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Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command 374

theodp writes "PC World reports that DHS has extended the time foreign graduates of US colleges can stay in the country and work to almost two-and-a-half years, an 'emergency' change that drew kudos from Microsoft and other H-1B visa stakeholders. Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?' Bill Gates's Congressional Testimony, March 12, 2008: 'Extending OPT from 12 to 29 months would help to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage. This only requires action by the Executive Branch, and Congress and this Committee should strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security to take such action immediately.' DHS Press Release, April 4, 2008: 'The US Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students.'"
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Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command

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  • Yay, Flamebait! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitalisAkujin ( 846133 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:47PM (#23050420) Homepage
    Thanks for the very opinionated analysis on how apparently Bill Gates is now ordering the US government but the fact of the matter is this request was good for both parties, good for science, and good for the industry.

    Now get off my lawn!
  • Disingenous tripe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:52PM (#23050456) Homepage
    Bill Gates, eh? What about all the other companies that lobbied to get this trough? IBM is one of the largest importers of foreign labor, but of course we don't want to mention that. Heck, IBM is the largest employer of L1 visa [] holders. IBM uses these visas to get around the salary and posting requirements of H1-B visas. Thousands and thousands of Indians, Chinese and Russians are in the US occupying jobs under L1 visas and working for IBM and a few other companies, mostly on mid- and lower-level IT jobs that pay well but don't require high qualifications, and of which there is no shortage in this country.

    Microsoft does not use L1 visas, because they don't import cheap outsourced labor like IBM does. They are trying to bring in valuable, qualified college graduates to this country to fill higher-level positions that cannot be filled with US-based engineers because at that level, there truly is a shortage.

    But hey, this is Slashdot so we can happily spin this so that it seems Bill Gates is manipulating US immigration policies for his own benefit. That way we get another "Microsoft is teh evil" bullet point for the "advocacy" folks, and Slashdot sells more ads. Everybody wins.

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:02PM (#23050508)
    your whinging because you might not get a 6 figure salary? cry me a fucking river asshole!

    show me some proof that hb-1 visa's have resulted in pay cuts, because i keep hearing people running their mouths about it but when i look at [] all i see are rising wages.

  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:13PM (#23050576) Journal
    I still can't find a job. I'm willing to work for like 50k which is like chump change for what I can do. Oh well, some people are forced to start their own business because no one will hire them. Life could be a lot worse for me so I'm not complaining. It is just strange to put in so much work across all the years of school and not being able to land a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:21PM (#23050610)
    Software is one of the easiest things to outsource. If companies can't hire enough foreign programmers to work in the US, they'll just pay them to stay in their home country and do the same work.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:54PM (#23050810)
    Immigration is probably the only thing keeping your job here in the US. I wouldn't complain. Think about it from a corporations point of view. You have an international corporation that simply wants the work done and are truly indifferent to where it is done. When deciding where to do the bulk of their programming, the US is not exactly the most inviting place. We have some of the highest corporate taxes in the world, we have the highest wages in the world, and in general there is a very high cost of doing business here.

    There are good reasons to do work in the US. If the work is the for the US market, it doesn't hurt to have it done in the US to save time in cleaning it up make it presentable to the consumer and you have cleaner communication lines with the US marketers and business folks.

    What the immigration does is make the choice a little easier for corporations to pick the US over India. Sure, immigration does, to some small extent push down US wages. Know what pushes down US wages even more though? When they say "fuck it" and simply have the entire thing done in India for a fraction of the cost.

    So, you can either swallow that people from India (and elsewhere) come here for high wages while at the same time knocking your wages down a little, or simply have corporations throw their hands up at the high cost of doing business and simply farm it all out to India.

    Take your pick.

    Stringent immigration policies NEVER result in great economic booms that nationalist promise. Immigration has never hurt the US. The US has a long time of kicking ass and taking in the economics and academics BECAUSE it has such a liberal immigration policy. Taking in skilled workers from elsewhere is a good thing for the US and keeps jobs here. If anyone has anything to bitch about, it is India. The US is the one stealing away their skilled workers, adding them to our economy, and leaving them high and dry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:47PM (#23051184)

    I still can't find a job. I'm willing to work for like 50k which is like chump change for what I can do. Oh well, some people are forced to start their own business because no one will hire them. Life could be a lot worse for me so I'm not complaining. It is just strange to put in so much work across all the years of school and not being able to land a job.
    If you're looking for a job in Pittsburgh, I wouldn't be surprised that you're not able to find it. I'm another "highly skilled" coder from CMU who left Pittsburgh after a couple of years of working in a couple of small companies that were doing some system level work (if you've ever worked in Pittsburgh, you can probably guess what those companies are), and moved to the Bay Area about three years ago. Since then, the companies I've worked in have *constantly* been looking for more engineers like myself. To explain it another way, all the companies I've worked in here, have constantly had req's open for people just like me (give or take few years of experience based on the actual hiring team).

        If your point was to criticize Indians stealing your jobs so you can't find jobs in your preferred local area, remember, they moved almost half way around the globe to a completely foreign culture to go where the jobs were. You can't complain if you're not even willing to move a couple of timezones.

      btw, If you're an experienced system's level programmer (for unix) or a database internals expert, send me your resume at dvideo (I'm using a google account. I think you can figure it out.) with something obvious in the header (say "SLASHDOT RECRUITMENT RESUME"). That goes for anybody who's willing to move to the bay area and considers him/herself a crack programmer with one of the aforementioned skillsets. I can't give out the name of my company here since we're a stealth mode startup.
  • by WhoBeDaPlaya ( 984958 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:51PM (#23051206) Homepage
    That's why I don't get some people's claims that we're suckling at the American tit. We pay taxes, pay rent / buy property, buy products and services locally, etc.
  • I think the larger question is...why when we in the US have PLENTY of citizens

    Well we have PLENTY of citizens, but they do not like to do computer programming. Last time I checked, the only people that came here to the USA involuntarily were African Americans. The rest of us are ancestors of some "driving down the wages to citizens and giving them to foreigners that are just sending home is not helping matters..."

    This ridiculous, xenophobic crap has polluted the American discource since the Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam bitched about the new British arrivals in what would eventually be renamed New York. Yet, despite these waves of low wage immigrants, the United States has managed to become the riches single nation on the planet earth. I've got 13 aircraft carriers, a man on the moon, a kick ass freeway system and gasoline that even today is cheaper than any of our allies to say that a policy of open ended immigration works and works stunningly well.

    My grandmother, as did many grandparents, sent money overseas back to Europe to their families when they had it. Family is an AMERICAN value. Remember?

    I too, work with a lot of immigrants in Computer Programming, and for the most part I have found these people, whereever they come from, be it Malaysia, Viet Nam, China, India, Japan, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, and Switzerland, to be hardworking, decent, law abiding, industrious, imaginative, family oriented, and in short the sort of people that the USA should be proud to have. These people want to work, value family, and want to be Americans. I think that, rather than making these people jump through hoops like dogs, we should be recruiting these people from around the world, agressively, and we should be honored to make them citizens of our country, and not the other way around.

    By the way too, my uncle in law did THREE combat tours in Viet Nam, earning a silver star, a couple of purple hearts. He's not a computer programmer, but he got his degree at Khe Sahn. But hey, he's just a stinking Mexican... so now you can take that stereotype about lazy hispanic people and blow that out your ass too, while you were at it.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:13PM (#23051348)
    >When they do that, the job and money stays IN OUR economy. We're talking here about H1-B visa workers...temporary workers that have no intention on staying here and becoming US citizens.

    I call BS... The reason why there are so many H1-B visas is because America does not let anything else in.

    I am quite serious here, as my wife and I were confronted with this situation. If you look at the visas of America there are no "skilled labor" immigrations like there is in Canada or Australia. In fact America is actually one of the few countries that focuses on family based immigration.

    Look at your government statistics and you will see that per capita there is very little immigration to America. Per capita America has 25% of the immigration that Australia and Canada have. And of that immigration about 60%+ is family based. In Australia and Canada it is in reverse.
  • by KPU ( 118762 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:43AM (#23051762) Homepage
    The link you cite is again bogus as this reflects the cost to employers rather than salary, which is the original poster's issue.

    Mean computer programmer salary:
    $67,400 in May 2005 []
    $69,500 in May 2006 []

    This is an annual increase of 3.11%, which is lower than inflation of 3.39% in 2005 and 3.24% in 2006 []. So in some meaningless sense wages did rise, but in the meaningful sense of buying anything, wages went down.

    You still have not addressed my question regarding the relevance of rising wages to the visa.

    That said, I agree with the sentiment of your original comment.
  • by metlin ( 258108 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @01:40AM (#23052036) Journal
    Forced intellectual labor and slavery - you can phrase it however you want, but you're advocating second grade citizenry for people who spent years laboring in graduate school for the privilege of staying in this country.

    I wonder when and where this country became so morally decrepit. Land of immigrants, indeed.
  • by megaditto ( 982598 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @01:53AM (#23052088)
    You DO know that Linus Torvalds is an immigrant (i.e. one of those people who you think is stealing your job)?

    Google, transistor, telephone, AC motor/generator, GPS, nuclear reactor, nuclear bomb, rocket engine, space program, radio transmitter... all invented by immigrants.

    So yeah, Bill Gates is the man, and having him as president would be a great idea (though he's more liberal than a tapeworm).
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by damasterwc ( 1247688 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:06AM (#23052560)
    I totally agree... I was just reading an article today about NAFTA that said "Union groups claim 1 million jobs lost in US since passage of NAFTA" and went on to say Mexican unions say they have lost 2.5 million jobs. Liberalization of Mexico's banking system reduced the amount of money loaned to Mexican small businesses from 10% to 0.8%. Clearly the only ones benefiting are big business and the politicians they support. I think the only way we can stop it is clean money campaigns. The presidential candidates are already spending more money than the budget of small developing nations. Even if our unemployment is only 5%, it doesn't count people not on unemployment, people whose benefits have expired, and those underemployed. I love tax rebate checks as much as the next guy, but shouldn't we be investing in our infrastructure? Bringing our D- rated infrastructure up to speed and constructing oil consumption-reducing high speed rail will turn around the job losses and auto industry collapse. Thoughts?
  • by sodul ( 833177 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:52AM (#23052934) Homepage

    I'm not talking about immigration. We're talking about something akin to 'ringers' being brought in to drive down wages. H1-B workers are not immigrants, they are not coming here to work to become US citizen and stay here, they are temporary workers that drive down wages, send money home and leave eventually.

    I know a lot of H1-B workers that use the H1-B just as a way to try and get themselves into the USA.

    I second that. I've been in the US for 7 years, the last 6 were on an H1-B visa, trying to get a green card (which I now have).

    Saying that the H1-B visa is a tool for corporations to get cheap workers that can't quit when given crappy assignments is not really true. For me finding an other job was an experience issue, nobody would even reply to me until I had 3 years experience. Now I usually get contacted once a month by small and big name companies (latest one was VMWare), but I'm very happy where I am. It is true however that many 'recruiters' have no clue that an H1-B visa is easily transferable (takes 2 weeks) from one company to an other, and some would basically hang up when I mentioned I was on a Visa, making it more difficult to get an other job.

    As for the salary, while I wish I would get more so I could afford a house in my area (prices are not going down), my total compensation is well within the average according to I also get a lot of perks at work, one of the best being to only deal with smart people.

    Sending money home: I've never ever done that, my relatives don't need any help and I'm sure they would actually be very offended if I gave them any money.

  • by Minimalist360 ( 1258970 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:23AM (#23053724) Homepage

    Oh right, American Dads in the 50s and 60s. They also lived with a lot less. They didn't have a $90/month cable bill, they weren't all carrying cell phones, they didn't have broadband OR computers that needed constant updating. Etc.

    But hey, let's talk about the real problem. Taxes in the 50s and 60s were completely different, 90 percent of people paid either 0 or 20%. Social security was 3% of your check, or 6% if you add the employer part. Now it's what, 15.3% if you add the employer part? The average tax rate for families is much higher than it was in the 60s.

    Or, you could just blame it on immigrants and allowing them in rather than the host of other policy decisions (resulting in the totally retarded federal budget we have now) and economic factors that have gotten us where we are.

  • by Minimalist360 ( 1258970 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:46AM (#23053836) Homepage

    THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Seriously. No one ever brings this up, but it's totally true. If you think you're guaranteed a right to your job so you can not work very hard and spew opinion all over /. all day, then you're wrong. Some other guy will come along who's a little hungrier and wants it a little worse.

    Maybe Gates et al are tired of interviewing and hiring from a large pool of entitled people who come in and are more concerned with benefits than actually working, and spending 20 hours a week browsing and setting up their weekend and vacation itineraries, and occasionally doing the minimum?

    We're a two-person company (used to be more) and it's almost impossible to be competitive in any sense with local talent. So for the last 3 years we've set up a team in a country in eastern Europe. At this point all we really do is manage programmers overseas because it's really hard to get people here that are willing to work for their money. My only real problem with this setup is exchange rate (they're pegged to the Euro), but I mean, ultimately that's a hedge-able non-issue.

    But that's okay, we should unionize everyone, cap the H-1B lower, and then these companies will set up even larger facilities in India, China, etc. We can just watch CNN all day and bitch how the whole place is going down the tubes.

  • by Minimalist360 ( 1258970 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:00AM (#23053900) Homepage

    Maybe their expectations are out of whack from that bubble-era when people who had liberal arts degrees and could cut and paste javascript and do tables in HTML were making $60k a year, and so other programmers with real skills saw rates go up insanely.

    Personally, in that bubble period, my salary more than quadrupled over 5 years while moving jobs 6 times. That's CRAZY. And my salary has indeed gone down since it peaked in 2002, and I do more now, but hey I'm not OWED that ridiculous salary any more than I DESERVED those raises. They were a product of the labor market, which at that point was fairly volatile and probably could be characterized as unhealthy.

    It goes pretty deep, too. I mean we had a SURPLUS of federal tax dollars (lockbox, anyone?) that happened to dry up right as that bubble burst.

    Anyway, back to my point, a lot of people's expectations haven't adjusted with the general market. I've interviewed people where it's painfully clear they're living some fantasy where they think they're OWED a fat salary to throw code around. They're still floating on their capital gains from the bubble, were possibly floating on their housing bubbles too, and they don't really need to work very hard right now, so they stay underemployed.

    Not saying this is you and your friends in Chicago, but I've certainly seen this around the NYC area.

  • Animal Farm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srobert ( 4099 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:41PM (#23054770)
    If I had mod points, I'd mod you up. Ever read George Orwell's "Animal Farm". The pig in power manipulated history to be what he needed it to be. The less intelligent animals began to question their own recollection of events. In America today, it's not only that one generation questions the history that it lived through, but subsequent generations have had almost no exposure to it at all. It is relegated to the footnote section of historical knowledge. The 1886 Haymarket riot is an obscure event that very few Americans know any thing about. How poignant that a non-American brought it to our attention here.
    In China, if you Google Tiananmen Square, you won't get information on the 1989 riots because it's censored. In the U.S. you'd get complete access to the information, but it is marginalized in importance by the people who tell us what we should think about. I wouldn't trade places with the Chinese, but in many ways the corporate American propaganda system is even more insidious because it is disguised as freedom of speech.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:44AM (#23059906)
    The labor shortage is quite real.

    No, it isn't. I've seen the stacks of resumes myself, and I've personally recommended quite a few domestic candidates that were qualified for the open positions, only to have their resumes round-filed in favor of less-skilled and cheaper help from overseas. I've had this same experience at multiple companies over the past 9 years, incidentally.

    That video is about how a company, after it has spent years getting an application to that point, doesn't want to see it torpedoed by an unqualified US code monkey.

    I suppose you worked closely with Cohen & Grigsby and know this for a fact, as opposed to them simply recommending ways to skirt labor law in order to bring in a cheaper and more pliable candidate?

Neutrinos have bad breadth.