On the other hand, I'm not sure how fair it is to all the people who applied for an H-1B last year and this year who were forced to participate in the H-1B lottery and couldn't get into the quota of 85000. Now one winning lottery spot could be worth two workers instead of one. Who's to say that the spouse, who didn't even have to go through the trouble of finding an employer, convincing them to sponsor, applying, waiting for the lottery results, etc is more deserving of a work permit than those who did but just weren't lucky enough to win the quota lottery?
I'm ashamed that I'm thinking of something so petty when I should be happy for those people, but having lost the lottery once, I can't help but feel a small tinge of jealousy and resentment.
I would be happier if none of this was an issue in the first place.
Which doesn't require a Green Card for the husband.
Here in the EU it works differently, as my wife is a family member of an EU citizen (me) she automatically has the right of freedom of movement within the EU. The UK Border Agency has issued her a residence document to confirm her status but it's not a visa or an endorsement in away way; it's just a confirmation of her existing rights.
(Being allowed to come back after leaving is a whole different thing, though, which is probably what you meant.)
While my H1B (later L1B) was processing, I was legally allowed to enter the US for business trips (Visa Waiver with ESTA), but the lawyers really recommended against it.
The border control people apparently can see the pending application and sometimes tend to be in the "I think you want to come here early and start working" mood. That way one might get denied entry which in turn has a negative effect on the currently processing visa.
On a somewhat pedantic tangent, "immigration", by definition, is inbound. The outbound equivalent is "emigration".
I understand that Americans want jobs for Americans, but bringing in immigrants and letting them work means you get taxpayers whose education was subsidized by a foreign government. They basically are net contributors to the economy upon their first paycheck. The higher skilled they are, the more dramatic this effect. It seems like a huge net win to the US economy.
I'm sure there's a good counterargument to this, but I'm biased being an immigrant myself.
It makes sense for states to enact programs like these for the reasons you pointed out. If you can get skilled migrants you get net contributors from day one.
Oh and they tax relief of your mortgage payments
For the sake of argument (and simplicity) let's say that schooling and other childhood / early adult expenses for the average citizen cost the state $100,000, and let's say that in return the state is likely to gain $200,000 in tax money back from citizens over their lifetime once they become productive members of society.
It's pretty obvious that if you give adult immigrants who can immediately become contributing members of the economy a 1/3 tax discount that the state loses nothing, and only stands to gain from the deal, since they never had to pay those $100,000 to send them to school as children, that cost was offloaded to some other nation-state.
The tax contribution of those immigrants to social programs like welfare is also going to be just the same as the contributions of native citizens, despite the lower tax rate, because the state isn't also using that tax money to pay for those $100,000 it never spent.
If anything the flaw in the Dutch policy is that the tax discount isn't large enough, should last for more than 10 years (i.e. indefinitely, and should be larger if you promise to get out of the country before retirement), and that they should offer it to more immigrants, not just the highly skilled.
So this impacts immigration policy. Insofar as the welfare state IS like an insurance policy, this is like the health insurance company denying coverage for a pre-existing condition.
Could you explain, I'm not sure how this is the case?
Personally, I have noticed this phenomenon at smaller companies where a H1B candidate is potentially more attractive. I got a green card very recently, however, I am obviously not an American and am relatively young enough that I can be suspected of not having a Green Card. I have had a few situations where hiring managers were rather disappointed that I didn't need their help to acquire an H1B or for them to file for my green card.
The foreign workers aren't actually that high skilled and their education is questionable.
So upon their first paycheck they are displacing local workers who could also do the job, putting extra pressure on local economies that they didn't "pay into", and giving more power to employers based on the restrictive nature of these foreign worker visas.
Don't you think that generalization is stretching it.
>local economies that they didn't "pay into"
What would you like to say about millions accumulated as social security & medicare by H1B workers that they can't redeem. If one returns to their home country before certain conditions are met, all that money goes to the US.
My point is, we have 1.7 Million college educated grads currently unemployed.
We have an estimated 650,000 H1B workers.
I'd say we have plenty of educated, hard working, and able citizens to fill these positions.
- That the 1.7 million college grads who are unemployed work in the same field as the H-1B workers. H-1B workers tend to commonly be in engineering / science / medecine / etc. Mostly Bachelors in Science degrees. The most common majors in the US are mostly BA degrees. You can't just plop those people into what they're not trained in.
- That the 1.7 million college grads who are unemployed are unemployed because of H1B workers, and that if those workers weren't there, the unemployed college grads would be employed.
- That any worker can be anywhere at any time. If a company is in North Dakota and needs a programmer, it doesn't matter that there are 1000 unemployed American programmers in New York.
- That when someone graduates, they're able to perform their profession up to the standard required. That they are "good". This should be laughable if you've ever been to any college short of the top 30. 1.7 million graduates don't mean 1.7 million desirable employees.
Unemployment sure is a huge problem, but I think you might be barking up the wrong tree here if you're looking for a cause. Getting rid of the H-1B is not going to help much, from what I can tell.
I don't believe that a Bachelors degree necessarily limits your career options. Holding a four year degree basically means you are trainable, committed, and follow the rules. The ideal employee. I'm willing to disagree on this point.
> - That the 1.7 million college grads who are unemployed are unemployed because of H1B workers, and that if those workers weren't there, the unemployed college grads would be employed.
I made no such statement.
> - That any worker can be anywhere at any time. If a company is in North Dakota and needs a programmer, it doesn't matter that there are 1000 unemployed American programmers in New York.
This comment makes no sense when we are talking about foreign workers who have to cross continents and oceans to get to North Dakota
> - That when someone graduates, they're able to perform their profession up to the standard required. That they are "good". This should be laughable if you've ever been to any college short of the top 30. 1.7 million graduates don't mean 1.7 million desirable employees.
I think you are just repeating your first point here. I'd be willing to bet 90% of H1Bs don't hold degrees from the top 30, or whatever arbitrary cutoff you have. I'm not interested in pedigree. 1.7 million graduates should certainly be 1.7 million desirable employees (or at least 650k), and if it isn't, then it sounds like we found the root cause.
> Unemployment sure is a huge problem, but I think you might be barking up the wrong tree here if you're looking for a cause. Getting rid of the H-1B is not going to help much, from what I can tell.
I never once suggested that H1B is the cause of unemployment.
Some employers wont touch you for entry level roles, because they assume with a degree, you'd jump ship for something better paying in your field at the first chance.
How is someone with say a Bachelors in Sociology an ideal tech employee? A degree is about specialized education and you're completely ignoring that. That's why it's called "higher learning", it's not Highschool Part 2.
Sigh. This is tiring, but I'll bite. You implied that the unemployed college grads could be working the H-1B workers' jobs. Heck, in this comment I'm replying to, you say:
> 1.7 million graduates should certainly be 1.7 million desirable employees (or at least 650k)
So, you did make such a statement. The sentiment that there is some overlap could be true to a small degree. But if you'll listen this time, I'll try to rephrase why the 1.7 million unemployed college grads might not be able to replace the 650k for the most part (or vice versa).
- Not having the right training. You seem to think a bachelor's degree is magic and if you have a BA in Political Science, you can be a Lawyer or a Chemist (or vice versa), simply because you're trainable and committed. I guess a person could be retrained to a different profession maybe (rare in reality), but that requires getting yet another degree. Who will pay for that?
- Not being good enough. Graduation standards are pretty low on average. I disagree about the grads being trainable, committed and following the rules part. Seriously, when I was talking about "top 30", I wasn't talking about H-1B workers, I was giving an exception to the trend I noticed where in most schools, merely graduating is the bare minimum. Which means that a college grad in the 1.7 million unemployed doesn't necessarily have skills.
- Not having homogenous demand across the country. The point with the NY-N. Dakota anecdote is that it's possible to have a shortage in one part of the country and too much in another. So what's the company in North Dakota to do? Immigrant workers tend to be okay with, well, immigrating. Most other workers aren't open to relocation, so they are tend to not fill those positions. So a position belonging to an H-1B in one of these places might not necessarily be able to be filled with a native.
Another way to think about this is consider how many orders of magnitude workers there are who are NOT immigrating to the US. By accepting immigrant workers, you're self-selecting people who are by definition more willing to move to places.
So the point is that it's not likely that these two groups of workers overlap very much.
