back to article Cisco boss Chambers: It's our fault H-1B visa shakeup is struggling

Cisco CEO John Chambers says the tech world has to win over the American public if it wants the US government to issue thousands more H-1B work visas to foreign nerds. H-1B visas are like Willy Wonka's golden tickets: about 85,000 a year are granted to skilled foreigners – such as software engineers and other techies – …

  1. asdf

    a slight correction

    Tech land needs to do more to reduce worker salary increases since outright collusion ala Apple and Google was slapped down.

    FIFY. Still I guess better the worker here than the job overseas.

  2. W Donelson

    ... OR

    ... OR ....

    They could hire skilled Americans ALREADY IN YOUR FECKING BACK YARD.

  3. Lars Silver badge

    Short term - Long term

    I agree with "The cynical among us suggest foreigners are more than willing to work in the US on lower wages than citizens will accept, cutting Americans out of jobs and saving bosses a pretty penny."

    Nothing against H-1B work visas, per se, but it's a very short term solution. Rather educate the people or is there perhaps a long term goal for not doing it

    1. James Loughner

      Re: Short term - Long term

      Well under educated people are in general easier to control politically. We don't provide generally a good enough foundation education because no one is willing to raise the money to do it. If the Companies want better trained workers anti up your taxes and help fund the basic education system. But I guess it is cheaper to steal trained people then to pay to train people.

    2. asdf

      Re: Short term - Long term

      Stay with me on this but sadly I am of the opinion that since at least the 19th century the US has very much relied on brain drain (and unskilled labor) from other places as opposed to cultivating natural talent. Our university system is the greatest in the world not because it teaches Americans political science but because it draws the best and brightest foreigners from around the world who tell themselves its temporary but then get hooked by our popular culture and fairly easy life and end up staying. The one thing the US does 10x better than continental Europe is give immigrants (especially high skilled ones) the feeling that they can someday belong. In central Europe very much if you are not born there its hard to feel like you will ever belong. That is how you get 3rd generation Turkish immigrants in the ghettos who don't speak the local language. The trade off being in the US if your 3rd generation speaks your native language its probably because they learned it in school.

  4. vbierschwale

    Does he mean the Displaced American Public

    The one whose jobs have been sent to other countries or had temporary workers on temporary visas imported to displace them in their own country?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We want more crappy low paid workers

    Now I am not saying all H1B's suck but most do. I have worked with them in several companies, you usually have to redo their work....but hey they are cheap...While on the other hand I know many people who have been laid off to be replaced by these worthless employees. These are people with Masters degrees in computer engineering etc being forced to train their replacements...why because they want to be paid for their skills...its called supply and demand it should mean higher wages for us skilled in those areas instead they increase the "supply" no matter how bad they are then try to justify the lower wages they want to pay...if this was a true supply and demand system there wouldnt be a good IT worker in America making less than 100K and guess what the whole middle class and economy would thank you,

    1. Decade

      Win the American public with American jobs

      Over in Lala Land (Washington, D.C.) the executives and lobbyists keep on saying that they can’t hire enough tech workers, please give us more visas.

      Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, I’m applying to many tech jobs, and the hiring managers all say that they have no trouble filling those positions. When they say, “Hot job market,” they mean they have both plenty of openings and plenty of people to fill those openings. Google and Microsoft have strict limits on applications, and Apple just throws applications away. Facebook allows job seekers to apply to only 10 positions per year, to cut down on the work. This is not the behavior of an industry that has a problem finding people willing to do the work.

      This isn’t really about immigration. This is about the capital class exploiting the labor class.

  6. Mark 85

    Eventually, someone at the top will get it.

    1) Tossing bodies at a project will not mean the project will be done a) right and b) on time.

    2) Short term profits over long term goals is a stupid thing.

    3) Temporary people have no vested interest in the company. They're there to do something even it's not right. Only a long term employee who has the vested interest will do it right.

    4) Cheap in... cheap out. Your customers will know the difference even if you don't.

    1. Mike Green

      Re: Eventually, someone at the top will get it.

      I know a lady involved in giving evidence to the Senate about this fraud, and the company she worked at fired her for going to hospital on Sunday, her day off, to visit her father, but refused to fire a visa worker who continually turned up to work drunk, and was even banned by a client from its premises for this reason. The company brought in visa workers on a 1/3 of the wages of the US counterparts, got the US guys to train them, and then fired the US guys. They even brought in workers on just temporary visas where they weren't supposed to work. They even set the visa workers up in dodgy apartments they owned to claw back some of the wages they were paying the visa workers.

      It's just a massive con.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    He would say that, wouldn't he?

    "John Doerr, of VC house Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, believes the limit should be all but abolished."

    He's a VC. His job is in large part to gather the money to pay the talent at the startups Kleiner Perkins funds. More immigrants who are tied by their H1B visas to the startups they are at = lower wage demands = less time spent money-gathering.

    I'm fine with H1B's, as long as they really are for people that can't be sourced in the U.S. Right now, that law is being violated too much. At a recent Senate hearing on immigration, opponents of the H1B increase put forward the example of a group of IT workers at Southern California Edison, the electric utility for most of Southern California. The IT staff involved were averaging about $100K a year in salary compensation. SCE layed them all off and then outsourced their jobs to a crop of H1Bs who were brought in for $60K-$70K each, and that was after paying the outsourcing firm's markup on salaries actually paid to the new workers.

    Now, maybe a bunch of the SCE employees were complacent and not that productive, but then again maybe they were highly talented and motivated. Be that as it may, basically the U.S. government paid SCE to damage the careers of U.S. citizens and green-card holders who had "good middle class jobs" that politicians love to say they are championing. You couldn't ask for a better example of using the H1B program to do something that is not legal under the program.

    That example deservedly put a lot of pro-H1B tech leaders and politicians on the spot.

  8. dgc03052

    OR: We want more YOUNG, low paid workers tied to a company,

    I fully agree with "The cynical among us suggest foreigners are more than willing to work in the US on lower wages than citizens will accept, cutting Americans out of jobs and saving bosses a pretty penny."

    They could also stop getting rid of anyone who starts to get older, more expensive, or unwilling to work insane hours. The cult of the young Brogrammer a-la Facebook is so prevalent that people publish ACM articles that directly state that Developers: "Just like competitive athletes, they simply burn out by the time they reach their mid-30s.". (presumably requires membership, also found in the December 2014 (Vol. 57, No. 12)/The Responsive Enterprise: Embracing the Hacker Way).

    Instead of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...", it is Let me trap your STEM graduates for a decade. and then go back for someone fresh.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Seems that plutocrats and sociopaths like Chambers will refuse the message until their bodies start turning up in ditches around OUR nation.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They want cheap labor

    The tech giants want cheap labor so the CEOs receive even larger mega-million annual bonuses on top of their mega-million base compensation. Thus they will do all that they can to dupe the public into believing that allowing more immigrants to take U.S. jobs is a good thing. The unscrupulous CEOs prove everyday that you can in fact fool most of the people, most of the time. There is no shortage of skilled labor in the U.S. contrary to the self-serving claims. The big companies prefer slave labor over paying decent compensation to their employees. This is reality in spite of the dribble disseminated to the populace.

  11. BornToWin

    What an ass clown

    Chambers should spend more time hiring competent programmers for their worthless ASDM software than campaigning for immigrant labor. There is no shortage of competent programmers yet Cisco has been unable in the past 15 years to provide a competent graphical interface to manage their hardware products. It's as if they haven't heard of Windows or smart phones. Being forced to use stone age CLI is absurd in this day and age. Chambers needs to get a grip on reality.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: What an ass clown

      Cisco gear does have graphical interfaces. But any competent sysadmin can and must be able to manage stuff using CLIs. In fact, the lack of CLI on certain products is a larger problem than lack of kiddie GUIs on stuff that is only managed by competent IT folks.

  12. Just An Engineer

    You Want more H1B

    If the tech companies want more H1Bs then prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that there are no qualified "locals" in the part of the country you are looking to hire.

    There are pockets in the country where you have people unable to answer the 2 + 2 question correctly, but most tech companies are not located there.

    The problem is the H1B holders are essentially indentured servants to the company for the period of time the visa lasts. So the pay is almost always much lower then you would get a qualified "local" to do the job. So the requirement should be "is there a resident qualified that can do this job, yes or no" fairly standard binary question. If no then maybe a visa holder. But prove it to me that there is no one local with facts not the usual, we can't find anyone. You could if the pay was competitive.

  13. Bakana

    To explain just What is really happening, check out this "How Not to Hire an American" video.

    It was made by Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby as a "Service" to their Clients whose goal is "Not to Find a Qualified American Worker".

  14. Willie T

    My experience has been the same

    I will qualify by saying nothing is true 100% of the time. I have worked with very competent folks here on H1b visas. And I have worked with citizens who are recent college graduates that couldn't pass the basic HW/SW A+ certification. That said...

    I can give you the names of 6 college graduates from the last 3 years (relatives & children of friends) with IT degrees that were very competent, just lacking experience. Searching for months, applying everywhere, no offers. Forced to take a non-tech job to pay the bills.

    In the same time period I have worked with 3 times that many H1b workers who don't have an effing clue. You are literally teaching them Computers 101 concepts in trying to work with them. I know they graduated from some sort of technical training in their home country to qualify for the job but there is no way they have the same level of education as a 4 year degree from most American universities. And I have seen the legally required postings showing that a job is being granted to a H1b visa with the requisite language showing the salary and stating it is customary for the title and area -- even though it is 70% or less what the job would normally pay.

    I have absolutely no objection to a qualified foreign worker coming to the U.S. to do a job. In fact let all the migrants come across our southern border and do jobs for minimum wage that no American is willing to do for that pay. No worries. But stop lying to us and saying you need to bring in skilled people to do IT jobs because not enough Americans have the skills required. If you really need these people so badly then don't saddle them with the "slave" conditions of H1b -- let them come over and do whatever job they want, no restrictions or company lock-in. That should quickly get their wages up to a proper level and put an end to this nonsense.

  15. Dave_94302

    H1-B Means Cheap Slave Labor

    Cisco has not hired any American citizens for a tech job in over 10 years.

    They prefer to hire H1-B salves.

    Why are you publishing propaganda from criminals?

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