So we decided to do something about our situation. We started foraying into the immigration systems of other countries and we decided to use the express entry system of Canada. So we all applied for it ourselves, got evaluated for our skills & degrees and now I am happily typing this as a permanent resident from Canada.
Express Entry System -
Disney of Florida had recently replaced 250 US IT workers with foreigners on H1-B. Trump especially spoke out against this move. Clinton was silent.
Clinton accepted $675,000 from Goldman for 3 talks. Wall Street banks like Goldman hire lots of high tech computer programmers and it is in their interest to depress wages as well as those firms in Silicon Valley. Trump was right that Clinton was bought off (she could have donated the $675,000 for charity as President Obama did with his Nobel Peace Prize Award money).
Incidentally, HP head and Republican Meg Whitman came out against Trump and she mentioned other reasons, but her true motivation is that HP would have to start paying market wages for all of its high tech workers if Trump won.
Okay, I get it, Clinton bad etc. But Trump has appointed tons of people from Goldman to his administration and filed an executive order against financial industry regulations - you know the regulations put in place after the last Wall Street crash, to prevent a similar crash?
Can we stop pretending that Trump isn't bought off by Goldman now?
Trump may be right about H1Bs, but he's knee deep in corruptive patterns. The details will come out when those "old buddies" start doing their "former" businesses huge favors.
Well, you might be right, but it helps to cite evidence to your assertions.
Just because you used to work for Goldman in the past, does not mean you are a current and future supporter of Goldman.
Nor does it mean that you are a bad person.
Trump is hiring people that know how these companies work from the inside-out. Which is the exact type of person you need to be able to deal with these companies head-on.
So it works. Integrity and patriotism matter of course. Diversifying investments prior to taking office would help reduce temptation.
If Trump were truly bought off by Goldman, he certainly would not be behind legislation that fixes the broken H1-B Visa system. Goldman, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and other firms will have to start paying market wages instead of depressed wages because of the H1-B Visa reform.
Technology salaries are probably a drop in the bucket cost-wise compared to the profits that will be made from deregulation of the industry. So while Goldman might have to pay a few million more in salaries, it's offset by the billions more in profits that they will rake in (over the short-term, until they destroy the economy again, that is).
Tech companies aren't going to see a similar measure to increase their profits to offset the labor costs increases.
And it's not a zero sum game. One of my H!B hires had unduplicatable skills and created about 20 high paid jobs in our company. Other H1B hires enabled a contracting firm I worked for to get a large contract that kept 7 other people employed.
> "These engineers will still be part of the labor pool, they'll just be doing work for our foreign competitors"
Well, let them work for Samsung instead of Apple then.
> "One of my H!B hires had unduplicatable skills and created about 20 high paid jobs in our company."
The point of the H1-B visa is precisely for those cases where there are no Americans that can do the job, so your hire follows the law. But then if it such a hard to find job, then the scarcity implies the person should get a higher salary, especially if he/she created "20 high paid jobs for our company."
That type of thing was the original intention, and I think most people would be okay with that.
But a gigantic majority of H1Bs are not used to fill positions that require unique skills. If 99.9% of H1Bs are abusing the system to avoid paying market wages then the system is broken and it needs to be fixed.
Yes. We have higher wages for our higher standard of living. As you said, it's not a zero sum game and all things are not equal.
Can you give details so it can be judged if this is true, and if so how common/relevant it is?
Broken clock is right twice a day...
So what? That is what people with her credentials are worth on the speaking circuit. God forbid someone get paid what they are worth, what do you think this is, a meritocracy?
> she could have donated the $675,000 for charity as President Obama did with his Nobel Peace Prize Award money
The Clinton's donated over $15MM to charity over the course of 2008-2015 and paid over 40% of their income as taxes. I'm pretty sure they've done more to help people than you (the average you, for all I know you're Bill Gates) or I ever will.
> So what? That is what people with her credentials are worth on the speaking circuit. God forbid someone get paid what they are worth, what do you think this is, a meritocracy?
$675,000 for 3 talks to Goldman leaves many with the implication that Clinton was "bought" by Goldman, whether true or not (and how to prove that?). It gave both Sanders (who asked that Clinton dispose the contents of the 3 talks which she never did but which Wikileaks eventually did do) and Trump significant ammunition against Clinton in the campaign.
If you are running for President, esp as a Democrat, it is unwise to accept money like that from Goldman or Wall Street. She could have said when she accepted each payment from Goldman that she was donating that money to charity so as not to leave people, potential voters, with the impression that she was "bought." Perceptions matter and as someone who came from a family that ran multiple times for President (3 times prior to this election) she should have known better.
When? Her proposal, as reported in the media was, "'staple' green cards on STEM grads' diplomas". Was there other proposal she made specifically addressing H-1Bs?
Well, that's a terrible idea if she said that. She apparently wanted to depress STEM wages in the US and put Americans STEM workers, who worked very hard for their degrees and skill out of work. The green card, H1-B should only be given for STEM jobs for which there is no American.
So Clinton wanted to depress STEM wages and take STEM jobs away from Americans and Trump wanted STEM workers to be treated fairly.
The only way to truly solve the issue is to tie the H1B to the person and let them work freely in the US after a short time.
Opening the flood gates might solve the issues of select individuals and some companies, but it doesn't solve wage depression.
The general belief is that H1B workers are underpaid because they have less flexibility in the labor market. While they can move jobs, it's somewhat tedious and requires both companies to work together to make the transition. It's not impossible, but it's certainly not easy.
If there were less friction involved with moving jobs, people on H1B could shop around for a better positions without worrying about their residency should things go wrong.
The whole notion of pay big $$s if the specialized skills are worth so much is wrong because these companies have smaller budgets for personnel than plant.
Source: drastically underpaid for my experience because I was an idiot.
These norms are not set by individuals, but by a system of financial analysts, shareholders (think large pension funds, etc.), etc.
The tech industry accounts for the vast majority of H1B visas: http://www.myvisajobs.com/Reports/2017-H1B-Visa-Category.asp...
I am not assuming that you are in Detroit. I used to work remotely for an Automotive company in Detroit for their telematics unit. Some colleagues I know commute from Windsor.
edit: one can write good programs, other can invent frameworks
As far as I know, the MS hires do not posses any special skills. Most of them fake their experiences to get into the companies. There are specific "one room consultancy" companies setup in the US to hire these MS graduates in OPT, fake their resumes, run their fake payrolls and push them to an employer.
I don't mind a bit of cynicism but this is absurd. Why the hell is "study" in scare quotes? It's a pretty standard thing for fresh graduates to better their chances for employment by getting higher degrees.
"As far as I know, the MS hires do not posses any special skills."
Maybe you should keep your speculations to things you do know.
I think you're being making the classic mistake of using your narrow experience range into making far larger proclamations based on speculations and innuendo. As an employer in silicon valley myself, I would definitely look upon a resume from a person with a Master's degree from US more closely than someone coming off of the infosys/wipro train. That is not to say that there's a clear yes or no either way but having an MS from a US university is at least one positive signal among other signals I'd look for in a resumé.
Someone coming off the free education that the Indian government provided using Indian tax payers money should keep quiet and should be ashamed of himself to be called a silicon valley employer.
You are welcome - An Indian tax payer.
"You are welcome - An Indian tax payer."
I would have thought about dignifying this childish tantrum with a response if you at least had the decency and guts to write this under a real name.
for ex: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-crs.asp
I'm so sick of people copping out and trying to have it both ways. Bring in the immigrants who want to work, especially if they have skills. Filter out the gangbangers and the terrorists as much as possible. Win-win. Today we have the worst of both worlds.
I don't doubt that many immigrants harbor this impression, but it is wrong. A H1B visa holder can switch companies at any time, by having that company apply to have the visa transferred to them. 99.9% of the time, this doesn't impact your GreenCard wait at all, because your Priority Date can also be transferred to your new Green Card application. I have a friend who has been on a H1B for 8 years, is currently at his 4th job, negotiated a 30% pay bump every time he switched, and still has the same Green-Card priority date that he had from his first application.
The fact that so many H1B workers harbor this misconception, and are afraid to switch jobs, is what gives employers the confidence to abuse their employees. If enough H1B workers start quitting on bad bosses, we'll see some pretty rapid change.
Sure you can switch employers while on an H1B. I did. But that's an extra moving part added to the process. It's extra effort added to both sides, employer and employee. They need to really want to hire you to go through all that. If it's a tiny startup, the amount of work might just be too much (and you wouldn't want to work for a tiny startup anyway, as an H1B worker).
Also, if you somehow lose your job as an H1B holder, you only have a limited time interval to get a new job. There's a lot of pressure to just accept any job that comes along, regardless of all other considerations.
Also, typecasting is very real. The whole H1B / greencard process really, really puts the pressure on you to stay in the same job description for a long time. It's not set in stone, and there are exceptions, but as a rule you're basically forced into a straightjacket.
Basically, if you're caught in this process, there's the freedom & opportunity Big Carrot dangling ahead at the end of many years of wait. Meanwhile, your hands are tied and your actions are to a large extent dictated by a faceless, remote bureaucracy that has the full power to decide your fate. It's extremely frustrating.
All is not well. You are going to have to deal with a significant salary cut around 40~50% not factoring in exchange rates. You also have to deal with small supply, high rent and cost of living. Prepare to commute for hours packed into the Skytrain like sardines in a can and bus. that is provided you don't get "renovicted" where landlord kicks you out to accommodate their relatives. You also have to deal with the isolation, cliquey and outwardly friendly but internally unfriendly and flaky citizens and sleepy eyed nature of No Fun City. You also have to deal with the fact that this is essentially a socialist country with socialist values which means lot of your taxes are going to people who have nothing to do with you or care for.
But hey, our ruling party thinks that's a small price to pay for Living In the Best Place on Earth™
The rest of your post sounds about right.
It's unbelievable that the average entry level's tech worker in Vancouver makes just as much as a barista in Seattle.
You can't compete or create a world class unicorn in Vancouver, period.
I think not.
I do run a consulting company that consults to US companies. That is possible. But at that point, if you consult with startups, you won't be getting options.
The program being cited is for workers, similar to the US H1B. And others have addressed why age is a sensible factor.
Also you can generally get Medicare if you're old and you've paid in for a few years.
Can you explain this? I'm currently waiting for a greencard.
Well, no, but there is a cap on the per-country share of the total quota in each eligible category.
"May the skilled ones win"
and your documentations are correct, 6 months is the SLA.
I know of one person who will never in her life see Canada because she got the paperwork about a twenty-year-old misdemeanor wrong, even after the $1,000 appeal to the Minister. Definitely get a lawyer. The fetish for American criminality is one thing about Canadian immigration that I would hope to see reformed. Canada is very welcoming unless you've had a taste of American justice, then they make you work very hard to enter. Caring about criminal records is common, of course; having direct access to neighboring criminal records is not, among most world countries.
Given that a number of American states are law-and-order criminal record factories, and given that a criminal record is not necessarily indicative of someone's life (if it were, I'd be selling heroin instead of debugging right now), it seems time for Canadians to revisit this policy. I'm guessing there was a flood of cons to Canada at some point that made them skittish and enshrine a bunch of hoops in legislation. With a lot of Americans now looking for possibilities such as these in the current environment, there is a huge reform opportunity here to make Canada even more welcoming.
Not really; it's more of an outcome of political balance. Our conservatives have historically been ornery about immigration, but our progressives made it a focus of their policy. (This is very untrue now, few outright oppose immigration, but historically shaped the dialogue). To accommodate the disagreement we somehow came to a skills-oriented system with a high-threshold for ability and other qualities.
We have/had our own problem with authoritarians, and it's shaped our policies in some particularly Canadian ways.
Far from "emasculating" it like the article suggests, the "bucketing" system in Lofgren's bill is designed to put upward pressure on all wages, including those of American citizens. The way that it works is that positions paying in the top 2/3 of the average wage for their geographical area will get priority over those that pay only the average wage, regardless of how much they pay their H1Bs. (And within the bucket, they get priority based on how much more than the prevailing wage they pay the H1B worker.) This prevents companies from bidding up the price of their H1B workers only, and forces them to raise wages for all of their American citizens as well in order to take advantage of the market-based allocation of H1Bs.
- F-1 student visa becomes dual-intent. This is huge! Essentially an employer could now sponsor permanent residency directly out of a PhD program (or even college assuming sufficient work experience for employment-based immigration). No need to first get a H-1B.
- It appears that switching employers while on the H-1B becomes easier (the new employer must only submit the Labor Condition Application). This will provide mobility to H-1B workers and therefore not suppress wages.
- 20% of H-1B visas are set aside for startups and small businesses, and to prevent these from becoming subsidiaries of outsourcing firms the H-1B holder may not be working at a 3rd party worksite for more than 30 days.
- H-1B dependent companies (8 H-1Bs if < 26 employees, 11 H-1Bs if 26-50, 15% of workforce if 50+) either must prove that no US citizen is being displaced, or they must pay at least the dependent company exemption minimum salary of $130,000.
Note: I'm a former Math & Comp Sci (double major) international student (F-1 visa) from a top tier school, then H-1B, permanent resident, and this week (!) will become a citizen.
Bill Summary: https://lofgren.house.gov/uploadedfiles/high_skilled_bill_sx...
But I'm prepared  for my first day as a citizen tomorrow.
Most of my personal experience is with J-1 pimps. These "firms" import seasonal labor and directly collect wages from the hiring company. The catch is as old as markets, as they usually debit housing, food, and fees that are grossly outside of true cost, but allow for just enough origin country adjusted income to still make sense for students to keep signing on. I have dealt with these firms from Eastern Europe and South America, with both operating on the razors edge of indentured servitude.
These exact same practices dominate the H-1B program.
The most effective change to any of these programs, outside of just volume, would be the direct to employee payment requirement or minimum percentage. That change would force the either higher salaries in order to maintain the labor firms margins, or the labor firms would have to eat the cost to keep the prices down. Enforcement would have to be extreme. As the nature of the relationship between the firm and the visa holder is already indebted, and there would be lots of opportunity for harassment and coercion of the visa holder to fork over more of their paycheck.
Another solution may be a visa marketplace that the government would run, to connect employers and visa seekers directly and eliminate the middle man.
I have not had to deal with US immigration, but my impression is the H1B process is between the employer and the government. It would probably help to make that between the employee and the government, to give the employee more control.
They would count the price of plane ticket, technical training classes, english classes, etc to a "debt" that you had to pay off. You would get paid a salary, but depending on how much money you made the company each month, this debt would either go up or down, and the company claimed you wouldn't be able to leave the company until you paid off this debt (eventually my dad figure out that this was not true or at least not legal, but this policy still goes on as we speak).
You can imagine most people who worked there struggled for years to pay off said debt.
Economy-wise, the problem is a lot more complex than what you make it appear. You can't just say: economically speaking it makes sense to close the borders...
The net effect for the overall economy is only going to be better under the current H1B system if companies reinvest their profits into productive uses, which they haven't been . And if H1B workers spend their earnings in the US instead of sending that money back home. I don't have solid data on this last point, but having worked with many H1Bs over the years I can at least anecdotally confirm it.