If you want to rail on immigration, rail on the L-1. No wage minimums (to ensure undercutting locals), no skill or degree requirements, no quota, no requirement to have tried to hire a local, workers can't move to other companies. Some companies can apply for a blanket L-1 and they don't even need to file a new petition for each worker. The L-1 is legitimately everything you dislike about the H-1B.
Hope this helps.
Perhaps my university was unusually good (I do not believe that) but all of the people in my graduating CS class that I still have contact with are happily employed. I know this because about once a year I ping them asking if they want recommendations at my company... I'm trying to get those sweet referral bonuses...
> "The foreign workers aren't actually that high skilled and their education is questionable."
I work alongside many H1B people. They are all highly competent.
> I work alongside many H1B people. They are all highly competent.
I work along side a lot of H1B people. They are all kind, smart, and competent. But they are people, there is nothing special about them, which was the whole point of the H1B program.
Jim wants a job in software development, but instead studied [something that isn't related to software development]. Do you know what Jim's degree says to me? It says that Jim is not willing to put in the effort to learn about something that he supposedly wants to be involved in. Is he actually interested in the work?
If Jim can somehow convince me that he actually does care about the work (say, an extensive github account, previous employment in the field, or even perhaps one hell of a cover letter) then I would be more than willing to overlook the fact that he chose to get a degree in something unrelated. In absence of those things though? I'd rather find somebody who can point to their degree as evidence that they care enough about the field to spend time studying it.
The usual "cheap workarz" angle is irrelevant. They all get market rates. Not to mention businesses having to sponsor relocation and the actual visas.
Surely you're not suggesting a business would bear H1B related overhead for no reason, unless they would be forced to do so.
I'd be fine if it were an immigration visa, but these worker visa programs have no oversight and there is no conversation at the decision making level representing the american worker.
the cheap labor angle isn't irrelevant just because you say so. It's been documented that a) there are plenty of STEM graduates b) H1B workers are under paid
"Those certifications represented far less than 1 percent of the approximately 960,000 H-1B applications approved by the U.S. Department of Labor between 2002 and 2005"
Sorry, that's terribly weak sauce for an argument.
The only reason prices are so low is because it's all outsourced. If you want Americans to do the work of the SEA and China, then you're going to pay a lot more for your shit. Those low prices are the only thing that a lot of people rely on their livelihood for.
Except the whole "software eating the world" thing that might be the exception that proves the rule.
That may be, but I'm not sure you know what the words "normal" "healthy" or "proper" mean.
I have seen similar patterns among other H1B/H4 immigrants (e.g. same university, same education, yet only one of them is allowed to work).
I think the US should do what Singapore has done a long time ago: open up its job market for high-skilled professionals, as it will bring in talent, know-how and experience. Otherwise, as soon as the H1B term expires, all of this talent will go back to their countries, improving their economies. (Not that there is anything wrong with it, but from the US point of view, it is better to have the talent in the US than at any other place.)
If you look at the world ranking of universities top 100, you'll see a number of foreign universities on par with Ivies.
The science and engineering graduates have no problem finding work. It's no secret why the engineering school is full of foreign PhD students. Local graduates weren't interested.
Sociology and Political Science were a different matter. You can't get hired in Sociology without at least a MS. PoliSci was the entry point for law school.
In the back of my head, I'm preparing to go back next year if my awesome wife can't find anything to do - missed this year's H1 cap already.
It's frustrating to watch her get depressed sitting at home and feeling like she's missing out. It's making me angry to come home every day to find her turning her energy inwards into frustration.
She's more talented than me, just not in tech - she's into ads.
The ad industry does not have the patience of the IT industry when it comes to keeping a req open for 6 months while the H1 processes.
Australia & Canada are attractive options in my radar.
At least, I'm sure I can work on hadoop from anywhere and get paid to ship open source code.
But it still is progress.
I'd hope they remove country based discrimination in EB visas. And better yet pass immigration reform sooner rather than later.
Here is the link to the original proposal: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=20121....
This is the "proposition nation" myth: the idea that America is not a normal nation of a people with a heritage. Instead America is merely a place with some abstract ideals.
This is of course complete hogwash. The founders were very much aware of Americans as a distinct people, despite written nods to some universalist enlightenment philosophe prattle.
So why have a green card limit for H1-B applicants? After they apply, they can work in the US for an indefinite period anyway. So the only difference is that they spend 3-10 years with limited rights that actually depress everyone's salaries. After that much time in the US, they have already immigrated: They probably own a house, their children are American.
Get rid of the yearly quota for people already in the country: It's not as if a more mobile workforce that is already here is a problem.
What country based discrimination? The quotas are to prevent two countries from flooding the immigration markets and making sure diversity exists.
You can't comprise of 90% of any population and whine about discrimination. That is not how society works.
In practice, someone from Iceland or Tuvalu can get an EB (category 2) visa in about a year, whereas the average for someone from India or China is more like 5-6 years .
 These rough numbers are from observations on http://www.trackitt.com, where applicants self-report application statistics
It is not clear to me how having a diverse country that is not dominated by immigrants from one or two ethnicities arrives from letting this happen. Or how it is fair to the guy from random tiny country X when he has to compete against two largest sources of immigrants to this country.
Compete for what?
Furthermore, it doesn't make any sense to treat each country as if it were equal size. The per country employment based limit is not much less than Tuvalu's entire population.
Still, I see no basis for discrimination based on place of birth, ethnicity, race, caste, creed, color etc. when I can do my job right and be good at it. I would agree that if it were a lottery or family based immigration, such caps could prevent chain immigration. However, employment based visas having that cap makes absolutely no sense and blatantly discriminates.
As for one ethnicity dominating the country -- the entire permanent resident visa program subject to the 7% rule is only 366,000 visas per year or .1% of the population. Even if all of those visas went only to Indians and Chinese the US would be in no danger of being "dominated" by one (or rather two) ethnicities. In any event on the family based side, which has a larger allocation than the employment based, it is Filipinos and Mexicans who face the longest waits, not Indians and Chinese. Finally the mapping between ethnicities and countries of birth is not one to one.
The working spouse, on the other hand, is a relatively free participant in the employment market, so has far more leverage - able to freely negotiate salary (or to start a company of their own, or whatever). Of course they have hanging over them the risk that the master visa might go away at any time and they would be forced to stop working (and probably sell up and leave the country), but there is at least employment protection law to stop employers discriminating against a person who has the legal right to work on the basis of how they acquired that right.
Whole process was paid for by my employer (a large US multinational) that regularly needs to move people around all over the world and is very well organized and takes good care of it's people (and their families) in that regard.
Despite itself, sometimes the process works and companies act well too. In the current system, L1 is generally confided the best case scenario for coming to the US. Any problems you might run into with L1 are still pretty fancy problems compared with challenges faced by so many others trying to get into the country.
L-1 sometimes really is just for a temporary work assignment.
While the L-2 + work permit sounds better, the smarter companies use the risk of the L-1 holder as leverage against the L-2 holder.
Companies (smart or not) can't really leverage an L-1 spouse against the L-2 job applicant in negotiations, although they might consider the L-1 holder a possible risk factor that might count against the L-2 job applicant.
If this happened or played a critical role in candidate evaluation, it would be difficult to prove that the L-2 holder was discriminated against.
The only time that a company could truly "leverage" the L-1 visa against an L-2 applicant is if the L-2 truly had nowhere else to apply except to the same company as the L-1 holder; but I feel that's an unlikely scenario.
EDIT: To your point about upgrading the L-1 into permanent residence status, it's typically easier and quicker on the L-1/L-2 than via H-1B.
The path from L1A, to EB-1C (Multinational manager or executive) is pretty straightforward, the requirements are very similar, and the quotas are current for every country.
An L1B visa holder, on the other hand, faces a situation much like that of an H1B.
I sent a question a few days ago:
Ask HN: How many H1B holders here taking the H4 "punishment"?
The current H4 only offers a disruption to the family. Nothing else.
The rule, as its currently proposed form, does not provide automatic work authorization to spouses of all H-1B workers. Rather, it allows "certain" H-4 spouses to be employment authorized. The subset of eligible H-4 spouses are defined as those "who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment" and apparently before finishing it. Specifically, their H-1B spouses had to be in H-1B status for more than 6 years and are the beneficiaries of certain pending or approved employment-based immigrant petitions or labor certification applications.
Congress employs numeric control over the number of employment-based green cards that can be issued each year. The process is very complicated, and the wait time is highly dependent on the country in which a beneficiary was born and the category of green card he/she sought. For beneficiaries from most countries, the wait for an employment-based green card (once you had an approved petition) is far less than 6 years. The only country that currently suffers a more-than-6-year backlog is India, whose current line for the "EB2" category is 10 years, and "EB3" 11 years. The current "backlog" is published by Department of State each month:
Most applicants from countries other than those listed can finish their green card process well within the H-1B's 6-year limit, and do not benefit from this proposed rule.
Relevant excerpt from the section "Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest":
These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers.
As to what certain means remains to be seen.
Not sure why I got downvoted. I was just paraphrasing the reasons given in the proposal. Its not an opinion. Don't shoot the messenger.
Turns out, they actually tried to extend my work permit (which they couldn't in my case since I didn't actually graduate with CSci degree) and now I have my work permit expiring in July, and not sure if I'll be able to stay in the country because I'm not sure if H-1B visa will arrive in time.
If they did file a H1B for you this year, then you should be able to extend your OPT period till October. It's something called a 'cap gap' fix that was introduced around a couple of years ago.
The Senate bill for Immigration reform passed the Senate last June, but the House isn't taking a vote on it.
The house in turn had similar proposals last year in committee, but House leadership has no plans of putting them to a general vote at least till November elections.
Eh? Europe has higher taxes.
In many parts of Europe tax include social contributions, so you don't pay anything additionaly for haelthcare and retirement. You have free or almost free education up to the university level, subsidized child care, actual unemployment benefits, good transport infrastructure and many such things that you need to pay yourself in the USA. If you want to compare real effective tax rates, just add all these additional expenses to your tax amount and compare it to Europe.
Than again, the chart doesn't include US state tax, so you are really taking into account only a part of US tax rate.
The chart INCLUDES NYS tax. Source of that charts:
It reminds me of a job offer I had in the UK, which was 30% lower than the equivalent job in the US. When I visited the site in the UK, the people working there admitted the wages were lower, but stated "You don't have to pay for health insurance."
When I mentioned I only paid $150/month, they seemed shocked.
The problem is not if $150/mo is too much or not. The problems are  copay and  what happens when you don't have a job or money or neither.
We all heard the stories "This car ran over me and I'm $100k in debt now" or "I got this $15k bill because I passed out and the ambulance took me to the hospital". That's just plain impossible in the UK or pretty much in any other country in the EU.
That doesn't mean that you can do just fine in regards to health care if your salary is $100k/year in the US.
And I'll give you that in reality it doesn't look cheap when your paying 40% of your salary in taxes, but I'm happy to know that today I'm the one contributing and tomorrow I could be the one receiving treatment "for free" or "paid by others". It's called society.
EDIT:to expand, the school costs are free. But where do the unis stand in terms of costs? For instance, a huge chunk of taxes go to subsidizing free education in a number of EU countries.
I get the need to protect the local people's jobs but that is just criminal waste in my eyes. Both the ability and the willingness to contribute towards the GDP/country is there and yet regulation forces him to watch youtube/paint dry all day.
There's absolutely no grounds for restricting immigration. The US was built on immigrants and now somehow it is no longer a viable policy?
Yeah, let's go ahead make it more attractive for talented foreign entrepreneurs, BUT let's only offer a few 65,000 H-1B visas per year... What's the point of making it more attractive if there aren't enough H-1B visas to go around in the first place. Seems some what cynical to me.
All it does is allow skim some cream of the top and control labor through myriad of shell companies and outsourcers. The real value if the initial hook up of the labor to the organization. There is no reason to behold a "contractor" to a company.
Lets say ole Raj went to some CS diploma mill in Bangalore. Then got a job at some Infy offshore hub where he learned PL/SQL and how to script in SAP land. Next, fell in love with the sexy girl in a nearby cube. After sweating bullets and pleading ( maybe a few cows were traded in the background), the families approved of the love marriage. Next, the husband bags a H1 via Infy to work in the IT dept at Cisco. Sexy hubby gets ez H1 and a job in IT at Marvel. Bingo! They can afford a 2br in Santa Clara. In fact, now the parents can visit for big chunks of time rather comfortably. Meanwhile, Infy has better margins and the American worker has slipped further into the abyss .