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H-1B Cap Reached Today; Didn't Get In? Too Bad 512

First time accepted submitter Dawn Kawamoto writes "Employers stampeding into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to get their H-1B petitions filed before the cap is reached are getting the door slammed in their face today. The cap was hit in near record time of 5 days, compared to the 10 weeks it took last year to have more than enough petitions to fulfill the combined cap of 85,000 statutory and advanced degree H-1B petitions. While U.S. tech workers scream that they're losing out on jobs as H-1B workers are hired, employers are countering that the talent pool is lacking and they need to increase the cap. Of course, Congress is wrangling in on this one as to whether it's time to raise the bar."
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H-1B Cap Reached Today; Didn't Get In? Too Bad

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  • talent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:16PM (#43374115)

    talent pool is lacking = we don't want to pay

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:18PM (#43374137)

    > While U.S. tech workers scream that they're losing out on jobs as H-1B workers are hired

    No *competent* tech worker is screaming that. Seriously. If you are in tech and unemployed right now, it is nobody's fault but your own; everyone is hiring like a madman right now.

  • Re:talent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:19PM (#43374147) Journal

    Sad but true.

    I'm willing to bet that the big H1-B heavy corps (Microsoft, Intel, Infosys, and similar) had people sitting at the door waiting in line, metaphorically speaking. They likely snatched up their maximums in less than an hour after opening.

    Good luck if you're a small operator, but at least the good news is the big guys made it easier to work with a lot of excellent-but-smaller companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:30PM (#43374249)

    At higher levels, they focus on "Purple Squirrels" -- hard to meet combinations that aren't available -- instead of people who can do the job well.

  • by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <> on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:30PM (#43374251) Homepage Journal
    From NPR [], a few days ago. Why is Congress supporting this (other than the obvious answer, campaign contributions)?

    If you scroll through the government's visa data, you notice something surprising. The biggest employer of foreign tech workers is not Microsoft â" not by a long shot. Nor is it Google, Facebook or any other name-brand tech company. The biggest users of H-1Bs are consulting companies, or as Ron Hira calls them, "offshore-outsourcing firms."

    For the past decade, he's been studying how consulting firms use temporary work visas to help American companies cut costs. He says they use the visas to supply cheaper workers here, but also to smooth the transfer of American jobs to information-technology centers overseas. "What these firms have done is exploit the loopholes in the H-1B program to bring in on-site workers to learn the jobs [of] the Americans to then ship it back offshore," he says. "And also to bring in on-site workers who are cheaper on the H-1B and undercut American workers right here."

    The biggest user of H-1B last year was Cognizant, a firm based in New Jersey. The company got 9,000 new visas. Following close behind were Infosys, Wipro and Tata â'â' all Indian firms.

  • by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:33PM (#43374265)
    Talent has nothing to do with it. I can get dozens of jobs at any moment but not one that pays over 50K because a foreign worker will do the same job for 30K. I made 70K when I was 23 (2003) 75-80K when I was 25- 27 doing the same job with less experience.
  • Re:talent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:33PM (#43374269) Homepage

    Well, it has been a fairly interesting week. Let's see, got the jobs data right here, and it's a doozy: link []

    Given those unemployment figures, it's kind of hard to argue that there is a lack of people in those fields seeking gainful employment. Oh, wait, I'm wrong; apparently, a large number of them have recently given up looking for work, as they simply couldn't find any, and thus are dropped from the count in the future (hurrah!).

    Personally, I can't wait until we see the past few months' employment figures readjusted, at some future date.

    But yeah, if you had to listen to the techs or business people on this one, the techs are probably telling it straight: they're being screwed. But that's alright, it's not like it's going to affect the security / whatever of our nation, as surely people will continue to enter into these great fields despite the now frequent hardships, right? Only no, it appears that a lot of programs seem to be having problems here. It warms the cockles of my heart to know that the US's CyberCommand will, in time, possibly be 100% foreign-born.

    Hey Congress, just keep doing what you've been doing. Fantastic job thus far, can't wait to see the results next quarter. Just know that a large, angry, and extremely vocal contingent of unemployed techs will certainly not spend their idle time trying to find ways to undermine you as you've undermined them. Nope, that'll never happen. Plus those are votes you can count on not getting on election day...not that it will matter with the kickbacks you will be earning for passing this crap...on the other hand, an untimely exposure of a scandal does tend to limit one's chances, and does cost a lot less. Price of a bought Senator? $5,000,000. Price of an Android phone? $300. Catching the good Senator making out with someone not his wife, and uploading it to YouTube? Priceless.

  • by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:37PM (#43374297)
    "In nearly every other case a foreign coder is a better match for the employer."

    In nearly every other case a foreign coder is a better match for the cheap ass that wants to give himself a bonus for having higher profit margins because he paid less wages.
    There fixed that for you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:40PM (#43374313)

    Bullshit, what US employers want are an exploitable workforce that will work for cheap. This shit extends to other industries as well (mining in Canada, for example.) And these assholes that come from overseas are all-too-willing to go along with it too, fucking us all over in the process.

    And then there are assholes like YOU who fucking support these cocksuckers in their mission to enslave working people.

    Fuck your mother
    Die of cancer
    Rot in hell!

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:44PM (#43374353)

    Jobs report today said no jobs being created.
    Yet we are hiring many h1b's.
    Meanwhile, many of our 30 year olds are suicidal over a combination of unforgivable debt and no jobs.

    Quite a disconnect.

    I think it's time to put a tariff on offshored/outsourced jobs- including h1b's.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:53PM (#43374417)

    US tech workers have to compete with the tech elite of the world.

    With the nice handicap of a higher cost of living.

    It is then quite obvious that most of US workers are not competitive on their skills alone, not even counting salary and benefits and other expectations (like a somewhat limited work week.)

    Is it? I see Indian companies setting up shop in the US and importing people with the primary goal of exporting knowledge and jobs from the country. It's the same bloodbath that manufacturing has seen engaged in by greedy executives as they export manufacturing jobs to China.

    India and China are large places, and their people are not corrupted yet with ideas that everyone owes them a fine living.

    Ah yes, because expecting to be paid a living wage in your nation of residence is an insidious ideal.

    A salary that barely feeds a US worker is a windfall in the 3rd world.

    Precisely why corporations like to offshore jobs. They get to take advantage of a wage gradient that individuals don't.

    The US tech worker is forced to compete with the best of the best of the whole world, and he cannot win that competition unless he is aided by his own brilliance (it does happen!) or unique skills, or requirements of citizenship (for classified work.)

    He cannot win. So long as India and China can keep the cost of labor down and increase their knowledge pool, much like US manufacturing, US tech jobs will be exported as well and US workers will have no recourse. Except, of course, to accept pay as low as received in India and China but without the lower cost of living. Which is what employers want. To keep income high and impoverish their workers - without realizing that they are shooting themselves in the head by destroying their market.

    Perhaps we should end the bullshit that is "free trade" and start some creeping tariffs. Exporting jobs should be met with a nice, stiff tax.

  • Re:talent! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:59PM (#43374453)

    Just because you have an "education" and can put a list of "skills" on a resume, that does not mean you're actually worth your salt. If you interview anything like how you type, I'm not at all surprised that you're frustrated.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:14PM (#43374569) Homepage Journal

    Just scrolling through the +5 comments, I see a ton of xenophobia...

    Can't find an entry level IT job? Where are you? Arkansas? Here in silicon valley, we're experiencing another surge in hiring. I'm pretty low on the skillset, so whenever I get myself back into IT, I consider the economy to be doing well. Case in point... Company I work for. We've been losing a ton of local talent to google who's been on a hiring binge. When a small shop like ours (120 or so employees) can afford to pay great salaries, but we lose out to name brands like google, we have to turn to H1B.

    And for the H1B worker, life isn't all cherries and apple pie. Case in point, this big ass march from immigration voice. []

    See the white guy with pelican case in tow? That's me.

    Let's say you're here from India on H1B and you have a family emergency. You have to go home. So many H1B's are scared to go home, because when they try to return more often than not, they're denied re-entry into the country. I haven't met a single H1B that wouldn't LOVE to be a US citizen, but instead we give them a non-citizen status as an H1B that gives them basically no rights as a US citizen.

    I think we should just trash H1B altogether, and allow anyone of decent education (BA or BS) come live here, become a citizen, and pay taxes.

    As slashdotters, we shouldn't hate on the H1B people. They are not the problem. It's our policy, the very creation of H1B to sidestep proper citizenship that is.

  • by PhamNguyen ( 2695929 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:16PM (#43374587)

    Maybe it's time to clarify what kind of a site Slashdot is? It claims to be "News for Nerds" but there are a lot of nerds who have H-1B visas, or live outside the US.

    This article's title is just plain nasty. There is room for debate on these issues, and I personally think the numbers of H-1B visas are excessive (or better put, the requirements for getting one are too lenient), but the idea that people applying for H-1B's are to be despised is very offputting to potential users of this site. Unless, of course, Slashdot isn't really for these people in which case you should be more explicit about that.

    On the issue of H-1B's themselves, it is necessary to separate out generic issues of free trade, from issues that are specific to trade in human labor. Any valuable commidity will benefit country that imports it. If there were a ban on importing rare earth metals to the US, and suddently this was lifted, it would benefit companies that utilize these metals (and ultimately consumers) and harm producers of rare earth metals. However the net benefit would be positive, this is standard economic theory. Now I imagine that when the ban is lifted, the rare earth producers would say "there is no shortage of rare earth metals, people just aren't willing to pay a fair price. If people paid more, we could mine previously uneconomic deposits, etc.". This would be a mistaken interpretation, again because economic theory says that the welfare of society is maximized under free trade.

    Now this theory breaks down when it applies to people, but only because of externalities. That is, people who come to the US on H-1B visas may have a negative influence on the US apart from their impact on the labor force. Some of these are simply because a person in the US temporarily will be less engaged with the community and civil society. Also many Americans prefer that the US retain its cultural and ethinc composition, and so these people may be negatively affected.

    So there are many valid arguments against H-1B visas, although most of the economic arguments are wrong. I think the criteria should be stricter so that only the people who add the most value to the economy can get one. This way, the US would get the maximum benefit for the minimum number of people. A masters degree should be a minimum.

    Anyway that is my view on H-1B visas but can we please keep personal animosity towards people on H-1B's out of it?

  • by blue9steel ( 2758287 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:30PM (#43374673)
    If the shortage is so terrible why aren't we seeing tons of stories talking about exploding pay rates and people hopping from company to company because of ridiculous job offers? Oh that's right, it's because there is no shortage of talent, just an unwillingness for them to pay the market rate.
  • I'm not sure if it is "xenophobia" to truthfully say that we have a jobs crisis in this country and are importing foreigners to drive down wages on the few remaining middle-class wage jobs. That's not "Xenophobia," that's mathematics.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:46PM (#43374777) Homepage

    One of the issues that always comes up when talking about H-1B is that employers say they can't satisfy their needs with the talent already available. So, how about adding the requirement that any H-1B applications require the company post a "Help Wanted" ad in a national database for three months before the application is approved. Let's see why companies don't like citizen talent. Let's see how citizens can fill those jobs.

    A requirement similar to this already exists. It is quire trivial to work around. All it takes is to write a list of requirements that exactly much the foreign person you want to hire (or retain) and virtually no one else in the world. Then you place the ad wherever it is least likely to be seen. A mid-week newspaper classified will do. For extra insurance, the only contact method should be a PO BOX.

  • Re:talent! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:05PM (#43374925) Homepage

    Increasingly stigmatized? Really? Holy sh*t, where have you been? For the last two years, we've been thrown under a bus, repeatedly! Demonized by the media? Name one computer-related incident where they haven't mentioned the person was a hacker, whether or not it turned out true? And the punishments handed out by the courts? Fuck, I could rip off the NY stock exchange for $50 billion, and get a lighter sentence, than reporting a bug in some company's latest software.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:22PM (#43375077) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. These companies have exactly zero citizens employed at the consulting level, and yet they year after year clamor for more and more H1-bs to fill their ranks. I have been approached by these companies before, but as soon as they find out you are not on an H1b then you never hear from them again. They are the proof in the pudding that H1bs lower wages and that the only reason we need any H1bs is to keep the cost of labor down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:22PM (#43375079)

    There's way more positions to fill than there are qualified people.

    Yep. The real problem is that there is a lot of people who aren't nearly as qualified as they think. They've got a few flavor-of-the-month certifications, a couple of dead end entry level jobs on their resume... and they think they're God's own gift to IT and rate senior salaries. They don't seem to realize the dot bomb detonated over a decade ago now, employers aren't lining up to desperately grab anyone with a pulse and a barely passing grade on their Introduction to HTML course anymore.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:35PM (#43375201) Homepage

    It's easy to look good when you have no student loans to repay and are willing to work for half the market rate.

    Of course slave labor is going to look better to to an employer. That doesn't make it acceptable.

  • by Kumiorava ( 95318 ) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @12:56AM (#43376307)

    How do you want foreign people to come to work to US? Close the borders for the foreign workers? I had opportunity to work in US for 3 years (L-2 visa), I liked it and I never had any problems with the salary level. At the moment I'm working in Europe again and happy, but if I ever wanted to return to work in US how should I do that? I also worked in China and sad to say the Chinese government is more open towards foreign workers than the US government.

    I would hope that a real capitalistic economy would be able to handle also free market for employment. I would say that foreign workers also bring more to the table than just the low wage and inferior skills. Open the borders for foreign workers who pay their taxes to US and economy will benefit from that, having companies held hostage to some nation wide union of american workers is not a good thing in the long run.

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons