To date, as we all know, the H-1b system has primarily been used to arbitrage for lower wage by Indian companies and mostly non-tech big corporates, where they bring in $60k/yr "systems analysts" who are in fact doing $100,000+/yr software engineering roles.
They instead need to go after the companies that learned to game the system. I'm not sure what the solution is here. A point/demand-based system like other countries have is probably wise, but given the share of mind the US still has in potential emigrants worldwide, and the breadth of different positions available, it'd be a pretty complex (and likely unfair) one.
Wow, that's a really important point. I'm so in the tech-news bubble that I'd never heard anybody say that before - thanks for pointing that out!
The point of H-1B is when salary is not the problem.
PS: Remember, someone on an H-1B can leave your employment. Paying market rates is supposed to keep that from happening, thus the intent is to remove a shortage not lower pay.
Median personal income in the US is $30k, so I don't think it's fair to assume every job is like tech and has market rates in anywhere near the same place.
The entire point of capitalism is not everyone get's what they want and price how that is decided.
But you don't appear to have data to back up that particular number for all jobs with no specialization whatsoever, and as far as I can tell the administration doesn't either.
That's the point of around a six figure wage floor. It prevents people from understating the requirements then bringing in a H-1B. I could just Advertise for a secretarial job, then only accept people that happen to speak Farsi.
Why would the optimum H1B wage floor for every industry that suffers from a lack of local talent just happen to be the one that makes sense for tech? And why would it make sense for it to be the same everywhere when wages and living expenses vary so much with location? You're proposing actively ignoring the market wage, not taking it into account.
The H-1B program is a tiny fraction of the overall workforce and if you want it to stick around you need to justify it. Saying industry X needs workers for wage Y, falls on deaf ears. No, it really does not because for the most part it get's by without them as there is just not a lot of H1B workers in any industry.
Having said that, at the societal level we can talk about gaps that a H-1B program can fill in the short term. If there is a sudden demand for people in machine learning then giving the US access to a wider talent pool has value. But, at the social level each industry needs to compete with every other industry or your talking about soviet style planned economies which don't work.
How do you separate companies wanting cheaper workers from gaps society is better off fulfilling? Well wage is by far the strongest indicator. If the oil drilling industry goes though a boom and can pay 200k for people working oil jacks for a few years then they should get most of the H1B pool as they may need it more than every other industry combined.
However, as the demand is met internally wages will fall then some other industry may have a larger demand.
Now the US is a horribly corrupt society with groups with a lot of power use it to get more power. Thus, the actual H1B program looks very different from what I described. But, again I am only saying there is a justification for an H1B program with a very strong salary floor not anything like our current system.
PS: Anyway, understating the requirements and advertising a job that's below market rates is one the main problems with the H1B system that's most often gamed. I have seen more than one advertisement for a junior job title with 5 years of experience and a masters degree. Lying on a form is easy, lying with money is harder.
You mean protected capitalism - protected by artificial minimum wages put in place by government?
You can even get an Indian worker in Mexico and import the results free of charge. But, limiting immigration is one of the fundamental functions of government, and it's not going away any time soon.
PS: I also somehow doubt you would be OK with al qaeda corp setting up shop an then importing large number of people.
You can even get an Indian worker in Mexico
We live in a capitalist society where price is how you communicate demand. Now, if you are willing to pay X times median wage in the US and still can't find people then perhaps there is an argument. But, saying you can't find people when you are not willing to go that far suggests you are not willing to pay market wages.
PS: And yes I chose an undefined X, because there is no clear point when that happens. However, a reasonable lower bound for that X is probably ~3-5.
And then what? Yes, an Alabama community collage can't pay for a language teacher, that's a fairly normal problem for community collages. It does not suggest there is somehow a market failure.
PS: I think you miss understood my upper bound. I doubt people want an immigration policy based on filling any jobs that pays more than ~30k/year.
I don't see what "market failure" has to do with the H1B at all. Just because the market worked correctly doesn't imply that the outcome was desirable.
Some distant collage may chose to pay for such a teacher and then gain students from the community collage who want that instruction. So, in that context your community collage bringing in the H-1B may end up costing an American a job. It could also depress wages for teaching that language discouraging other students from learning it thus extending the shortage over time. Alternatively, the demand may simply not be there for the language at which point the collage is better off paying for a different type of instruction that more students want.
In the end your H-1B is clearly a boon for that collage. However, if may end up hurting the country overall.
The H-1B system short circuits that mechanism. The salary doesn't rise, and young people are savvy enough to realize once an industry starts using foreign workers it never will.
Voila! Permanent shortage of Americans willing to do that job.
It might be a better outcome for native translators who see higher demand increase their salaries. The market has to be fair for all participants. Salary will never increase with demand, if increases in demand are always undermined by bringing in H1B workers.
The supply of gold is huge if I am willing to pay above market rates. If I want a conductive metal I am going to chose something other than gold in the vast majority of cases because of price. In the case of gold the price is based on both demand and resource extraction costs.
Moving to the workforce, students pick jobs in part because of what they will pay. Over time this feedback loop combines with demand and other factors to set a clearing price for the industry. If a job pays less than 100k that's a very big sign that people are choosing to do something else because of pay not the jobs inherent difficulties.
Now what happens if you try and subsidize an industry with H1B's. Let's say you add 50% as many H1B as people working in the field for a huge effect. Well in the short term wages fall and people either find something else, but more importantly students study something else. Fast forward 20 years, the market price is a little lower but not by that much even though lots of H1B's are now doing that job' you still need to entice a lot of US workers. Meanwhile close to 1:1 with those H1B's, US students have moved into other fields.
Thus, unless you are going to have most people in an industry be H1B's trying to help out an industry shortfall with some H1B quota is not that useful and simply subsidizes an industry for minimal benefit.
PS: Even defining things based on job is tricky. I need a Doctor what's the price for that, type: surgeon, type of surgeon: cosmetic. Now a hospital that can fill out generalist one level up can get a discount. Even industry gets tricky as a school may need a doctor for example.
You can't explain things based on an entire economy without taking into account the entire economy, and all it's parts and interactions; much like, say, blood-sugar levels in the body involve multiple organs.
If you focus on one area of the economy, you must avoid those 'non-local' attributes, unless you are willing to do this. If you analyse the attributes of any local economic part enough, you will eventually hit upon a non-local attribute; Hence, any analysis eventually hits this roadblock.
Back to context, the specific effect of H1B visas, on national salary is complicated, because salary not only is non-local, but involves the silent interactions of supply vs demand across and outside the nation. You'll hit all sorts of GM-like fallacies if your analysis is too shallow.
This is why it is necessary to take it, almost as 'faith', in the mechanics of the market; A true analysis of market principles is a complex process indeed, most people can only take them on faith at some level. Even mathematicians accept some (personally) unchecked axioms.
If, on the other hand there is no difference, then the visa is justified.
Uh, or you know, you can't afford it?
IMO, that's the crux of the issue. Yes, the clearing price for some jobs mean people are expensive; making some business nonviable. But, that does not inherently mean there is a shortage.
The CEO of the theoretical company is always welcome to put in an extra 30 hours a week and reap the extra economic value.
The first cultural, linguistic, or otherwise geographically-constrained job in the list is #84, "Foreign Language And Literature Teachers." "Interpreters and Translators" is down at #131, with a grand total of 268 applicants - practically a rounding error after 300,000 tech applicants. Whatever_dude's example seems so appropriate, that it's shocking to see it so far down the list.
Where does that page say anything about large companies?
