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H-1B: Oracle favored hiring foreign graduates of US colleges over American grads (mercurynews.com)
391 points by hanging 85 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 346 comments



Granted that H-1B visas should ostensibly be filled only for positions where it is difficult to find qualified American citizens or permanent residents, but in all honesty are the Department of Labor's allegations really that surprising?

In the Bay Area, qualified job candidates are so scarce that it's quite common for citizens/permanent-residents to change jobs frequently. H1-B candidates are attractive for companies because it is harder for them to switch jobs. Companies can lock these employees for longer, and they can pay them less.

Rather than going after the companies, shouldn't we be focusing on fixing the H-1B visa process instead? It almost seems like the government has set up a broken process for companies to take advantage of, and instead of fixing things, they blame the companies.


Seems like such a simple issue to fix: the only condition for getting a specialist visa should be to find an employer willing to pay a specialist salary, say above 150K. Doctors included, I see no reason to protect them from competition. Hop jobs at will but need to maintain within 85% of that level.

If a company can't find workers, it should pay more up until a level that puts the competitiveness of the economy under question. Below that level, it's the citizen's right to a fair salary without labour dumping from a poor country. Above that level, it's everybody's right to fairly priced services without professional rents.


When I was on an h1b, I was making around 60k in the middle of the country, working for an amazing startup where we were ramen profitable. My skill set was highly specialized for the job. However, I couldn’t be a founder due to my visa status and we couldn’t pay each other even basic salaries. But we did some pretty amazing stuff for DARPA, DOD, and eventually some commercial enterprises.

You would price out people like me and make it virtually impossible for me to become a citizen eventually. But maybe that is by design and I don’t mind that opinion. All countries have nativist subsets of society so it is just a normal, natural stance.

Historically, america has attracted the best minds. Historically. But maybe now the populace believes the natives need to be protected from outside competition so that they can improve. Fair enough.


Yes there's nativism, but that's not the only thing here. In purely economic terms h1bn visa holders are potential employess that are extra attractive because they have less power; power they cannot get back and power other classes of residents cannot give up.

This is classic artificially divide the market and race to the bottom.

> You would price out people like me and make it virtually impossible for me to become a citizen eventually.

> Historically, america has attracted the best minds. Historically.

You are making the classic mistake of holding the macroeconomics constant. If we had sane immigration policies as proposed in this thread, the going rate might have been different.

Maybe you have been payed more, matching the coasts. Maybe we all would have been paid less, matching you. Maybe the incumbents wouldn't have had a competitive advantage such that you all had to be underpaid to be even ramen profitable.

The big point is given a skill set (projection of the labor market), residency status shouldn't be economically observable. Policy should be constrained to affecting the residency status distribution accross slices.


> ramen profitable

Off topic, but I hadn't heard this expression before so I looked it up and stumbled upon an interesting Paul Graham blog post derived from it: http://www.paulgraham.com/ramenprofitable.html

Thanks for introducing me to a new phrase!


From my point of view - both excluding you from the job market or giving you general purpose work visa are better for the rest of the people in your industry(with second option better for you of course). Than work permit depending on sponsorship.

If you are valuable enough to work in US, you are valuable enough to do it as a full market participant without shackles or handicaps.


Exactly. The reason startup salaries are low is that the companies don't have the cash to pay. If they had customers who believed in them they would have cash. If they had investors who believed in them they would have cash.

Asking the government to let in someone whose company might eventually make it big enough to pay "the going rate" is asking the government to take a risk -- it's like asking them to invest in the company on the promise that the payoff will be as good or better than the next person in line.


Actually, we were very proud of being bootstrapped and not selling stake to an investor. But perhaps that is not a big deal to other people, so I can see your point.


Nativist implies a racial undertone. I would call it tax-payerist: regardless of your background, the state prioritizes the interests of current tax payers to the detriment of future potential citizens. It's true even for migrants on other types of visas, they should be protected from labour dumping.

It's the only way a rich nation can function really, the alternative being open borders and a rapidly decreasing standard of living. They all do this in some convoluted way, despite any rethoric to the contrary.


> future potential citizens

Future potential tax payers. Like myself btw. I am giving so much money to Uncle Sam these days that it makes me sad. I could invest in multiple YC companies with that money.


The problem with this is that "absolutely anybody in any country" can be a future potential tax payer, there are way more people willing to migrate into the US than there is economic capacity to integrate them all. Not to say that an excessive rate of migration, especially concentrated to certain hotspots, can have other political backlashes - see the Trump era.

A financial threshold is a nice way to limit that influx to manageable numbers, while guaranteeing they can mostly take care of themselves and become productive taxpayers and without exposing them to employer exploitation. The actual amount is debatable of course, it could be 2x the national average salary, 1x, 3x... or it could be dynamically allocated to fulfill an intake quota.


Wow finally someone thinking similarly. Never understood why people think the US owes immigrants (especially skilled ones) anything. If you are truly bright and gifted of course you can make a living in any country! On several occasions I've had my future immigration path clouded and people have always asked me "gosh I bet it's frustrating" but I'm like "not really". I do like the US and would love to continue being here but hey it's your country your rules do whatever. Im sure I'll be just fine in another nation too.


Yea it’s not worth fretting about the whims of the American political class and neither the American populace. Some people have advantages by accident of birth, but so what.

Cheers to the immigrants who battle the crappy system here with national origin quotas and prioritizing chain migration over the American educated and trained foreigners like us.

I do have my green card but I’ve been contemplating not getting the citizenship because of the anti immigrant sentiment from all sides. Alas, the American passport allows travel more easily so I might just cave - but never vote.


I think there should be a monthly allocation of visas that can be issued, and companies are allowed to bid on the salary that they would pay the worker. Each month, the highest salaries get visas issued. If they don't bid enough, their candidate doesn't get in. If companies really need these specialists, they should pay them enough to secure a visa in a market-based system. I suspect this would create upward pressure on the salaries of these visa workers and prevent some of the abuse that we see today


So pretty much only companies in Bay Area or a couple similarly high $ hubs, and candidates wanting to go there specifically. That intuitively feels like promoting an unhealthy environment (not because of Bay Area in particular, but because of promoting concentration).


Yes, that is probably how it will play out. At least at first.

But I think the side-effect of this is that other industries & locales would not get as many workers as they currently do, which would put upward pressure on wages in those areas. Compare this to the current system, where wages for lower paying jobs and areas are kept lower than they would otherwise be by adding worker supply through this visa program.


>the only condition for getting a specialist visa should be to find an employer willing to pay a specialist salary

Countries in Europe do precisely this but take it slightly further. Take Ireland[0] and Sweden[1], for prime examples. For those of you who don't want to read the links: The company has to have a minimum salary (oft above the standard cost of living) for the employee to obtain (and retain) the permit.

(On an aside, in Sweden, they go a step further in that the contract must also be approved by the relevant union that company has agreements with.)

[0] - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Emplo...

[1] - https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/...


It is not really a specialist salary enforced in that law. I've been living in Sweden for 5 years now, as an immigrant, soon to be citizen.

The required salary quota, which is 15.000 swedish krona per month, is less than half of an average developer salary.

And that thing about union, is not as bureaucratic, as you make it sound. Company has to be part of a Union as a whole, to offer work-visa for immigrants. That's almost all there is to it. They dont really check each individual contract.


(Jag tänka att du inte förstod min svar men jag ska skriver i engelska, så alla kan att läsa.)

>It is not really a specialist salary enforced in that law.

To which law do you refer? The minimum stated on the original page that I referred? You would be correct that it's not a specialist salary; however, to suggest that it simply does not exist would be fool-hearty. Migrationsverket has documentation specific to that[0].

>The required salary quota, which is 15.000 swedish krona per month, is less than half of an average developer salary.

An average developer's salary, where? I can tell you that the average developer's salary in Östergötland, for example, is far less than in other places in Europe.

>They dont really check each individual contract.

A "check" is vastly different that an approval, yeah? You could've easily found this information[1] yourself, as it's freely available on Migrationsverket's site.

[0] - https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/...

[1] - https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Other-operators-Engl...


Needs to be adjusted for cost of living, salary changes over time by profession (Tech salaries are in a bubble rn. which makes 150k reasonable by bay area standards, but they may go significantly up / down in the future) which is complicated enough but there's edge cases like Universities / Non profits etc. that can't pay salaries to compete with the private sector but people work there anyway because of passion.


I disagree, if you can find cheap programmers in Des Moines, Iowa, then by all means expand there, spread the love within the country before going for import labour. As for bubbles, that's the point, there shouldn't be any if labour is available and willing to come in.


Most IT / h1 roles are not based out of the Bay Area [1]. Significant amounts of H1b population goes to doing cookie cutter consulting projects spread across the country and setting a 150k min on the wage means that you won't be able to hire H1s at all in other parts of the country. Obviously this creates a lot of demand for American programmers and personal experience suggests that this will cause a labor shortage.

[1] https://www.myvisajobs.com/Reports/2017-H1B-Visa-Category.as...


I think it’ll just be more likely that they’ll hire 5 30k offshore consultants instead of 1 local immigrant.


Or pay people in Des Moines $150k+


That doesn’t seem too hard to solve. You just say that an h1-b job needs to be at the 85th percentile, salary-wise, in a basket of similar jobs by location/position.


That's what the regulations say right now - for each title, there's a prevailing wage level that DOL publishes and a H1 has to meet that wage level. It is however a single level across the country so it tends to be a bit on the lower side.


Actually it isn’t. “The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.“ https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pwscreens.cfm


people work there anyway because of passion

I don't think that's necessarily the case. A lot of people that work at a university do so because they're an international grad student who has no other way to stay in the country. They're barely scraping by, hoping they can finish and that an advanced degree will land them a job.


The problem is that there's two very different things achieved by the H1B process:

a) Getting talented entry-level employees who graduate from US schools to stay in the US

b) Getting talented experienced employees to move to the US

The H1B is actually rather bad for b) due to the long processing time (6 months) during which a candidate cannot work in the US and high chance of not winning the lottery. Revamping the O1 visa makes more sense for that case. So that leaves a) for which salary requirements based around experienced employees make little sense.


> Revamping the O1 visa makes more sense for that case.

Canada has a pretty sane skilled worker visa program that gives you points for academic achievement, proficiency in English, French, age and other factors. I see no reason the US couldn't have that.

