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Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas
8

Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

(OP)
I went on a job interview recently for an engineering position. When I was led through the "sea of cubicles" (but with low walls so you can see everybody) I noticed probably 75% of the workers appearing to be of central asian decent. Of course I don't have a problem with people from this part of the world and many of them could have been US citizens (I'm a caucasian born in the USA). But when I was offered the job the pay was substantially lower than at my current position. I made an appointment with the HR manager to discuss the offer. When I met with her in her office I noticed lots of paperwork on her desk having to with US H1B visas. She didn't budge from the salary offering in that meeting. A salary negotiation never took off the following week and I declined the offer.

It then clicked with me. All that H1B visa paperwork on her desk (sloppy of her to leave it on her desk for others to see) could mean the company sponsors many non-citizens with H1B visas and pays them less than US citizens. Not only that, these workers are always skating on thin ice because, with the stroke of a pen, the company could revoke their sponsorship. Of course they will always be on their best behavior and put forward their best effort so they can further their chances to immigrate!

Are non-citizens taking away STEM jobs from US workers!? It sure looked that way at this company!

Tunalover

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Possibly. Business as a group have been pushing the notion that there's a STEM shortage, despite the fact that only 30% of engineering graduates are actually working as engineers. It's all about profits, and for a labor-intensive business, engineers' salaries and benefits drive profits. To be able to pay someone 60% of typical wages is a great thing, coupled with the fact that an H1B employee can't readily wander to another company to get a pay raise, since the H1B needs to be sponsored by the company, based on their demonstrated need for skilled labor that's not available in the US.

The question that's not been answered is why only 30% become engineers. Is it:

> lack of opportunities
> poor training
> lack of actual desire

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

2
Even the dullest of new engineers can compute the probability of gaining even a modest amount of wealth by competing with slaves on price.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

3
If it walk like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Glad to hear that you were fortunate enough not to have had to take that job and could walk away. Many people are not as fortunate and are routinely taken advantage of just as you have seen, if not far worse. Far from making excuses for the USA, I can tell you that the worst of the treatment they might get in the States would be many orders of magnitude better than what typically goes on in a lot of other places. Also keep in mind what you have seen are workers with some kind of a visa, so now I'm sure you can imagine what can happen if for some reason some workers didn't have any visa at all, or some "problem" with the visa they did have. I can tell you from personal experience that it is not so nice a situation to be in, even under the best of circumstances, even if an "accident" that happened while you were working for one of the worlds largest American companies in one of their foreign locations, and if you have happened to lose your job (through absolutely no fault of your own), when you are in a foreign country, 1000s of miles from home and dependent solely on your employer for help. I just wound up getting a few extra vacation days, but the part of being personally deported by the boss of the country's national police organization was not fun. These types of situations can easily become ripe for instant and severe abuse. It still costs me an extra 50 $US or so every time I go back and want to board a plane to leave again.

Are these workers taking jobs away from US workers? Well, in your case we might could say ... no. But only because you didn't want that job. If another unemployed US engineer did want it, we could probably say yes. I can tell you that in the early 90's when I left the US, basically for good, I think it had a lot to do with the number of visas granted to foreign engineers to work in several extremely large engineering companies in Houston. I used that to my advantage at the time, because US engineering education and experience was valued at a premium on the world market for many years. Still it is somewhat true, but less and less every day, as the US loses technical reputation from declined spending on NASA projects, ring accelarators and coliders, and as more foreign engineers return to the world market, after they have gained USA working experience, if not their USA educations as well.

I don't hold anything against any foreign worker trying to take, or taking, my job, because I don't think they get the same money, so I know the company that hired them was after cheap, not necessarily quality, but I also know that they get more and more quality these days as technological capabilities increase throughout the world constantly. I have to go for a different market now, work smart, fast, make no mistakes, pay attention to all details, safety aspects, remember all of my previous experience, communicate better than anybody else, negotiate solutions and finally deliver high value pojects on schedule. I charge for that kind of added value today, because the USA doesn't have any technical advantages off the battlefield any more.

Because of a few certian experiences I've had above, I empathsize with foreign workers. Even though I am American, I am a foreign worker too and from time to time I have experienced just a tiny, tiny bit of what many of them must go through. I think it would be good if you can keep what you have seen in mind and try to help in any way you can with these attempts to exploit foreign workers, or any worker for that matter, if you should happen to get the opportunity to do so in the future.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Do you really think that H1B holders have immigration as their ultimate goal?

