Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

here how it happens:

a company, that is not really a company, keeps applying for tons of h1b. they usually have some title like consulting.

they get the h1b and don't even bring the programmers from India. they become "visa holders" companies.

the h1b's then start to look for work on their own, or the holder. and once the programmer is hired, the visa holder company gets paid, take 70% (or 60% if the programmer found the position themselves).

and this is how most h1b contractors that work on Google and such live. they will endure it for the 10 years the us forces them to stay as h1b. always trying to get transferred to the hiring company directly, and almost always failing.

the final company pays much more for a contractor via a visa holder, but they have the benefit of paying it via a small consulting company, so it won't show up as head count for the investors. everyone but the programmer wins.

There are plenty of organizations that use H1-Bs properly and correctly, but when people talk about H1-B fraud it's exactly as you describe. They've poisoned the well. It also explains why there are people that can honestly claim we need more H1-Bs because legitimate use is being choked out.

> "They've poisoned the well. "

That's exactly right. It has always costs every company I have been with more to hire an H-1 than a local person so we have only done it if we can't get anyone local -- which is exactly the way the system is supposed to work, and that intended system seems perfectly fair to me.

These scammers fuck it up for the rest of us.

Never have I seen this laid out before like this, and so I thank you for that! I think it's a real tragedy that we can't just have a rational Visa system- you get an offer from a company, then you should be able to get a work visa. Work visas continue for as long as you are employed plus one year. That gives you a year to get a new job.

This is how you attract the best and the brightest and this is what america needs.

I really dig your .plan!

In EU it's called a Blue Card.

most of what you say is true.

they can endure such jobs only for 6yrs, beyond which the company that sponsored the visa has to file for a green card (if they do, then the employee can continue suffering for a few more years).If they dont file for a GC, then its a one way ticket back to their home country (or go to Canada with a PR ready).

the 70-30 split, is something I used to fume about, thinking its unfair to the employee etc. But that is how contracting companies work (not just for H1b employers). They pay the employee $.7X, and charge the client $X for every hr worked.

the benefit for the final company is that the headcount of H1b employees on paper remains low, and the cost of H1b kinda gets prorated into the hourly rate. It doesn't make sense to hire an H1b if the company knows for sure that they need her for just one/six months or a year. But a staffing consultancy can certainly justify filing for the H1b, if the same employee can work with 3 clients for 1 year each.

Though this looks like they (the companies filing for H1b visa) are doing something illegal, it is not, as long as a LCA (Labor Condition Application) is filed for the client's location and is approved, its totally kosher with USCIS, DHS and DoL.

Sadly, its hell for those on such H1bs (and I'm glad to never have worked with such consultancies)


the problem exists with those h1b consulting companies, that fudge resumes, fake phone interviews to get someone with zero knowledge into a job with a client. Those are the companies that are poisoning the well and making it tough for people like us and employers like mine, who are using the H1b option the way it is meant to be. In fact, its worse for those who who studied in US, and worked with an employer for ~2 years on Optional Practical Training (work auth while on student visa after graduation), lose out on H1b lottery because it was oversubscribed by such fraudsters. Its not just the employee losing out, even the company that invested in that employee is losing out.

Once, I interviewed a senior engineer to join my team and it was shocking for me to come across a resume that was as experienced as I was, but had zero knowledge. Later did some prodding on the candidate's past experience, realized its a fake resume with fake experience.

I can only pity those h1b employees at this scamming company. The sad H1b rules, that tie them to the sponsoring employer, is the reason such practices exist.

> They pay the employee $.7X, and charge the client $X for every hr worked.

That's a failing consulting company. A profitable consulting company needs to bill at 3x to 5x wages to support the overhead of sales and management. Even an individual, with no overhead but themselves, needs to bill at 2x what their desired wage would be if full-time.

I read original comment far above as saying that the company takes 70%, leaving 30% for the H1b employee. Or if the employee finds their own "job" (consulting gig), then the company only takes 60%. As you say, that seems more in line with typical consulting hourly mark-up.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact