Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Facebook: greater than 15% of employees are H1Bs (thomsonreuters.com)
77 points by patrickg_zill 186 days ago | hide | past | web | 140 comments | favorite

These threads always have a great mix of:

* Subtle racism.

* Zero-sum thinking.

* Specifically, the lump of labor fallacy.

* People not realizing that code is about the easiest thing in the world to ship back and forth between different countries: if a company is hell-bent on being cheap, they'll outsource rather than bring someone in.

* A stunning lack of perspective on the benefits that immigrants bring to the economy and culture.

* A lack of historical perspective in a country founded by immigrants. There were 0 restrictions prior to 1860-something, and then it was something racist to keep the Chinese out.

* General fuzziness in terms of economic thinking. "let's have an auction for the 10113 spots the government makes available!" - without thinking that 10113 is some magic number some bureaucrat made up with little to no relationship to the real world.

This continues to be my go-to article as one of the better takes on immigration: http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-optimal-number...

It's incredibly weird when I find myself agreeing with someone on the right. This article is filled with lots of bullshit "its just econ 101" neoliberal cliches (and uses the beloved tactic of the right that "everything I dislike is soviet central planning and a perversion of this clearly natural and non-synthetic notion of a totally free market"). None of that is necessary to what is fundamentally an argument that should rest on moral principles. I prefer this version of the argument: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2013/03/the-case-for-open-borders...

I am libertarian and I think US immigration system is a glowing failure of central planning. It is something that people on left, right, center and under the ground can very easily agree on.

Planning is not the problem, and open borders is not a market solution. There's a fair point to be made that it's an overreach of the state, that it's unethical and pointlessly carceral and represents the kinds of things we shouldn't have government doing, but that has nothing to do with it being a failure of planning. And the soviet analogy is really going out of your way to score redbaiting ideological points when you can compare it to every other needlessly cruel and punitive policy that leads to social ills in our own legal system. At least that would be a comparison structured around the actual problem, which is one of morality and justice.

I'm not really a right-wing guy either, but I think anyone can agree that the current "magic numbers" involved in H1-B visas are very much central planning at its worst.

It's a failure of policy to be sure, but it's not as though planning is really at fault here, just as open borders isn't really a market solution (even though the implication that it is somehow worms its way into this argument). A market solution would be to use the government to perpetuate scarcity of visa slots and enforce property rights around a visa, and allow visa holders to sell or trade their visa rights. As a corollary, the problem with immigration is not inefficient allocation of slots caused by planning, its that we have immigration limits to begin with.

It's a neoliberal trope to try to work markets into every social problem, but this is really an issue concerning ethics and justice, not allocation.

> The lump of labor fallacy.

This is counter intuitive to average Joe on street but it is super surprising that the learned members of HN who otherwise seem to take interest in startups etc. fail to see the basic economic principles at work.

The only valid concern about immigration I see is about culture. Personally it is natural for people not to like people who are not like them. It is something we should overcome but still understandable.

> General fuzziness in terms of economic thinking

I am not sure how we can have a law that involves things like a "lottery"! US immigration laws violate some basic principles of law making => clarity/predictability/rewards law abiding people/learns from real world data.

H1B/F1 by definition encourages lying. A student can not be truthful when applying for F1. If I say I intend to apply for H1B after F1 my F1 visa would be instantly rejected. Not to mention young people can not predict promise their future that well either.

> * A lack of historical perspective in a country founded by immigrants. There were 0 restrictions prior to 1860-something, and then it was something racist to keep the Chinese out.

You can demand changes to immigration policy, include restrictions on immigration, without being a hypocrite just because your family came here 100 years ago. It's also no longer a country where you can dump pretty much limitless numbers of people into farming or lower skill labour jobs.

edit: and the racism isn't really all that subtle. H-1B == Indians here, and HN has no problem shitting on them.

I also really enjoy being told how I'm stealing a job, and how little money I make. I don't actually remember posting the details of my pay anywhere, but I guess I must have.

>> A lack of historical perspective in a country founded by immigrants. There were 0 restrictions prior to 1860-something, and then it was something racist to keep the Chinese out.

I am wondering what does it have to do with the issue in 2017?

>> A stunning lack of perspective on the benefits that immigrants bring to the economy and culture.

There is also a stunning lack of perspective on the consequences of the ungovernable migration.

(not US citizen)

"* Specifically, the lump of labor fallacy."

I've seen the lump of labor fallacy come up many times on HN and often it is a case of simplistic reductions of statements like: "Increased labor supply cheapens wages." to some variation of "They are taking our [finite, limited supply] jobs." What may seem like a lump of labor fallacy(that there is a fixed amount of work) may simply just be an application of the law of supply and demand that does not assume fixed supply or demand. The fixed amount of work is assumed by the hearer of the argument and not the maker.

Additionally, even someone who is under the illusion of the lump of labor fallacy may still instinctively understand the law of supply and demand well enough to vote for his or her best interests.

I'm wondering too.. Also 15% is not that much.

If you are only looking for "the best" around the globe. I would except something like that in this range...

I wish every one of these stories would talk about that there are at least a couple of different kinds of h1b's. Facebook mostly or only has employees doing real, original work. But companies like Tata just are hiring for basic, mostly non-creative IT work. The second category (I think) is much more likely to lead to displacement of native workers. It's at least much more questionable. But h1b's at Microsoft or Google of Facebook are doing real creative work. We need to somehow change H1B to account for this. You can see it reflected in the data, where the average pay of the worker indicates whether is the 'creative category where we would like to hire all we can', or whether its in the more it-like programmer.

Maybe I should add a disclaimer that although I haven't worked at facebook, I worked at some of the other large comps similar to facebook and have seen this difference.

I worked at a startup where the company didn't hire the low skill H1Bs, but the engineering manager was hell bent on outsourcing things. It started logically with "support" type areas that should have been easy boiler plate. The firm failed at that (blew back on engineering, mostly me, to fix it). Despite the failures, he tried to push for more responsibility (core features) for the same company. I said no with facts in a meeting, he looked at the CTO, and despite said engineering manager being my boss, the CTO sided with me.

Outsourcing can be done well strategically. A firm from the same country (but with specific skills, not a generalist shop) was able to deliver optimized assembly code for me over a holiday break. I saw it as a present.

I think there are companies that do try to do the right thing around the visa situation. That said, there are individuals at small and large companies that try and push an agenda to either hire H1Bs or outsource ... every time I've encountered such individuals, it felt like they were getting their beaks wetted in the process.

The obvious way to make H1B work for the high end software engineers is to approve applicants based on highest paid applicant first, instead of via a random lottery.

It's fairly clear to me that this would be beneficial for the long term success of the United States. It's unclear to me what it would do to short term salaries for highly paid software engineers. Would it lower their salaries due to an increase in supply of very talented software engineers, or would it raise their salaries as companies get into bidding wars over H1B visas.

> The obvious way to make H1B work for the high end software engineers is to approve applicants based on highest paid applicant first, instead of via a random lottery.

This would grant a massive advantage to companies like Google and Facebook over smaller companies, and more generally to geographic locales and parts of the industry with higher pay. In terms of economic and competitive impact for those companies and for Silicon Valley, it's hard to think of anything that could have greater impact. They already have an inherent advantage when it comes to hiring due to their financial firepower.

...and that financial firepower, and resulting ability to outbid everybody else, comes because they're using their workers more productively than anybody else. Successful companies should be able to command the best, most scarce resources -- that's just efficient asset allocation, and is the entire point of the free market.

Well, it's not entirely efficient allocation, if you take the daring leap to assume that rents in certain areas are not totally subject to free market forces. I know a number of people who suggest they take home more by working in the Midwest metros than they would in equivalent jobs in the West Coast hubs.

It's possible that living in a high cost West Coast metro area is itself some sort of benefit, or at least better in ways we can't deduce by salary means alone. One alternative would be to keep the existing lottery system, and simply allow visa holders more latitude to switch employers. At which point any firms flooding the lottery with underpaid and underqualified applicants would see themselves out the door.

Well, that solves the issue of worker exploitation.

But it won't address the America first arguments, neither the rampant abuse by service companies. If TCS sees attrition rates go from 1% to 40%. Wouldn't they just put 66% more applications (40% of 166 = 66). There is no disincentive to not flood the visas. Also, if candidates are underqualified, they aren't going to switch at all.

There is no reason to keep lottery system at all, maybe normalize by geographical location, years of experience and field of work. But it is absolutely insane to put it down to lottery and incentivize companies to flood applications.

As a personal example, I am a PhD student on a F1, but I'd prefer other countries than the uncertainty of H1B and then painful decades long GC application. Further, there aren't as many jobs for PhDs. If I was a bachelors degree holder though, I'd have a ton more candidate employers to make the risk palatable.

> comes because they're using their workers more productively than anybody else

I'd actually argue that google especially is absolutely not the case. How many skilled people do they have stuck in bullshit jobs? They get away with it because they shove money and the google reputation in peoples faces all day long.

It's a reasonable qualitative analysis, but quantitatively Google is able to earn far more per employee than most other businesses. Google has ~70k employees and ~6 billion in revenue per quarter. Google is objectively more efficient, as reflected by their profits.

Massive companies already have an advantage when it comes to H1Bs. Because of the lottery system most H1B applicants will be rejected. If you have a small company and only need to hire 1-2 people how do you fill those positions with H1Bs? Apply for 2 and hope they both get it? What if they're both rejected? Even if they're accepted you have to have the applications done in the spring and they can't start work until the fall. Can a small company really afford to wait that long?

Your argument about the higher pay in certain areas is just wrong. Why can't a company in a lower cost of living area pay Silicon Valley rates? I'm getting paid more now in North Carolina than I was when I worked in Silicon Valley.

Using high pay as a decision maker on who gets in makes sense, and it incentivizes things in the right direction. But you don't get a list of everyone all at once applying for a single year, do you? Maybe we need to have a monthly "auction" where the high pay gets through first. Who could argue with that?

Actually you do get them all at once I believe! The current mechanism is a lottery which is executed in early April. It could be replaced with an auction as you propose.

Only if you group by occupation. Unless translators are paid the same as Bay Area software engineer.

You don't need to group by occupation. If there is a shortage of translators then their wages should go up. As their wages increase more people will see translation as a desirable career. If wages increase enough for them to be competitive for H1B positions that would be an indication that there really is a shortage of local translators.

There is only one kind of H1B work: that which requires special skills that are hard to find in the domestic labor force.

Any other use is a violation of the visa requirements and it is disgusting that the State department ignores it's own rules in issuing these visas for work that clearly isn't of such a rarefied nature that it requires special guest workers.

Maybe they consider being able to work for substantially below market wages a "special skill". I can do a lot of things across both hardware and software but the one thing I'm really bad at is working on someone else's problem for peanuts.

There are a lot of companies that do manage to hire people in the non-expert category though, and that is what screws up the situation.

There are lots of companies who do.

But that's ignoring the elephant in the room, the "Big 3" Indian consulting firms who somehow manage to snag nearly 40% of the entire nation's allocation of visas.

If you think about it, it is a sophisticated form of rent-seeking - the Big 3 get the visas, so they are able to supply the workers, so they have to be the ones to get paid.

I can't speak to Facebook, but all the H1B's I knew from Microsoft were drones at best. U of W churned out hundreds of people each year who would have loved to have those jobs.

Well highly skilled not doesn't mean the job is not repetitive.

In case of Microsoft, why would a local fails to an alien in such case, if they are both qualified? I cannot think of a reason why corporate would go straightly prefer aliens over locals. H1Bs do bring the whole market price down, but for individuals, aliens are more expensive I believe because of the legal cost.

Maybe some locals are just not good enough and don't deserve the job in competition.

What is the churn rate for H1bs compared to locals? My understanding is that it is challenging for H1bs to change jobs, so that could be a strong incentive.

H1B actually is visa that is easier to change jobs, compare with other visa like L1 which is tied to the employer. But u might be right that foreign worker are indeed in general more insecure about their job, thus might stick with the same company longer. But that is marginal edge, foreigner in general is no where close to compete with local in language skill and culture fit, which are all decisive factors in making a hiring decision.

I question this post. First off, they hire H-1Bs into normal SWE roles. Second, U of W is University of Washington right? A school with a very well regarded CS program. Why would they have hundreds of graduates not getting jobs? Why would those graduates want to go be "drones" at microsoft?

College grads churned out by UW seem just as drone-like as H1B's.

That's the point. The H1B program should bring the best and brightest to the US due to a lack of skills and or availability in the high skilled areas. Drone work is by definition not high skilled areas. Therefore the H1B folk should not be here. Those jobs would then go to the drone college kids, or to some outsourcing firm. That is the intent of the law.

Good point.

The H1B visa people at my office are some of the top performing people in our office in India.

Ok so how do they perform relative to folks in the us?

In many cases, they perform better than the folks here.

Many of the type of IT people Tata et al are hiring are in roles in which native workers either (a) don't want to do or (b) aren't trained to do.

Specifically BAU type roles where there is no creativity, diversity, career prospects e.g. Oracle/Teradata DBAs, Legacy J2EE Systems, Basic System Administration etc.

And sure they could hire younger, junior developers but actually they aren't suited because companies don't want fresh ideas or innovation or a new technology. They just want someone to keep the lights on. I've hired dozens of people in these roles and it's hard to argue against Tata etc. From the companies perspective it works well.

You can get people to literally haul garbage for a living if you give them a good salary, health care, and decent job security.