That was never part of my plan. I experienced another country/culture. I was paid the going rate, from which I paid US taxes (without representation). I went home. Would do it all again if I had a time machine.

Steve

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Depends, Sompting- I think a great many H1B visa holders DO look at it as a route to US immigration. That's the carrot that makes the stick of pay at 75% of the going rate seem like a good bargain. I'm sure that some companies are using the H1B for what it's truly intended for, and paying the going rate for the specialists they attract with it. But the temptation to stuff cubicles with cheaper engineers must be far too great to avoid, especially among the bottom feeders in the marketplace.

Thank your lucky stars, as at least you have the H1B. We in Canada have nothing like it. Instead we get the same screeching about shortages, which really result from bad succession planning and inadequate hiring of fresh grads ever time a cyclic industry goes through a downturn- and the government responds with yet greater enrollments and more permanent immigrants. In reality they're trying to mask the lack of real economic growth- the stagnation that has resulted from globalization and the mass exit of manufacturing resulting from it- with demographic growth. It's a necessary strategy on their part, as they have no other option- they can't really create jobs, and it's too late to revert to protectionism irrespective of what people might think in light of Brexit and Trump. The real solution, taxing the very, very few people who benefit from the status quo and redistributing that wealth more fairly, is felt to be hopeless because of the perceived mobility of capital world-wide. Short of Picketty's global wealth tax, the race to the bottom seems unstoppable. The oversupply in engineering is just a symptom of a much larger trend.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

H1B is not that different than the Chinese working on the railroads back in the 19th century. Or even the people that illegally cross the border; the primary goal is to send money home to support their families. Not everyone wants to live here, particularly given the rather obviously blatant racism that's been revealed in recent years.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I've heard the exact same sentiments. Nobody talks about going to the US anymore.
The US is now second choice for immigration from India. UAE is #1.

The average seems to be that around 50% stay.
http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/indian-immi...

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

UAE is probably just for temporary work. I've not seen any indication that those countries are welcoming Indian migration; they barely tolerate them to do the jobs their own people won't do

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

That was the case back in the 90s, but it is certainly not what I've seen actually going on there in the last 5-10 years. Today Indians are running the entire UAE and most of the rest of the mideast as well and a lot of east Africa. Except for the military in Iraq and Afganistan, not too many Americans around anymore, unless they are doing the same thing, low profile, for their private security companies based mostly in Dubai, or keeping the drones flying.

Temporary jobs? Yes. Everyone goes to the mideast with the understanding that it will be a temporary job, as they don't hand out passports of any kind, then you don't see them except during Ramadan, for the next 20 years. The first time I stayed 10 in Saudi. I would have stayed another 10 in the UAE on the last visit, except the company experienced an Indian revolt and management takeover, diverting work being done in the UAE offices to the Indian offices in Chanai and Delhi, so quite a lot of us western expats in the UAE didn't get much more than a quick plane ticket home.

From the above link I posted,
"There are 14.2 million Indian migrants worldwide; after the United Arab Emirates (2,852,000), the United States (2,061,000) is the second-most common destination. Other popular destinations include Saudi Arabia (1,762,000), Pakistan (1,396,000), Nepal (810,000), and the United Kingdom (756,000), according to mid-2013 estimates by the United Nations Population Division. Click here to view an interactive map showing where migrants from India and other countries have settled worldwide."

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

The Indians in the UAE drive the taxis and work in the hotels. The construction workers are from the Philippines. The Arabs drink coffee and count money. Hell on Earth.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

The Indians in the UAE work in the hotels, shops, banks, engineering, IT, maintain everything, oil & gas, airline pilots.... Afgans drive the taxis now. The construction workers are from the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Afganistan.

The Arabs drink coffee tea, own 51% of the companies and count money.
Hell on Earth. No, but if you look towards the west, you can see it from there.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Anecdote time!

As an intern (and recently graduated EIT), I once went in to negotiate with my boss for a salary increase from my previous, pre-graduation/EIT rate. I was armed with all of the salary survey information provided by ASCE, my university etc.

He gasped at my figure, and balked. "I don't pay 'A' that much!". 'A' was a PE on an H1B visa.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I hope you took that as a signal to change jobs as soon as you could.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Tunalover, were you visiting the United Technologies R&D Center by chance? It appears to match what you described pretty closely. I know of other companies that do exactly the same thing. They hire these foreign workers because they can pay them peanuts and work them hard. And if they don't like it, too bad. They can go back home (which most of them desperately don't want to do). This scenario actually reminds me of graduate school in a way. These employees are effectively working as indentured servants. The companies that sponsor them save a lot of money this way. I know of an American citizen born here in the United States who has been employed in one of these companies working on R&D for over 20 years.

Based on his comments, it is not a pleasant place to work.

Maui

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Funny you bring up grad school Maui - that's where many of our H1B folk come from and there's certainly an indentured servant aspect to their employment here.

I frequently second guess myself on this issue for fear I'm more racist than I'd like to admit but it does seem like there are a good few cases of companies taking advantage of the H1B system so I certainly am included to agree with you Tunalover.

As part of the H1B reqs the company have to post notices of what their job description & pay range are etc. Even though the name isn't on the notice a lot of the time we can work out who it applies to, or at least narrow it to a couple of possibilities, and based on what I've seen they are paid on the low side and given lower job categorizations compared to some of us non H1B's (I'm an immigrant but due to my Mrs being a US citizen) doing mostly similar work.

While most of these folks are Drs, many with their grad degrees from the US, the reality is some aren't doing much a competent BS (or even AA) degree holder could do instead - and sometimes not as well.

That said we do have some folks here that truely are world class and probably fit the nominal intent of H1B, but there are a lot that I struggle to believe they couldn't find US applicants for.

The really obvious ones are the 'Disney' kind of situations where they lay off their own staff & replace by some 3rd party contractor who almost exclusively employ H1B visa holders. Guess the Judge determined that one didn't break the 'letter of the law' due to the distinction between being direct Disney employees V contractors.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

H1B justifications are probably a lot like sole source justifications we use for buying equipment. If you look hard enough, there will always be something that's so unique that management will buy off on it. I bought a Tek oscilloscope that I wanted after spending about an hour poring through the spec until I found a feature that wasn't available on the competing HP scope.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

and sure, engineers from the US wouldn't want to take a job for the rates that they can attract overseas applicants. Hence they can apply for H1B visas.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I smell duck.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

(OP)
Just a generalized observation I have of many large US-based companies:

As long as the company meets the letter of the law, it's a free-for-all (enabled by our lawmakers with generous lubricant from those companies in the form of campaign donations, insider trading tips, and outright bribes). Many US business executives allow their moral compass to stray wildly as long as their reward system is so tightly tied to bottom line profits.

Maui, I won't tell who the employer was for fear of legal retribution.

Tunalover

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

The pisser in the H1-B visa story is that there are unfortunate applicant/interviewee's out there getting hopes up/nervous for an interview that's only purpose is to justify the hiring of someone else. Got to prove that there is no one out there capable from the US. It is dishonest and it sucks.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

justify the hiring of someone else the (H1-B visa) applicant

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Lawyers' games. They (charge us to) write the rules, (charge us to) play the games, reap the rewards. A different species from us.

Steve

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Well to be fair the committee setting the noise standards for vehicles was largely made up of engineers who worked at consultancies who would make your car quieter, in the eighties, in the UK.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

It is all very rational and logical. If a company lobbies for more H1b visas, they can sponsor and receive more qualified H1b employees from overseas. It lowers their overhead, and they have a temporarily dedicated and dependent employee who can be relied upon ( until they get a green card).

As soon as the H1B worker gets an official green card, he will quit the low paying job and jump ship to higher position in another company, leaving room for the next H1b applicant to replace him. And the cycle repeats itself.

The employer's normal defense against attacks from US resident engineers is that there are insufficient qualified US applicants due to the poor level of STEM training in the US educational system, but the huge $$ savings is the real rationale. Regarding the response of the elected representatives, when was the last time you personally hired a lobbyist to present your case to your elected rep? You get exactly what you pay for, so do not act surprised .

To reinforce the repetitive cycle, the teachers unions are adamantly against any measure that forces them off their butts and actually teach useful math, schience and computer skills to the US students, as the teaching techniques used by the overseas schools , while effective, are considered to be stifling to the student's "creativity" and self esteem.

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I am surprised that there doesn't exist large contracting firms that employ and sponsor the H1-B employees. It would seem like it would be in the best interest for a H1B to work for a sponsoring contracting firm rather than an a company direct, who will abuse will abuse the power they hold due to being the sponsor. It seems like ,too, that there would be a lot more interest in the h1b employees services since the client no longer has to deal with sponsorship paper work.


Davefitz,

U.S. public schooling is excellent. We are very competitive with any nation, and near the top once you removing failing inner city schools from your data. Inner city schools fail for reasons that are independent of the school itself. Parent's are hammered with the belief that more money always needs to be spent on education and for districts that do have issues, that money is the fix. No one though wants to talk about how parental involvement and having books at home are the stronger indicators than anything that occurs at school for predicting a student's academic success.


Global grade: How do U.S. students compare?
http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/u-s-studen...

"Students in Massachusetts, one of the highest performing states, are on par with students in Japan in math.
In science, students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin are behind students in Singapore and Taiwan only, but are equal to or ahead of students in the other 45 countries in the TIMSS.

Students in the District of Columbia had the lowest math scores in the U.S., putting them behind students in 29 countries, but ahead of 14 countries.

Students in Alabama, a low-performing state, do better in math and science than students in most foreign countries."



A program in Harlem is pushing hard this idea of parental involvement. The idea came from when they were trying to help adults be successful, they were already too far behind for that one thing to get them over that hump. So, instead they just devoted their resources to trying to get the kids from the start on the right track. The results from the program are showing that the kids that were part of the program are tracking similarly to "rich" kids in the suburbs. That in itself is the real and cheap solution but it is very difficult to get parents to take parenting advice. Here is a hour long segment on "This American Life" about the Harlem Children's Zone project. ( https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/ep...).

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

" am surprised that there doesn't exist large contracting firms that employ and sponsor the H1-B employees."

These companies do exist - see my post about the 'Disney' kind of situation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-frankel/insourc... (note - this was just one of the first Google searches that came up I'm not commenting on the journalistic validity etc. of the article or source. I first learned about this case elsewhere)

"It would seem like it would be in the best interest for a H1B to work for a sponsoring contracting firm rather than an a company direct, who will abuse will abuse the power they hold due to being the sponsor."

I'd guess the contracting firm will be just as inclined to treat the immigrant as an indentured servant.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

IRstuff's comment really opened my eyes in regard to the push for students to take up STEM careers as a supply-side play to reduce engineering wages. Now it's making me think about this huge push for women in STEM. I'm thinking of one particular oil company which if you read their advertisements, you would think that STEM and women are synonymous. Suddenly this claim that women make 77% of what a man makes in the same position makes an abundance of corporate sense: an opportunity to reduce engineering costs by 23%.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

HamburgerHelper, Excellent points and excellent article. Rarely have I read an article on education seemingly so free of an agenda.

Finland likely does have a few things right that we need to emulate, particularly the emphasis on teacher education and increased "prestige" (if you will) for the profession.

However, the point in the article that really stuck out to me was the (usually omitted) recognition of the relative homogeneity of the Finnish population. The same is true across Scandinavia, which I would argue has made several other issues besides education much easier for them to deal with. Socialized health care, for example, is often pointed out as a great success in Scandinavian countries. Social programs, in general, work better when you can depend on a natural solidarity among the vast majority of citizens. The "common good" is much easier to define and promote when everyone agrees what it is. Contrast that with the U.S. where significant portions of the population view other significant portions as their enemy - such an unfortunate thing.

Culture has a huge impact on education. Finland has (more or less) one culture, in which they have instilled a great value for education. The U.S. has dozens of unique and widely varying cultures. Some value education very highly. Some do not. Trying to change or remake a culture is very difficult, and efforts to do so (or even the mention that there is a problem) are viewed as wrong and usually racist. Culture is not seen as something to be molded. It is supposed to be preserved and left to evolve however it will. I tend to share this value, as the alternative amounts to something like Fascism. Cultural changes must come from internal pressure, not external. So, what is to be done? My answer - on a national level - nothing. The feds have nothing to offer but money, which has proven mostly ineffective. Improvements must come from local efforts. People within any given culture who see a need for change must be the standard bearers for that change. There are many people and groups in the U.S. already doing this, but it is an uphill battle.

P.S. Sorry to not address the original topic. I don't have anything to add, but that article was too interesting to pass up. smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I generally try to avoid paranoid thoughts, but the whole STEM and licensure push really tingles my spidey-sense.

It should be interesting to see if Trump's "America First" applies to curtailing the abuse of the H1B system. Note that the H1B abuse is not really new; there were H1B abuses back in when I worked in Silicon Valley in the 80s. The only difference was that the abuse was more or less limited to tech companies.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Also note that Microsoft, having its fingerprints all over the changes in the H1B process is unsurprising; software is still one of the areas where engineers command (relatively) huge salaries.

Given the high premium companies are paying for software engineers, it's one of the few disciplines that might actually have a relative shortage of qualified workers, but that might also be that they're looking for the cream of the cream, so one has to wonder what the rest of the crop is doing.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

This is going to be interesting to see what happens there. America First is a corporate benefit. If it works, expect an increase in HB-1 visas. It's cheaper than hiring you guys.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

For the record, Trump started out during the primary very anti-H1B, but has since toned it back. There will probably be some action, but no one knows what (like every other issue).

I'm not putting this up because I completely agree with it. It is an opinion piece and partially anecdotal, but it is relevant to both the education and the H1B discussion. I found it quite interesting.

https://www.quora.com/How-will-the-H1-B-visa-proce...

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

FoxRox That article assumes the H1-B program is working how it's nominally meant to be working.

I think the point many here are saying is that there are incidents where the H1-B program appears to be getting abused.

I doubt there are many, if any, posters above who think no smart immigrants should be allowed to come to the US.

Also, his comments on 'H1B immigrants create American jobs' seems to miss the part where manufacture of the 'widget' may well not be in the US, and many of the logistics etc. jobs are also quite likly to be out of the US.

He's essentially following the script that the big tech companies etc. came up with.

As to his comments about the dire state of education in the US (see HamburgerHelpers 24 Jan 17 15:09 post for another view on that) I'd like to bring up something alluded to above by Maui regarding Graduate school.

Based on some of the foreign Phd grads of US schools who've come to work here on H1B I find it hard to believe they are so exceptional that US students couldn't have take their place at grad school. I've certainly seen articles about US students not wanting to study STEM subjects etc. but I'm thinking this is definitely an area for consideration.

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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Don't buy any of it for a second. If you put a nominal fee of like 10-15k a year on every H1B worker to be used to offset something like U.S. tuition, the whole program would come to almost a full stop. And for a real shortage for experts, 10-15k a year is peanuts.

I honestly have never worked with one H1B employee that I would consider irreplaceable. At best, it might be work to find or retrain a replacement. At worst, they can't find anyone that will work for the salary they are offering. These super expert H1-B employees, I have not met one. Very competent ones?. Yes. Some super genius that can only be found half way around the world? Not one. I might even say too that both our economies are being damaged by the program. It is to our benefit for developing nations to develop. This isn't a zero sum game.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Opinionated, definitely, and he doesn't really prove his thesis, except by anecdote. Facebook, who would ostensibly fit into the examples given, hires LOTS of American graduates, but they come at a premium, with 6-figure salaries, stock options, free food, etc. And that's the counterpoint to his thesis, could the H1B slots he's described be filled by Americans at the same salaries or could they be filled at all? He throws out India as an example, but India has about 4 times the population of the US, so software, in particular, is burgeoning discipline, mainly because the cost of entry is quite low. So, it's no wonder than India can export high quality graduates, particularly given that their home turf is not yet on the same playing field, when looked at its totality. India is still competing mostly on cost, and with their vast population and the advent of companies like Udemy, they've made software education quite widely available. Now, given that India's CS graduates are probably proportionally more than the US, no Indian University shows up in Facebook's internal listing of programmers' alma maters; there's Stanford, Berkeley, CMU, etc., and there's a few Chinese schools, but no Indian schools.

If the floodgates were completely open, no doubt that high quality programmers could flood the US and drop those pesky salaries down by 50% and allow companies to not offer those other expensive perks; just consider that Facebook's Menlo Park campus has something like 4 large cafeterias and close to a dozen smaller speciality eateries like a ramen house, BBQ, pizza, dessert, etc. Their largest cafeteria has enough counter space to handle 8 simultaneous lines of hungry people. They've got valet parking, on-site gym, nurse, car and bike repair, etc. All this expense is because high caliber programmers are scarce, but easily 80% of their workforce are still US graduates.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Good points all! I could scarcely be less knowledgeable on the H1B subject, hence the attempt at research. The hyperbole about ultra-educated geniuses being exclusively non-American should have been a dead giveaway of BS, I suppose.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

It would appear that this never changes, 48 years ago I nearly fell into the same trap , I was offered a job in the USA by an agency running job fairs in the UK. The hook was that I would earn twice what I was making in the UK ,I would go over on an H1 visa with a return ticket guaranteed at the end of two years. For a young lad this was a fantastic opportunity I jumped at it. A couple of things went wrong with this, that I did not know at the time gave me a better chance of living and working in the USA. First the agency came back and told me there were no more H1 visas that year, but they could send me on a full immigrant visa. "Ok how long will that take?" the reply was 3 months, so I told them to go ahead. This dragged week by week into 2 years, the original company lost interest, but the agency found another company. So you guessed it I ended up with a sleezy company that did not want to pay any money. However there was one major difference, I did not have an H1 visa, and I could walk out. 6 months later I did just that, to a much better company.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Well at least someone is singing our song.

Not sure if single $130,000 minimum H1B wage across the entire country for all types of employer is quite the fix.

$130k might be a reasonable value for the bay area software types (or maybe on the low side even for some) but seems a bit high for some industries in other locals.

Certainly the current $60k appears low though.

Of course, if you try to adjust the value by Zip code & industry sector etc. then it suddenly gets really messy and most likely creates lots of wiggle room for HR depts to work with.

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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Msn News summarized the bill this way this morning.
" After the new president banned refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Microsoft and others railed against the move, saying it violated the country’s principles and risked disrupting its engine of innovation. Trump’s next steps could strike even closer to home: His administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. 
If implemented, the reforms could shift the way American companies like Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. recruit talent and force wholesale changes at Indian companies such as Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. Businesses would have to try to hire American first and if they recruit foreign workers, priority would be given to the most highly paid."
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Sort of if you need them, then payup? Or pay them well?
Well you said you need them.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

In some EU countries, skilled worker visa are granted to foreigners provided their salary does not drop below a certain threshold (accelerated route). The route of conventional work permit to foreigner requires to prove that the employer did not succeed to hire a local during a certain time. Its a long process and does not succeed very often. Through the accelerated route, the minimum threshold can be set relatively high, that is depending on the country. One consequence this has is that it narrows down drastically the number of job opportunities that qualifies for skilled worker visa. Such system in itself is a form of slavery when the work permit is tied to residence (and generally it is). So when people have a desire/need to change job, say just to escape from a burnout or any sort of harassments (which cannot be coped with anymore), the job opportunities are limited inherently because of the salary threshold. There is no competitive advantage the foreign employee can claim over a local on salary grounds in this case so competition is mostly on competency. Certainly designed in this way, it forces employers to pay people decent money which contributes to avoid a sort of "depravation" to the society which in itself is not a bad attempt. The problem I personally see with that way of regulating things is that at the end of the road, you are dealing with human beings. Employees can have ups and downs with their life. In some cases, making a break or going for part time employment could help cope with things when the wind blows against you. Such a system does not allow for operating in low regime or pulling the brake at any moment, unless people go via the medical route, which is also made very tricky. Sorry its a bit off topic as the OP is about USA; just wanted to share this.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

One expects that if you are looking for the cream of the crop that you would have to pay a premium because of scarcity; the notion that you had to hire someone from outside, but are paying them run-of-the-mill wages is just pure crock.

$130k might actually still be low for Silicon Valley. This year's going rate for INTERNS is $8k/month or equivalently, $96k/yr. If an intern, who is, at least, ostensibly better than average, making that, then the truly gifted ought to be making much more. Programmers with only 2 years experience can command $130k this instant. If the government really wanted to curtail H1B entries, then they need to figure out how to grow the real talent at home, and the rest of us better be ready to see salaries drop.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I'm sure there is lots of programming talent in the states, but probably not a lot of it wants to work in the bay area for 130k, and I bet none of them would work there for 60k.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Sounds like a common sense approach to me. I wonder why the supposedly labor friendly Democrats never thought of it.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Zoe Lofgren is a democrat, and she introduced the bill to double H1B minimum salary, so it looks like they did think of it. Chuck Grassley, a republican, introduced a similar bill 1-2 years ago though, so I guess there's support on both sides of the aisle.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

IRstuff,

I don't see where the value is with Facebook in the sense that its always a page with some sort of chain of comments where people happily disclose their privacy views to the rest the world. A bit caricatured I know. The topic is not Facebook but its a good one. When I studied mechanical engineering I had to deal with challenging concepts, mathematics etc.. I found it more tedious than computer science, but that's just me (no disrespect). One company I used to work for had to downsize its staff just because they were not making enough profit despite all of the talented engineers on board. If I am to make an exaggerated comment, I would tend to say that Facebook is taking advantage of people credulity... when some of them are willing to disclose their whole intimacy they sell themselves short as the mother company is making billions on their back. I don't say Facebook value is zero - No. Some advertisement on technical companies / products can be useful. But privacy and low profile can be important to people. Of course people are free to behave on different core / set of values - this is not debatable and that is not the point. What I just don't buy is the value and ethics behind this industry as I think there must be a connection between the two. If I look at a company like Westinghouse or GE, just as examples, I see legacy to society, technical advancement and I am happy about the ethics (there is no easy way). To me it is obvious that the wealth cumulated in such a strange industry as Facebook and this contemporary paradigm is passed through to the employee in a way or another (when reflecting upon the 130k figure for a green software engineer...). This is all very personal (and moral) opinion, its a larger debate. But please, people, don't not take this as an offense.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I would guess that unless you log in to FB 5 times a day, it has no value nor meaning to you.

But, the value is not just for FB; the same applies to Google, Uber, Lyft, Apple, etc. The salaries have to be competitive, so if FB is paying that much, so are the others.

As for legacy, you are only pointing physical legacies. FB has excellent algorithm development in voice recognition, natural language processing, language translation, image processing, neural network algorithms, object recognition, which are all cutting edge.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

canwesteng,

I don't know anything about Zoe Lofgren, but the article which IRstuff linked says she is a Republican. Her statement that her bill closely followed the Trump administration approach threw me off as well. My bad.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

https://lofgren.house.gov/ Democratic "Representing California's 19th District Silicon Valley's Cities of San José, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy"

https://lofgren.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx... - Bit more complex than "$130k" and with some geographical allowance.

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RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

hokie - a bit off topic, but when news articles say Rep. (name here), they usually mean representative. Pretty common misunderstanding though, since that is also the abbreviation for republican.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

I understand that. But this article, in the International Business Times, which is a UK publication, called her a "Republican California congresswoman". My mistake for believing what I read, sometimes. I should know better. A few times in my life, I have been closely involved with a news story, and never once has the reporting been accurate.

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

My bad, I only skimmed the article before googling a different source to look into it

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

Quoted
As for legacy, you are only pointing physical legacies. FB has excellent algorithm development in voice recognition, natural language processing, language translation, image processing, neural network algorithms, object recognition, which are all cutting edge.
Unquoted

Of course, even a mafia boss would claim, and rightfully, his enterprise generated some benefits to the local community (by analogy). They may have sponsored PhD's or medicine doctorates at times - if you look closely. All thought, relatively speaking I tend a bit of respect for a (traditional) mafia boss as they tend to have some bare minimum of shame. I don't endorse mafia - its plain wrong. Sorry what was the point? recognition algorithms oh yes...

RE: Foreign STEM Workers in USA with Visas

GE also has the legacy of benefiting from the manipulation of tax laws so that the CEO and his family could take trips on the corporate jet and only have to pay commercial fares, even though they were the only passengers.

FB is hardly the Mafia. I picked FB simply because I know a bit about them Google's legacy already includes its search engine and Maps. The genXers can't even begin to imagine how we navigated our world prior to Google Maps; and can't conceive of carrying around 4 pounds of paper just to find a single address. If you think that's not sufficient, I can sell you a couple of Thomas Bros. REAL CHEAP.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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