The problem with a hard salary floor is that it doesn't account for differences in cost of living at all. It would very quickly become the visa of coastal cities and little else.
If the aim of the H1B program was to bring in the highest possible paid workers, you'd be correct. But it isn't. These programs are designed in such a way that all states can benefit from them, and a variety of professions.
It is to make it possible for foreigners to provide work to US organizations when no local person is available.
I have hired many many people on H1s. It was always a hire of last resort: when we could not find someone local. It always cost us a lot more than a local person: in both legal fees and procedural fees (you need to verify that the salary you are paying is not lower than the prevailing wage, which is totally fair) not to mention that it takes a while to get the person so while you're messing about you have nobody to fill the job. Some people are unusually distinguished (perhaps expert in a particular machine or language) but lack the appropriate degree, and they are even harder to bring in.
I have a hard time complaining about that (and I'm an immigrant myself). I think it's totally fair that the system should be biased towards locals. But the system does need an escape mechanism when nobody local can do the work.
There are problems. The big outsourcing companies (not just Indian ones but IBM) flood the lottery early. Also somehow they apparently/allegedly pay below market rate, which I don't understand. As usual it's the startups that get screwed.
Note this H-1 is to bring someone here. If I could outsource I would (to Alabama or Amadebad, it would be all the same to me). When we can get away with a distributed team we hire people where they already are.
I submit that there is no work in the US that can't be done by a US citizen. The problem isn't "finding someone" the problem is "finding someone at the below-market-rate wage we want to pay"
In another thread to this article I gave an example of a teacher for a German school -- native speaker, experienced in teaching the German state curriculum. A few such people have moved here and indeed we hired them, but mostly they had to come in on H-1.
There are certainly medical specialties for which there is a shortage of available doctors or nurses, in particular outside the cities.
And you really believe that there is a US citizen expert in every possible discipline in every possible location?
> The problem isn't "finding someone" the problem is "finding someone at the below-market-rate wage we want to pay"
In the very comment to which you were replying I just said we pay more for H-1 workers, in both time and money (and salary -- the labor conditions verification makes sure that's the case. Why do you assume they come in at below market wages? Have you ever hired one? In my experience it's impossible to do, at least for a startup.
I don't have a problem with hiring foreigners as long as they pay a fair sum to the taxpayers for thier diminishment of citizen's welfare. This is because immigrant is a potential drain on the welfare state and also uses resources that otherwise would be enjoyed by citizens.
Also I do believe most h1bs are paid below market rate because they are hired by large IT contractors like Infosys. They have the people and presence in India to make hiring in H1b cheap- they contract to US firms and pocket the difference.
For small business in the US I would agree that h1b is expensive.
discipline, yes, but location is the same as wage - people can move if offered enough incentive.
"The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. A specialty occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The intent of the H-1B provisions is to help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States."
You will note that the word "salary" does not appear in that description.
I think they're referring to real fashion models, though, amazingly.
For example, Disney of Florida replaced 250 American IT workers in US using immigrants with H1-B Visas. They in theory could have saved more money by sending that operation overseas but they chose not too.
Computer operations today are way too mission critical to most organizations to risk problems by moving tech overseas at least in operational settings.
I think that's the problem here - those on H1-B visas aren't immigrants.
It is a dual intent visa and most outsourcing firms keep it strictly in the non-immigrant category.
Until they get a DoL clearance & get into an I-140 approval process, they're "temporary workers" who can be dispensed with any day.
Perhaps that's Trump's plan.
Not every company operates like that. I know it's hard to believe, or even comprehend, in the tech world.
Thats the POINT. Today it would be absurd, but a successful multipronged plan to bring both manufacturing as well as constricting supply of people with specialized skills, would raise the salary demands of the whole US population.
The H1B salary part of the system hasn't been modified since 1989. $60,000 in 1989 is equivalent to $120,000 in today's dollars. Does that influence your opinion at all?
Congress created a rationale back then, the industry merely used the tools available since then. Congress' rationale did not change, they are both adjusting for inflation as well as responding to the direction the industry actually went. The industry's adaptation is incongruent with the will of Congress.
In 1989 salary increases were still keeping up with the cost of housing. Or were still expecting to. For example. And a protectionist America really could do that again.
Also: the majority (by far) of H1-B visas are for technology work. It may not technically be "tech only" but in practice it may as well be.
Though obviously a single number is less work.
There's more about specialization than just the area. To stay with the example, there may be many reasons why someone would want to hire an interpreter for a given language, and for someone to be willing to do the job, without it ever making sense to pay twice what a good average living wage is on the area. The "pay higher if it's high demand" excuse is cutthroat capitalism, IMO, and ignores the fact that the employer might not actually be trying to exploit someone but actually bring something that their customer base/community needs, something they wouldn't get otherwise. It's not about being "desperate enough" to hire a foreigner - in many cases, as in certain niche skills, a foreigner might be the best option.
Also remember the H1B is supposed to be a temporary. It's classified as a non-immigrant visa. Temporary need for a foreigner also exists.
> Also: the majority (by far) of H1-B visas are for technology work. It may not technically be "tech only" but in practice it may as well be.
That's exactly my point, and it's one of the many problems with H1B. Tech workers flood the request and suddenly everyone is just thinking about a salary floor cap because tech has higher salaries than other roles. But there are other roles and businesses that could actually benefit from foreign workers, but they're all crushed by how large tech is instead.
Technically, it is a "dual-intent" visa.
> Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few temporary visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning an H-1B holder can have legal immigration intent (apply for and obtain the green card) while still a holder of the H-1B visa
It means you can apply for immigrant status while holding an H1B. Differently from most other visas, which means you lose them automatically as soon as you apply for residency.
Why should Facebook's ad tech needs trump the needs of a poor refugee community? Budget size should not be the only virtue signal.
Lower cost of living does not mean the area is undesirable to live. Building adequate housing supply (I know, unheard of in the Bay, but some cities do it) can cause cost of living to stay low.
A major weakness of this policy is that it doesn't scale by regional median salary. Under exigency a company in SF could easily pay $130k to bring in a foreign worker with a needed rare skill. A company in Alabama could not.
Usually when I here someone critique the salary floor it's in reference to poorly paid scientists or biologists, as if it's a law of nature that these people should be poorly paid.
For your example the employer could easily show a US worker was not being displaced and could not be recruited. Your example may also be exempt from the H1B numerical cap if the role is with a institution of higher education, a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization.
Edit: This is how H1Bs should operate according to their stated purpose. edge17's link to http://www.myvisajobs.com/Reports/2017-H1B-Visa-Category.asp... shows that it's not being used in this way at all.
Supply and demand curves are (a) curves, not two points on a line (b) curves as a function of price. You can use them to pick a price, but not to come up with one from amounts of X ex nihilo. Even if we're sticking with the most primitive micro-economic theory here, you've discarded a whole dimension.
If you made the floor $100K, say goodbye to non-PhD (and some PhD) scientists! And since the demand for PhDs isn't that high (you often have 2-3 non-PhDs reporting to a PhD), say goodbye to a lot of scientists using the H1B.
That said I do agree that there should be some kind of exception for highly skilled individuals in STEM fields (I believe Japan does something like this).
For example require the company bringing the worker in to post a bond, make it trivial for the imported worker to switch companies, and make the original company to pay the difference between what the worker's salary winds up being and what their new salary is after 2 years if they can't hold on to said worker.
If you're a company that really needs that skill, really can't hire it, and is paying above market wages, then this will not slow your hiring. But if you're trying to hire below market, it would backfire badly on you.
I'm not sure if there's a way to prevent global labor arbitrage. Multinational corporations will shift labor to countries with the lowest wages.
Perhaps they should put a multiplying factor on payroll taxes that's proportional to the total non-US labor wages paid (directly or indirectly) for producing a product. All expenses should be default considered as foreign labor-based unless proven otherwise. It would introduce a ton of paperwork initially, but then everyone will be incentivized to produce documentation showing US labor-produced products to prevent the increase in taxes.
ex: PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP
TAX ASSOCIATE - 200 Records, Median Salary $56,181
ASSOCIATE - 243 Records, Median Salary $53,000
ASSURANCE ASSOCIATE - 700 Records, Median Salary $59,000
What exactly do these associates do?
There are many immigrant/refugee communities in the US that are in dire needs of certain services. No matter how well intended the members of that communities are, they run into many a lot of problems during integration. One I've heard about from a friend (who's a teacher) is that once their children starts going to school, because of the language difficulty and even some cultural differences, they usually fall behind and are treated as "special needs" because teachers don't want to deal with them. This creates a vicious cycle.
They wanted to hire a teacher with knowledge of the community and the language, to serve as much as a liaison as to make the community more comfortable. They can't immediately hire anyone from the community because of the requirements for the job - they'd need a degree and about 2 years training. Now, he knows for a fact there's capable people in the country the community came from willing to reallocate to help with integration. But they can't hire them, even as a part of any special program; the uncertainties about the visa process, its cost, and its duration make it impossible. Everybody loses.
I think the "as we all know" is that big corporations use the visa program to create, in essence, indentured servitude. People who work for far less than the market-clearing wage for the position, because are beholden to their corporate sponsor. I find it reprehensible, and particularly galling that it's all done in the name of "diversity."
Most visa holders are young and incredibly vulnerable. Combine this with my particular company's absolutely legendarily capricious hire-and-fire cycle (for 30+ years), and they can really stick it to immigrants working for them via subcontracting.
Mussolini would be proud of these pro-employer watchdogs...
I don't like the "staple a green card" proposals for anyone who gets a STEM masters degree though. Many US Universities have already turned into masters degree mills for people trying to get visas. If Universities were allowed to sell Green Cards the problem would become much much worse.
I've worked with many people on H1Bs and student visas. Every single one of them was a valuable person to work with, and they should be citizens. Maybe universities are becoming green card mills, but in my experience everyone who goes to a US university gets exactly what they bargained for. The law may say otherwise, but in spirit they become Americans.
In what industry do you work? As a software engineer, I've worked with a lot of people on H-1Bs. They are normal, nice people like anyone else I'd have no problem with them becoming citizens given the proper process, but I wouldn't say they brought more value than any American programmer.
The question is what the "proper process" is for them becoming citizens, isn't it? It seems logical to me that the process should be different for someone who's graduated from a US university than an imported H1B worker (but then I'm one of the former, so I'm not unbiased.)
If someone has spent multiple years - especially their undergrad AND graduate years - in the USA, and they are interested in permanent residence, why would we tell that person to leave?
If that person can select a job just like a US citizen without fear of getting deported, that more or less levels the playing field, correct? They don't have to take sub-industry-standard wages, and can instead hold out for the right job in the right place.
There's no guarantee of that, but if someone wants to stay, they'll be paying taxes (and were throughout their schooling days), driving the housing market, etc. If they can't find a job, they'll likely think about going elsewhere.
Are you suggesting that a $130k floor for H1B workers would undermine the practice of undercutting local workers?
you need to append "at the wage we are offering"
at 1 million per year, do you think there would still be a shortage? how about 500k?
Salaries are so bad in IT compared to development that I decided a couple months ago to start making the transition. I cant reasonably continue pursuing a career trajectory that i know will make me less money, and that is not valued by organizations.
add to this the demands for IT jobs:
certifications (costs hundreds of dollars per, need to refresh them every year or two)
experience with laundry lists of technologies (i.e cisco networking experience is apparently not valid if this employer uses juniper/pfsense/etc.)
probably the worst hours in the industry (yes devs get pagerduty, its not comparable)
compare that to:
literally no certification requirements (dont even need a high school diploma for many places)
much better hours
add to that substantially better pay, and its a real wonder why there is a 'shortage of candidates'
Wait, why? Are you implying foreign workers are not competent and can't be exceptional? Surely it isn't that?
Otherwise, sounds like then H1B will finally work as intended, you'd be able higher exceptional people from overseas who might not be available in your area? Maybe there is a distributed systems expert from Argentina or a compiler writer from Ghana. For you to reach out to another country, they'll obviously be very qualifies and demand a decent salary.
> Plus, what international student will do once he completes the college, and with quarter of million in debts (say Bachelor only) ?
Go home or get a $130k salary if he is qualified. International student acceptance doesn't somehow guarantee or imply a continuation of stay based on employment. There is (or was) an work program where they can work in the industry as co-op / intern for a year or two. That can probably be expanded.
> Will you hire college fresh grad for 130K ? Don't think so.
Yes I would! There can be exceptional graduates. I have seen and interviewed some. Google / Facebook / Microsoft already pays that much for good graduate and more.
> This is USA, this IS a country made, constructed and developed by excellence and hard work of immigrants with their hopes and dreams.
So if they do such good work we should reward them appropriately by paying them a competitive salary. H1B should not be a way to bring in cheap labor. You can argue there should be other visas for that but H1B shouldn't be that one. And somehow you are tying it to hopes and dream. What about the hopes and dreams of develops working in US?
> There is no a notion of "nation" in USA, there is no such thing.
That is completely bogus. There is a strong notion of a nation here precisely because there is ethnic, religious or other history. If anything Americans are criticized for over-emphasizing their "Americanism".
> It's just a colony of immigrants moved away from their homes to build something they could not there. This is a dream land, this is an opportunity land and should remain such for everyone.
Well if this is a dream surely we don't want ruin that dream for those who are here and suppress their wages.
> Yes I would! There can be exceptional graduates. I have seen and interviewed some. Google / Facebook / Microsoft already pays that much for good graduate and more
Yes, and they are the exception not the rule. American tech sector is not just limited to these companies. And not just to the bay area where such salaries are common.
> So if they do such good work we should reward them appropriately by paying them a competitive salary. H1B should not be a way to bring in cheap labor.
60k is NOT CHEAP LABOR in most parts of the country! Please consider that outside of major cities, it is a pretty decent salary, especially a great starting salary.
> That is completely bogus. There is a strong notion of a nation here precisely because there is ethnic, religious or other history. If anything Americans are criticized for over-emphasizing their "Americanism".
I think the OP mean more along the line of patrimony and culture that is common in the Old World. While Americans might beat their chest and proclaim their uniqueness, they have existed as nation for just over 300 years, while the culture of Europe and much of Asia goes back thousands of years.
> Well if this is a dream surely we don't want ruin that dream for those who are here and suppress their wages.
Precisely. So don't.
Yes it does. I have seen H1B being abused enough times. I was also an international student.
> And not just to the bay area where such salaries are common.
You know what else I have seen, lots and lots of very competent, driven, and smart American students. Also interviewed them. The idea that there are none and we have to hire from overseas using a visa process is ridiculous.
> 60k is NOT CHEAP LABOR in most parts of the country!
You are right there. I agree with that part in general. But if it is not cheap and is a decent salary, there should be no problem filling it with American laborers. Computer Science degrees and education has become more popular. I don't see H1B workforce as being immensely and uniquely qualified such that it would be impossible to find anyone in a country of 300M+ people with top universities in the world. If there are such cases, I posit $130k is a low end start for their salaries.