I don't buy the whole "native workers don't want to do this" argument. Employers don't want to pay enough to entice native workers.


> Some farmers are even giving laborers benefits normally reserved for white-collar professionals, like 401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses. Full-timers at Silverado Farming, for example, get most of those sweeteners, plus 10 paid vacation days, eight paid holidays, and can earn their hourly rate to take English classe

Care to explain?

I read the article you posted.

The argument that "Americans don't want these jobs even when you up the wage and add benefits" is only supported by a couple of anecdotes from growers who have an interest in maintaining the supply of foreign laborers, and I don't think that is sufficient to make the point.

I would maintain that there is a wage at which a sufficient number of Americans would be willing to do farm labor. Whether that would raise the price of crops beyond what consumers are willing to pay for them is another question entirely.

As an aside, I'm not opposed to foreign workers in the US, but I do find the argument that they are needed because "there aren't any Americans who want to do this" to be a bit disingenuous.

> and I don't think that is sufficient to make the point.

This maybe a small sample size but none the less shows that there are jobs that Americans won't do. This is despite the decent pay and benefits.

> from growers who have an interest in maintaining the supply of foreign laborers, and I don't think that is sufficient to make the point.

Sure, any one who owns a business would want to lower costs. If there is no option, that would have to raise salaries. And yet, no Americans are taking these jobs.

So your off the cuff comment "You can get people to literally haul garbage for a living if you give them a good salary, health care, and decent job security." falls flat on it's face.

Except that's not what the H1-B program is for - exceptional skills.

This is the most famous recent example https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-06-05/senator-calls-probe-a...

It seems like you are arguing that if someone in America is working a non creative/somewhat static job they should be happy to be replaced with a H1-B employee.

You hire junior developers for those roles because you can pay them less and find the people who work well in your environment, get rid of the ones who don't, and leave the rest to decide for themselves whether they can find something they like about the entry-level work (and somehow continue to live on that wage) or go somewhere else once they have more experience on their resume.

I've been through so many long cycles of trying to find someone to fill a developer role where it would have been so much simpler if we could have started with someone who understood the environment and work load up front, rather than finding people who went back to the job search 3 or 4 weeks into it because it wasn't working out (but they were usually smart enough to get another job offer before they quit). I would almost prefer to take someone with little or no programming experience who works in my office with a desire to learn and a strong work ethic and give them the programming job, hire 2 or 3 more people to answer phones on a help desk, and save everyone the pain of reading resumes and interviewing for a developer who ends up negotiating a higher salary, socializing at the help desk from 8 to noon, managing their social media empire from 1 to 5, and either quitting or (somehow) getting fired after a few months so we can start all over again.

Yes, I have to train someone, perhaps even more than I would have to train someone who comes on board with some applicable experience, but the alphabet soup that goes out on my job postings isn't easy to replicate on resumes, and doesn't guarantee that I won't need to review the material with them anyway.

creative threshold is subjective though. How do you draw the line? What is an easy litmus test that the bureaucrats can apply

Those abusing H1b visas are companies that are usually brought in to replace aging workforce. H-1b visa holders have very limited job portability, which lets the employer abuse the system.

If the H1b employee had full work authorization similar to a green card holder (give a 6 year full work auth to every H1b holder, and his/her spouse), then there wont be a question of enslaved H-1b employees trying to grab whatever peanuts thrown by these abusive companies.

H1b numbers can be very misleading, because a bigger number of high skilled immigrants (except Indians and Chinese) can skip the who H-1b hell and go directly to getting an EAD (full work authorization).

Better way to solve this problem, is to remove the concept of H1b, have very stringent L1 visas (even these are abused a lot), and give instant green cards to anyone who secures a job in US after graduating from a US university.

>> give instant green cards to anyone who secures a job in US after graduating from a US university.

sure but PhDs and special skills only

>> give instant green cards to anyone who secures a job in US after graduating from a US university.

...opens up so many opportunities for abuse!

Cool, seeing lots of garbage opinions in this thread. Either H1Bs are bad because they create greater competition with people who aren't American citizens, or if you got fired from a job that replaced you with someone on an H1B you must be a bad worker.

Haven't seen a single comment in here acknowledging that our immigration policy exists solely to benefit the wealthy (the wealthiest immigrants, or the ones with the most marketable skills and the wealthiest employers who often choose to exploit their immigrant employees via the precarity of immigration status created by an H1B). It would be great if people started having the conversation that we can have a mutually beneficial policy if we expedite citizenship for foreign born workers and actually work to build labor power in our industry instead of adopting nativist rhetoric or attempting to justify the various ways in which workers in tech are marginalized.

What people don't realize is that once the H1B program will be modified to take out companies like Tata and Infosys from the lottery, Facebook will have MORE H1B employees, not less.

That will be all right.

The point here is FB and microsoft are using the H1B law to hire creative workers.

While Tata and infosys are abusing the law to hire cheap workers.

So if FB and Microsoft hires more H1B, then it is better.

I have no problem with that really. There are thousands of H1B's that are much more talented than 95% of American software engineers and they tend to be at the unicorns and the well paying big companies like FB/Google

There are also thousands of Americans that are much more talented than 95% of H1Bs.

The h1b program is out of control. We've got Americans who need jobs. I've had a big corporate job where they had us train our h1b and then laid us off. I've also worked for H1B's in America who hired me through upwork. They would outsource their job to me, that's pretty messed up when you fully think that out.

FB currently has more than 300 openings. If you're qualified, please apply :)

Went from being a pilot to an FB engineer eh?

FB engineer for work, pilot (instrument/aerobatic rated) by hobby :)

Nice! I'll be at your MPK campus for a bit in several weeks... and unrelated, looking into getting PPL w/seaplane rating - we should meet up :)

Sounds good :) Seaplane rating is a bitch to use unless you wanna buy one, I know of no club that lets you solo their seaplanes for insurance reasons. An old apple coworker used to own a Lake amphibian, looked awesome.

Awesome. I'll be there for 2 days and then 2 weeks, 2 weeks later, you can probably guess why... I don't see any contact info for you; I can be reached in various ways following my profile here. :)

Don't know about particular circumstances here but I'd imagine more than a handful of FB engineers know how to fly.

> I've had a big corporate job where they had us train our h1b and then laid us off

This is indeed ridiculous. But how often does that happen? More specifically, how many companies go to the trouble of hiring H1B workers in lieu of local workers and then make the current workers train the replacements?

if the worker being trained was actually a contractor for one of those big indian IT companies, then it makes more sense.

Happened to me last year, too. And it's not just big companies. In my case it was a firm with only about 30 employees. But outsourcing (in my case to India) has become so easy that companies of almost any size can do it.

H1B is someone coming here, not outsourcing. Fewer H1B's probably means more outsourcing, for companies who are just looking at cutting costs and not looking at quality a lot. Not that there aren't great people to outsource work to, but we all know the kind of company we're talking about that isn't seeking that.

Usually companies have a severance package with a non disclosure so it's going to have be bad enough for people to sue for it to make the news like Disney and the 250 IT workers in Florida.


I mean not really hard data but UCSF did it at least.


news article today with lots more examples - the rise in companies that specialize in just this tactic should give a clue to it's pervasiveness. http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/20/15370248/trump-h-1b-visa-r...

Go to the website of practically every tech company, and you'll find at least 3 open positions for coders. They're looking for qualified people to fill them.

Facebook must be going out of the way to reject Americans, and insist on hiring H1Bs for their openings. They probably pay low wages and the people who can get past their interviews must be thanking their gods they got out of shitty life back home and happily work as indentured servants at low pay.

Edit: About the big corporate job part, sorry about that. If you're looking, I'm happy to put you in touch with engineers at Fb (and a couple of other companies).

Isn't that illegal? Didn't ever talk to a lawyer about that?

Not sure, however we were contacted by a lawyer about a year and a half later, and some of the other employees had organized. at the time, another developer and I decided it was to risky to have the "hey, I sued my last employer!" badge on our career so we passed.

> We've got Americans who need jobs.

Well, that's all nice and stuff but you're wrong. Firstly, if you're good at your job, you wouldn't need to be concerned. Secondly, you weren't concerned when all those manufacturing and blue collar jobs went to Mexico. What about when all those chemical plants and electronics/assembly/everything else moved to China? No sir, you weren't concerned at all. In fact, you enjoyed the lower prices that brought you. You didn't care about those factory workers in Flint. Why should your job be any different? Why shouldn't corporations be allowed to do whatever they need to do to deliver better shareholder profits and lower prices to their customers? America needs profits, not jobs! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp6-VLpWgRo

> Firstly, if you're good at your job, you wouldn't need to be concerned.

You sound young. When you get older you'll find out that ability is only tangentially related to keeping one's job.

> You sound young. When you get older you'll find out that ability is only tangentially related to keeping one's job.

You sound cynical and used a lazy argument. Can you justify the parent poster's demand that Americans be provided with jobs? How about justifying horse trainers demanding that the car industry be stopped?

Not to mention that technology has always been a bigger displacer of jobs than immigration. H1B allows 65K immigrants per year. Much more than that is displaced by self-driving cars, warehouse automation, etc.