You can also look at our trade deficit with India as another data point here . We are not, in fact, selling more stuff into India than they sell us. There's a pretty strong argument to be made that the current system is more harmful than helpful to the economy as a whole.
And it's not H1B abuse it's what it's intended for. Since we slammed the door on immigration 50 years ago, this program was created to release a tiny amount of the massive pressure of super smart people world wide who want to come to the US and help make it better.
It's funny that engineers don't get the massive benefits of free trade that built this country, and the huge risks (Smoot Hawley) of trade barriers to our economy.
Every dollar we send to India has to be spent in the US to be worth anything. They can save it, store it, send it to other countries, but it's nothing but imaginary paper if no one ever buys something from the US or reinvests it here.
And if you are tired of foreigners buying our T-Bills instead of our goods/services, then stop running such massive budget deficits and fix the corporate income tax system that is taxing reinvested capital so highly that US firms are forced to park their foreign profits overseas to avoid losing nearly half of them to federal and state taxes. It's like a farmer eating their seed corn.
To your point on corporate taxes, please see  and . The effective tax rate on US corporations is on par with that for corporations in other large Western countries. I'm all for reforming the corporate tax code, but talking about it as though the effective rates are sky-high is not really going to get us very far.
What? They're spending no money on rent, food or taxes? How's that possible?
And what about the Americans who save their money?
Also, please point me to these Americans who save their money. The average domestic savings rate is 5.7% and almost all of that is money stored in US bank accounts and stocks, which in turn is used to help the US economy.
I'll answer that for anyone confused: stock buybacks, of course!
US companies and the collection of US voters are different. Their interests do not always coincide.
One might say that higher margins are "good for the US economy", but that doesn't mean they're good for every person participating in the US economy -- which is what the US voter cares more about.
It's important to recognize that US Companies, to a great degree, are owned by shareholders. It is the shareholders who receive the profit.
The fact that Walmart sells goods manufactured overseas, giving it higher margins, has allowed various members of the Walton family to become billionaires. But someone working as a Walmart greeter probably sees very little benefit.
And, of course, the now unemployed US manufacturing workers/voters do benefit a little from Walmart's lower prices as customers. But, it's reasonable to question whether such workers are better off unemployed, even if they are able to buy cheap products from Walmart.
Walmart should not sell higher cost products just to have them made in this country. The ability to specialize is why free trade makes both parties wealthier, if we can't make bicycles as well as the chinese, then let them make the bikes and we'll sell them smartphones and apps.
If you were a lawyer making $300 an hour and could type 200 WPM, would you hire a secretary for $30/hour who could only type 100 WPM to type your filings for you? Of course you would because that means you can bill more $300 hours. Thats the specialization of free trade.
The people working shit jobs at Walmart don't have 401ks or pensions. Or maybe they did, back when there were some good manufacturing jobs that produced goods locally, instead of being outsourced to the other side of the world.
But the savings passed to consumers is spent on lots of things, like apps. And app developers are doing pretty good.
The economy is much more fluid that you seem to understand.
Conservatives usually use the phrase "at best, the impact is nil"
Liberals usually use the phrase "at worst, the impact is nil"
Because the study shows there is negligible impact. Every laborer is also a spender. If the person saves, then every laborer is also an investor.
If you believe in the mainstream economic theory, more jobs are produced for the ones that are "taken."
You might ask where are those jobs, and then people will say they are in new fields and require training etc.
The debate goes on: why aren't tech jobs in short supply? A: They are. Q: I don't see that, where? A: there isn't one "tech", there are many different fields and they are in short supply in the important ones etc.
It is not as straightforward as you make it out to be.
The unhired foreigner would not end up taking taxes.
I wonder how the math works.
If the company has to pay the extra tax hit when laying off the American, that might let the company decide if it is worth it.
And you responded with poverty is bad.
If that was a response to what I said, I don't see how.
You might be asking how could replacing a $25 worker with a $2 worker -- foreign, domestic, etc doesn't matter -- have no economic impact on jobs and wages?
So one might argue the following: The company paying the $25 to the first worker, now has $23 in profit/savings. What happens to that money?
They might reinvest it, they might pay it out as dividends, or they might use it for an acquisition, or they might reduce the cost of the good sold (passing it to the consumer). And so on.
Whatever they choose to do will end up creating more jobs and boosting wages in something else.
Now, you might say -- and I won't disagree -- that if they pay them out as dividends then the kinds of jobs they will produce is ship building for yachts, and massages for rich people and perhaps you don't agree with that kind of redistribution.
That may be, but purely from an economic perspective the net impact of jobs and wages has not been significant.
I suppose you mean "from a global financial economic perspective". And you are right, of course: income equals expenditure.
From a economic local perspective, you have now a worker that before won 25$ and now doesn't. He is pissed off, and it's going to vote somebody that looks angry too.
You have 23$ in profit that will go (with a short stop in Ireland first) to buy an empty condo-mine in London or will be invested in places with 2$ waves in order to repeat the operation.
But, yes, the USA commercial deficit is totally the fault of the Chinese.
Most of that money is likely to be re-invested or spent in the United States.
You make a whole host of claims in your 4th sentence about the London condo mines etc. which I don't understand.
Just to be clear: the price of commodities don't get magically untaxed by Ireland. The transfer pricing only applies in cases where the value-add is not objective such as IP.
If the $23 were re-invested it would increase jobs and increase wages too.
not if they stash it in an offshore tax-haven in the Cayman Islands.
The dollars that go to china get either spent or reinvested here. And Chinese purchases of iPhones has exploded over the last few years.
What about laborers who send most of their earnings back to family in their home country?
There are two things to be said from the studies:
1. So far that doesn't seem to be significant, although I don't know if, in theory, it could get worse.
2. I wonder if that country consumes a lot of US goods, it might still end up netting a positive. (Not sure about this).
But, since we are talking about political ends, the words 'should be' probably belongs after 'impact'.
I'm not sure what you mean by unregulated labor, but the bigger problem in this specific case is not the foreign worker, but the fact that they don't have freedom of movement once hired. If they could transfer job easily, companies would have to pay closer to market salaries.
These engineers will be working for our foreign competitors if Trump has his way, how is it good for our economy if more apps are sold by foreign firms, that Samsung sells more phones, etc, etc?
I get really frustrated though with most articles on the H1-B visas which either seem to be bashing immigrants or imply that somehow more government regulation will help the situation. In my experience growing up in the US we are incredibly lucky to have such talented people coming here to work and they have contributed incredibly to the tech companies in the US which are really one of the few bright spots in the US economy. Some of the smartest and hardest working colleagues I have grew up in other countries and we are lucky that they have come here to build the US economy.
There is no way SV would have grown to what it is now without foreign talent. So the shortage has been real for the last 30+ years. Not sure why this point is still controversial.
> most Silicon Valley firms sponsor their H-1B workers, who hold a temporary visa, for U.S. permanent residency (green card) [...] sponsorship renders the workers de facto indentured servants; though they have the right to move to another employer, they do not dare do so, as it would mean starting the lengthy green card process all over again.
Then the problem might be with how long the gov takes to process these things, and not with the H1B visas?
> the H-1B program is an enabler of rampant age discrimination in the tech industry [...] Almost all the H-1Bs are young
Younger people are more willing to move to another country. Also, many students apply for an H1b after their F1 runs out, so of course you get younger people.
And this is just from the first page. I feel like the author is just throwing every possible argument against the H1B, instead of making one good coherent point. =/
Is this a fact or a feeling? Economics allows us to directly measure these things and the price of labor hasn't gone up in the last 30 years at rates indicating a shortage with executive pay and corporate profits at all time highs.
> Then the problem might be with how long the gov takes to process these things, and not with the H1B visas?
I think his point was the visa system is designed to take advantage of the inefficiencies in the bureaucracy to the benefit of the employer.
> Younger people are more willing to move to another country. Also, many students apply for an H1b after their F1 runs out, so of course you get younger people.
If the H1B visa didn't exist there wouldn't be as many foreign students.
You should read his blog, he makes repeated coherent arguments against the H1B visa system and its detrimental effects on the employment outlook for older citizens. He is a CS professor at a respected US university and has an interesting perspective.
Real compensation per hour (for workers as a whole) has gone up 40% since 1987. This number is adjusted for inflation.
Pay in software has been rising more rapidly than pay for the country as a whole. Is this even remotely in doubt?
>The average hourly wage for college-educated workers in computer and math occupations rose 5.3 percent over 11 years, from $37.27 in 2000 to $39.24 in 2011 (in 2012 dollars), which translates to an average wage increase of less than half a percent per year. If a labor shortage existed in these occupations, one would expect wages to rise sharply as employers try to lure scarce workers to their firms.
Note that "Computer and math occupations" is a broad catch-all term which includes all sorts of professions, such as:
Computer User Support Specialist: Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems. Excludes "Network and Computer Systems Administrators" (15-1142).
No one claimed that the guy who fixes your printer or helps you change the font in word experienced large pay increases.
For S&G, I looked up salaries for software engineers in some random cities in the middle of nowhere and I have yet to find a place with an average salary close to that. Edmond, OK: 73,005; Eden Prairie, MN: 77,325 (23% below the national average); and the worst so far: Tuscaloosa, AL: $62,020.
Perhaps a few companies can get away paying so little, but it's hard to say that's the norm when they are so far below average, even for towns in the middle of nowhere.
I personally left software engineering (regretfully, I love it, and still do what personal projects I can) to do a government job that is at least somewhat technical that constituted a massive raise over my old salary - and as I worked there for a few years and was a high performer, I did get several big raises before leaving.
If you want to solve this then ban employer sponsored health care, matched 401k contributions, and all that.
And as for 401(k)s, well that's another can of worms that needs to be dealt with: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13304027
There are very few clean economic metrics - in this case you can't directly measure the effect because you don't have data from an equivalent system without the effect of H1b wages in it. So in the end, as with most economic arguments, it is more art than science.
It's controversial because a number of people, like me, think many companies in SB have arbitrarily high hiring bars, and that a company who claims to tailor their hiring process to minimize false positives at the expense of false negatives has no moral standing to crow about "talent shortages". The shortage is largely irrational and self-inflicted.
I see a bait and switch conducted here all the time, where thinkpiece writers will count up the number of annual graduates in Computer Science (or sometimes Information Technology in general), subtract the number of new software jobs per year, and conclude that we have massive overproduction of programmers.
This is obviously stupid, but I keep seeing it. It ignores CS graduates who stay in academia or take nonprogramming jobs (e.g. in finance). Often it counts "new software engineering positions", a metric which ranges from insufficient (by excluding Sysadmins and similar) to idiotic (by excluding "programmers" and other job titles the author couldn't be bothered to search for). Shockingly often, it counts new positions but doesn't account for positions vacated by people leaving programming (e.g. to management or retirement). And, of course, it ignores employability, pushing an implication that any CS graduate can fill any software job regardless of specialization, experience, or interest.
It is a relentlessly stupid 'statistic', but I think one reason for this ongoing perception of surplus talent is that people keep rewriting the same silly article.
Your basic calculation is still right although I'd add more numbers to the opposite site. "Potential graduates" with or without CS can potentially enter to any software sector, or even hardware. Though this is just a small factor.
Anyway having said that, good studies check for shortages and overproductions in more complicated ways than just totting up numbers blindly.
My point was that the major sources of the "no shortage" or particularly "surplus" claims are doing shoddy math that over-represents the labor pool and under-represents demand. Also, more importantly, they're conflating all types of programming.
There are certainly skillsets/interests where there's no shortage, and there are certainly spaces where there is a shortage. People who don't differentiate 'programming' any further aren't saying something useful, and people who do only disagree on the details.
(I realize good studies check for those things, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about people saying "but aren't there lots of spare programmers we don't need?" because some hack with an infographic subtracted two numbers and found a surplus. I've seen this error pattern in respectable news on a bunch of occasions.)
It was about 7-12% a couple of years ago for grads from CS, Engineering, and IS, at a time when the national level was lower.
I'm not sure if we're on the same page, but my contention is that western governments are encouraging kids to pursue STEM, knowing that there's already an oversupply of workers due to visas issued to emerging economies, and that the issue is compounding year on year.
I object to some specifics - IS without programming education is quite different from CS/programming - but it's still a potent statistic. More narrowly, my (cynical) take is that CS degrees are decidedly unequal. Having seen multiple companies say they only bother with top-seven job fairs, and some genuinely talented friends struggle to land interviews with third-string universities on their resumes, I get the sense that the "shortage" and "surplus" are capable of existing side-by-side.
I completely agree with your conclusion, since it holds regardless of whether I'm right about segmentation within CS degrees: a lot of people are being unhelpfully pushed into "employable" STEM degrees by people who want to look science-friendly, and they're going to be left holding the (unemployment) bag when that doesn't work out.
> I get the sense that the "shortage" and "surplus" are capable of existing side-by-side.
I guess this is fundamentally the issue
Then there are the "Indian Mafias" in places like Microsoft, where over 50% of an organization is Indian because they got into a cultural hiring spiral. And the products from those groups are generally pretty awful, because everyone seems to want to be a manager or see how high the next re-org will take them, and not do good designs or write good code.
H1Bs shouldn't be used for job shops, and they shouldn't be used to bring in cheap labor, but that's largely what they're used for now.
A lot of really good Indian engineers are going to get hurt, and that will suck.
Mainly because we have over 7 million people unemployed. The controversy is why are we bringing in so many foreign workers when we have so many people out of work here?
I don't have any of the answers, these are just some of the rumblings I've heard from executives I know at various large corporations.
We need to import a better working class to pay for our leisure class since pushing our leisure class into work is considered socially unacceptable.
Here's a great first person account of this: http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/12/19/13956666/unemploy... "There have been times where I’ve wondered if I should just get a temporary service or manual labor...I would be too humiliated...a neighbor or friend [might]...see me working the cash register or pumping gas. "
See also NPR's expose on disability fraud: http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/
I would suggest coming up with better arguments for the debunked supply side economics you're trying to push.
This meme that there are hordes of people who would choose poverty because of an unwillingness to work is disgusting.
http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publication... Table 3 Page 21
My uncited study says that your uncited study is wrong and the authors of your study are Nazis.
Which is not evidence of them being lazy. They could be acting in their own economic best interest by being in a welfare trap.
Not sure what your point is here, other than some welfare programs are poorly structured.
And I presume you're in the US, but from an external observer's perspective, 'poverty' in the US is extreme and is almost incomprehensible to people the rest of the Western world. These are not people "choosing" to not work, they're the most decrepit, uncared-for group in the developed world.
And I presume you're in the US, but from an external observer's perspective, 'poverty' in the US is extreme and is almost incomprehensible...
I spend about half my time in the US, half in India. So as a semi-external observer, all I can do is laugh at you. Most middle class people would love to live as well as the American poor do. Actually so would many Europeans - Bulgarian GDP/capita is about 1/2 of what the average poor American consumes.
