 an hour. On a six-month H-2B visa.
    I realize $8.50 is not a whole lot but can they really find no Americans to do it? Incidentally, a laborer in Belize makes about a quarter of that and a hot meal costs about $2.00.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:25PM (#42694913) Journal

    My wife is a software product manager. Her product development is split between the "tough stuff" and closely synchronized systems interfacing work done by American citizens, and the "easy stuff" which is mainly HTML and JavaScript web GUI stuff done by a large Indian consulting company. The Indian company (an investor in the product) keeps a project manager for their Indian folks in the US to coordinate on the product better, and the actual coders are in India.

    The Indian project manager has been in the US for years with his family (I suspect his kids feel as American as Indian). But his H1-B is around to run out. He and his family has to go back to India.

    But not to worry! The Indian consulting company is sending a new H1-B guy over for project management.

    My great-grandmother stepped off a ship with no skills, looked around for work, and then got citizenship after a few years. It is insane that we are bringing skilled folks (and their smart kids) into the US and kicking them out again.

    I've been involved in several incidents where immigration rules have messed with my industry. There was a German engineer who had to do the "go back to Germany" thing for a few years because of a screw up. I've seen Canadian tech people turned around at the border by immigration when going to fix a system in Detroit. This is not helping us.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:37PM (#42695051) Homepage

    How about we agree to that cap increase, but only if H1-B visas have two conditions attached:

    1. The visa is only valid as long as the applicant is employed. If he's unemployed for more than 30 days, the visa is no longer valid.

    2. The visa is granted to the employee, not the company, and goes with the employee if he accepts another job.

    Companies want to bring in foreign applicants because they can get them cheaper than hiring locally (otherwise, why go through the hassle?). Change the economic rules so they can't low-ball salaries without risking other companies poaching their employees with better offers and I'll bet H1-Bs become a lot less popular.

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