> H1B allows 65K immigrants per year.

H-1B allows zero immigrants per year, because it's a non-immigrant visa.

You are wrong, the H1B is a Dual intent visa, which means it can be used by non-immigrants as well as people trying to immigrate into the country.

Dual intent visas are non-immigrant visas for which it is not a violation of the visa terms for the applicant to intend to immigrate at the time they apply for and enter on the non-immigrant visa. (Non-dual-intent non-immigrant visas do not allow this, and immigration officials can and will exclude you from entry with such a visa if they believe you plan to become an immigrant.)

They remain, however, non-immigrant visas, and require a separate application for immigration, which is what allows immigration by the quotas applicable to the basis of immigration under which you apply, not the status under the dual-intent visa and it's quota.

You don't know what you're talking about. It's 85000 per year at 3 year visas x 2 renewals. Then they are able to apply for a green card.

The current estimate is that over a million H1bs (not counting those who've gotten green cards) working pridominantly in IT, nursing, and pharmacy.

This has destroyed wages and working conditions in these fields.

> You don't know what you're talking about.

Yes, I do.

> It's 85000 per year at 3 year visas x 2 renewals.

Yes, but that's not immigration, it's a temporary, guest worker status on a non-immigrant visa.

And actually it's more than 85,000/year, since campus H-1Bs are uncapped. The highest recent year I find records for is 162,000 in 2014.

> Then they are able to apply for a green card.

Actually, they can apply at any time, but they have to meet the requirements for the immigrant Visa category under which they apply and fit within it's quota. H-1B, therefore, adds nothing to immigration limits since anyone who immigrates after an H-1B does so within the quota for the visa under which they immigrate. (For post H-1B employment-based immigration, that's usually EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3.)

> The current estimate is that over a million H1bs (not counting those who've gotten green cards) working pridominantly in IT, nursing, and pharmacy.

Given the 6-year limit and the number issued each year, it's mathematically impossible for there to be over a million H-1B workers in the country. Those estimates, therefore, are wrong.

It is dual intent for a reason. It's why my parents are citizens, in fact (and by extension, myself).

your parents were lucky. Any indian starting a green card process now, will be staring at a 20+ yr duration to get one. So, at least for India born people, it should be considered as a non-immigrant visa.

This is nitpicking. And h1b is dual intent anyway so they are classified as immigrants

No, dual intent visas are non-immigrant Visa that don't prohibit entrants from having the intent to apply for immigration under some other provision. (Regular non-immigrant visa prohibit intent to seek immigrant status.)

Relevant test case for reforms:

"The job categories covered under the new employer liaison service include civil and mechanical engineers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, construction millwrights and heavy equipment mechanics. Under the 24-month pilot program, those job categories will be placed on a "refusal to process" list within the temporary foreign worker program."


(Canadian provinces have some control over immigration, to the chagrin of American "states rights" proponents who can only dream of the possibilities.)

Well, they are paying their employee good money, which is one way to justify the use of H1B, the really high skilled worker, at least in terms of market value.

Companies like Tata and Infosys are the real problems here, not only for locals, but for other people who apply for H1B as well. Some actions are largely overdue.

The salary tab seems to say that FB isn't having trouble finding programmers in the US - it's having trouble finding GREAT programmers, while Wipro, et al just want a cheap body.

Huge difference. Nothing to see here, move along.

I have worked with some truly facepalm level of stupid H1Bs. I am sure we can find the same level of stupid here in the U.S. For these scenarios, I would much prefer u.s. citizens.

Sounds like it is time for Facebook to buy some congressmen.

Buying congressmen is expensive. Maybe instead, Facebook can just slowly take over the news industry and then control what people see.

Naw, it's actually pretty cheap, with a great ROI


Like THAT will ever happen. People would revolt and be disgusted with Facebook immediately!

( /sarc )

Facebook does have a PAC which many of its executives contribute to:


I don't see what makes workers born in America more important than workers born in any other country. Everybody should get the same chances.

Please don't take HN threads on generic ideological tangents. This amounts to trolling, and it's not what HN is for.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14153827 and marked it off-topic.

As an American, workers born in the USA are more important to me.

I care more about my neighbor's employment status, safety, and happiness than the family down the street. I care more about the guy down the street than the family across town... etc etc etc... I care more about some family in some US state that I'll never visit than a family over in India.

The closer they are to me, the more their success and problems will affect me either directly through interaction or indirectly through taxes or how they're likely to vote for something crazy in a future election out of desperation.

Local people even on a national level should get better chances if for no other reason than they've been here hopefully contributing to our system longer and they should be first to get some benefit out of it.

Sort of like, "As a white person, white people are more important to me."?

Do you think it is permissible for your town to pass a law that requires your neighborhood coffee shop to preferentially hire a barista from your town?

Let me quote the parable of Sam and Marvin by the philosopher Michael Huemer to explain why I don't think your reasoning works.

Excerpted from - http://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/immigration.htm

"Sam coercively prevented Marvin from reaching the local marketplace, on the grounds that doing so was necessary to prevent his daughter from having to pay a higher than normal price for her bread. This action seems unjustified. Would Sam succeed in defending his behavior if he pointed out that, as a father, he has special obligations to his daughter, and that these imply that he must give greater weight to her interests than to the interests of non-family members? Certainly the premise is true—if anything, parents have even stronger and clearer duties to protect the interests of their offspring than a government has to protect its citizens’ interests. But this does not negate the rights of non-family members not to be subjected to harmful coercion. One’s special duties to one’s offspring imply that, if one must choose between giving food to one’s own child and giving food to a non-family member, one should generally give the food to one’s own child. But they do not imply that one may use force to stop non-family members from obtaining food, in order to procure modest economic advantages for one’s own children."

> Sort of like, "As a white person, white people are more important to me."?

Not at all. Because being born with skin pigmentation is not the same as building a community together, that shares local resources and markets.

Your view seems to be that some communities are allowed to prevent outsiders from working in the jurisdiction of those communities in order to accrue modest economic advantages for community members. It seems like communities that share local resources and markets do have this property and communities that share skin pigmentation do not.


Typically people belong to multiple communities, say family, city, state, world. What kinds of actions are permissible in order to secure modest economic advantages to each of the these communities? What if there is a dispute between the various jurisdictions. What if the "world community" votes overwhelmingly in favor of open borders? What if a NYC block (which is certainly a community that shares local resources and markets) votes to ban black people from living/working there? Why is this wrong but the American community banning Indians from working in America not?

What makes the US border so much more meaningful than a state border? Why do you care about somebody living potentially 3000 miles away from you on the other coast more than somebody who lives much closer in Canada or Mexico? Why is immigration from places like Kansas to the valley seen as a positive sign but immigration from India to the valley is seen as stealing jobs?

I care more about the Americans because they're Americans and we're on the same team and that's what teammates do. Also, how they feel affects how they vote and how they vote affects me. We have to look out for each other because the Canadians, Mexicans, and Indians sure aren't going to look our for our best interests ahead of their own. Why would they?

I don't understand why this is such a strange concept to so many people.

Immigration must be (1) strategically planned, (2) closely watched, (3) carefully governed. It is a lot of money, who (and why) is going to pay for it? There are no other problems left to solve?

but these h1b holders live in your town, and possibly your next door neighbor.


Only because they are here by breaking the intent and possibly the letter of the law. If they are here because they have real skills, great. I care while they're here. If they are drones used to illegally displace workers, boot them out. The reason it's not an "everybody's equal" thing is that a person in another country has less of chance of directly contributing to the betterment of the US. A native US has a higher impact since they are in the ecosystem. So given the Bayesian odds, I'll back the native.

Edited for grammar

fair argument. I will agree with you.

How is that a fair argument? It's anti-immigrant BS.

All things being equal, when it's between a native(citizen, green card holder) who got his/her job displaced by an h1b, then our preference is naturally for the former.

Many green card holders started out on h-1Blocker visas.

That isn't bringing anything to the argument. The topic at hand is should the We be concerned about people that abused the system or the people that followed the law?

It's a high level question. Do we want people that are governed by law or skirt it? I argue the system is more stable and thus the preferred result when people follow the law. As a consequence I believe that we should protect those that follow the over those that break it.

I do feel bad for unskilled H1B slaves. Their poor circumstances are often better in the States than if they stayed at home. Unfortunately they are here illegally. There presence is making our country worse by locking wealth in the hands of the companies rather than making it part of the local economy.

I'm actually pro immigration. One of my biggest issues with H1B is the difficulty of a citizenship path. I would prefer to court true H1B holders. I want the US to be the number one country for all the high skilled people of the world.

The current H1B system abuses both native and traveler when cheated.

> but these h1b holders live in your town


I care less about them than they natives they displaced by getting visas handed out for reasons other than their intended purpose.

I know my next door neighbors. Not H1B holders.

Don't be an troll.

Your neighbors could be H-1B holders.

I can respect the economic arguments for it, even if I often disagree with them. This is just... not racist but it's about as foul in it's own way.

the core of your argument does not make sense. You state your level of empathy is geographically based, per the individual in question. We're not talking about outsourcing to off shore. We're talking about H1B visas.

Those people worked really hard to be born in America, dammit!

That's not the point. The point is, what happens to other Americans has greater impact on me, as an American because I live and work in the same communities.

What happens to someone in India will be of less concern.

If the world was a perfect place, sure. But it's not, and there's borders, immigration rules, and nationalism/patriotism on top of that.

So, we are not trying to make the word, a better place, just to "make America great again"? Good luck with that.

We should make a better America before we should make the rest of the world better. Besides, ask people in the rest of the world... most of them don't really want our help and would rather just be left alone.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

I will always put my fellow Americans first.

Why is the sentiment "I will always put my fellow whites first" bad but the sentiment you espouse not?

That is a truly poor application of logic.

It's not about being white, it's about living in the same social and economic communities. You really do not understand why a person might care more about what happens to their literal neighbor than someone half way across the world?

From where I am sitting, you are using race as a way to be deliberately inflammatory. Not a good look.

I can see how, in this example, using race doesn't really serve to clarify the issue. I definitely understand why a person might care more about their neighbor. In fact, I care more about my neighbors (or my family members). However, that doesn't relieve me of my duty to respect the negative rights of others. For instance, I'm not allowed to murder someone halfway across the world because it benefits my family members. Likewise, I am arguing that I am not allowed to prevent X from hiring Y because my daughter would like the job.

What's wrong with caring about your fellow taxpaying citizens who's vote might affect you more than someone that's possibly displacing them?

If you really think everyone is so equal, then why is it okay to put your family first?

"What's wrong with caring about your fellow taxpaying citizens who's vote might affect you more than someone that's possibly displacing them?"

? H1B holders pay as much tax as citizens do (more, in fact, given they cannot benefit off Social Security, but still have to contribute to it). AND they don't get to vote.

What's the argument in this case?

They (and their families) haven't been paying taxes into the community their entire working lives like the natives have. The argument is that the people who have been contributing to the society more and for longer should get to see some benefits from the system before someone who has contributed literally nothing to your community shows up. That's why out of state students pay way more for tuition than in-state students at public universities.

Even if you have some wacky reason for disagreeing with this logic, then take the taxes out of it. What's wrong with caring about your fellow citizens who's vote might affect your more than someone that's possibly displacing them?

Um, I guess thank you for defining my reasoning as wacky. Turns out, I agree with your logic, but want to point out that it doesn't lead to the conclusion that you support.

1. Do you like the fact that out-of-state/country students pay more for tuition (thus subsidizing the education of the good native people)?

2. If so, do you like the fact that H1B pay taxes (thus subsidizing Social Security for the good native people)? The H1B is term-limited to 6 years, and people need to leave the country if they no longer work (or pay taxes). So the do NOT benefit indefinitely at the expense of the community who have been long-term tax payers. With respect to tax, the H1B is totally a pay-to-pay (a little bit pay-extra-to-play, even) visa.

[Edit: We already established that H1B holders can NOT vote. So they cannot affect your community of long-term tax-paying natives in that manner].

I don't have any problem with you caring more for your fellow citizens. I encourage you to do that. I just don't want you to prevent your other fellow citizens from hiring me if they want to because I will displace people you care about.

I don't think everyone is equal. I just think that everyone has certain negative rights that you must respect. For instance, you are not allowed to murder a stranger just because it accrues modest economic advantages to your family members.

But they do it in the business world all the time and everyone seems to be ok with it. Startup world's dream is to become a monopoly which means some miserable people out there.

It doesn't make sense in context for a local municipality or government. Surely they exist to serve their constituents, which support them with taxes.

Likewise for a country, which exists to serve their constituents. It's not about being better or more important.

Charity begins at home.

The thing is, Indians and Chinese are fleeing their countries because it's so much worse there. If life was better in their countries, they would stay. But it's not. So instead of trying to help their fellow citizens, they run away and make Americans pay the cost.

"pay the cost": People are coming to America to work for American companies, make American goods, pay American taxes.

A job is not a handout, it's (supposed to be, at least) beneficial to both sides of the relationship.

>"pay the cost": People are coming to America to work for American companies, make American goods, pay American taxes.

The cost is the difference between an American getting a job and someone who has absolutely no relationship with America getting a job. I care about my fellow citizens. I want them to succeed.

> absolutely no relationship with America getting a job

Once they have a job, they, uh, have a relationship, don't they? At the very least with their new friends at the IRS.

Giving everyone the same chance would lower the quality of life of Americans. Why would Americans want to lower their own quality of life?

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