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

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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  • 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.

  • by Ironhandx ( 1762146 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:34PM (#42693431)

    Theres a seperate program for these people, like the german immigrants, who get in with green cards much faster.

    H1-Bs are the IT equivalent of on-shore sweat-shops only they're legal.

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:35PM (#42693457) 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 []
  • 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 mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:52PM (#42693707) Journal

    The H1B visa only allows a foreigner to work in the US for the company that sponsors their visa, therefore, H1B visa slaves must accept any working conditions and pay that they are given. If they don't like the work situation their only choice is to go back to where they came from.

  • by Pop69 ( 700500 ) <billy@ben a r t y> 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @02:58PM (#42693799)

    Slashdot - I remember when you used to have informative comments... every day you're getting closer and closer to the bile spewed out on youtube comments...

    H1Bs require LCAs which require the income to meet the standard for that position. This $ figure is set by the government with the intention that companies cannot bring in foreigners and pay them less then citizens.

    I know because I've been through the process. I'm an Australian working in the US on a H1B earning as much as I would back home. The minimum wage listed by the government on the LCA seemed fair to me so I have no idea what you all are complaining about.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:39PM (#42694371)

    Because turn about is fair play. Try going to one of those countries that "your friends" are from and getting a job.
    Good luck with that. The vast majority of other countries do not allow non-citizens to get jobs at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:55PM (#42694547)

    Try to get a programmer job in India. You will politely be informed that Indian jobs are for Indians.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @03:58PM (#42694593)

    It's the same as with outsourcing - it enriches companies and short-sells Americans. Expanded H1B program would make unappealing to invest in education in America. There would be no more need to invest in future generations if company could get workers you need w/o spending any money. In addition H1B workforce's living expenses are lower than of American workers which in turn depresses salaries of American workers.

    For example, right now my friends company is paying 50% of her expenses to finish her MBA, it costs them $20k. If company could import someone they would be net ~$20k profit (maybe more if they can pay less for the same job) and my friend would be either unemployed or less educated.

  • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:12PM (#42694749)

    First, the countries economy depends on its citizens having jobs. If you, instead, give those jobs to non-citizens, then you hurting the economy.

    Most people here on H1B's send a large amount of their salary back home. That means that the money paid to them is leaving our economy, and instead propping up other economies.

    I have no problem with immigrants getting jobs, because immigrants are here permanently. H1B's are temporary visas, with no intention of becoming permanent citizens (although many do find ways to convert).

    We don't have enough jobs for all our IT workers as it is, we don't need to be importing more unless there isn't anyone here that can fill the role.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @04:51PM (#42695175) Homepage Journal


    As an American, it would take me less than two weeks to get a visa approved to work in India. That's because the tax rate on foreign workers is 34%. Throw the VAT on top of that, plus living expenses in an ex-pat community, and not very much money would leave their country.

    Unlike the H-1B, which U.S. companies use primarily to bring in cheap labor, India is very interested in importing skills they can learn from, especially American English teachers or technical mentors. You would not believe how eager they are for such people. They recognize that their global position as a "low cost country" is only temporary, and will ultimately dwindle as more of their population shifts out of poverty and they become more expensive. They're taking full advantage of the opportunity now so when the Western money dries up they'll have a better trained workforce.

  • 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.
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @05:29PM (#42695669)

    > Wages in the US have not been on an inevitable downward march,

    Adjusted for inflation, this statement is bullshit. Since 1999, household income has *fallen.* That's 14 solid years.

    But hey, you go look up these facts yourself. They're googleable.


  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @06:01PM (#42696015)

    I was willing to work for HALF my income (silicon valley good income; I was willing to take half and not complain).

    they would not hire me. 'overqualified'.

    tell me with a straight face that we have not enough skilled US workers.

    tell me. but don't be within arm's reach of me when you say that to my face.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @06:20PM (#42696215)

    There are costs to offering employment in different locales, but your point still stands: jobs find their way to the best production to cost ratio. That is what employers want and they will seek that out to the best of their ability. If barriers to employment continue to rise in the US (licensing restrictions, wage mandates, hiring quotas, etc) then naturally an entrepreneur with a profitable idea will look elsewhere to see it completed for willing consumers.

    One myth that a lot of people use to cover this up is the argument from wages. A poor man in china costs only a fraction of workers elsewhere(excluding overhead like remoteness and language/culture translations). This is the argument cited as a race to the bottom. It is of course, entirely ex post facto reasoning that has the problem backward. The truth is that there are several reasons for the higher cost of employing US workers, but none justify the standard race to the bottom argumentation.