Having said that, factors that would increase the wish to move to the US would be things like universal healthcare, a sane schooling system (with less inequality between school districts, easy access to higher education), better lablr laws, and overall social security. Without that, I don't think it's that much attractive.


>Without that, I don't think it's that much attractive.

Given that salaries can be something like 5x what you get in Europe for the same experience level with lower taxes there is a big reason. Probably even more compared to places outside of Europe. If you're working at a large tech company making good money then healthcare doesn't matter (since you got solid medical insurance), school district doesn't matter (since you can afford to live in the good district), labor laws don't matter (in fact their lack is probably why you're making 5x the money) and social security doesn't matter (that's what saving the decent chunk of money you make is for).


These are all things that don't matter to me - I was always under some sort of health insurance since before the day I was born and never seriously contemplated needing social security systems. Still, living in a society where everyone can enjoy that makes for a better living experience.

Earning 5x what I would earn (which is not what I observe on my compensation level) does not compensate for knowing there are people who were driven out of their homes and now live in tent cities because I could pay more. In fact, I would not want to live in a society that encourages that and, most definitely, don't want to raise my kids to think that's normal, or desirable.


That's fair and you're free to make that value judgement but you seemed confused as to why someone would make a different choice.


I'm always shocked when people place so little value on the well being of others.


One big problem with restricting to salaries above 150k is that you’ve disqualified anyone who may be early in their career. Not many who are below a mid-level career role will get that kind of salary.

What does that affect? All undergraduate students coming to the U.S. who spend $$$ on a 4 year college degree here and then try to find a job. You’ve just wiped that demographic out because they won’t get 150k salary.

Why would they be inclined to come to the US and spend all that money on an education here? They won’t.

And if the best talent doesn’t come here to compete intellectually with Americans in a classroom then Americans lose.

H1Bs comprise a big chunk of people who come here, get an education here, prove their competence and make the American economy grow.

You won’t get them to come here with a high salary cap like 150k.


> You won’t get them to come here with a high salary cap like 150k.

That's not the purpose of the H1B visa. The purpose is to fill shortage areas with temporary workers; it's not some kind of college recruitment program.


>What does that affect? All undergraduate students coming to the U.S. who spend $$$ on a 4 year college degree here and then try to find a job.

That’s great... hire locals not foreigners just because they paid for a degree. I don’t care what they paid for. This is supposedly for specialized knowledge—-it shouldn’t be going to ANYONE entry level or undergrad...


That's a very IT/bay area specific view. You can be well respected with a long career in many industries and not make 150k.


Not really- the way H1-bs are sold the general public are that they are for “extremely hard to find” labor and requirements state you must look for us persons to fill your position before getting an H1-b visa to do so.

$150k is at the 95th percentile of individual income for the entire US. I’d argue that if a company in any industry/profession isn’t upping their advertised pay to higher than what 1/20 us persons currently make, they aren’t trying sufficiently hard to attract a US person.

I generally favor looser immigration in the US, but H1-Bs as written unduly benefit the sponsoring company at the expense of labor generally.


Looks like the 95th percentile went up to $235K in 2017/2018.

https://dqydj.com/income-percentile-calculator/


The 2nd graph on that page shows the 95th percenctile as $153k. The calculator returns a similar result.


my bad. $235K is the 95h percentile for household, not individual.


Here's a simpler proposal: anyone from anywhere can come here and take any job. If you leave your job, voluntarily or not, you have 90 days (up from the current grace period of 60 and strict rule of 0) to find another job. If you've been here for a few years you can apply for citizenship, independent of your employer.

The primary objection to this is crowding out the labor market, to which I'd say: protectionism doesn't work. If there are people in another country willing to do the same job for cheaper, the invisible hand will figure out how to move the jobs there, perhaps through competition. Fighting the free market isn't going to work: figure out how to work within it. (For instance, offer a UBI for citizens only.)


The primary objection to that idea is the complete destruction of your country's culture.


Again, protectionism. If a billion people in India and a billion people in China are competing in global markets, my country's culture isn't going to survive anyway. How is Ottoman culture doing these days? Honestly, how is the British culture of even a century ago doing these days? How long did the Japanese culture so carefully preserved survive Matthew Perry's arrival?

(Also as it happens I'm an American-born child of Indian immigrants, so I am actually a carrier of American culture and not Indian, so I have reason to question the implicit assumption that immigrants will destroy culture.)


You're a carrier of American culture (at least in some superficial way) because you grew up surrounded by Americans. If 500 million people moved here, they would not grow up surrounded by Americans.


Well, okay, but there are multiple times 500 million people living in other countries growing up extremely not surrounding by Americans, and they are preparing to quash America's culture entirely in 100-200 years through economic dominance. Do you prefer that outcome?


If you dig in, a lot of cultures have roots going back centuries. People might be wearing tshirts and jeans everywhere you go, but the way they handle family matters and daily routines is very different.


You're a superficial carrier of American culture. Sure you speak English and consume American media, but you have socialist values which are not American. This is the land of the free, not the land of government-enforced equity and insanely high marginal taxes for the rich. Let me guess, you're anti 2nd amendment? If there were more people who thought like you in America, the country would indeed collapse in on itself.


No, I'm pro-Second Amendment. Probably more strongly than you: I believe the original purpose of the Second Amendment was to maintain a continuous threat of violent revolution against the government, not to let people hunt deer or whatever, and as a result I believe that the people have a right to own weapons sufficient to win a war against their own government—either by letting the people have a nuclear deterrent, or by disarming the government to the point of having no weapons the people can't have.

Not sure what that has to do with anything, though.


The op talked about the free market always winning, and you accuse him of being a socialist?


Bummer, isn't it? I left the US because of its work culture (always working all the time, or trying to look like it) and now it's infecting Europe, or parts of it at least.

But that was without throngs of Americans moving here


To be fair, American culture is the destruction of other cultures if you take a critical eye at American history. It's quite funny to see people so protective of it.


Well, I'm not talking about American culture, I'm talking about any country taking in immigrants, and general reasons to object to it. It certainly isn't economics-only. (America has already undergone this process in many waves, e.g. when non-Quakers took over Pennsylvania, or when Californians move to Idaho.)


This is a thread and topic about America and immigration in America. To suddenly shift and say that you're somehow not talking about American culture seems rather incredibly disingenuous.

And that said, a culture does not deserve to live by virtue of existing. It's protectionism and xenophobia, founded purely because of fears that immigrants will somehow replace your culture with something you view as being lesser. This is a two-way street because I have seen people use it as an argument against letting in people that would destroy woman's rights or what now here in America...and I've heard it used in fears of immigrants fighting for minority rights or woman's rights in countries like Japan.

It's an argument born out of irrational fears and one I find not compelling at all.


Well I certainly object to the destruction of America’s culture too, but the construction of geofft’s argument is that categorically he could only think of one possible objection to immigration.

And it’s not an irrational fear. It’s a very obvious fact that America with wide open borders would be a worse place for existing Americans to live, just look at the average country and ask if Americans would like to live there, and why not.


I don't believe it's a very obvious fact at all, considering America has had very lax borders in the past and I would not describe it as being a far worse place to live. If you're going to describe something as an obvious fact, how about you back up your obvious fact with citations or data? Otherwise then yes, it would be an irrational fear.

And I would imagine the converse is true: If you asked anyone in another first world country if they would like to live in America, I would bet you'd see the results end up rather negative. Especially after the past few years of nonsense we've exhibited to the rest of the world.


Simply by increasing population, traffic, and pollution it would make the country worse off.

You don’t need studies and citations to figure this out, you need to hold in your head a model of reality. You need above average people, who give more than they take, in order to drive the quality of the country upward.


Let's take your argument to the extreme then: If increasing population -> more traffic -> more pollution, then the obvious thing should be to reduce the birth rate in America which is a far more pressing issue than immigration if we're talking pure population growth.

Not only that but by your own argument since we need 'above average people' who 'give more than they take', the end result should be forcing people out of rural areas (the dense metropolitan areas tend to be more economically powerful) while also ensuring they can't procreate. What I'm getting at is essentially using population growth as an excuse for restricting immigration is itself an excuse, because there are many ways in which the issues of population growth are stymied and more effective at doing so.

And yes, I do want studies and citations. You're essentially begging the question in lieu of actually providing evidence for your own claims. I want you to give me explicit citations for your claims and your 'model of reality', because you're assuming that your model of reality is correct without any factual basis.


Sorry, pal, you don't get to dictate the terms of this conversation.


Then you're admitting that you're not here to actually debate in any sort of rational manner. If you make a claim and can't substantiate your claim when called out on it, then your claim has no rational or factual basis. At which point your entire argument falls apart, especially when you call something a 'very obvious fact'.


You're welcome to post a citation showing that increased immigration would reduce traffic and pollution. Otherwise I'm not gonna bother.


It's obvious now that you're not actually willing to properly argue on your side of the debate. The argumentative burden of proof is on the person making the claims, not the one disputing it. The fact that you're being so flippant about your claims does not do your argument justice.

Not only that, but now you're attempting to twist the argument into something that it wasn't in the first place. Even if we did decrease immigration, that wouldn't fix the issues of traffic and pollution in America because those are born out of poor city planning combined with lax industrial standards. Unless you want to somehow argue that immigrants contribute more to pollution than corporations doing things like say, flaring in West Texas.

If you can't support your claims with evidence when called out on it, then you shouldn't make such bold claims period.


More people = more traffic is not a bold claim. That's traffic engineering 101.


> Simply by increasing population, traffic, and pollution it would make the country worse off.

This doesn't at all seem obviously true to me. It rather seems obviously false: I find big cities more pleasant to live in than small towns, even though they have more of all three. More population seems like an inherent virtue to me. More traffic gets turned into more efficient traffic via public transit, or building denser and more walkable cities, or whatever, which I find more enjoyable than cars. More pollution is a side effect but a solvable one.

If your argument is the model of reality in your head, then you need to admit that the model of reality in lots of other peoples' heads is very different, and there's no reason that your model should win (unless you're claiming that your political opinions matter more than others'?).


I think waiting in traffic and being forced to use alternate means of transportation is a net negative. There are already Big Cities in this country for anybody that enjoys the city-slicker lifestyle, and increasing total population won't make the world better for those people.


> the construction of geofft’s argument is that categorically he could only think of one possible objection to immigration.

This is untrue. I said the primary objection. Of course there will be a lot of other objections.


Okay, that's correct. And I disagree(d) with what the primary objection is and would be. Maybe not your objection, but most people's, in every country.


I was gonna ask - are you also in favor of putting restrictions on Californians moving to Idaho?


I haven’t actually told you my immigration policy, and it’s clear you’ve incorrectly decided you know what it is.

My immigration policy would be to let in the set and sequence of immigrants that makes this country as nice a place to live as possible. Approximated with a greedy algorithm, that means picking the individual that makes this country the most nicer place, letting them in, and then repeating the calculation until we’ve run out of people that make the country a better place for us to live. Culturally, that means cultural optimization, not preservation.

I’d happily stop 99.999% of noncitizens from moving here and working here while allowing Californians to move to Idaho. (I’d also remove the financial penalties California places on people that moved from Idaho to California.)


That's not a coherent policy - that basically describes everyone's policy. That describes the current US policy. That describes my policy. It's just that you've shifted it to a discussion of what makes the country a "nice place to live," which obviously lots of people disagree on. In particular you haven't answered what to do when there are conflicting arguments over whether bringing in a particular person would make the country a nicer place to live or not, or for whom it's nicer.

Specifically, I think that this country would be a nicer place to live for myself if I can hire whomever I want for my team regardless of citizenship and without big government second-guessing my decision, and if they can feel confident about their long-term future once they move, therefore making them a) more likely to accept and b) happier and more productive when they're here.

I also think that the number of people who have moved into the SFBA (myself included, I'll be honest—feeling uncomfortable with that is part of why I left) have made it a worse place to live. I think there are ways to solve that other than internal migration restrictions, and I have other philosophical objections to internal migration restrictions, but I do see their appeal. You, for some reason that I don't totally follow, either don't think that SFBA has become a worse place to live or that this isn't an important criterion in deciding internal policy; I'm curious which it is (or whether I've misinterpreted).


That doesn't describe current US policy, which prevents people from coming that would make the country a nicer place to live, and lets many people in that wouldn't. By design, it even brings in random people.

I'm not describing a policy, I'm describing an ideal. (A simple concrete policy proposal is below.)

You said:

> Here's a simpler proposal: anyone from anywhere can come here and take any job.

So that doesn't describe your policy proposal either. Plenty of people can hold down a job and make the country a worse place for others, or a subset of others, simply by competing for resources, driving down wages in the sector they work in, by being a criminal, or by voting immorally.

I want to let everybody you'd let in, except for people whose immigration would make the country a worse place. Define that ideal as you will.

As a pretty good approximation, we could limit immigrants to those that could qualify for military service.

> myself included, I'll be honest—feeling uncomfortable with that is part of why I left

That's also a reason why I left. My policy as a national policy, is to make the country a nice place for all of its citizens (except criminals and slovenly degenerates) to live in. So that includes people that might like to move from Arizona to California. They're making their own lives better, which counts for something.

> I think that this country would be a nicer place to live for myself if I can hire whomever I want for my team regardless of citizenship and without big government second-guessing my decision

If you're like most employers, that means you're happier if you get to drive down working class wages, while you get to reap greater profits from your pre-established position in the market. That's good for you, but not good for the average American.

To make my goals a little more nuanced: Economically, I want only the smartest immigrants, which do advanced stuff like start companies, work for them, or work in healthcare, which drive up the demand for working-class labor, letting average Americans negotiate a better piece of the pie, while driving down the cost of their healthcare. Culturally, I want supply limited so that immigrants assimilate, and I want all the immigrants and their children to be crime-free pro-life Republican voters. :-)


I bet native Americans of couple centuries ago agree with you.


[flagged]


What.

One consequence of unlimited immigration to America would be a major setback in women's rights and practical freedom in many pockets of the country.


[flagged]


> Leave him alone, he just wanta to secure the existence of his people...

Wow, you need to learn how to distinguish between stuff your brain tells you and reality.


This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever seen. Why bother being a country at that point? You’d have 2 billion people moving here tomorrow and living in the streets. Bad idea.


Not sure what you mean by "being a country," but, no, you wouldn't. If they didn't have jobs they couldn't stay. If they did they'd find housing - perhaps some would even build housing for the rest. To imagine that two billion people could move to the US, find employment, and all be homeless is to imagine an interesting form of market failure that I don't yet understand.


So they would definitely get back on planes rather than just going rogue and trying to stay in the country and working illegally? And existing citizens would not lose out through massive oversupply problems in the labour market?

I can't say I agree at all this would be of benefit to any nation willing to do this.


Like I've been saying in this thread, existing citizens are going to lose out anyway. The labor market is global. There is no way to have the government interfere in the free market to preserve jobs for certain people of certain backgrounds, and not have it backfire. It is already backfiring, in many industries.

So if you care about not making existing citizens lose out—which I do!—find a solution other than protectionism. Find a solution that works. A UBI, so that not finding a job doesn't ruin your life, is a good one. Fund it with income taxes on immigrants who come here and do well. (And on a UBI you can spend as much time as you want training in an advanced skill or learning a complicated profession so that you can compete in another segment of the labor market.)

No country is going to do this because no country wants to admit to their citizens that the "country" and "citizen" abstractions are powerless against the reality of the global free market. It's too politically incorrect; people would rather believe that protectionism works. But it's the right thing to do.


> The labor market is global.

Not for all countries! Definitely an imbalance there, and US is already pretty generous with immigration numbers. We've also seen that cheap labor does not reduce cost of living in developed countries, so importing foreign cheap labor is a loss for not-rich folks.


That's not what I mean—what I mean is that labor is in the service of products and services, and the market for products and services is overwhelmingly global. You can get software from anywhere. You can get PCBs from anywhere. You can get oil from anywhere. You can get clothes from anywhere. You can get cars from anywhere. You can get produce from almost anywhere. (Prepared food is hard, as are a few other things like haircuts, but my argument is those are the minority.) Soon you'll be able to get truck drivers from anywhere with remote oversight of self-driving cars.

So if you're in any of these fields, you're competing with people around the world. You're not competing directly—the playing field is still quite bumpy—but it's becoming more level.

So if the actual goal you have is "I want citizens to not starve and be homeless," which is certainly my goal, protectionism is a temporary patch holding back a storm. One day it will stop working. Better to prepare for that day instead of denying it.

(Unless you plan on dying before then and don't care about your kids' future, but I assume all the people in this thread saying "culture" care about that....)


> You can get clothes from anywhere. You can get cars from anywhere. You can get produce from almost anywhere...

But not everyone in any country can "get X from anywhere" is part of my point.


Plenty of jobs pay less than a living wage.


OK, I am fine with amending my proposal to "any job that pays at least a living wage in the area where you live."

A bonus of that amendment is that if you want to bring family, you must all in sum earn a living wage for your family, but you can split that however you want, so e.g. you can legally bring children who aren't going to work or legally take more than 90 days to raise a child.

(Also it might embarrass the government into raising the minimum wage for citizens to a living wage.)


This is such a one-sided point of view. Imagine that you're immigrating to a country, and after a few years you get fire, or you want to take a sabbatical, or you want to change industry for a lower paying job.

Now under your rules you cannot do that. What do you do? You've created your life in the US, you have friends, perhaps a girlfriend, maybe even a house. Now you have to leave?


(I say this as someone who lived in the US on a visa for years)

That's part of the deal. Any immigrant arriving on a visa knows what they've signed up for, and it doesn't involve taking a sabbatical. It also really should not involve buying a house, if you're being sensible. Being fired 100% sucks, but you can transfer an H1B to a new employer. H1B is at least a dual intent visa, so after some years you can apply for a green card, get one, then take all the sabbaticals you want.

(Also, if your life is settled enough to have friends and a girlfriend you don't want to leave, US immigration does offer an answer: marry her!)


The second you are fired, you no longer have an H1B to transfer (usually USCIS allows transferring even if there is a short lapse, but this isn't guaranteed, and during that lapse, the visa holder is actually the US illegally)


This isn’t correct. Once you have an H1B it’s yours for 3 years (plus a 3 year extension). If you lose your job you can use the remaining eligibility for another job, though you may have to do your job search from outside the country.

In addition, USCIS has formalized the general practice that you have 60 days to find another job or leave the country: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-publishes-fin...


If it yours but you can't use it without a 3rd party (employer) agreeing, is it really yours?

I'm glad to hear the 60 days had been codified. I just hope it's a binding decision.


The real problem is the path from L1/OPT -> H1B -> green card is purely based on how many years you have worked in the US and performed as some kind of lottery. The transition may take at least 8 years, almost identical for highly-educated Top-N employees & questionably-legal "labors" from IT Consulting Companies (there are lots of fake identities/backgrounds in these companies' H1-B applications).


Why would an L1 want to go to H1-B instead of going straight to green card?


IIRC it's a lot more difficult (impossible?) to transfer an L1 between employers, whereas an H1B can be transferred.


They wouldn't


As an immigrant to another country, that's just how it is. It's a risk I accepted the day I decided to pack up and get on the plane.

I'll definitely be upset if things don't work out in my current home, but I'm prepared for the possibility. If anyone out there expects their new country to bend over backwards for them and try to keep them from returning to their old country, they're either not fit for the difficulties they'll inevitably face or they're incredibly wealthy.


US immigration laws aren’t just economical but also rooted on how the country was built, by immigrants (eg jus-solis and diversity ratios).

Particularly to the H1b, the discussion is about cost of transaction (I.e.: changing jobs). There is no bending over in the US labor market.


I see 3 things here:

1) Qualified job candidates are scarce? Just... what? The only difference between here and there is when people lie and say they're qualified, the company is willing to pass this lie on to the government to say "the qualified candidates are over there". There are people who can do the work, and there are companies who want to pay less in total compensation. I feel like my entire generation was raised on a CS/SE pathway. How are there no qualified candidates? What decade will we be fit do to the work? Maybe I'll move to the third world and get rehired back. That's the entry-level job.

2) H-1B is not an loophole to get "loyal" employees. Again, you keep employees with competitive wages & benefits.

3) Companies should be shamed as much as the government for an exploitable process. The government must change for the people it serves. Companies can be dissolved if they're not supporting the area they base themselves out of (and benefit from).