> While Americans might beat their chest and proclaim their uniqueness, they have existed as nation for just over 300 years, while the culture of Europe and much of Asia goes back thousands of years.
To be specific I was replying to the critique that Americans don't have a standing when talking being a "nation" and using that as an argument. 300 years is certainly enough reasons to form a national identity. I think it is silly claiming "You don't have a right to change your H1B visa rules because you are not a nation". Even as an immigrant, that feels a bit over-board.
H1B visas are about filling labor shortages with exceptional talent, that is their goal. Over the years that seems they have been perverted from anything from "Let's help international students who graduate to immigrate" to "I need indentured servants to work for me for X number of years".
It isn't that there are none, the problem is that there aren't enough. And instead of hypothesizing, just look at how oversubscribed the H1B visa is and how many people come in via other work visas (e.g. L1).
> You are right there. I agree with that part in general. But if it is not cheap and is a decent salary, there should be no problem filling it with American laborers. Computer Science degrees and education has become more popular. I don't see H1B workforce as being immensely and uniquely qualified such that it would be impossible to find anyone in a country of 300M+ people with top universities in the world. If there are such cases, I posit $130k is a low end start for their salaries.
Wrong. I can't believe how common this idea that "free market will fix everything!" is on HN. It is making more US students consider CS/Programming as a career, but even in a nation of 300M+ people, they aren't graduating in large enough numbers. (I can go on about the specific reasons but lets deal with the relevant facts instead of throwing numbers around. One could argue why a country with 16000M+ people, India, won not a single gold medal at the last olympics). Simply changing lowest salary to $130k wont magically fix it, just like $60k presently is not fixing it.
> To be specific I was replying to the critique that Americans don't have a standing when talking being a "nation" and using that as an argument. 300 years is certainly enough reasons to form a national identity. I think it is silly claiming "You don't have a right to change your H1B visa rules because you are not a nation". Even as an immigrant, that feels a bit over-board.
Thanks for clarifying that. I agree, the US is a nation in the canonical sense. I think the OP was pointing out more to the critical contribution of immigration to American growth and prosperity.
> H1B visas are about filling labor shortages with exceptional talent, that is their goal. Over the years that seems they have been perverted from anything from "Let's help international students who graduate to immigrate" to "I need indentured servants to work for me for X number of years".
This is another untruth, where the world "specialty" is misused. Lets go to the definition:
"Generally speaking, a job is a specialty occupation if the occupation normally requires a bachelors degree in a related field of study. Jobs in fields such as engineering, math, and business, as well as many technology fields, often qualify as a specialty occupation."
So basically, most engineering jobs are "specialty" jobs and using H1B is perfectly legal and right way to do them.
I absolutely agree that there is a problem with bodyshops abusing the system. But the solutions offered so far DO NOT, WILL NOT solve those problems.
By what measure?
> just look at how oversubscribed the H1B visa is
What is your interpretation of this? Who would turn down the chance of cheap labor even without a shortage?
> I can't believe how common this idea that "free market will fix everything!" is on HN
This is an exaggerated characterisation; but to some degree it is necessary to rely on market principles, given how complex the economy is.
> even in a nation of 300M+ people, they aren't graduating in large enough numbers.
Demand is high. Why is the population count relevant? People are choosing other career paths, which means there isn't enough incentive to choose IT.
> One could argue why a country with 16000M+ people, India, won not a single gold medal at the last olympics
You could, and why not? Are you implying India is incapable of producing gold-medal winning athletes?
> Simply changing lowest salary to $130k wont magically fix it
Not overnight, might it might in the long run. Why wouldn't it?
> But the solutions offered so far DO NOT, WILL NOT solve those problems
You mean the bodyshop abuse? Won't a minimum wage requirement fix it?
The labor is not cheap. I have already explained this.
> Demand is high. Why is the population count relevant? People are choosing other career paths, which means there isn't enough incentive to choose IT.
It isn't. I bring it up because the parent brought it up. I think we are in agreement here.
> You could, and why not? Are you implying India is incapable of producing gold-medal winning athletes?
Most certainly not.
> Not overnight, might it might in the long run. Why wouldn't it?
I have already explained this. Please don't ask the same question for me to give the same answer. The only reason I am replying is because you seem to be genuinely interested in an open-minded discussion about this issue.
> You mean the bodyshop abuse? Won't a minimum wage requirement fix it?
No, I don't mean the bodyshop abuse. The problem: not enough Americans to fill vacancies in tech sector. That is the problem that this solution won't fix.
>> 60k is NOT CHEAP LABOR in most parts of the country!
You "explanation"? Because you didn't really respond to:
>> But if it is not cheap and is a decent salary, there should be no problem filling it with American laborers.
>> If there are such cases, I posit $130k is a low end start for their salaries.
Or to: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13553710
> I have already explained this.
You haven't replied to all responses to those explanations (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13552944 ), and I haven't accepted some of your arguments yet. Can you point out which posts of your own you are referring to?
> The only reason I am replying is..
If you are going to take this arrogant tone, then take your own posts less authoritatively. It's not "open-minded" to lace your responses with such haughty barbs.
This is exactly why people are railing against H1Bs so hard. How can you even suggest that an h1b be used for an entry level job?
meanwhile record numbers of american college graduates are finding part time work at mcdonalds and starbucks.
Sure wish some of my friends and former classmates could get 60k/yr jobs, instead of 24 hrs/wk @ 8.25 an hour. But no, its because tech companies are literally unable to fill these positions! i swear!
Because all your friends and former classmates can't code even if their life depended on it. I went to school in one of the best CS programs in the country. Believe me: there are all kinds of outreach programs, high school outreach programs etc. to get more Americans involved in Tech. And while there are more Americans in Tech, the demand far outstrips supply.
Everyone's experience varies of course. I have interviewed kids regularly from all tiers of US universities (most recently CMU). As a rule I found an international Masters student has a much better chance of failing the basic coding exam than an American-born BS graduate. Also I noticed when it comes to top students, American students overall come ahead in our interview process.
are you serious?
How about a little on-the-job training? Let's be honest, the real issue isn't talent. These H1B applicants are willing to sacrifice their lives for your company whereas your average entry-level American engineer may prioritize something else.
"time consuming, mind-numbingly long" doesn't matter much if it's in your business model to do this at scale. In fact, it would be an explicit competitive advantage.
What is this supposed to mean? That there is no market clearing price where the supply curve and the demand curve intersect, such that at any wage level demand exceeds supply? Or just that the politically (because also economically) powerful buyers prefer lower prices than that market-clearing price, and so want government action to lower the price?
Demand and supply curves don't work well when the thing in demand is skilled people. You cannot ramp up the number of skilled engineers immediately when demand shoots up.
edit: missed a "don't"
and this difference is what drives wage. Every time you try to reduce the gap, you drive down wages.
> can't code even if their life depended on it
No, there just isn't enough money willing to proactively train more people. The outreach programs can take an unlimited amount more funding.
If you are claiming that there is literally a shortage of people that can be trained below loss for most of the IT industry, I'd like to see more evidence.
I'm not going to argue any more on this reasoning at all. I have explained quite clearly why this kind of thinking is incorrect and hasn't worked so far and won't work in the future either. See my peer comments.
> No, there just isn't enough money willing to proactively train more people. The outreach programs can take an unlimited amount more funding.
> If you are claiming that there is literally a shortage of people that can be trained below loss for most of the IT industry, I'd like to see more evidence.