    The first is very simple econ 101 stuff: more resources are invested into US workers. This includes training, general education, capital investment that multiplies the productivity of labor, etc. Productivity of a man who can operate advanced means of production can match the productivity of 20 manual laborers. Of course he will cost more, because he can ask for it and employers will still find it worth while. No race to the bottom arises from this particular phenomenon.

    The second is very simple political stuff: wage controls and price inflation prices US labor out of the market. Often times I see fear mongers attack this point partially, twisting it into a half truth that if people were permitted to work for wages they and employers agreed upon without some government thugs kidnapping them for their peaceful arrangement, there would be starvation in the streets with workers making 1 dollar per day and other such nonsense. They only consider the wage distortion in the US economy without considering also the price distortions that go along with it.

    Ultimately, a lot of the fear mongering around freed and peaceful trade and labor is due to a lack of empathy for our fellow man. Rather than respecting others as actual human being with their own will and desire, often times the scared see people as motionless pawns where only 1 evil guy gets to make his move on this chess board of life while everyone else must simply watch and submit. They seek violent authority as a solution to this supposed single motive actor(a huge contradiction on many levels). Another effect of this misunderstanding and trauma is that these people also see other human beings as machines. This is widely prevalent in the misuse of the natural scientific methodology applied to human action(as with economic doctrines that treat people as equations to be tweaked) but more generally, it shows up in the idea that blunt mandates that massively change some aspect of people's lives will only change that and nothing else, like adding oil to a car. They don't understand that humans react to their environment based on the black box of immeasurable subjective preference which manifests in objective behavior in a variety of ways. This is why whenever the current set of restrictions and controls and social engineering fail, they inevitably blame everything else as the cause. They cannot imagine the source of their problem is a failing in methodology.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @06:34PM (#42696323)

    I dont think the workers from poorer countries think they are being screwed. I mean, from the standpoint of what they could be making, maybe, but from the standpoint of what they were making, not really.

    That's why we need to stand up for them. I don't mean keep them out, I mean make the H1B program less about indentured servitude and more about citizenship.

    Right now, H1B is used as an unofficial visa on the green-card/citizenship path. It takes about 5 years of continuous residence to get a green card if you are in the country on an H1B. But an H1B is only good for 6 years. You can only get a green-card if you are sponsored by your current employer. If you change employers, the process starts over. So if you want a green card you are effectively a hostage of your current employer.

    I say modify the H1B visa program to be an official citizenship-seeking visa. Require H1B visa holders also apply for a green-card starting as soon as they are on US soil and make that application the visa holder's responsibility and take the employer completely out of the loop.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:45PM (#42696925)

    I'm not be argumentative or sarcastic. Why would I be outraged by the L visa?

    Because the L visa is totally immune to US pay law. I was in China in 2008-2010 and while looking for a local job, happened upon IBM consulting. The local payscale was less than $1k US/month. That sounded OK for a local gig because cost of living is so low but the catch was they wanted to send me to the US for a year and pay that same rate. I pointed out US minimum wage was higher than that but the local manager waved this concern away and said they did it all the time; I would be sent on an L visa which allows the employee to be paid home country pay while in the US. I then asked how a US citizen could go to the US on any kind of visa and after a silent pause she abruptly hung up on me (this was the third interview). Whether this is a case of the IBM worldwide doing this or they think they're paying US wages while the local China branch's management collect the difference, I have no idea, but something not at all funny is going on with L visas.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:13PM (#42697187) Journal

    H1-B is dual-intent visa, which means that a person staying on it in US is legally allowed to express intent to immigrate. And it's one of the few venues that let you do skilled immigration, since that requires sponsorship of some company, and they usually won't do it unless you've already proven their worth to them (i.e. work for them)

    If not enough people on H1-B eventually immigrate, then maybe you'll want to change that. I'm an H1-B employee with intent to immigrate, and right now the biggest hassle is that the green card application process is severely backlogged - today, they're still processing applications from early 2007! So, realistically, for someone looking to come to US, they're looking at 5 years before their application is even reviewed, then several months to a year before it's approved. Fix that, and I bet you'll see far more people staying. I mean, why wouldn't we want to? US isn't perfect, but it's vastly better than all developing countries out there.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant