back to article Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... but not your H-1B geeks, L-1 staffers nor J-1 students

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order suspending the processing of various immigration visas, including H-1Bs for skilled workers and J-1s for academics, for the remainder of the year. The White House announced the move late Monday afternoon, following days of media speculation and a Sunday admission from the …

  1. jemmyww

    L-1

    I can understand the motivation for stopping some of these visa types, but stopping L-1 would surely defeat the purpose? That's when you want to transfer parts of a company into the US. For example, when a company I worked for was bought out the team moved on L-1 visas. I imagine this would put a barrier on US companies taking over foreign startups if they can't transfer the product development to the US.

    1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: L-1

      I can understand the motivation for stopping some of these visa types, but stopping L-1 would surely defeat the purpose?

      It's not a policy based on a strategic analysis of the socio-economic consequences for the United States, it's about pleasing an increasingly disenchanted fan base. Nothing else matters for the impending election. All you have to know about the motivation is "foreners are steelin are jobs".

      1. DemeterLast

        Re: L-1

        Nobody other than South Park is saying "forener are steelin are jobs". What newly minted American STEM graduates are finding is that they are competing against H1-B workers who are willing to work at reduced wages and under strict contract requirements for many years in trade for a green card so that very wealthy corporations don't have to pay Americans competitive wages.

        I don't know why America is supposed to prefer hiring people from all over the world over its own citizens for the benefit of Wall Street and corporations. Why do you think they should?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: L-1

          "I don't know why America is supposed to prefer hiring people from all over the world over its own citizens for the benefit of Wall Street and corporations. Why do you think they should?"

          One word: capitalism.

          1. Demosthenes Locke

            Re: L-1

            Yes, Coward, it's capitalism. It's also called putting your CITIZENS first, which every country should do. That's why they're a country in the first place! When you have MILLIONS of people put out of work by Covid-19, you DON'T start slurping up more millions from overseas, making it that much harder for your own citizens to get work! That's just plain irresponsible, regardless of your economic system!

            If you have a beef with capitalism, how about socialism? Why would socialism want even MORE mouths to feed that have no money? The point of socialism is to take money from those who have it and spread it out to those who don't. Unemployed foreigners don't have any money or resources that are any more plentiful than your own people, out of work and eating the zoo animals.

            So it isn't a one word answer of "capitalism". It's not the economic system. It's having some plain human decency and KEEPING YOUR COUNTRY'S WORD. Countries are founded to fulfill a social contract with its citizens. Making them take sloppy seconds from non-citizens is NOT fulfilling the social contract, especially during a massive economic disaster like the Covid-19 shutdown!

            Have a freaking HEART, why don't you?

            1. Glen 1 Silver badge

              Re: L-1

              "Unemployed foreigners don't have any money or resources "

              I believe the visa requires a job. The shenanigans that take place to keep wages artificially low are what capitalists call "market forces" and are considered good (apparently). Don't want any of that union talk, unless you're going to outright admit you're a commie spy? (sarcasm)

              "plain human decency and KEEPING YOUR COUNTRY'S WORD"

              Like not murdering citizens when those with power feel like it? How topical.

              But seriously, that sort of protectionism for jobs does (big) business no favours. So the question becomes... does your government work for the people like a good socialist gov, or for the much fewer folk who hold most of the capital and their subsequent corporate interest?

        2. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: L-1

          What newly minted American STEM graduates are finding is that they are competing against H1-B workers who are willing to work at reduced wages and under strict contract requirements for many years in trade for a green card so that very wealthy corporations don't have to pay Americans competitive wages.

          In 2016, college graduates backed Clinton by a 9-point margin (52%-43%), whilst those without a college degree backed Trump by nearly as much (52%-44%). I doubt this is intended for the benefit of college graduates.

          Incidentally, the NACE salary survey for Winter 2019 projected a 4% rise in salaries for engineering graduates compared to 2018. A new masters graduate in computer engineering gets you a median salary of $77,000. You would not expect these sort of figures if there were more graduates than available jobs.

          1. elip

            Re: L-1

            But surely you realize that college enrollment in the US is down significantly each year for the last 9 (mostly due to inflated tuition costs)?

            I'm glad those elite enough to afford a masters graduate in engineering are getting *something* after investing 250K+.

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: L-1

          Its not STEM graduates** that were impacted by the Indian tech worker scam (yes, that one definitely is a scam).