I don't quite understand what you're trying to say here. Of course my evidence for shortage is anecdotal. You seem to agree that the demand outstrips supply and so far Americans have not taken up CS in large enough numbers to satisfy that demand. That is my only "evidence".
I've seen them, don't find them convincing, but will respond to those.
> my evidence for shortage is anecdotal
I'm not entirely sure which anecdotes, unless you explain your personal experience.
> You seem to agree that the demand outstrips supply
> and so far Americans have not taken up CS in large enough numbers to satisfy that demand
Maybe. CS grads aren't the only source of software developers; but in any case, there is nothing wrong with demand being higher than supply, it's perfectly fine that demand be unsatisfied in the same way it's fine that supply be unsatisfied.
I'm just gonna end it here, im not interested in having a discussion with you. Have a good one, hope your mood improves to the point where you aren't calling random strangers friends and family incompetent!
I wasn't saying your friends and family are incompetent, I was saying they are incompetent programmers, at least right now. I don't believe that everyone can or wants to do software engineering for a living, just like not everyone can or wants to be a chef, or a pilot. Its really important to understand that we can't retrain everyone to fulfill certain roles.
So train them. They will want to be trained and fill those roles if the salary is high.
> I don't believe that everyone can or wants to do software engineering for a living
Why can't they? Offer easy entry, and the promise of a high salary, and more people will want to do these jobs. If everyone got to do what they wanted, we'd have a surplus of firemen and veterinarians, and few accountants and garbage men.
I'm not gonna argue too much on this since people seem to have set their minds on it. Having personally taught in American high schools as part of various outreach programs...I can say that, no, programming is not something you can "train" everyone into. Sure, there are some with aptitude for it, others without it who do want to learn and can be "trained" as you say. But you need to rethink the whole public education system from a very early stage to make it easier for students to be good learners and ultimately good programmers.
> easy entry, and the promise of a high salary
Its already there, yet....crickets.
You're not wrong, people are just stubborn?
> programming is not something you can "train" everyone into
Would you be as happy to conclude that teaching isn't something everyone can do?
If there is some general failing with the entire educational system, "immigration" won't fix that; but this is a tractable/solvable (if difficult) problem if foreign countries are able to produce good students.
> Its already there
Is it? What counts a "high", outside SV? Why are SV wages limited to SV?
Previous posters describe CS majors working for Starbucks/McDonalds - if entry is easy, how could this be?
They most certainly do not...please read the actual post. The post says their college graduate friends...not graduates in CS. Anecdotally, I haven't seen any American with a CS degree be out of job for a very long time unless they were doing something really wrong (i.e. not applying/following up with interviews).
> Would you be as happy to conclude that teaching isn't something everyone can do?
Hah, good point. I am willing to concede I might be a terrible teacher. But if we go along this path, where do you stop? You are trying to find fault in the system, in the teachers etc...essentially looking for a reason other than the most obvious conclusion: not everyone can or wants to be a programmer. Like I said, I do agree with this reasoning though: perhaps if we change the system to have better teachers, a better education system that makes CS more appealing, perhaps there would be more CS graduates.
> If there is some general failing with the entire educational system, "immigration" won't fix that; but this is a tractable/solvable (if difficult) problem if foreign countries are able to produce good students.
Immigration is not meant to fix your education system. They are not mutually exclusive: you can do both. The real reason foreign countries are able to produce good students is an interesting one; personally I get the impression that one of the major reasons is their sheer size ~3 billion people in Indian and China alone. However, one of my friends has correctly pointed out that the 3rd largest foreign student community in US universities after Indian and Chinese is: Korean.
Ah, I concede this. Maybe this isn't an issue in US as it is in the UK..
> They are not mutually exclusive: you can do both
What stops industry becoming dependent on it though? There are big advantages to H1B visa workers, there is a risk that it saps market demand. Immigration might be the path of least resistance to solving labor shortage, rather than any long-term native plans.
If technology comes to be seen as a reliable high-paid job, via being sustainably high-paid, then it's reputation will bring in more people. Immigration is a threat to this. You can argue industrial benefit to this, but how sustainable is it? What if the US lost it's attractivity, what would happen to the H1B workers then? The US needs to figure out how to produce workers - being able to skim the cream from other demographics is a benefit, but a dangerous temptation as well.
I've seen you argue for a market where demand doesn't meet supply as a desirable state for the labor market. If you do believe that, then there is really no basis for this particular debate. The principle of my argument has been that there is a problem, labor shortage which cannot be fixed by the solutions offered. If you're arguing that the labor shortage is not a problem, then that is a completely different debate.
Why not? A restriction signals immigration as an unreliable source of labor, hence de-incentivising business to depend on it on the basis that it is a risk.
> If you're arguing that the labor shortage is not a problem
There may a problem, but labor shortage itself, is not. An excessive shortage, or an industry-crippling shortage is another thing altogether; In either case, a shortage is a necessary, but not sufficient condition of the problem.
We are here talking about changes to the H1B visa program which are intended to curb abuse/fraud of the program.
and you are here to talk only about a labor shortage in one industry?
You shouldnt, i later specified i was including CS grads - i was a CS major until i switched to MIS, so most of my college friends are from one of those two programs.
You claim that H1B's:
1. can and should be used for entry level positions, because it is impossible to find entry level employees for programming
2. companies are completely unable to fill programming positions with US employees.
So lets investigate those claims then. Well, good place to start is probably looking at the top job titles of H1B visa holders. Turns out the number 1 title by far, is 'Programmer Analyst' kinda vague, so lets try to dig in and see what that really is.
To do that, we can look for the top H1B visa employers that appears to be Cognizant at 15,680 in 2015, followed by Infosys and TATA.
Well now that we know who the top employer of H1Bs is and what the top job title is, should be pretty easy to find an open position on their job board, right? Then we can look at the requirements for the 'Programmer Analyst' job and see what exactly is so specialized that no US college graduate is capable of accomplishing.
Weirdly, even though they filled over 33,000 of this job merely 2 years ago (an average of almost 100 jobs filled per day!) There is only 1 single job posting for a 'Programmer Analyst'
Even weirder! the requirements for this job:
>Requirement: Basic computer knowledge, Good Communication skills and willing to work in night shifts
Well, that doesnt seem like such a demanding position to me....
Infosys had 0 job listings under that same title, TATA's careers site has no job listings at all
But yeah, maybe you are right, maybe its just a coincidence that the top H1B job title has only 1 single listing across the top 3 H1B visa employers. Better keep letting them hire immigrants, since those stupid college grads 'cant code to save their lives' as you so put it.
>(3) 12/ For purposes of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b1) , the term `specialty occupation' means an occupation that requires--
>(A) theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
>(B) attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
So, since 'Entry Level' means someone without experience in the field - the H1B visa clearly does not apply to them.
What does this mean?
Its an insult, not really hackernews quality, as almost all of this users comments in this thread have been an attack on someone. I dont know if this person had a bad day, or if they are always so unbearable and condescending.
>all your friends and former classmates can't code even if their life depended on it
>Usually I don't give comments like yours the dignity of a reply
>I was saying they are incompetent programmers
>I have already explained this.
> The only reason I am replying is because ..
So you're saying the incentives would work as intended..
>not because "all those indians steal our young grads jobs"
Yet we have record numbers of college graduates working at starbucks and other hourly employers.
Do you honestly believe that college graduates would rather work at starbucks or mcdonalds than a tech company doing IT?
Oh you mean other than the revolution we fought to be the first nation in the world to establish a secular government based on the principles of natural rights and natural law? This pisses me off something fierce to hear people want all the benifits of the country but not want to learn basic citizenship duties and responsibilities.