No matter how much you might scoff and sputter, most poor American adults chose not look for work even once in the past year. That's just the basic fact of the matter.
Or, how about page 24:
In 2014, 6.9 percent of workers aged
18 to 64 were in poverty. The poverty
rate for those who worked full time,
year round was 3.0 percent, while the
poverty rate for those working less
than full time, year round was 15.9
percent. None of these rates were
statistically different from the 2013
poverty rates (Table 3).
Among those who did not work at
least 1 week in 2014, the poverty rate
and the number in poverty were 33.7
percent and 16.4 million in 2014, not
statistically different from the 2013
estimates (Table 3). Those who did
not work in 2014 represented 24.7
percent of all people aged 18 to 64,
compared with 61.7 percent of people
aged 18 to 64 in poverty.
...which is poorly written.
Yeah I'm sure middle class people in India would love to live "as well" as the American poor do. I was talking about the firmly developed world. Bulgaria is the poorest country in the EU and they still have access to free and competent healthcare. Compare that the US where the poor people considered by that table sometimes die because of bad teeth and no immediate access to care.
Of course, the question of whether they "choose" not to work, "choose" to be poor, or if they are "lazy" are judgements not supported by the numbers.
(More worrying is the 40% of the poor who did work.)
Obviously it's impossible to glean motivations from a table, but it's telling to me that among the general population the majority of workers work full time, whereas among the poor it's the opposite, with most working part time for the entire year.
These people would probably be called the 'working poor' in my country; they're trying to work, but unfavourable economic and employment conditions make it difficult to maintain stable/consistent/quality employment. But in comparison to other developed countries, the proportion of workers (in that table) for a poor demographic is relatively high. Which would also signal to me that not only is the demographic not choosing NOT to work, but that they're choosing to work in higher numbers than in other countries despite their poverty (or maybe because of it).
I still maintain that people don't choose not to work en-masse for extended periods, evidenced by the fact that the US has had full employment for many periods.
Math is hard.
So there isn't an undersupply of willing workers, there's an unwillingness for companies to accept that entry level workers aren't commodities that you buy, ready-packaged to go.
There is no other industry in the world where lobbyists can say "grads don't have the proprietary skills that we need, so give us more visas to issue to Indians!" and keep a straight face. Training is a normal part of every industry.
>they are unwilling to move to places where the jobs are.
How exactly would an unemployed person move? security deposit/down payment, moving costs, etc all cost real money, and without an income, I'm not sure how you would expect someone to move across the country.
Humans are on average risk averse - and certainly no one would advise someone to move out to california on their credit card, in hopes of immediately finding a well paying job.
Its not like someone who has been unemployed for two years is so attractive that theyd be getting offers with relocation included thrown at them.
Strangely, illegal Mexicans seem to have solved this problem. In fact, they solved it so well that we plan to build a wall to keep them out.
This is why I say we need to import a better working class. Our own leisure class seems completely incapable of doing anything!
Its interesting to see you assume so much about illegal immigrants, when you clearly dont have even a foundational understanding of their lives here or in mexico.
Could you clarify what "assume so much" refers to? I'm pretty sure that the only assumption I made is that most illegal immigrants are not non-workers collecting benefits.
because they are unemployed.
These two statements are not linked. One can agree that without foreign talent, SV would not have grown to what it is. On the flip side, this doesn't mean their is a shortage of talent.
Simply that their is a shortage of talent that is willing to sell that talent for lower wages and less perks. I can't see how raising the minimum salary will hurt.
If you are correct, and the value of this talent is amazing enough, even $130,000 is a paltry sum considering what they should be capable of doing. If raising the minimum salary on all of H1-B visas to $130,000 is too much, one could easily make the assertion that the talent is simply not there.
In the end, if there is a talent shortage, salaries should be rising, and they aren't.
> Younger people are more willing to move to another country.
And they are willing to work for less, too.
I don't think you can prove this point, because you're arguing a counterfactual without proving the base claim that foreign talent was in fact necessary or that similar development wouldn't have otherwise happened.
You're also confusing what is meant be a labour shortage, which isn't about the absolute number of qualified candidates per se, but the number available at a given price. That is to say that there may be a sufficient pool of workers, but they demand a higher wage than firms would like to pay. As a result firms choose H-1Bs to suppress wages.
And H1B holders can work anywhere. Why do we want them to work overseas for our competitors?
We don't necessarily. As with many aspects of economic policy, it's a bit of a balancing act. You need enough immigration to satisfy demand for talent, but not so much that your drive down wages, and diminish taxable income while also upsetting constituents. You also don't want visa policies that encourage skilled workers to come, stay long enough to learn how to copy American businesses, and leave (sort of IP/business process remittance).
Generally I'm pro skilled immigration but H-1B as implemented is too easy to use for wage suppression vis-a-vis contracting through outsourcing consultancies like TCS or Infosys.
I think the key thing is that there is a shortage of talent at a price they are willing to pay.
Exactly. I know several SV companies that refuse to pay software engineers over 80-100k, and they complain about not being able to hire.
I would say the opposite is true based solely on hiring practices. Look at Google for example, who hire around 1/5000 people that apply.
