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H-1B: Outsourcer HCL games visa system to discriminate against non-South Asians (mercurynews.com)
141 points by hanging 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 90 comments



Delivery managers at WITCH (Wipro, Infy, TCS, CTS, HCL) outsourcing firms are paid based on how much they can earn from every account. So, this drives them do many things. One of the consequences is the perception of the said discrimination.

Delivery managers prefer a cheaper resource to an expensive resource. They also practice this in India: that's why every team in India is filled with 80% freshers or those who get paid $5k per annum in India.

In the states, they look for the cheapest resource to fill a position. Often times, they find spots that just require warm bodies to add billable hours. Guess, who would they go for? They will hire some H4 EAD who asks $65K per annum in NJ. These people are happy to get some job and experience.

In old days, companies used to have lots of people coasting in their jobs. Now, WITCH companies have captured that profit in a two prong process: offshore to India and charge the client $30 per hour per person, then pay some desperate college grad in India $3 per hour. And capture that $27 per hour.

This is similar to outsourcing the manufacturing, as the middle layers capture the profit, by paying peanuts in China and by getting rid of expensive employees in India.

Edit: basically, these companies are making money off of outsourcing lots of bullshit jobs. They are NOT eliminating bs jobs. In fact, most of WITCH company onsite people are project managers pretending to be super smart workers.


I think it's unfair to blame it all on the Indians. There is another side to it, in the form of extremely demanding customers. The Indian companies resort to using cheap resources because the customer has x amount of budget, and they want things done within that budget. I knew one American product company (who is/was number one in the world in what they do) demanding that they will pay only x amount per hour for a person and make all these Indian as well as American consultancies compete with each other to find the lowest paid person. My Indian employer didn't even want to sent people there because they wouldn't make much profit while providing a decent salary.


I am not blaming Indians, any more than Foxconn workers. Just showing how these companies operate and capture profits, while screwing everyone else in America/India/China.


>Just showing how these companies operate and capture profits, while screwing everyone else in America/India/China.

That is 100% true. Also, you forgot another group - sales guys. I think they also play a big role in exploiting Indians by paying peanuts while charging the customer $25-30 per hour.


I've worked as a customer of WITCH companies for many years, and now work for one myself, and have many good friends in India.

Indians are not being exploited - they are being paid market wages, and are part of a huge emerging middle-class in India.


What you said would've been true in maybe 2002. However, the wages at these companies have been stagnant for the last two decades. They haven't even kept up with inflation. So no, $5k per annum isn't "market wages" for software developers in India. These are the lowest of the low. New grads in India often take these jobs as a last resort if they have absolutely no other option.


This was something that shocked me. These companies are paying the same salary to new graduates as 12 years ago. Inflation in India was high during this period, especially the last few years. I think the reason is customers still want to pay $25-30 per hour. So these companies don't want to pay more. They can't ask more because customers will find some other country. Also, there are too many graduates they can take advantage of.

A teacher in a government school gets paid more than a IT worker these days, and they have guaranteed job till 55. Since IT job is primarily based on low wages, job opportunities become drastically less once they have 10+ years experience (please tell me I am wrong on this).


> customers still want to pay $25-30 per hour

Even $10/hour is lot more than $5k/year for someone working full time. It seems the middlemen are gobbling up a lot of that!


If these students don't have better options, then surely these are market wages by definition, no?

These days, govt employees make more than entry level workers in WITCH companies. That's why many so-called engineering grads also apply for jobs like bank clerk, police constable, etc.

Around 2004, many south Indian governments provided free tuition fees for engineering. So, thousands of engineering colleges were opened just to grab the fees by admitting more students. Now, the new minimum for students is: Bachelor of Technology.

This is India, where 1.3 billion people live. Unemployment is extremely high. So, even 3 lack rupees ~ $4k per annum is better than not having a job. If you want to call it a market wage, that's fine. It is like $15 per hour in the bay area is market wage, just because people have some jobs.

Inflation in India more than doubled in the last 15 years. 15 years, the base salary was $7k per annum. Now the same is paying $4k. (In other words, 300,000 rupees was 2004 salary , even today it is 300,000 for freshers). Basically, WITCH shops want warm bodies for their billable hours.


You're basically encouraging the exploitation of a country's labor force because they happen to have a lot of workers and not many opportunities for them. So yeah, its market wages by definition, but it doesn't make the practice OK.

Just find out how much old age security Indian government provides to people above 60yrs who have not gotten from their employer or have savings. It is less than 5 dollars per month. It is about same amount that an IT guy can spent on a single meal few times per week in India. So by any standard it is not even half decent amount.

When you say this does not make it okay, it seems you simply have no clue the level of disparity most people in India are dealing with. Unless someone magically make every one earn >10K dollars per annum, 5K is lot of money in country where median income is about 600 dollars yearly.


> You're basically encouraging the exploitation of a country's labor force

Who is 'you', exactly? I assume it's some hypothetical 'you' and not me specifically, given that I've only asked a clarifying question.

> So yeah, its market wages by definition, but it doesn't make the practice OK.

No, it doesn't make the practice ok, but it's important to identify the right problem if you want to solve it. "The market affords better opportunities for these workers but they are being forced to work below market" is a different problem with different solutions than "Better opportunities do not exist because the market is very competitive".


In the US, a company I worked for hired TCS to provide developers and QA to our project. Most of them were offshore in India but a few moved to the US because we needed people on site.

I feel really sorry for them. One of the project managers lived in a rented bedroom of another Indian family with his wife and daughter because he couldn't afford a place of his own. Another guy, single, lived in a shared 2BR house with 8 other people for the same reason. And there were more people in the same situation.

This was in NY where housing is not cheap but either way, the way I see it they were being exploited. Probably should blame the company I was working for as well, or perhaps just the VP that pushed to replace Infosys with Tata because he had a history with them and they were cheaper.

Edit: typo


> I feel really sorry for them. One of the project managers lived in a rented bedroom of another Indian family with his wife and daughter because he couldn't afford a place of his own. Another guy, single, lived in a shared 2BR house with 8 other people for the same reason. And there were more people in the same situation.

I see your point and in no way do I advocate for people being treated that way in US. But the viewpoint of many of the workers who accept these arrangements is that its better than what they had back home, or some variation of that argument. I'm not sure how to argue with that.


> Another guy, single, lived in a shared 2BR house with 8 other people for the same reason.

Its not so black and white, if that person is living in the US temporarily then his main motivation is to save a lot of money when in the US and then use that to buy a house back in India.

Some of them make enough money to live alone comfortably but why do that when your main objective is to save so you share with others who have the same mindset.


That guy specifically was transfered and had plans to stay. He actually brought his wife and newborn daughter some time later but was still living in a shared home (not the same with 8 other people, but still).

Well in some cases its because some people initially like to live in a shared home with someone who speaks their language, get more comfortable in the new land and then move out or it could be just be that guy was being paid less and wanted to save money.

In 2014-15, I did a rough calculation of salaries based primarily on Indian government inflation figures. What I found was that 12k USD inflated adjusted was same as 5k USD in 2007.

Today, 5 years later, this figure is surely even more inflated. But if you talk to graduate engineers from these companies they still pay 5k USD. So, I don't know if we can safely say there is no exploitation here.

The counter point obviously here is that there is a large young population joining the workforce each year. So, ensuring everyone gets an IT job as well as paid well is a challenge.


  What I found was that 12k USD inflated adjusted was same as 5k USD in 2007
No, $5.000 in 2007 dollars would be $5.060 in 2012 dollars[0]. You are off by over 2 orders of magnitude when speaking in "USD inflated adjusted" terms.

[0] https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=5000&year1=200...


If you are comparing salaries in USD then you should take into account dollar's inflation, not rupee's.

I am comparing salaries paid in India denominated to USD. The cost of living in this case is affected by Indian inflation not US inflation.

Not true for the past 7 years. A Uber or Ola driver or a construction worker can make Rs.30000 per month which is the same a fresher software engineer makes at WITCH.Bit ofcourse the working conditions and future growth is very bad for a driver or a labour where as a s/w engineer has a huge opportunity provided he works hard.

> I think they also play a big role in exploiting Indians by paying peanuts

Exploiting is pretty loaded word, we are not talking about sweatshops. These IT companies provide jobs to many people directly and indirectly. The good people who are paid peanuts then move to greener pastures.


blame the management ivy league MBA harvard,yale,oxford graduates who are the decision makers for the multinational companies based in USA...they only worry about the bottom line ...nope,let's blame the investors they force the management to profit maximise.....nope,let's blame the bankers who fund the investors,they move the money around.....nope,let's blame the money printer,that's more appropriate..


>They will hire some H4 EAD who asks $65K per annum in NJ. These people are happy to get some job and experiences.

In my experience, these companies as well as the American consultancies were hiring Indian students who studied in US way way more than h4 eads. These students are desperate to get a visa, so they will settle for any job that will sponsor them. Over 100k Indian students alone come to US every year, so its no wonder there would be insane competition for the 80k visas.


I'm always in awe at big corps to build big projects with lots of warm bodies that in the end would probably take 3x less people if ""only"" (of course it's a big thing) it was managed in a better way, if the customer knew how to handle its own expectations well and overall it was less about turning the wheels than actually delivering a project.

Does it mean that South Asian employees are more productive and have better performance (output to expenses ratio) than US or other employees? And that there is no discrimination, the company just hires the best people fitting for the job?

Also, I wonder, if South Asia employees are so productive, why do they need an expensive US-based management reaping most of the profit? Why cannot they create their own company?


No rocket science here. They are productive in same sense mexican immigrants are productive in orange and tomato farming in States. Cheap and desperate to work even with demanding and exploitative employers because conditions back home are worse else they wouldn't have agreed to such arrangement.

South Asian employees (esp h1b, h4 ead, opt) bring in more profit for these companies. This has to do with wage arbitrage within the states. If they hire a citizen/gc, such a candidate won't put up with low wages, or with midnight conference calls with offshore everyday.

WITCH companies are reaping profit. TCS market cap is $100B today.


You are generalizing. I am aware of several unicorn startups have have moved all their engineering operations to India paying huge big bucks.

Now, the WITCH companies are into the BS jobs, jobs that help American economy be far more efficient.


I would be stupid to say that "every Indian IT guy is incompetent". Every one is six human beings is Indian. So, you will find smart people everywhere.

Any comment can be criticized in two ways: (a) it is a generalization; (b) it is too specific or anecdata. Here, we are talking about HCL's preference for Indians.

Even in WITCH companies, there are smart people. If there are x percent of smart people in the world, then WITCH companies do have x percent of smart people.

The way WITCH companies send people onsite (USA, UK), depends NOT so much on how smart a candidate is, BUT on some kind of cronyism. At TCS, if someone wants to go onsite on H1, he needs to cozy up with all three levels above him, then this big boss recommends him to HR.

Even if someone comes onsite, he has to suck up to onsite managers to process I-140. If he doesn't suck up to these parasite managers onsite, he will be sent back to India.

Not many Americans know how these WITCH companies operate. That's what I am shedding light on.

Here is something to look at: https://www.petition2congress.com/ctas/stop-eb1-c-abuse-frau...


American immigration laws are to be blamed for this not the companies themselves. Companies will always align themselves to those incentive structures. American companies exploit foreign laws in similar ways. So I feel it cuts both ways.

Since I am involved with lot of immigration advocacy I am familiar with the so called eb-1 abuse. It is not abuse at all. It is a sensible strategy where the companies follow the letter of the law. It is US Congress that is idiotic to put foreign managers and noble winners in the same group of immigrants.

I do feel hr1044 is a perfect solution to this coupled by increasing h1b cap significantly.


The last good paying jobs in America are in software and the tech cartel in backhanded collusion with outsourcers are actively working to suppress the wages by flooding the market pure and simple. 10 years ago I had a neighbor who at the time was 40 was a QA analyst and was earning decent wage fast forward 10 years he is driving Uber because his company brought in hundreds of new labor and gave him the option of “transferring” as a contractor to the outsourcing company where the starting hourly pay was $25 an hour. Simple supply and demand mechanics.

[flagged]


Please do not post to HN in the flamewar style, such as here and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19346626. It lowers discussion quality far below the level we're hoping for here, so we ban accounts that do it.

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting to HN, we'd be grateful.


But I am so happy you can use the power of the state to prohibit outraged plebs from going after you, after you moved their jobs overseas.

The h1b visa is a govt program that allows corporations to control who is allowed to move to the US and the conditions under which they are allowed to remain here. Corporations use this state bestowed power to prevent their workers from participating freely in labor markets.

I am bewildered that anyone thinks there is a libertarian argument for this program. It’s power of the state, harnessed by corporations, to create a captive workforce shut out of full participation in a free economy.


If you only made the H1B program costs on the account of the state, american citizens would do away with the whole thing altogether in a heartbeat.

> I am bewildered that anyone thinks there is a libertarian argument for this program.

Everyone's a libertarian until it's their own job on the line. Then they suddenly become conservative.


Maybe so. But you know, my impression is that it's stronger in the other direction, at least in tech.

By and large, tech workers don't seem to think the world owes them a job, where they want to live, on the projects they'd like to pursue, at the wage they've decided is proper. Tech workers seem to understand they have to work hard to earn these positions. It seems to be the employers who think that the world owes them a worker where they want to locate, on the projects they decide should be done, at a wage they think is proper.

Tech employers asked the market for lots and lots of developers in the valley at salaries too low to buy a house and raise a family, the market said no, so tech employers had the government ask the market for them. The government responded by creating a program where high tech controls skilled immigration through their HR departments, deciding who is allowed to live and work in the US and the circumstances under which they are allowed to remain.

Sometimes I think libertarians get so caught up in unions and "socialism" that they are blinded to the antics of corporations and their unholy flirtation with state supported corporate control over workers' lives.


As a foreigner, I did take notice of the anti-H1B propaganda on Bart. It was also a call for tech unionization.

Yup, this is most present in HN arguments. But that must be how lots of people feel but dont express in real life.

Freedom of labour and freedom of capital.

To quote from lp.org

> A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas.

But there are certainly lots of Conservative-lites pretending to be libertarians certainly.


It seems to me the problem of the H-1B system can be very easily solved. Instead of lotteries to cap the number of people accepted, just raise the minimum salary requirements until you have the number of people you wanted.

Companies that want to discriminate by country of origin clearly aren't using immigration visas as they are intended. Do you really think they'd still be in the game if there was a $200k minimum? I doubt it.


Every time I see an H-1B related thread comment like this will pop up. No, it cannot "be very easily solved" by sorting salaries. For example, what about other industries who also need foreign talents? $100K might be top wage for some other industries but no where near the top in tech. Even in tech, how do you expect small start-ups or small businesses to compete with giants like FAANG who can just throw money at the problem? Also, what about the cost of living factor? Is $200k in SV considered more competitive than $150k in some other rural area?


You make a lot of good points and I'm not saying I disagree on all of it. But many of these issues are orthogonal to the problem here. (Tech startups always have a problem of salary competition, which they fight via stock options; SV's problem is housing and local legislation that prevents sufficient supply; etc).

The USA has, as a society, decided it wants to limit the number of immigrants. (I say this as a non-American who has had work visas in the US before, and left). If you disagree with that idea, vote for politicians who will change things. But if we take it as given that the number of immigrants on H-1B should be limited, then the question is: how do we decide who gets them?

I contend that raising the salary minimum is better than lotteries. First, if you're going to limit the number of immigrants, you should be limiting it to the most talented rather than a random assortment of anyone at all that applies. Salary limits isn't a perfect fit for that, but it's a close approximation. Second, companies shouldn't be using immigration as a means to have cheap labor, given the laws around limited immigration. The H-1B isn't meant to be a means to lower the salary costs of a company, it's meant to bring the best talent to America.

Lastly, in a lottery with limited winners, small companies will always lose out. Why? Because companies with less integrity can and will abuse the lottery system by inundating them with applications, often for job positions that could be easily filled by Americans. These companies want H-1B employees that they can underpay and abuse.

Worth adding as well, if every H-1B holder is making $200k+, they're paying taxes on that huge salary too. This helps shut up those xenophobic types saying 'lazy immigrants don't pay their share'.

My argument isn't that it's a fix-all for every problem. But given the premise of limited immigration, I think lotteries are a terrible solution companies to salary-based sorting.


I am all for raising minimum salary to rule out abusers, but my point is there are also a lot of other factors to consider here in addition to absolute salary number, and if you ignore those factors, it will be unfair to a lot of people & companies just as lottery is unfair to a lot of people & companies.

This is a complicated problem and the solution has to be non-trivial. Both lottery and salary-sorting seems too trivial, and are therefore prune to cheating. For example, abusers can just pay their employee $200k but then charge them $100k "legal fees" for "immigration processing"? (I know some companies are already doing something similar)


Until then raising the minimum salary sounds like it will do significantly more good than harm.

Why not just have immigration? Full and free citizens who have the right to pursue a job or career in response to personal interests and market signals?

If people prefer to work a accountants in Cincinnati rather than devs in the valley, that’s the market’s answer. If people choose to drop out of stem PhD programs and open a crepe stand, that’s the markets answer. If being a PhD student we’re a better deal, the market might give a different answer.

Why a program that allows corporations to determine the jobs immigrants are allowed to work and the circumstances under which they are allowed to live in the us, simply because they don’t like the market’s answer?


We have programs like that. Are you suggesting adding 45,000 or so visas to the EB 2/3 categories and eliminating the H1B? You'd still have corporations driving the process as those visas require an employer-sponsor (albeit once the visa is actually granted the situation is closer to full and free situation than it is for H1Bs).

I believe that any large scale immigration program that denies would be immigrants the right to participate freely in labor markets is pretty much hopeless.

All this discussion about requirements of “market pay”, limitations on skills that “can’t be found elsewhere”, jobs “citizens don’t want to do”... i just find it so weird that people use free market rhetoric to defend a program like this. I mean, to people who lean libertarian, doont phrases like the ones above seem terribly clueless, even deeply corrupt?

I think this actually becomes an affront to human freedom. What, you’re only allowed into the us if you interview the way google says you should interview, live where google says you should live, and so forth? And yeah I know ther is some limited transferability if you find a new “sponsor” (a euphemism, in my opinion, for someone who can have you deported if you get too uppity about not liking open offices or daily scrum applications of deadline pressures).

If the 300 million us citizens or roughly 1.2 million immigrants who come to the us don’t want to do the job at the pay offered... I just don’t get it, how can people who appear from their comments to be libertarian or free market leaning not see the state power granted to tech companies using the h1b? It’s weird, and gives me pause.

I’ve started thinking a lot of so called libertarians are 11th hour libertarians. They want the government to prop them up with all kinds of subsidies and state power, but get pissed when there’s the slightest state interference with their scheme to profit from it.


> what about other industries who also need foreign talents

They need to raise wages, obviously.

> Even in tech, how do you expect small start-ups or small businesses to compete with giants like FAANG who can just throw money at the problem?

How do you expect a small pizza chain to compete against Pizza Hut? Niche market, customer service, quality product.

> Also, what about the cost of living factor

I agree. $200k is not high enough. Should be $400k. Let big corporations put their money where their mouths are, we'll see just how much of that 'top talent' is really coming here, and how much is just low-wage immigration labor.


> For example, what about other industries who also need foreign talents? $100K might be top wage for some other industries but no where near the top in tech.

Need is a funny word. If google "needs" a programmer and is willing to pay $250k/year to fulfill this need and Pierre's Bistro "needs" a chef but is only willing to pay $80k/year to fulfill this need--what can we say about the relative strength of these needs and the value that enabling them to be met will create?


The real solution is a reverse auction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_auction

Economics has volumes on different auction methods and how they solve different problems.


The real solution is not to have a problem at all, just no cap.

Sure lift the flood gates and allow millions of free flowing labor until the wages get destroyed.

Equalized, not destroyed.

Defining away your requirements only works if you're not accountable to them.

Accountable to whom? Who would even care if the us got more professionals?

How badly does an industry "need" foreign talent if they aren't even willing to pay as much as for a mediocre software developer? Wages are set by supply and demand. If they actually needed the foreign talent, they would be willing to pay more, but their needs are served adequately by domestic talent.

No, scrap the bullshit H1B indentured servitude entirely and just have an auction for N green cards every month. Employers can pay for the truly talented they simply can't find in the US. VCs can pay for founders they want to bet on. Foundations and charities can pay for whoever they think deserves it. Individuals can pay for themselves with family savings.

> It seems to me the problem of the H-1B system can be very easily solved. Instead of lotteries to cap the number of people accepted, just raise the minimum salary requirements until you have the number of people you wanted.

Sort of. I think the problems can be solved by making the H-1B a portable work visa that only requires and initial sponsorship, but not a continuing sponsorship.

If a employer really needs employees from overseas, then they'll have to pay a competitive domestic wage, otherwise the immigrants they sponsored will immediately jump ship to a better paying competitor.

Some might challenge this idea by asking "then why would the employers sponsor H1-Bs?" My answer is that they'd stop unless they had a genuine need unmet by the local market.


As I point out below this is already the EB2/3 program. The idea that either the employee or the employer is looking for temporary workers in the H1B situation is a fiction. Why not just fold these visas into the existing permanent resident programs?

If those programs have problems (e.g. per country limits) let's fix them instead of papering over them with a not-really-temporary visa program.


> just raise the minimum salary requirements until you have the number of people you wanted.

Or just rank the applications by descending order of salary, and give the visas to the top 65K applicants.


Wouldn't the high cost of H1B just incentivize employers to ship these jobs overseas altogether?

That’s a difficult sell for many reasons. Companies may have regulatory requirements that prevent it. Even if they don’t, it’s a big deal to open a remote office. You have to have management, legal resources to operate in the country, etc. I’ve also heard management express concerns about protecting IP in low cost jurisdictions. (These people were South Asian, so you can’t even chalk that up to racism.)

It’s not a barrier for the FAANGs, but smaller companies aren’t going to save anything at all.


@ransom1538

>>> "H-1B, employing visa holders directly and through outsourcers, and has lobbied for an increase to the annual 85,000 cap on new visas." >>> My alma mater UC Davis graduated ~300 students in computer science per year (big school). 85,000 new visas.

Firstly, not all 85000 visas are for computer science graduates. So the better number might be the total graduates from UC Davis, or at least the total graduates in Engineering, Management, Economics, etc, etc.

Secondly, UC Davis is not the only school in the country, however big it is. There are thousands of schools.

The total Undergraduate enrollment in the USA is ~10million per year. You can assume 1/4 of that are seniors(2.5M) and perhaps 80% graduate (2M). Obviously not all are Engineering, Management, Economics -- but my point is the "300 student vs 85,000 spots" figure is wildly wrong.


H1B is just a tip of the iceberg. HCL etc. employ a lot of people on B1, L1 and J1 visas. They bring them on-site for 3 month, rent an apartment for like 6 or 7 of them, pay pittance and send back to India.

They don’t need to game the system. The legislations are written by lobbyists with convenient loopholes. Unfortunately for this guy this mega outsourcer has ton of legal firepower to wiggle out of this.


There isnt many loopholes to the H1B. Most people that want it dont get it.

Yet, outsourcing companies that are decidedly not hiring rare talent gobble up the majority of it.

A tip of the iceberg. United states could import 2 million doctors easily (there is a market for it) and it would be the full H1b quota forever.

What I don't understand is what is defensible about putting any non-demographic limit at all. Why 80k and not 160k?


There's no good reason, its politics. If one party says they want to increase the limit, the other party will say: well, just give us this instead and we will increase the limit. And if neither party cares very much or has other priorities, this issue just keeps remaining where it is.

Thats one interpretation. After all, immigrants don't vote.

They don’t get to. You don’t immigrate to China on a work visa and get to vote and dictate their destiny.

Interesting. Would you say that the immigrant in question should:

* pay local and federal taxes * pay into the social security benefit system (if such a system exists)

If yes, would you still say that they shouldn't be allowed to vote?


“Paying taxes” is a common theme used to support argument in favor of letting temporary immigrants vote in their host country. I am still searching for a country that lets it’s temporary immigrants vote before they are naturalized. There is an argument to made to tax the working immigrants. They use the public benefits of the host country - free public education, law enforcement, judiciary, libraries, roads and various other benefits. And finally they are not obligated to pay taxes if they don’t like to, they can simply return to their country.

Your arguments are totally garbage because the recommendations are fundamentally untenable. Yeah,if those pesky immigrants want to vote they should just go back, right. I regret having entertained the semblance of an intelligent debate.

And lot of money too, for lobbying


If you are interested in analysing h1b data, please check out my project, https://github.com/serv/h1bhub

It's a tool to ingest raw h1b data into postgres, so you can study the data easier with SQL.

I am also working on an app that allows you to look at h1b data on web.


Why don’t you put this in big query or Collab notebooks?

I never used those two before, but this may be a good idea. Feel free to create issues in the repository, and we can continue our discussion there.

Is h1b abuse by Indian companies still an issue?

According to this article: https://m.economictimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/h-1b-ex...

Six Indian companies — TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, and the US arms of Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies — accounted for nearly two-thirds of the rejections among the top 30 companies, the think tank said after analysing data put out by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The six firms got just 16%, or 2,145, H-1B work permits, less than the 2,399 visas that Amazon bagged in 2018.

Cognizant, which is headquartered in the US but has the majority of its workforce in India, saw 3,548 rejections during the year — the highest for any company.

From this: https://m.timesofindia.com/business/india-business/tcs-among...

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the only Indian company among the top 10 firms to get foreign labour certification for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018 by receiving over 20,000 such certifications, according to official data in which Ernst & Young was ranked No 1.

London-headquartered Ernst & Young, a multinational professional services firm, has emerged as the top employer to have received the certification, the date from the US labour department said. In fact, Ernst & Young with 151,164 H-1B specialist occupation labour certifications accounted for the 12.4 per cent of all foreign labour certification for the H-1B work visas for the fiscal year 2018 ending on September 30, according to the latest annual report released by the Department of Labour early this month. Ernst & Young is followed by Deloitte Consulting which received 69,869 H-1B specialty occupations labour conditions programme. Indian-American owned Cognizant Technology Corp comes at number three with 47,732 specialty occupations labour conditions programme, the Department of Labour said in its latest annual report. Cognizant is followed by HCL America (42,820), K Force Inc (32,996), and Apple (26,833). India's Tata Consultancy Services or TCS is the only Indian company in top 10 for the year 2018.


That article is wrong about 16%.

In 2018, for these 6 companies, the initial approval rate is 60% = 2145/(2145+1405)

Continuing approval rate for these six companies is 77% = 29638/(29638+ 8742)

Source: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Re...


A person who is a citizen or a green card holder in the US, compared to a H-1b bonded (tech) laborer, has way too much rights and way little incentive to slog for an employer that is paying peanuts. It’s very easy for a manager to get more out of a team member who is on H-1B than from someone who is a US worker. So often US managers In US companies also prefer to hire H-1b workers because they/employer have/has such disproportionate control over their immigration aspects.

In addition to this, if you consider the cost of healthcare (to the company and employee) which makes it too expensive to hire an older US citizen instead of hiring 2-3 young H-1B workers even if the per hr $ rate is higher. A US worker will balk at the kind of health insurance offered by these employers. Fresh grad h-1b often has no idea nor does care about it because they are young and healthy.

How can this be solved so that it is fair to the US workers?

Convert aspects of H-1B into a green card equivalent visa:

Aspect 1) employer can sponsor and bring in or hire a local non-citizen candidate. The new employee gets a 3 yr work permit to work anywhere at any time. Possibly the worker can leave on day 1 of work also.

What does this achieve? It means the employer will make sure the worker coming in has the best pay/benefits etc compared to anything offered anywhere else in the country.

If that happens, why will an employer, even if it is one of the WITCH companies, hire someone for below market rates at the risk of losing them the next day? If anything, at this point anyone who doesn’t need a visa, even a 50 yr old US worker (costs a lot w.r.t healthcare to the company) may be cheaper to the employer.

Aspect 2) automatic conversion to permanent green card after 6 yrs: Since it’s been proven with Aspect 1 that the non-citizen is capable of being employed for 6 years without displacing an US worker, after being on this new H1b / temp GC visa, just mail a permanent Green Card to this non-US worker.

The only thing in such a visa is that the employer who is into abusing H-1b visas or wants to replace costly older employees with cheap young contractors stands to lose quite a bit. But why should anyone care about such employers? Sadly, these are the employers who lobby hard to keep h-1b visa with bonded labor aspects, alive.

Pet peeve: This article is making so many racist/regionist generalizations it is hard to understand what “South Asian” means. Does it mean people from India/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka/Pakistan? Or is it just a euphemism to refer to 1/4th of the world population ?

About me: I’m an ex-H1b person who became a Canada permanent resident without stepping into Canada even once (except for the landing procedures). This, after working for 6 yrs on H1b and my last US employer trying to get me to slog for my green card application. Being born in India, I saw no point in going in for a US GC and remaining a bonded laborer till retirement. While o fee sad that US and USians are squandering this opportunity, I’m glad to see Canada capitalizing on this and see a great future for Canada.


Wait, how did you do that? Canada surely has a presence requirement before you can be a permanent resident.

Nope. I got it through Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker stream. You get points based on Education, Experience, Age, English/French proficiency etc.

The first day I landed in Canada, I became a Permanent Resident.

The requirements may be there for other streams / work permits / students (I'm not aware of those paths).


This lawsuit has more likelihood of success if the plaintiff is part of a protected class (non-white, female, age over 40). The article didn't mention this.

If we are going to use a lottery for the H1B, we should also place a ceiling on the number of visas issued to nationals from any particular country: I suggest 10%.

This is similar to how the Green Card lottery works.

Otherwise one or two large countries will just monopolise the whole system, spamming applications from their brethren.

This is exactly what is happening, with Indians making up 76% of H1B holders.


10% is too much.

Why not 5%?

Actually, why not just ban applicants who are born in China and India?

</sarcasm>




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