Our nation is the Constitution, and you don't know what you are talking about.
Sounds like the effect is exactly whats intended then
Yeah ok, buddy. Try that line when you don't wanna pay taxes.
Americans as a people are united in sloppily mishandling the term "nation", mostly because it doesn't really apply to us.
Our houses, cars, schools, music, food, pass times, athletics, language (slang, dialects), entertainment, government, habits, communication (verbal, body language), aspirations, societal expectations, humor, things we find offensive/inoffensive, etc.
One can, of course, feel entirely free to use words in arbitrary ways. But to correct someone (who clearly understands the correct usage of the term nation) with the nonsensical notion of a nation imposing taxes is odd.
Americans sloppily mishandle a lot of things. That's a common culture right off the bat ;) in addition to everything devmunchies said.
Anyway, hope that you find the definition useful going forward.. For example, the title "Birth of Nation" is clearer, even if the substance of the movie remains evil nonsense.
> people united by common descent, history, culture, or language
You added "and ethnicity", are you saying a nation can't be composed of multiple ethnicity?
And does it really matter? America is a country.
I think you need to get out of the Valley. It's come up on HN before how $125K+ salaries might be common in SV, but not in other areas of the US.
Make the salary floor $130K and only SV will get to hire H1-Bs.
As others have pointed out, it would be better to create separate visas with stricter limits for industries that really need them, like high-level interpreters.
This isn't really true, or it is, but only in high profile yet minority cases.
H1B abuse is more about hiring someone at near competitive wages and telling them they're working 60 hour weeks and slowly getting rid of native workers who won't stand for that. So now your IT department is 12 people instead of 20. That's significant cost savings even if you're matching salaries. H1B's aren't typically paid less, they're worked like dogs instead. They can't easily migrate to a new employer, thus the abuse. This is the problem that needs fixing the most. The salary issue is secondary and something of a red herring as you can raise salaries but still have this abuse and it will do nothing for American workers who have been victimized by H1B abusers.
I don't see Trump or anyone addressing the indentured servitude aspects H1B creates. Considering most H1B's are clearing 80-120k, codifying 100k or more will do next to nothing. Worse, the only H1B bill I see has a 130k suggested salary but which can be contested and you can bet every HR company will do that.
These bills are mostly smoke and mirrors. H1B needs to be either completely scrapped or be re-done under a new program to allow H1B holders to switch jobs easily. Ideallym, if these people are truly hard to find hires they should be put on a fast path to naturalization and all costs paid for by the employer instead of this weird middle ground H1B currently creates where you're supposed to be super valuable but naturalization is up in the air. If it costs, say, $250k or more per head to bring them as a flat-fee and to express naturalize them, that'll stop abusive hiring I imagine. Corporations really need to have more skin in the game here and H1B's need to be naturalized quickly to avoid second class status.
If the native workers won't stand for it, the wages for it aren't actually "near competitive".
near competitive wages and telling them they're working 60 hour weeks
"A draft of Trump's executive order viewed by Axios directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to consider ways to "make the process of H-1B allocation more efficient and ensure the beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest." That could mean replacing the current lottery system with one that prioritizes visas for jobs promising the highest salaries."
"What it means for tech: In theory, prioritizing by salaries means visas for more senior, higher-paying jobs will be granted first, and visas for lower-paying jobs (such as those being filled by Indian IT services firms) would fall to the back of line, perhaps not getting allocated at all if demand for the high-wage job visas is strong."
"But there's a catch: Wage-based hiring means companies may miss out on mid-level workers they still have trouble filling with qualified Americans. For example, software engineering jobs will be filled quickly, but jobs for network engineers or tech support that tend to skew lower on the pay scale could be tough to fill without H-1B visas. "The demand in the job market is not always captured by the highest salary," said one tech lobbyist. So tech companies are advocating for worker skill-set to be taken into account in addition to salary alone."
This seems a bit ridiculous. Yea, they will miss mid-level workers at the current price point but if there is a lack of supply of mid-level works the price (salary) will rise for Americans and the supply of mid-level Americans will begin to increase. A win-win for mid-level Americans... not a win-win for the Tech Companies though
I don't see how we can have the combination of low salary, high demand, and a deficit of supply. It sounds like the proper economic adjustment here is to increase salary. I imagine the only reason the adjustment hasn't happened is because wages are sticky.
Its reasonable to feel discontent with such companies, but if there were free movement of people working lawfully they would still be compelled to hire immigrants. Its only frowned upon because the government said so. If the government says you can get H1B's with 50k salary, we wouldnt be talking about it.
If a hypothetical person thinks "free markets über allies" of course they're fine with unlimited visas depressing wages and increasing competition. (I don't know if that's your view, this is just a hypothetical.)
On the other hand old farts like me already have an advantage over the average HN or Reddit reader in that our education cost far less than theirs.
So the the question becomes is it fair to bring in foreign talent who (for example) may have been educated at little or no cost to compete with Americans buried under a mound of student debt?
Saying that bringing employees drops wages salaries is similar to saying the US shouldnt export things because it increases the price of local goods. Its simply not good from an economic perspective, its not really up for debate. I've never heard an economist saying immigration is bad economically for a country at any level except living on welfare.
America was built on "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", and this H-1B change is another step away from that.
"Give me your tired, etc., and bet their future on red maybe six or seven times in a row. If they win every time, send them on. Otherwise screw them."
We're hiring massively (SF East Bay), have a really hard time finding suitable, qualified candidates (from Java backend to native apps on iOS, Android, Windows). And even our junior devs make more than your new floor in base pay, not even counting RSUs.
If I would start filtering out H1B transfers (and other visa types), my hiring pipeline would be empty.
Where are the former Pennsylvanian coal miners pouring into tech? Where are the great US coders willing to move to the CA Bay Area? I don't see them. Indians, Chinese, Russians, Ukranians, yes. 3rd generation mid-westerners? crickets. (
I did move my family, from Europe to the US. )
The US education system does not generate enough coders.
It's too bad before college, too expensive in college.
Decent to great public school systems in those other countries take up that slack.
You restrict foreigners joining tech and the sector grinds to a halt.
The US population on a macro level right now is simply too uneducated to run it.
If so, why hasnt tech competed successfully for them? I think open offices, poor autonomy, career issues as you cross 40, and so forth, have played a big role here. Even salaries arent remarkable compared to what skilled and intelligent people can earn in other fields. I think that if tech is having trouble hiring, they should learn to compete.
I see no reason to create a program that allows tech companies to force an immigrant to study CS and work a a dev as a condition of living and working in the US.
Considering that SF is the most expensive place to live, why would anyone want to move there? especially if you have family?
SF is the most expensive place to live because people want to move there.
Or is it that the perceived access to the next, more lucrative opportunity is greatest there?
Yes, like any government program, it is been abused but there are more than enough high paying jobs available in Tech. Indians are one of the richest demographics in USA. If Indians are such a low wage misers, what happens overnight ?
Only solution of h1b visa is to allow free movement of switching jobs. Right now a h1b worker is practically a slave of his/her employer which companies like TCS, Infosys exploits freely.
How do tech executives motivate the average American to support this stance? Taxes? IT companies and their owners enjoy a very friendly tax treatment. Jobs? The largest IT companies employ only 20-60k people each (for comparison, Walmart employs 2mn). Product? Software is a tradeable good, so Americans can buy it from anywhere. Pumping GDP numbers? The industry is flat for the last 10+ years.
Tech companies must put something on the table to get better immigration laws.