The shortage is artificially maintained because it works in companies favor. It makes engineers more willing to work for low salaries since they have to work so hard to get an offer, and makes it possible for them to import "talent" which is 95% of the time an excuse to import cheap foreign labor.
Look at what these H1B's are mostly used for. Yeah sometimes it's specialized jobs but usually just generic "developer" or "consultant". Is it really true that you need to hire an H1B because you can't find a "developer"?. The visa process is meant to be used for skills you can't find in the US, and with this in mind it's clearly failed its purpose
Joel Spolsky explains why this does not imply what you think it implies.
tl;dr; Imagine 1 low quality developer who applies to 9 places and gets rejected. There's also 1 high quality developer who applies to 1 place and gets accepted. Look, 90% of applications have been rejected!
I have also hired people that had to pass insane interviews due to the company culture and watched them fail at being a developer. I know many good devs that cannot pass these interviews that would run circles around these super whiteboard problem solvers.
Offer them a stimulating job, and pay them lots of money, more stimulating than their current employer, and more money than their current employer.
There you go, glad I could help.
If there is this "floating population of applicants in your industry that apply for nearly every opening posted online" as Joel puts it, then I'll offer that the software job market is also flooded with a floating population of "dog jobs" that are uninteresting, low pay, crappy company/work conditions, etc. that never get filled without paid recruiters spamming thousands of people daily. When you search job boards, nearly 100% of the jobs are such. When you get another LinkedIn message, it's more than likely a dog job. Don't get me wrong, I like hearing from recruiters, and I appreciate the opportunity of getting a heads up about the kinds of jobs that are out there, but the pickins of GOOD JOBS, jobs that I would leave my employer for, are pretty slim.
Improve job quality and you'll improve your candidate pool. Pay bananas, get monkeys.
Right now I would love to be working on amazing challenging stuff for these companies. Instead I have to decide if i want to go gungho studying my ass off for whiteboard interviews...and if I am insanely lucky I will get offered a salary already in line with my current one at a company that doesn't have billions in the bank...like all these SV companies that are so convinced there is some shortage.
Consider a hiring filter which rejects 90% of good applicants and 99% of bad applicants. In such a world, consider a population of 10 good applicants. These 10 applicants will go on 100 interviews, be rejected on 90 of them and each will find a job. So in this world where every applicant finds a job, you still get 9/10 applications being rejected.
This seems to agree with your (anecdotal, and likely biased ) experience.
 "I got rejected after an interview, therefore hiring is broken" is a perennial topic on HN.
For my current job, I had a total of 2 phone conversations (first with a recruiter, second with the hiring manager) over the course of a week when they all of a sudden dropped an offer on me. I was a bit surprised by it -- "What? An offer already? Uh, I was expecting some sort of interview first?"
I actually nearly walked away at that point, but was... talked into accepting after a little back-and-forth on the salary.
But anyway, I just ignore cold-call/emails from recruiters anymore, because I know it will just end in wasted time (like getting rejected after 4 rounds of hazing and a weekend-stealing homework project) and stress/frustration I don't need. Most companies are obviously being overwhelmed with large numbers of high quality applicants for every open position ;)
Spolsky's observations are no less anecdotal and no more data-driven than the previous poster's experiences.
In a true labor shortage this would be completely unsustainable. Trying to justify rejecting 90% of your good applicants to avoid "false negatives" and extending that logic to say that there's a shortage... Obviously retarded if you think about it.
If you think it's retarded, try and work out the arithmetic yourself.
If this was true you would see it across professions and at every level of position, yet it's something fairly unique to software development.
I wouldn't disregard it so quickly if the source was more neutral.
Sorry, but Spolsky is normally extremely insightful and if you read the article, he makes many excellent points that are worth considering no matter which angle you're approaching the problem from.
It's a disservice to the brilliant visa holders I know as well as US citizens. it's extremely hard for them to get a job at a good company because so many of the visas are getting soaked up by those abusing the system.
If there was a huge engineer shortage you would see companies step in to provide developer training problems. This is clearly not happening.
What I'm disputing is this notion that there's no shortage of qualified developers. There absolutely is—that's why you see substantial salary growth for senior engineers.
What exactly do you think bootcamps are? They're outsourced developer training programs whose entire business model depends on the high tech salaries.
Tying up visas effects only to wage diminution is just a big mistake. But I can't wait to witness the effect of being a lot more selective on visas. We'll see!
The most immediate effects of fixing the visa system will be employers suddenly offering "on the job training" to fill these lowly skilled jobs. It's hard to see this as anything but a net positive for US workers
At least from my experience (I used to be a consultant) consulting jobs mostly attract people that can't get a job elsewhere. They generally include low pay, long hours, and a lot of client interaction.
It's no surprise to me that the nation's biggest software consultancies are largely considered the worst places to work as a software developer.
H1B's know to apply at these jobs because they have a much better chance of getting them. They have a better chance of getting them because these same companies are generally the ones abusing the system to hire software developers below market rates.
At most companies, the hiring manager and interviewers, who are predominantly other engineers, get to decide whether or not to hire a candidate. There simply isn't a mechanism for upper management to manipulate the process in the way you suggest.