WRT #2 it's certainly not supposed to be that way. But if an H-1B worker quits, they have something like two weeks to find a new job or else be deported on the spot. In other news, mysteriously, H-1B workers tend not to quit even faced with low wages and poor conditions.


I love discussions about hiring and immigration. People always focus on their idea of what others should do while ignoring all the data and the reality at present. When you see otherwise rational people ignore data, focus on unqualified conclusions, and opinionated targets their bias is laid bare. Regardless of what you believe is the right answer what does the hiring data actually say?


> H1-B candidates are attractive for companies because it is harder for them to switch jobs. Companies can lock these employees for longer, and they can pay them less.

This is ultimately what it's about.

I work as a software engineer in the Bay Area and the number of H1Bs doing the same grunt work coding that I do is astounding. H1Bs were supposed to be for some sort of super specialized work no?


That's why a higher salary should be mandatory. Eg. 140% of a "normal" salary for that function.

It would make companies be more serious about looking for talent elsewhere - such as in their own country.


So an obvious solution would be allowing H1B holders to freely change jobs, even with gaps. Accordingly, the employers won't be able to lock the visa holders. Then there will be fair competition that makes sense. But anyway the big companies don't want to lose the "lock" so it would be hard to change.


Clarification in case any H1B holders are reading: you absolutely can transfer your H1B visa, though I think a break of more than 30 days would be a violation.

The trick is when you H1B employer also offers to sponsor your green card. That isn't transferrable, and if you're from certain countries (like India) it can take up to ten years to get one.


> "The trick is when you H1B employer also offers to sponsor your green card. That isn't transferrable"

Yes but the priority date itself is transferable. This allows you to job hop as many times as you want, without losing your place in line. If you have to wait 10 years for your green card, you might as well take advantage of this option and only worry about your green card 9 years down the road.


Unless you want a promotion (from what I understand). And most want a promotion or change in job responsibilities in 10 years.


You don't lose your priority date if you get a promotion within the same job role. Eg, you can go from entry-level developer to senior-staff developer, without any issues. Google senior-staff developers make over half-a-million, so that's quite a high ceiling. I even know someone who made the switch from hardware-engineering to software, and kept his priority date.


A talented (foreign) friend of mine had the opportunity to switch to a better, higher paid role but due to the effort involved, the risk and the pause in H1B premium processing just hung on to his current role.

The H1B program itself is not a problem and in-fact is a big positive contributor to the US economy; but it definitely has issues like the one you highlighted (e.g. harder for employees to switch jobs) that should be addressed by the government to make it more viable.


I tried to get the H1B twice, couldn't get it through the lottery, so I had to move out of the US for a year and a half while I was waiting for the green card. The process is so backward.


I can’t help but wonder if a lot of the indignities that we tolerate (open-plan offices, unpaid overtime) aren’t worse because there are so many people in our industry unable to fight against them.


The process could (and probably should) be adjusted, but the intent of h-1b is clear that it is to fill positions that are not fillable with local talent at prevailing wages.

If companies aren't really looking for local talent, or aren't really paying prevailing wages, they have been defrauding the government, and hurting the labor market. When large scale abusers of h-1b are prevented from getting future visas, it gives room for other companies to use the visas, and hopefully they follow the rules.


How would you suggest they fix the process?

The practice of hiring someone "because it is harder for them to switch jobs" so the company "can lock these employees for longer" and "can pay them less" sounds like unlawful wage discrimination.

If the existence of a governmental program helps a company in pursuing an unlawful practice should that be relevant in determining the wrongfulness of the practice?

That seems like a very weak argument.

It seems reasonable that a company should see the program as intended to make H1-B candidates attractive because of their skills, not because it will be "harder for them to switch jobs" and the company can "lock" them for longer and "pay them less".

If there are citizens or permanent residents that have the same skills then what legitimate reason exists why companies should be filling them with H1-B candidates instead?


You did just discuss the difficulty of finding qualified workers without mentioning salary. Yes, talented software developers are scarce at 50k. They even appear to be scarce at 150k/yr. To me, that doesn't signify a shortage, it signifies that employers asked the market for engineers at a particular price point, and the market said no. This isn't a shortage, it's the market's answer, it's the rational decision of people who have freedom to choose their profession in response to market signals, personal preferences, and costs.

The entire point of the H1B visa is to create a pool or workers who are not free to choose their professional path, but are allowed to live in the US only under the work conditions determined by their employer.


If you can’t find applicants, you’re just not paying enough. Pay more.


> "H1-B candidates are attractive for companies because it is harder for them to switch jobs"

The extent to which this is true, is severely overestimated. Both by citizens and by the h1b holders themselves. I have a close friend who has switched companies 4 times while on a h1b, and it was a breeze.

https://www.prideimmigration.com/can-you-change-jobs-h1b-vis...

The only complicating factors are Trump-era changes such as suspension of premium processing and greater risk of rejections. Combined, these do have a chilling effect on job transfers, which ironically leads to h1b abuses like mentioned in the article. But even then, these are easily surmountable hurdles.


[flagged]


There's a side-effect, however, that's being ignored.

If US companies don't like/trust the talent coming out of US colleges, they should have a stake in improving those programs. But if their solution is just to hire immigrants, it cheats colleges out of feedback from industry.

Colleges really need more practical courses, at least starting in upper years, that set developers up for success in the workforce. How many devs today come out of college needing 3-6 months of learning just the basics? That shouldn't be happening.


That's true of pretty much every engineering discipline. You may disagree but university engineering programs, especially at the better schools are not designed as job training programs. Personally, I don't think they should be. The hot technologies today will be last year's news soon enough. For companies that really do want to hire people whose training is focused on the practical, there are always code camps and other professional programs.


University isn’t a job training programme or a trade school.


The best engineers I have ever worked with have been American.


They are probably not representative of the average.


you could multiply the h1b quota by 10 and it would fill out.


Why is it not okay to discriminate on the basis of your skin color at birth but okay to discriminate on the basis of which side of a border you were born in? Surely, there would a lot of outrage in HN if someone said - "Granted that H1-Black visas should ostensibly be filled only for positions where it is difficult to find qualified whites"?


I suppose it depends on whether or not you consider it morally acceptable for a country to prioritize the prosperity of its own citizens over that of non-citizens.

I.e., whom does a country's government serve?


Why is it morally acceptable for a country to prioritize the prosperity of its own citizens, but not for whites to prioritize the prosperity of fellow whites?


You cannot change your skin color, you can change your citizenship though. And it's not just America, you'll run into these restrictions in every country, often times more strict.


> You cannot change your skin color, you can change your citizenship though.

Not on your own. You need to find a country willing to accept you as a citizen. For the vast majority of people in the world, the only countries that would accept them are those where they would be worse off. So the countries that do (successfully) prioritize prosperity of their citizens also effectively lock out most people from elsewhere. The trickle of immigration is just that, a trickle - it is deliberately constrained with various rules and requirements, and it would be a much bigger stream if anyone who wanted to change their citizenship could apply (even if you filtered out, say, people with criminal records and such).


Actually, I suspect its easier to get a full-body skin graft than it is for a low-skilled third-worlder to get an American citizenship.


Sorry I didn't realize this was reddit.

You know that's not true, and other countries have much more strict citizenship processes, some not even allowing full citizenship.


Can you elaborate on why you think that isn't true?

Imagine I'm a cab driver in Pakistan and want to become a cab driver in the US. Can you point me to what form I would fill out in order to apply for a visa?

As far as I'm aware, no such process exists.


I'm having trouble understanding which level of abstraction you're trying to discuss.

Are you arguing that two human attributes in particular, race and birthplace, should for some reason be subject to the same level of discrimination in hiring?

Or are you asking a more abstract question? I.e., given any human attribute ${attrib}, what are the principles a government should use when deciding if ${attrib} is a legally protected class?


I'm just engaging in common-sense ethical reasoning. It seems wrong to require that all whites employ a much higher bar for hiring blacks. And, I have the same intuition about requiring all Americans employ a much higher bar for hiring foreigners.

Also, I think there is a big difference between allowing discrimination (which is only wrong if you belong to a protected class) and requiring discrimination, which is pretty much always wrong.

So its one thing to argue about whether employers should be allowed to discriminate against foreigners (or blacks). There are some good arguments on both sides. But I don't think there are any good arguments in favor of requiring that employers discriminate against foreigners (or blacks).


Yet mysteriously, every country in the world does this (discriminates against foreigners) to some extent, and has for recorded history. If you can't figure out why, perhaps you shouldn't be talking about policy, in the same way you shouldn't delete code you don't understand.


Although I don't necessarily agree with what GP is saying, it seems to be spreading ignorance to say "if you can't figure out why [then I'm not going tell you] and you shouldn't be talking about it". Instead of alluding to a mysterious reason, which you insist one ought to understand to talk about policy, why don't you tell us what the reason is?


If you go even more abstract, why is it OK to kill animals for food but not humans?


You will note that many people find animal slaughter objectionable for exactly this reason.


Are you reasoning against the entire concept of countries?


The simple answer is that the US fought a war over the question of whether it can prioritize fellow whites and the pro side lost. Badly.


Might makes right. Got it.

Edit : Sorry addicted, I interpreted your comment as a justification, not as historical account. My bad.


Might doesn't make morally right but it can make factually correct.

Two parties disagree and eventually one says to the other "if you don't stop it I'll make you stop it."

This is a truth claim that can be honestly verified through physical struggle. If they win, then their might did make them factually correct. If the other side was mightier than the other side proved themselves correct when they said "no you won't."

No?

Edit: human beings since forever have never stopped warring with each other over stuff. It's almost like our M.O. is Argumentum ad hominem, ad baculum, ad infinitum - "argument by beating a man with a stick for eternity"


I don't think the GP was giving an argument that the current state of affairs is morally acceptable.

I think GP was giving a causal explanation in terms of political history.


That's a reasonable argument; we should think it through to the conclusion. In a more general form the argument is:

Given that certain forms of discrimination are unacceptable, why is okay for any group to discriminate against any other group? Why is it ok for a nation to enforce borders, a company to keep the proceeds of a new idea to themselves, or for a wealthy family to favor their own children?

Many people have asked that and tried to create systems that forbid such discrimination. Unfortunately the result is always disaster. It's simply so counter to human nature that it cannot be imposed without a totalitarian government and the problems that come with totalitarianism are far worse than the problems of inequality that come with freedom.

But perhaps a moral person should still seek to follow such a policy of their own volition? That might be viable, if dealing only with other people who follow a similar policy. But how many people are willing to work for such a system, rather than merely using "equality" as an argument only when it serves their own self interests? How many are willing to make the sacrifice when it's their turn to do the dirty job, to work hard without keeping the proceeds, to share their home with strangers, to fight criminals and tyrants with nothing to gain for themselves?

That's an empirical question and many experiments have been conducted on communes, kibbutzim, ashrams, etc. Experience has shown that the answer is: far too few to make such a system viable. Even voluntary societies of this type are plagued by freeloaders and cliques, and must impose borders to prevent being overrun by outsiders.

So while it certainly seems like a good moral position, and has seemed so to many, many people throughout history, it simply fails to work in practice, over and over and over again.


because countries look out for their citizens. not everyone in the world. Why not ship the entire population of india and china and all of africa into the US? im sure they'd all like jobs and by your logic they are entitled to it over the citizens of the US.


> Why is it not okay to discriminate on the basis of your skin color at birth but okay to discriminate on the basis of which side of a border you were born in?

Same reason you take care of your own kids first. Would that imply that you are discriminating against kids that aren't yours?


Let us know your experience with going on an Israeli forum and saying the same thing re Jewish immigration.

Then go to a Ghana forum and critique the right of return law for any black people who want to emigrate to Ghana.


America is the most powerful nation in the world today not because it has the most number of people, but because it has the best and the brightest, gathered from around the world.

There are 4x as many geniuses in China as in the US. This is not because they are superior genetically. This is simply because the population of China is 4x that of USA. If one in 1,000,000 people are geniuses, then China must have 4x more geniuses than the US. That's a threat to the US. If our economy is to remain strong and if we are to remain a superpower we should invite the smartest of the Chinese to immigrate to the US.

Abuse of H1B must be stopped. It is not intended as a mechanism for undercutting American workers. But the baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater. We should expand the H1B system and make it easier for immigrants to become citizens, while at the same time preventing abuse.


> America is the most powerful nation in the world today not because it has the most number of people, but because it has the best and the brightest, gathered from around the world.

I agree, there is a non-quota limited O visa for temporary workers for the best and brightest [1].

>> The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

H-1B is also required for jobs that can't be filled but is definitely being abused.

The best and brightest from around the world can ALWAYS get in with no limit with the O visa [2].

>> There is a misconception about the H-1B program that it was designed to allow companies to import workers with unique talents. There has long been a visa program for exactly that purpose. The O (for outstanding) visa program is for importing geniuses and nothing else. Interestingly enough, the O visa program has no quotas.

The H-1B abuse is more a situation where large companies are abusing it to lower labor costs and wages while owning employees. It will never affect the best and brightest from working in the US by getting an O visa though.

[1] https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-worker...

[2] https://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know...


> I agree, there is a non-quota limited O visa for temporary workers for the best and brightest

Just saying, the requirements of the O visa are usually very unreasonable.

An application must satisfy 3 of the below requirements:

1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

2. Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

3. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

4. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

6. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

Afaik, this would usually put a person in the domain of top PhD student or professor. I doubt any masters/undergrad would be able to qualify for such a requirement. A PhD isn't for everyone, and IMO isn't always positively correlated with intelligence. (in that many of the smartest people have no intention of going into research /academia).

The kind of people from India who would qualify for the O-1 would usually be in the 99.99th percentile. At that point we aren't just talking about the smartest people. These people go beyond that. (at least in CS, where PhDs are very competitive)


In practice these requirements aren’t that hard . I have an O1 visa and I know a few others and none of us are close to a Nobel prize or fields medal .


This. I too got my O1 last year. And know a few others who came here the same way. We are no Einstein.


If you don't mind, which of them and how?


And describe them in the shortest possible way.


Yeah like I mentioned, the argument about "best and brightest" isn't really a problem, it is a common point about H-1B but there is always a way in with the O (outstanding) visa.

H-1B is for the pretty good developer or when there are labor shortages of certain skills. There is a market need for it but it is also being abused to lower wages and own people undoubtedly.

I never said H-1B wasn't needed nor am I against immigration. But the argument that with less H-1Bs the best and brightest wouldn't get in is not correct. The O visa are always there for that and a separate line. The H-1B line is a line that is the pretty good and needed extra labor to fill shortages, but again, ripe for abuse. That is why it has quota to begin with, without quotas I have no doubt companies like Oracle would have large percentages of their workers if not all as H-1Bs.

Ultimately H-1B could be expanded and made easier even if companies didn't abuse it. One way to change this is allow H-1Bs to change companies, though I am sure this would be abused by middle man contracting companies as well. So ultimately a quota is the only failsafe for abuse. The problem isn't immigration/temporary workers, it is companies using it to lower wages and that harms all workers domestic and foreign and at a macro level our entire economy.

Side note your items some of them are merged full list (8 where 2-8 are pretty doable with 5-8 even more doable for the truly best and brightest):

> 1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

> 2. Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

> 3. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

> 4. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

> 5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

> 6. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence

> 7. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought

> 8. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation


>>Yeah like I mentioned, the argument about "best and brightest" isn't really a problem

I think you are being uncharitable to your own cause here.

If you want to pad $1 trillion to your economy, you are going to have to drain a few millions down the lane. And its absolutely worth it. For some paltry cents and nickels you get to be the most powerful, most wealth super power on earth. Starting a few Google like companies absolutely requires getting a good double digit percentage of people, who are likely to try and fail. There is no guaranteed recipe to these things.

Its already a miracle that somebody like Germany, France, UK or even India(Though Bangalore shows a lot of early promise) hasn't set up a SV like economic zone. Then you have to compete with them. As of now all the tax they pay goes into the kitty to pay for social security cheques, space projects and range of other moon shot first world projects.

You are guys currently sitting on the world domination throne. And your biggest debate at this point is debating legalese and getting worked up about local politics. A little a short on vision is what I would say.


> You are guys currently sitting on the world domination throne.

Not really, not the workers. The reason the US is ahead in this is mainly investing, financing, education and credit. I'd also argue America has independence, innovation and disruption embedded in the core, other places squash that via corruption or authoritarian controls.

Nowhere in my statement did I say anything against immigration or temporary workers, I solely blame companies for exploiting it. I like that America attracts people, people want to come and work here for the higher pay and higher quality of life. I'd rather people come here to work for market value not below.

From the OP article, Oracle purposefully abuses the H-1B system to lower wages for not only temporary workers but domestic and immigrant workers as well, to lock them into basically a prison of working just for Oracle at lower wages.

> “These students required work authorization to remain in the United States after graduation,” the Labor Department said in a court filing. “In other words, Oracle overwhelmingly hires workers dependent upon Oracle for sponsorship to remain in the United States. This preference for a workforce that is dependent on Oracle for authorization to work in the United States lends itself to suppression of that workforce’s wages.”

> Of about 500 recent college and university graduates hired into three job categories at Oracle from 2013 to 2016, some 90 percent were Asian, the filing said.

> At the same time, Asians, blacks and women were “systematically underpaid,” according to allegations in the lawsuit, which also claimed that unequal pay cost workers $400 million in lost wages.

> “Industry’s key argument for more cheap H-1B and OPT guest workers is that there’s a shortage of U.S. talent,” Hira said. “That argument completely falls apart in the face of these findings. In fact, the industry is using the visa programs for cheaper guest workers, undercutting U.S. workers, damaging the U.S. talent pipeline, and exacerbating its woeful record on workforce diversity.”

What Oracle is doing is lowering the quality of life for people here, immigrants, and guest workers.

The H-1B system also makes it very hard on small to medium businesses to bring in H-1B due to being locked to one company, allowing them to work for others may solve this and the pay issues.

Right now though the H-1B system is only beneficial to large companies, and most are looking to decrease quality of life or wages. I want even temporary workers to get paid market rate if they take the risks coming here.

What would be your solution to stop companies from abusing the system for the purpose of depressing wages for both domestic and foreign workers?

If you have no solution, understand the companies are the ones breaking this system, not the people seeking opportunity. The employers that abuse H-1B would be happy with a lower quality of life for all, making people more dependent. Noone wants that except the uber wealthy, those are the guys "sitting on the world domination throne". We want people to come here, but if we don't fight for quality of life, the reason people want to come here, people won't want to come here.


As far as I know, while Chinese students are way more than India students in USA, Indian H1B holders are about 4~5 times more than Chinese. In short, the vast majority(about 50+%) H1Bs are taken by India, Chinese is about 10%.

Indians abuses the system severely by setting up phony staffing companies and do fake multiple filings on h1b application, etc.

There is a saying, that if an Indian becomes a manager, soon all his department becomes Indians, which really stands out among all other races. I will not be surprised someday they will be sued for not following equal job rights.


> Indians abuses the system severely by setting up phony staffing companies and do fake multiple filings on h1b application, etc.

Most Indians I know, hate this H1B abuse as much as Americans. (maybe even more. I have seen people spout some genuine hate towards it) It ruins the reputation of most Indians in Masters programs at well regarded R1 universities (most people at such programs, get proper full time roles to my knowledge)

> There is a saying, that if an Indian becomes a manager, soon all his department becomes Indians, which really stands out among all other races. I will not be surprised someday they will be sued for not following equal job rights.

haven't seen enough teams here to refute this claim. Hope it ain't so, but knowing Indians, I wouldn't be that surprised if some Indian managers did behave in such a manner.


I have seen the Indian manager phenomenon in 3 separate companies. Literally everyone other than me was Indian previously in my management and adjacent chain. All of them were financially intertwined. When one quit they all quit. I was only there because they hadn't hired me. There was not a single person that they hired that was not Indian. This is definitely a real phenomenon.


I've seen this phenomenon both in USA and in Singapore.


> if an Indian becomes a manager, soon all his department becomes Indians

It can get worse. "Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here" - [0]

0 - https://www.surreynowleader.com/news/judge-annuls-hairdresse...


Just saying, this isn't quite relevant to CS. This was a hairdresser with a business. So, the Indian person in charge was most likely not well educated. It is disingenuous to extrapolate that to H1Bs.

Secondly, this happened in Canada where Sikh/Punjabi immigration was not skill based, but rather fueled by mostly uneducated people looking for a better life. This is completely in contrast to the H1B which is a skill based employment visa.


> Indian person in charge was most likely not well educated

Here are some educated managers in US tech companies - [0]

0 - https://www.teamblind.com/article/Do-all-Indian-managers-suc...


I haven't seen Blind take on overall positive stance on anyone ever. The complete anonymity of every poster invites hate, this likes of which I have only seen on 4chan. That being said, there are a decent number of accounts which go both ways.

Being a manager usually takes English proficiency, so Chinese managers in western companies are not as common. Given the racial breakdown of people in software, that leaves most people with either an Indian or white manager.

However, people never generalize white people culturally, because it is well understood that their color doesn't say much about how they are culturally or ideologically wired.

Similarly 'south asians' as a racial group are pretty culturally and socio-economically diverse. So generalizing such a huge subgroup is not very helpful. People differ in key ideologies of how to go about things as you cross state, religious, developmental lines in south Asia.

That being said, I can hypothesize why certain Indians may display traits that are considered undesirable among managers. But that write up must wait for another day.


This. I have observed this at FAANG as well as wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened at Oracle. Would explain the data anyways.


> if an Indian becomes a manager, soon all his department becomes Indians

This exact phenomenon plays out in India as well at a more granular level and across all job families and public/private sector companies. The more you zoom in more granular it gets.

E.g., South Indian manager prefers South Indian reportees, a manager in Karnataka prefers someone from his caste, and so on.

I wonder if it's an Asian specific phenomenon. Where family, regional, clans etc., affiliation trumps meritocracy. I've heard similar stories in Indonesia too where relatives or those from same islands are given preferential treatment by the bosses.


In my 20 years in IT and finance, I've always had a fair number of Indian coworkers, though mostly American-born or raised and US-educated. Some of my best buddies come from that pool. A couple of interesting points to note about my last two jobs though: the first was a small startup in NYC with ~15 employees, founded by two Americans. They had zero Indian employee! I mean there was one Indian-American guy, but he was gone as soon I joined. A lot of talented young folks, but they lost most of them and they eventually went to Canada and Eastern Europe for new blood.

My second was a ERP startup also in NYC much bigger than the first and fits your narrative -- the founder was Indian-American[?], a Princeton and HBS graduate, who had made a wad load of money in outsourcing business. Most of the principles reporting directly to him were also Indians who had worked at Cognizant and Infosys previously and whose technical or management skills were ..umm.. not very good or non-existence. The company still hired mostly H1Bs straight from India and Indians graduated from well-known US universities. They hired a lot of kids with advanced degrees, but who weren't clearly from top of the crop -- for lack of better words -- or passionate about their chosen field. Some were good, but many questionable. There were also new recruits with a master in CS (from US univ) could barely write a single line of code and had to be trained to perform monkey work from clean slate.


English language proficiency is the reason Indians are doing better than Chinese.


> As far as I know, while Chinese students are way more than India students in USA, Indian H1B holders are about 4~5 times more than Chinese

Source?


Yeah, it's about 5x for 2017: 26K vs 126K

https://www.recode.net/2017/4/13/15281170/china-india-tech-h...


>There is a saying, that if an Indian becomes a manager, soon all his department becomes Indians, which really stands out among all other races.

That's nonsense. Indians aren't one race. Indians are multiracial themselves. There are dark-skinned Indians that are mistaken for African American, and there are light skinned Indians that are mistaken for Italian Americans. The states of India are like countries of Europe in that each state has its own language: Gujarathi, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali etc.


How do your observations refute the original proposition? Race is a problematic concept, but that doesn't mean it can mean anything you want it to mean. If someone had made a similar observation e.g. about American managers in Europe, would an objection to the effect that "America has multiple races!" mean anything?


I corrected a factual error, but I am not refuting or supporting the rest of your claims. But I will note that you are complaining about people who you perceive to be your competitors. You inherently have diminished credibility because of that.


Dude who are you talking to? What claims have I made? I've just observed that your use of the word "race" is quite different than its normal meaning.


>That's nonsense. Indians aren't one race. Indians are multiracial themselves.

Race doesn't exist, there is only skin color, ethnicity, haplogroups, nationality, language, subculture, etc.


Legal and controlled immigration is absolutely beneficial for the US overall.

But targeting specific industries is unfair - the software industry has been the main target, lowering the income levels respective to other, protected professions (physicians, etc.), or business executives.

Since people in the trades like plumbers or electricians do not fall under the umbrella of "importing the best & brightest", their hourly rates have been going up steadily (for self-employed people).


In rural America, we have been importing doctors from other parts of the world because we don't have enough American doctors who want to serve outside the big cities and high-paid specialties.


That's probably because foreign doctors don't know what they're getting into. From speaking with American doctors, many have been offered double the salary to go to rural and non-rural positions in the south and Midwest but they would not even consider it due to the racism and hate there. Can't say I blame them. I'd do the same and I'm white. Culture matters and having a culture of hate like most of rural and quite a bit of non-rural America does is extremely unappealing especially to people smart enough to become doctors.


>software industry has been the main target, lowering the income levels respective to other, protected professions

I don’t see software engineers suffering. Starting salary in FAANG conpanies is $120K to $250K. That’s better than doctors when you factor in years of education.


Perhaps, but outside of the FAANG bubble, income levels have been stagnating for quite some time (if you adjust for inflation)


Salary is not enough to determine quality of life, a faang salary in the Bay Area doesn’t get you very far as an individual and for families it’s often not enough.


We are the most powerful nation on earth because of our immense resources, geographic diversity, access to almost every major ocean and lack of powerful enemies on our border. Geography is destiny. Having the most arable land, having exploited the most oil, having access to the pacific, atlantic, arctic, etc and the ability to develop in peace due to having much weaker nations on our border is why we are a superpower.

The idea that we are the greatest nation because we have the best and brightest from around the world is simply not true. If it was true, our immigration policy would be based on IQ today.

China can't be a superpower because they are hemmed in by Russia to the north, India to the south, US/Japan/Korea alliance in the east and Iran/Central Asia/Middle East to the west.

If it is true that number of "geniuses" makes a nation the most powerful in the world, the most powerful nations would have been china and india. We know that's not the case. So your theory contradicts itself.


Changing the H1B visa to let holders change companies easily would be a good start at removing the pay disparity and incentive to not hire qualified US workers.


Letting them be promoted within a job would be a good start too.

If reforms like this happened, the incentive for companies to abuse the system would go down. Setting up fake staffing companies would still be a problem, but catching immigration/employment fraud is a different problem and should be resourced appropriately.


You're not making much sense to me. How can the genius ratio in the US and China can be the same if US kept importing the "best and the brightest, gathered from around the world", assuming that Chinese "are not superior genetically"?


That’s not why America is the most powerful. To sum it up “cheap credit.” No other place will give you access to money so cheaply.


If cheap credit made countries powerful, Japan would be the most powerful country in world history. They've had access to among the cheapest rates of credit for two decades, a time in which their economic output has gone nowhere.

Cheap credit helps one party and harms another within a country. It doesn't make a nation powerful. Technology, invention, scientific output, universities, capital for investment, scale, production / manufacturing, attractiveness to foreign talent and investment, modestly sane regulatory and tax policies, strong protections for property rights, ease of establishing and doing business, ease of trade, etc. Those are a few of the things that help to make a nation powerful. Those are things the US has either been the leader in or one of the leaders for the last century plus.

Much of Western Europe has had cheaper borrowing than the US for many years now, including in real-estate, corporate borrowing and at the government level. It didn't spur a great boom and increase their power. At best it has helped them tread water, which is all it did for Japan.


Capital accumulation is the right word.


When someone confuses a temporary work permit used to bring in scarce foreign labor to fill gaps in the labor market, with a permanent work permit that brings geniuses to the united states to live their lives, ignoring everything that goes in between including family, politics, and motivation.

When someone appears to be unbelievably naieve, they are often trying to sell you something. Either you're a foreigner who wants to convince us you're worth it, or you're a a corporate plant.


I agree, with one tiny quibble. My emphasis would not be about gathering people per se, but about educating them. OF course, tolerance of immigrants is key to keeping our doors open for students from overseas. Our higher education system, embattled as it is, remains the envy of the world.


Posted this elsewhere, but as a former H1B here's what should be done to end abuse:

1. Award a fixed pool of H1Bs to qualified applicants with the highest wage in the offer (and monitor that this wage is in fact being paid). This should be easy to pass if your representatives in congress are in fact _your_ representatives. The president will sign this immediately, since he was the one who proposed it in the first place.

2. Establish at least 6 month grace period if the H1B person leaves the sponsoring company to go work elsewhere. Currently if you leave (or are laid off/fired) you have to GTFO within 2 weeks, so people endure abuse and low wages for years until they get a green card.

There. There's your solution. No need to do anything else, guaranteed to work. It should not be possible to hire foreign workers into entry level positions at all.


> It should not be possible to hire foreign workers into entry level positions at all.

And with that, you perhaps got rid of a (imo) very useful subset of potential future Americans: ones who went to college and graduate school in the US.

This group went through it’s formative years in the United States. They are deeply imbibed in the culture and eventually start identifying with it. However, if they can’t get an entry level job, they now have to leave the country to go back to where they came from (or some other alternative like Canada / Australia). Instead, you would rather be bringing in 30 year olds from foreign nations who are unlikely to change and adopt America as much as someone who moved here at 18 would; and who have formed habits more suited to their nation than to the US.

But as I mentioned above, perhaps this is desireable.


> go back to where they came from

That's not really a nice thing to say.


It’s been said to me plenty. I don’t mind it :)


I would mind having the place I came from called a "shit hole".


> 1. Award a fixed pool of H1Bs to qualified applicants with the highest wage in the offer

There is no reason for a fixed pool to exist, and it's not easy to rank applicants by wage given significant disparities in cost of living depending on geography


It blows my mind how, at the same time, the same people can argue in favor of "equality", and in favor of importing unlimited amounts of cheap labor to depress the wages of people who need money the most. It just doesn't compute, at all. And I'm perfectly fine with high cost of living areas getting all the H1Bs. Those areas also happen to have some of the highest tax rates in the country, so the US benefits.


First of all, there's a difference between imposing a quota on the number of H-1Bs and raising the bar for applications to be approved. I'm in favor of the latter, and the former makes no sense. If the U.S. needs more skilled labor than it can provide, then it should allow as many immigrants as needed to come over to fill the gap. I hope that strikes you as a pretty obvious argument

Second, inequality in the U.S. has nothing to do with an abundance of cheap labor. It has to do with macro trends in globalization and cheap jobs being outsourced to (mostly) Asia.


[flagged]


This is a very dumb straw man attack. Stop it.


How so? I claim that severe discrimination (like banning a group of people from entry level positions) based on circumstances of birth is ethically dubious. I think that's why we don't entertain the idea of banning people from entry level work because they were born to black parents. Why doesn't it generalize to being born to Indian parents?


Because it’s intellecually dishonest and an argument based on the fallacy of appeal to extremes.

There is obviously a difference between citizenship and race... the entire purpose of a government is to service its citizens. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a Star Trek utopia where there is free movement of all people. If one country were to allow this first, they’d just be harming themselves, which would be against the interests of its citizens. You look out for your own citizens first. That’s just a government fundamental.


Don't feed the troll.


> Unfortunately, we don’t live in a Star Trek utopia where there is free movement of all people.

Maybe it's worth examining why would that be from time to time.


Now would be a good time for dang to get involved.


...why? Whether you agree with it or not, “people should have the right to relocate to other countries for work” doesn’t seem like an outrageously offensive or trolling opinion.

Why does it cause such an emotional reaction for you?


Because immigration is not a "right". It's a privilege. And if this privilege is afforded at all, it should be afforded in such a way as to not screw the citizens whom the government represents, through social contract and otherwise. Otherwise the citizens should elect the government that will represent their interests. I mean it's not rocket science, it's civics 101.


Based on the US's history, relatively free immigration has made the country as a whole very successful. It's not obvious that citizens should want protectionist immigration policy.


"Free"

Yeah not really. This is a bit of a myth (a little bit like the "90% income tax rate" magic that people seem to believe)

1 - Immigration was severely limited by the technology (and let's say societal limitations) of the time. Getting a ticket on a ship was expensive, even for 3rd class. 2 Million Irish went to the US around the Famine time (time frame of 40yrs +/-). Compare that with the number of people from Latin America in the US (though % the number of Irish is higher)

2 - About 'societal limitations' going was nothing but a gamble. There was no expectations of government aid, of non-prejudice. No credit cards, no easy way to take money unless you actually took your money with you. Getting a ticket back was not an option.

3 - Even on Ellis Island people did get rejected and sent back on the basis of health https://www.history.com/news/immigrants-ellis-island-short-p...

The real tightening of immigration seems to have happened around the 60s (though some other acts are from the 19th century like the one that limited Chinese immigration)

So it was certainly "freer", in the same way that immigration for the ultra-rich today is almost free as well.

Note that I'm not arguing against immigration (within some limits), but once a country's population increases I guess there are more people against it, and less of a practical interest in it.


To push the idea furter, a lot of things we call “rights” are privileges in that sense.

The basis of most of them is citizenship, which is basically people born in the right place or from the right parents. If you are born in Germany you have the ‘right’ to move anywhere in the EU. If you have Japanese parents you have the ‘right’ to work in Japan.

The same way wealthy foreigner will have the means to buy these ‘rights’ and become citizen.


I'm on my phone and can't check right now but I'm fairly confident there is global consensus (Geneva convention? or UN or similar) on when/how citizenship is a human right and that there is no such consensus on immigration being a right (modulo refugees), so no, these are not comparable.


Looking around I only found this, which seems to go more in the “open citizenship to everyone” direction:

https://worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/equal-citizenship-rig...

Or this kind of thinkpiece going basically in the same direction.

https://forestshakespeare.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/citizensh...

I’d be really interested if you could point me to what you were refering to.


I'm not sure what you searched for but you shouldn't need obscure sources like that for this... a bit of quick searching re: citizenship rights found [1] for me from the UN. Whereas for migration there's [2] which makes it clear there is no universal agreement on migration rights. [3] seems to make it even more clear that it's up to countries to decide migration policy. I'm sure more can be found via some more searching.

[1] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/Nationality.aspx

> The right to a nationality is a fundamental human right.

> States shall introduce safeguards to prevent statelessness by granting their nationality to persons who would otherwise be stateless and are either born in their territory or are born abroad to one of their nationals.

> States shall also prevent statelessness upon loss or deprivation of nationality.

[2] https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/migration/pages/migrationand...

> It is increasingly clear that a lack of human rights-based migration governance at the global, regional and national levels is leading to the routine violation of migrants’ rights in transit, at international borders, and in the countries they migrate to.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Compact_for_Migration

> The Global Compact reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law. [...]


Thanks, this was in a very good read. I didn’t look it ip from the right angle I think.

It is very interesting that it’s a right to have _a_ nationality, with nothing more really.

It makes sense for all the issues described in the doc , and it also anchors the notion that except some specific cases that can trigger violations of human rights, a state basically does what it wants regarding who get nationality and who doesn’t, or how it deals with migration.

It reminds me a lot about rules in EU countries forbiding from evicting people from their home during the winter, or more broadly rules requiring to provide help to someone in situation of danger.


It seems a pretty bad mischaracterization of what I posted above to say "except some specific cases that can trigger violations of human rights, a state basically does what it wants regarding who get nationality". It's the exact opposite. The whole point was that in general states cannot strip away your nationality except for the specific minority of people who have another one.


At the risk of cementing your conviction of my troll status, I have some civics 101 questions for you. (I also have rocket science questions, but I'll leave that for another day.)

1. At a time when blacks were not citizens of the United States, many people argued that giving blacks basic freedoms would screw the whites that the government represented. I hope we all agree that according to basic human decency 101 that was not a compelling argument.

2. This is true even if it would indeed screw over whites by say pushing down their wages from, oh I don't know, absurdly high to only moderately high.

3. Which freedoms are privileges and which are rights? The freedom to not be a slave, a component of which was working for whomever you wanted, seems to be a right. The freedom to rent an apartment from a willing landlord irrespective of your skin color seems to be a right. But the freedom to work for Oracle for less money than you'd like if I was born in the wrong country seems not to be one. I'd appreciate a civics 101 lesson on why.


Well... This "immigration as a right" certainly didn't work well for native Americans, did it?

Now, seriously, don't you think America (as it is currently) gains a lot from its diversity? Since when did it abandon its "melting pot" culture?


I'm not taking a position either way -- I'm confused why you think the contrary opinion is so horrible that it merits the admins of the site getting involved and shutting down the discussion.


Do you imply that working immigrants "screw the citizens"?


As an immigrant it'd be disingenuous for me to suggest that. But the real answer is, it depends. I pay six figures in taxes. I can tolerate a little bit of screwage if my wage gets depressed by increased supply of my skill. Now consider the working poor, who are aiming to get that sweet, sweet $15/hr minimum wage (with benefits!). They're currently objectively screwed because there are hundreds of thousands of people coming over the border willing to work for half that, with no benefits, and tolerate abuse. Or consider a student who has just got her degree and has $100k+ student loan to pay back. Their tolerance for wage depression is a lot lower than mine. So I argue it is not correct to consider "citizens" as a uniform, average mass. Some strata within this mass will do just fine if they are paid a little less, some most definitely will not.


the first statement "sort of like hiring black people". is calling him racist outright. civil discourse stops there.


Top teir software companies might claim the H-1B program allows them to hire the best and brightest from around the world, but that's not how everyone else uses the program. It allows consulting/contracting firms to hire low wage tech workers who are desperate to stay in the US and lock them into a form of indentured servitude because the road to a green card or citizenship is now a decade long journey and changing your job effectively restarts that journey.


H-1B coupled with the vendor contractor model are IMO the root causes of downward pressure on wages. Neoliberalism at its finest.


> Top tier software companies might claim the H-1B program allows them to hire the best and brightest from around the world, but that's not how everyone else uses the program.

I am fine with immigration as it is a feature of a good system which people want to join, the US should attract the best and people looking to contribute, but it is obvious the H-1B system is rigged and bad for pretty much all but large companies in many cases. I have known many H-1Bs and I feel bad for their situation when they want to leave a company or feel locked in. The moment H-1Bs can work at other companies other than the sponsor, all that becomes more market priced via competition and will improve pay and discourage the H-1B abusers just looking for low wage ownership of workers.

If companies REALLY wanted to hire the best and brightest from around the US and the world, remote development would be bigger and more widespread to the US and around the world. But as with most things, companies use it to own people rather than compete fairly or pay market rates. Remote development can be a cost savings and make companies more robust to employee/worker life changes over time rather than need employees to live near the company. Companies that abuse H-1Bs would rather have employees on site that they can lock into lower wages and control more.

There is also the O visa that would really mean they want to hire the best from around the world [1][2]. But ultimately companies that abuse H-1B just want to lower wages and lock in their workers. Cringely in 2012 wrote this:

> H-1B isn’t the only way for foreigners to work in America. They can work to some extent on student visas and, in fact, many student visas are eventually converted to H-1B for those who have a job and want to stay but maybe not immigrate.

> There is a misconception about the H-1B program that it was designed to allow companies to import workers with unique talents. There has long been a visa program for exactly that purpose. The O (for outstanding) visa program is for importing geniuses and nothing else. Interestingly enough, the O visa program has no quotas. So when Bill Gates complained about not being able to import enough top technical people for Microsoft, he wasn’t talking about geniuses, just normal coders.

> I don’t want to pick on just Microsoft here, but I happen to know the company well and have written over the years about its technical recruiting procedures. Microsoft has a rigorous recruitment and vetting process. So does Google, Apple — you name the company. All of these companies will take as many of O visa candidates as they can get, but there just aren’t that many who qualify, which is why quotas aren’t required.

> So when Microsoft — or Boeing, for that matter — says a limitation on H-1B visas is keeping them from getting top talent, they don’t mean it in the way that they imply. If a prospective employee is really top talent — the kind of engineer who can truly do things others simply can’t — there isn’t much keeping the company from hiring that person under the O visa program.

> H-1B visas are about journeyman techies and nothing else.

Oracle though, will literally do anything to save a penny and the last thing on Oracle's list is developer pay and developer usability/user experience. Oracle tools and systems are a nightmare and Oracle is only sold in on the golf courses from top down. Oracle is still in legacy licensing land. Oracle sees developers as nothing but resources to extract value from then discard. Oracle == IBM == SAP and all those are not developer or employee/contractor/worker friendly systems and all of them do the same gaming of H-1B systems just like the TCS, Infosys and Cognizant type companies of the world.

[1] https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-worker...

[2] https://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know...


Can't believe this is only recently getting attention. It's not just Oracle, it's common knowledge how the same thing has been happening in several large corps. I know from the inside because Deloitte came in and scooped up our entire foreign students batch on graduating (Pennsylvania). Same thing happened the next year as well. Many of my friends still work there.

I remember there was a fire drill that took place in their campus in Harrisburg, and my friend sent me a pic he took when the entire campus was out - You could've mistaken it for a campus in Bangalore or Pune. There's definitely some preference they're giving to foreign nationals (specially from India). Please note, I'm an Indian national myself working in the US.


It's had 'attention' for a while - it's just a very hard thing to prove.

Moreover, the investigation has a political sensitivity that could create bad headlines, so it needs the right environment to happen.


I will tell you what they do in India

In 2015, I got a call from Oracle India and interviews were arranged and I got hired into Oracle India. It was my first job change.

Before to that, I used to work as a contractor for one of the US companies via one of the services company in India.

Oracle offered me way less than what they are offering to other engineers in the same BU, for the same value generated.

Reason Oracle told me that, since I am coming from a lower salary band, Oracle is still giving a reasonable high pay hike. I argued back IN WRITING that still it is way less than ( lesser than 1/3) of Oracle generally pays.

Oracle said to me, Ok, we will raise your salary in the first pay review which happens. I asked clearly and concisely, what they mean by review, they said you will be in the band.

I left Oracle in 2018.

They never met their promise. Few of my financial aspirations were burned down, trauma different.

They = [ recruiter, director, vp, hr, ceo's office, legal ]

During all the time at Oracle, I knocked many doors, all of them simply said "Oracle never committed in writing, a phone call means there is a miscommunication ", hence I do not stand a case.

It is not Indian Director which simply reneged from the bargain, it was the US director, US legal team, which simply reneged.

Escalating to Safra's office also did not help.

Oracle is full with corrupt directors who simply trick Oracle's own rules to cheat the potential hires and trick them to get a lower paying offer.

This was done my director of SW dev in US but I was an India employee.


If you accepted a job offer based on verbal promises as opposed to written then you only have yourself to blame. Learn your lesson and move on.


I told you Sir, It was my first job change. I did not knew the tricks of the trade.

Yes, I have myself to blame because I trusted the people involved in hiring from one of the top 5 tech companies in the world. Id did not occur to me that I am being played upon.

However, If you had noticed, I mentioned I argued with hiring team [ PM, director, recruiter] IN WRITING BEFORE JOINING THE COMPANY. I still have those emails. As a response to those they used to call on phone, NOT reply in writing. It was evident to me that they are calling back because they have read the emails. I forgot to take the same thing in writing, because I trusted them.

So, Yes I joined them because of verbal promises, but the emails do exist still, in my mailbox, where I have asked them in band pay, before joining.

Initially when I approached the company's authorities they said " I am making this stuff up", but when I showed them emails from my mailbox, they switched to "since you do not have replies, ... .. .. you do not stand a case"


Why are you blaming the victim? Also, have you ever succeeded in getting clauses added to a megacorp's written offer?


No, when someone scams or lies to another person, the scammer or liar is at fault.

The lesson here is that Oracle isn't to be trusted, because they will lie to and scam their hires.

There are plenty of companies and people that have scruples and will honor verbal agreements.


A simple solution to the H1B "cheap workers" problem is to sort applications by (descending) order of salary, and pick the top 65K as authorized by Congress.


And have basically all H1Bs go to Silicon Valley/Seattle/NYC tech companies?

(You really should think things through before suggesting them as solutions, especially when the problems are complex.)


Why can't companies in other locations pay competitively?


They pay competitively for their location. Pay is determined by demand and supply. If you sort H1Bs by pay, the places with highest cost of living will get all of the H1Bs. Perhaps a better idea is to do the same thing, but on pay that is normalized against a cost of living index.


I don't think CoL indeces are relevant because salaries are based on how much value a developer brings to the business.

Suppose you have two jobs: $140k in NYC, and $100k in Dallas. If only one company can get an H1B, IMO it should clearly be the NYC company.

The NYC job will yield higher personal income federal income taxes. Also the NYC job is delivering at least $40k more value to the business than the Dallas job. This additional value again translates to higher corporate federal income tax.

I'm not sure what benefit the federal government has by favoring the $100k job, even though normalized for CoL ($1.5 NYC=$1 Dallas according to one index) the Dallas job is "higher paying".


Salaries are not based on the value a company gets, but on supply and demand of workers. If the said developer brings in $200k of value to me, but I can hire the developer for $100k a year in Dallas, then I am going to hire them in Dallas. The reason I am willing to pay $140k and hire in NY is because the same developer cannot be found in Dallas. So it is possible that the Dallas employee is actually more valuable to the company ($100k profit vs $60k profit), but they still have to pay more just because people are not willing to move to Dallas from NY.

Indexing on CoL will help is better distributing wealth across the country - think of the impact of $100k going into Dallas economy vs $140k going into NY economy. So there are some long-term benefits to the economy in general.


not true. for instance an employee at google hq vs a satellite get paid different based on market rate for developers in that locale. the companies pay based on market rate, not “theoretical value produced”. no one who works there thinks the satellite office engineers are producing less and plenty produce more profit for the company than ones who get paid more


> an employee at google hq vs a satellite get paid different based on market rate for developers in that locale

I agree but that doesn't fully explain the salary disparities. The employee at Google HQ is also worth more to Google than an employee in a satellite office, because the former will communicate more efficiently with the rest of the organization.


That argument might seem ok if you compare satellite vs. hq (tho I doubt that's actually true), but breaks down if you compare two non-hq offices (e.g. Boulder vs. Zurich).


i actually don’t think it’s ttue at all having worked at the hq and seeing people from ny and la and zurich offices. there really wasn’t any difference in value


The salary is a proxy for how valuable a job is to the economy. So sorting by salary effectively awards the visas to arguably the most valuable jobs. Also, federal government maximizes it's tax revenue from the visa holders when the visas are awarded by salary.


not true. if company X has a satellite office in low COL area. each engineer produces the same value but gets paid less therefore the company has more profit. and govt gets more corporate tax.


> Perhaps a better idea is to do the same thing, but on pay that is normalized against a cost of living index.

Why? The current pay is determined by current supply and demand, but that doesn't make the current supply and demand desirable. If H1Bs are sorted by pay, all companies may learn to raise their bid.


Supply & Demand. Profit driven economies always find & exploit loopholes.


With the recent articles doing rounds about the feds Looking into Oracle paying minorities and women less, this seems part of the scheme to basically get lower wage workers under H1B who they know will work like minions for long hours because their visas are tied to the job. It's a pretty standard way of gaming the H1B. Oracle is no different.


Hiring manager at Oracle here- Oracle is very balkanized, different business units have different practices and policies, so I can only speak (unofficially) about the one I am part of.

Whenever I have openings for junior positions, I get flooded with resumes from men and women with degress at universities in China and India, and only a very small fraction from people educated entirely in the US. My personal speculation is that younger software engineers in the US would rather not work at a company that is perceived to be a dinosaur, and is definitely not as sexy as other FAANGs or startups. People who want to be H1-B sponsored have fewer options, and I think Oracle's name isn't as tainted in China or India.

Also, for the (unofficial) record, the women and those with H1-B visas (incl women with H1-B visas) on my team are paid the same as US born men on my team with similar experience.


Oracle has deeper problems than just being a dinosaur.


I think there are two cures for this issue:

1. Expose the pay disparity at Oracle and other companies so candidates know ahead of time what they are getting themselves into.

2. Make it easier for any H1B employee to get a job at a different company if they have the ability and desire.

I am on this visa called the E-3 which is almost identical to the H1B except:

- No annual cap

- No 6 year limit

- Only available to Australian nationals

I have never had any trouble finding a tech job despite being an asian foreigner. My pay has varied from 60k - 180k and the companies i've worked at have varied from multi-nationals to 3 person startup.

High Minimum salaries would disadvantage startups and companies in smaller cities.

Here's how to fix the h1B

- No hard annual cap

- No 6 year limit

- For any company that hires more than 10 H1B hires, the average salary of h1b employees should not be lower than the average salary of non-h1b employees.

- Additionally, for large companies (say > 10,000 employees) the average salary of h1b employees of a certain level of seniority should not be lower than the average salary of non-h1b employees of that same seniority.

This will give companies more certainty that a potential H1B hire would be approved, providing H1B candidates more job mobility. It would also prevent larger companies from abusing this system.


Maybe it's my own sample bias. Aren't graduates in top CS schools largely international students?


You may be correct, but possibly for the wrong reasons that you are are inferring.

The University of California lost a lawsuit in which they were accused of preferring international students to in-state and out-of-state students because the international students could afford the higher tuitions. UC has several of the top CS schools in the nation.

It's possible that the we could could replace many of those accepted with US students, but it would take a major audit of the university systems to find out.


This super prevalent in manufacturing related jobs too. It's funny how the rhetoric is to save our manufacturing nowadays when we give a crap ton of IP to countries like India with the process. The sad part is, I've seen a lot of unqualified people fill up these H-1B positions and then we'll have to train them. By the time they can start doing some real work from us training, their visa coincidentally runs out and this process repeats. We literally pay relatively high wage to train India's engineers. Yet managers turn a blind eye because it helps them balance their numbers.


I am sure locking in employees played a part in their decision. However, I have to point out that foreign graduates, especially from China are preferred in my profession due to their strong technical background. Its kind of how things evolved over time. So a similiar thing might be going on here.


I don’t know if my experience in the mid-2000s is unique. A company I worked for laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B and off-shore labor.

Many (most?) of the H-1B workers were utterly unqualified. Right out of school, inexperienced, and some just hopeless. The impact beyond the obvious was anyone pursuing a tech career at that company found alternate work.

The lesson was not lost. They learned that they could be replaced at any time by much cheaper global labor.

So I wonder if some of the scarcity in the tech labor market isn’t due to this perception.


It's really not hard to see why, H1B have none of the bargaining power and all of the risk. Especially for a shady company like oracle it's just pure exploitation going on here.


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