Kicking the door behind you closed once you've got yours or because you're afraid new immigrants will take your job is hypocrisy of a terrible kind for a nation that was founded on immigration.
This isn't 1910. We are the top 5 in the world in population. We don't need as much immigration as we used to.
Americans should benefit from the American system before foreigners, like, you know, how every other country works.
We have large swaths of underemployed Americans but it costs companies too much to recondition them, so they prefer new bodies over training the domestic workforce.
This should be an opportunity for the likes of YC to double down on extending their know how to American women, American minorities and other underprivileged Americans, but instead they bemoan how a few foreigners are affected all the while ignoring how those same countries might treat not only foreigners, but their own minorities.
That said, it's absurd to focus on individual identity groups. All who are willing to work and develop the necessary skills required by the market are deserving of employment irrespective of their demographic identity.
I'll give you the often conservative advice:
Tough luck? pull yourself up by your own boot straps! Go to school. Go back to school. Work hard, and interview with Google/Amazon/Microsoft again.
And stop perpetuating the idea that you are at a disadvantage because of immigrants and refugees. If you end up with a job at Apple or eBay or Expedia btw, remember that your livelihood was made possible because of the hard work of immigrants and refugees.
Xiaomi, tencent, alibaba. Not fist to market. All doing well. All done with a very predominant domestic labor force.
My point, is it's not do much the foreigner, or even the local, but the opportunities made available by your domestic economy.
They can move, but not easily. It'd be easier to just open satellite offices.
There will be specific Americans who benefit less than specific immigrants, but the net effect of immigration has pretty much always been a benefit to the economy.
Why should we put the interests of specific Americans ahead of the interests of Americans overall?
But with re Americans over other Americans, yes, it makes sense to handicap underprivileged Americans. Give them a leg up on education, training, tax breaks, etc. before we even begin to think of how we can benefit foreigners.
Yes, I'm saying that it doesn't accomplish the stated goal. Restrictive immigration policy is worse than a more welcoming policy when you consider the impact on all existing Americans. Immigration is the better policy for Americans, it's just that the benefit is spread out across more people than the downside, so it is easy to think otherwise.
As far as retraining and such, we should seek to design such things so that they are highly available and are beneficial to the United States as a whole regardless of whether you train an immigrant or a first, second, third, or fourth (or fifth or sixth or seventh) generation American.
W/re training. America is responsible for training our own, I don't think we should think we should off load that job to say Canada, and in the same way people's home countries should be responsible for their own citizens wellbeing and development. We cannot be responsible for nor absorb the deficiencies by other countries with respect to their own citizens, in effect subsidizing malgovernance.
So yes, you are wrong, both about the impact of immigration here and the impact of closed borders elsewhere.
With the training I see it as a utilitarian issue. If training someone is a net benefit to the US I don't care where they were born. I certainly don't want to leave the benefit sitting on the table just because they weren't born here.
But often not per worker-hour.
Well, tell that to the Native Americans, who were nearly exterminated by immigration.
> Americans should benefit from the American system before foreigners, like, you know, how every other country works.
First of all, that's not how every other country works, then besides that America is mostly empty space and Americans will benefit from the system before foreigners because they have been there longer, have more starting capital (which is the biggest lever you can have) and tend to know the rules better so they can be worked to their advantage.
Early America lacked a lot of skilled laborers. England was opposed to allowing skilled workers to emigrate to the US for fear of the US competing with England. The preferred the US to provide them with cheap agricultural goods in exchange for high-priced steel, tools, and weapons.
It wasn't until the mid 1800s that the US began work on the first steel mill because they couldn't get the expertise necessary to build one. At the time, Britain produced about half of all steel consumed in the world, once the US finally imported the skills necessary to produce steel, Britain's share of the global plunged by half.
I'm certain this story can be repeated for many more industries throughout history, from chemistry, rockets, medicine, and technology. So yes, America has always needed immigrants.
The people that needed the skilled laborers were immigrants themselves.
By the way, the very best way to stop immigration is to make other countries wealthy.
The growth the US economy throughout its history was driven heavily by immigration.
The Native Americans had an economy too.
> The growth the US economy throughout its history was driven heavily by immigration.
Yes, because of the increase in demand for goods by those immigrants who brought their money/gold/silver if they had it but very little in terms of goods, and if they didn't have anything they immediately went to work in order to make ends meet.
Immigration is good for the economy, which is exactly the conclusion I want you to reach but from the increased demand point of view rather than from the myth that the majority of immigrants in the past were skilled labor (they were rather, on the whole immigrating because of a bleak outlook on their situation in their home countries due to religious persecution or outright poverty, the skilled craftsmen were making good money back where they lived and were much more free in their choices to emigrate or not and contributed only a very small number to the total stream of immigrants).
The Native Americans had an economy, yes. But the economy was much, much bigger after immigration. That's my entire point: immigration fueled economic growth in America.
Skilled labor (and investment capital) played a major part. From horticulturalist to provide plants for early agriculture, to carpenters and ship builders in Boston (and later steel and tools makers), to the physicists and engineers fleeing Europe during the World Wars, to the technology people today. All of these people contributed to the technological growth and dominance of the US.
If none of these immigrants were skilled, the US would look more like China or India than it does.
We're going to have to differ on that.
> The Native Americans had an economy, yes. But the economy was much, much bigger after immigration.
But native Americans did not necessarily benefit from that larger economy, in fact, in a very measurable way did the opposite. Mostly because the immigrants were exactly that which the current ones are unjustly accused of (being murderous bastards).
The one thing the Native Americans weren't saying was 'these Europeans are here because of our jobs'.
> That's my entire point: immigration fueled economic growth in America.
But for a different reason than the one you keep harping on.
It grew because of their capital and consumption.
> Skilled labor (and investment capital) played a major part.
Less than you think or wish to believe, but since you're somewhat stuck on this I'll just let it go.
If you feel open minded I encourage you to read this:
And not to just cherry pick the bits that fit your narrative.
> From horticulturalist to provide plants for early agriculture, to carpenters and ship builders in Boston (and later steel and tools makers), to the physicists and engineers fleeing Europe during the World Wars, to the technology people today. All of these people contributed to the technological growth and dominance of the US.
That they did. But - again - they are not the predominant factor. In fact the employers needed the immigrants (so immigrants needing other immigrants) mostly for 'dumb' labor (hence also the import of many slaves from Africa and indentured people from Europe).
> If none of these immigrants were skilled, the US would look more like China or India than it does.
No, the US would look more like England, which in fact it does.
Side note, but every time I see someone online accusing someone else of being "intentionally obtuse" I stop reading immediately. You know nothing of the intentions of a stranger who's obviously willing to openly discuss an issue with you.
Though, I agree obtuse is probably a poor choice of wording, perhaps I should have said persnickety.
Or maybe just debate in a way such that the strength of your argument is not dependent on your choice of insult?
Intention can be inferred; when the stranger is being intentionally obtuse, they aren't being "open".
*Obtuse - Synonyms: stupid, slow-witted, slow, dull-witted, unintelligent, ignorant, simpleminded, witless;
Needless to say, I have no patience for those kinds of insults.
> Intention can be inferred
Sure. And when you're talking to strangers, your inferences of intention will be wrong more often than not.
"You're intentionally avoiding my question" - objective statement, not an insult and can be discussed further.
"You're intentionally being a dumbass" - subjective statement, an insult and a non-sequitur
Hopefully you can see the difference.
I think that's right, but without using the insult "stupid", it says the same thing. But an insult has no content, where as this does i.e "you are misunderstanding on purpose"
A constructive criticism can be 'insulting', but this isn't the same as a pure insult.
> "You're intentionally avoiding my question" - objective statement, not an insult and can be discussed further.
Is this not the same as "you're being intentionally obtuse"?
> "You're intentionally being a dumbass" - subjective statement, an insult and a non-sequitur
Because it uses the word "dumbass", which is an insulting label rather than a description of behaviour. But " intentionally obtuse" is a description of behaviour also, and is also as objective as "avoiding my question" in context.
It's only a non-sequitur if you misunderstand what it means in context. I think "you're being intentionally obtuse" would be fairly clear in context?
Those synonyms are from a dictionary, and they are all insults.
So I have to conclude that either:
- You have a radically different definition of "obtuse" which you somehow consider a non-insult and which is non-standard usage
- You're intentionally beating around the bush in order to avoid admitting to understand the difference between an insult and a constructive criticism :)
These are just my two hypothesis, but if you have others, I'd love to hear them.
1. annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand.
"he wondered if the doctor was being deliberately obtuse"
> So I have to conclude..
hypothesis three: your argument wrt synonyms is incorrect. People may dislike being called "obtuse" but it is not, by standard, an insult.
Sure, the Native Americans would have gotten along fine with bows and horses
2. On HN, flagging a comment like yours is a much more appropriate response than downvote. Maybe once you've had enough of our comments removed you'll start to understand the etiquette around here, but there's easier ways to fit in.
What about immigration from Kansas to California? We all know these tech companies prefer to hire from Stanford, MIT, and each-other. Why not just hire the proverbial kid from Brooklyn if we're so concerned about migration and diversity?
Maybe you know, but around tech companies, I see more people from Georgia, Texas, Michigan, South Carolina ... than from Stanford or MIT.
Tech companies need people with tech skills, so if University of Kansas produces skilled CS graduates, they'll also work in tech companies. If they don't, Kansas kids go study to Michigan, Texas, Georgia, MIT, Stanford, and end up working in those tech companies.
The diversity is just a fig leaf, the migration angle is mostly about money and very rarely about skill.
Also, not everybody is willing to relocate for a job and people from poor countries have usually much less to lose.
My point exactly.
These immigrants are free to choose what they study and where they work. High tech doesn't like that, because smart educated people who have the right to choose can find better options than staring at a computer screen looking at JIRA tickets in a big loud open office, in a field where they get elbowed out after age 40.
So high tech has lobbied for an alternative immigration system, that they control though their HR departments, where they get to decide who gets to come here and the circumstances under which they are allowed to remain.
I'm honestly bewildered when I read arguments like the one you just made, that opposing the H1B visa means you're opposed to immigration.
I think that immigration has been a marvel for the US, but that pretty much every system we've tried for bringing in immigrants who are not free to choose their job has been an unmitigated disaster. The H1B is hardly the worst of these, but because it doesn't preserve the freedom of the individual, it is ultimately unfixable. It must be replaced by a system that allows the immigrant to decide what to study, where to work, how to live.
It actually turns out we have a system like that, it's called immigration, and we take 1.2 millions people a year under it. From the way Silicon Valley talked it, you'd think that entire path didn't even exist.
There's nothing hypocritical about it. It can sure be called selfish, but not hypocritical.
Hypocrisy is to pretend you support one thing, while doing another.
Here they just stop supporting immigration after they themselves got in (and usually decades after they themselves got it -- it's not like some 2-years fresh American citizen is asking for a stop in immigration).
The resource 'a pile of money' is something an individual or a small group of people can hoard and exhaust. Something the size of a continent not so much so yes, that's hypocrisy.
America could easily operate on 25% of the landmass that it currently occupies (and it would probably be a much wealthier country, but that's another subject entirely).
Most of it is empty space anyway (and this even goes for countries that appear at first sight to be densely populated such as the country where I currently reside, the Netherlands).
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says /
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death /
and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard
p.s. this song was on the top of the modern rock charts for 4 weeks
I work in a rural region with a high number of H1Bs because one of the biggest companies in the area is a tech giant. Most people I've talked to (outside of tech) realize that these people bring in a lot value to the area and without them, 10s of millions of dollars would disappear from the local economy.
I straight up tell people, when asked about H1Bs, that I wouldn't have a job if not for them. I've worked at too many companies where the star of the team was on an H1B.
Have you also worked with H1B co-workers who did have redeeming qualities?
I've known many people in all differing forms of work authorization and citizenship, and I haven't observed any strong correlation of competency and a person's immigration/citizenship status.
I've seen people here on student or H1Bs who have worked particularly hard, because they know that school or their job is the only thing keeping them is the only thing keeping them in the USA, which is where they truly want to be. I've also seen US citizens work really hard because they care about their job, or just take pride in doing good work. And I've seen people of many different backgrounds just not be the best contributors, too.
If a company keeps net-negative contributors around, that's to the company's detriment. If it eventually contributes to hurting the company enough that the person gets laid off or fired, that person will struggle to keep a job at a better-functioning company. And once someone with an H1B cannot find another job, they cannot stay in the country for very long.
without them, 10s of millions of dollars would disappear from the local economy
This is entirely due to a shortage of talent willing to locate to Nowhereville, USA. The compensation here is very generous, and they advertise it. But there's just not enough Americans willing to move here, regardless of how much you can make.
I have a bit of an idea, and also a way to frame the problem that may sound a little ridiculous, but hopefully is helpful to someone.
I propose tech, free-trade, outsourcing, and other forces have impacted the US job market similar to the problem laid out in The Innovator's Dilemma .
Apple - and Steve Jobs - have been applauded for figuring out ways to solve the innovator's dilemma; specifically, Apple lets newer products with a greater profit potential cannibalize older products' smaller profits.
1. The iPod classic and iPod nano were great products that had solid profits.
2. The iPod Touch ate into iPod classic and iPod nano profits. However, it also eclipsed the profits that the earlier iPods could have achieved, since it was much more than just a music player.
3. The iPod classic and iPod nano did not mind that they sold less, and Apple changed their expectations for sales from each product line accordingly as one product took sales away from other products.
Here's how I see the US addressing a similar dilemma, but involving people's jobs:
1. Career tracks in manufacturing and energy production (coal, especially) had solid salaries and career prospects.
2. Market forces (e.g. trade deals, technology) reduced need for US manufacturing and energy production jobs. Computer programming, technology in general, and design of things rather than the manufacturing of things all have better profits for the companies involved than the building of things.
3. The people who had manufacturing and energy production jobs DO mind that they do not have a job. Government and society did NOT recalibrate goals by saying something like, "sorry your coal job experience is no longer relevant, we're going to give you basic income / job training / some other job prospects."
Apple can make the iPod classic, whose qualities are outdated, simply go away from stores without a tear shed.
The US cannot make people whose skills are outdated simply go away, though. Those people need, at a minimum, some way to pay the rent, food, and aspire to something greater than they have now.
How should the US best address this?
It makes as much sense to re-introduce the iPod classic when the iPod Touch is already out there as it does to go back to dirty energy production when clean energy production already out there, and has great qualities like an endless, easily accessible energy source in the sun and less pollution and land destruction.
However, that very thing has been proposed, and I have not seen any other plans. What about, for instance, ensuring solar panel production facilities are built near where coal jobs went away? Or perhaps big wind farms, sun farms, etc?
The places where coal is buried is not where wind or sun is best captured, but giving some kind of hope to people in those areas - whether in the form of subsidies, training, moving people, etc. It may mean some changes to those impacted, but with every big shift in technology and labor, some jobs simply are no longer necessary like they used to be.