* 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 a neoliberal trope to try to work markets into every social problem, but this is really an issue concerning ethics and justice, not allocation.
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.
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.
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)
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.
If you are only looking for "the best" around the globe. I would except something like that in this range...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The H1B visa people at my office are some of the top performing people in our office in India.
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.
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?
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.
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.
This is the most famous recent example
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.
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.
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.
sure but PhDs and special skills only
...opens up so many opportunities for abuse!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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?
H-1B allows zero immigrants per year, because it's a non-immigrant visa.
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.
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.
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.
"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.)
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.
Huge difference. Nothing to see here, move along.
( /sarc )
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14153827 and marked it off-topic.
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.
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."
Not at all. Because being born with skin pigmentation is not the same as building a community together, that shares local resources and markets.
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?
I don't understand why this is such a strange concept to so many people.
Edited for grammar
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.
The current H1B system abuses both native and traveler when cheated.
I know my next door neighbors. Not H1B holders.
Don't be an troll.
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.
What happens to someone in India will be of less concern.
I will always put my fellow Americans first.
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.
If you really think everyone is so equal, then why is it okay to put your family first?
? 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?
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?
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].
Likewise for a country, which exists to serve their constituents. It's not about being better or more important.
A job is not a handout, it's (supposed to be, at least) beneficial to both sides of the relationship.
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.
Once they have a job, they, uh, have a relationship, don't they? At the very least with their new friends at the IRS.