          The rules for issuing non-resident work visas were that you had to pay a competitive salary and there were no Americans available to do those jobs. Applying for an overseas hire required 'labor certification' which meant that you had to advertise the job locally for a set period to show that there were no qualified applicants. This was easy to do back when getting an H1 required a postgraduate degree and significant work experience but as this morphed into the H-1B program the bar for entry was lowered, the ability to be employed by a contracting company without a definite placement was added and the whole displacing US workers got lost in the wash (resulting in whole departments being laid off so that cheap import labor could be used instead).

          The current mess is a knee jerk reaction to something that's long been overdue for tightening up. The result, though, is that there's inordinate amounts of collateral damage (about par for this administration). Just don't lose sight of the fact it was caused by people gaming the system.

          (**BTW -- STEM graduates should not need H1-B visas as the student visa used to allow graduates to get 'work experience' for a couple of years after graduating. That's how most of my foreign colleagues got their Green Cards after attending college.)

        4. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: L-1

          What newly minted American STEM graduates are finding is that they are competing against H1-B workers who are willing to work at reduced wages and under strict contract requirements for many years in trade for a green card so that very wealthy corporations don't have to pay Americans competitive wages.

          Yes, our American franchise has sky high starting salaries for STEM grads as developers. It's no exaggeration to say that starting salaries post taxes are considerably higher than mine, and I've got several degrees and decades of experience and I'm in a senior role here. This is caused by the pull of Silicon Valley and the high likelihood of being a millionaire after a decade out there.

          H1B's are often used as a way to bring in volume, if not quality, because some developer tasks are mind numbing, and if you're paying a six figure starting salary then you don't want them doing noddy work, you want them adding value ASAP. With the visa you effectively have a worker committed for a 5 year stint and on a much lower compensation package, so in fairness it's a bit of a no brainer a lot of the time.

          Unfortunately for America, the work won't go to onshore Americans, it'll simply come here where I can any skill level I like for a lot less money.

      2. David Flur

        Re: L-1

        well foreigners are indeed stealing the jobs. I work in an IT company and I know how they manipulate the job openings to hire H1-B. They put up a job opening and offer very less salary. Obviously, Amercians who have family here would not take those jobs and ultimately, they bring people from India for cheap labor. It all about cheap labor, not about skill.

    2. MiguelC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: L-1

      And J-1s?

      So the US is effectively limiting their own access to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors?

      A brilliant idea like that can only come from a 'like, a smart person’...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: L-1

        No to virology profs but yes to migrant fruit pickers

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: L-1

        Figures given on the "Nature" newsletter yesterday is that 30% of all researchers in the USA come from other countries, with the figures for some key areas being much higher. I hope there are lots of unemployed wannabe researchers coming out of the US education system...

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: L-1

          There are MASSES of wannabe researchers coming out of EVERY Western education system. They are overwhelmingly forced to do other jobs. And their lives turn out very very different from what they had hoped.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: L-1

            Your optimism is genuine, but I see very little evidence of these masses in the UK, unfortunately - hence the need to get them from elsewhere.

    3. JBowler

      Re: L-1

      >but stopping L-1 would surely defeat the purpose?

      It stops *foreign* companies transferring to the US because it stops execs and skilled staff from the foreign country bringing a new US branch or a new US acquisition on-line. So it fits the dumb Trump model and, while it might hurt the US economy slightly, it mainly blocks foreign involvement in the economy.

      Now is the time for all other countries to retaliate and ban the corresponding intra-company transfers by US execs and skilled staff. That will have a *really* bad effect on the US because the US routinely runs low labor cost operations in foreign countries using highly paid US staff (who get a special US tax break to motivate them).

      If other countries do this there will be a temporary stop to US expansionism and, contrariwise, if other countries do not do this the US will invade those countries buying up all the low cost labor and national resources on the cheap, as has happened before as a result of post-crisis manipulation by the US (think two world wars.)

      Of course it's moot for a while if the EU and the rest of the world bans US residents on the basis that this land is a coronavirusland.

  2. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent ...

    I don't know about the top talent part, but I do know they are willing to work for 35% of market prevailing wages.

    I don't like Trump a bit, but Silicon Valley has been abusing the H-1B visa program for far too long, with enthusiastic Democratic [ neo-liberal economics ] support.

    This is long overdue.

    And now get ready for a loud wailing sound -- but we can't find enough qua-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-lified people! -- coming out of Redmond WA and certain specific ZIP codes around SF Bay.

    To be followed by an a cappella chorus of economists explaining that the H-1B visa program has no effect on wage suppression or unemployment. Quite the opposite. The less you pay an H-1B, because they are de facto slaves with no wage arbitration power, the more the locals' wages will be rising. No-one ever explains how that's supposed to work, exactly.

    Yeah, well, why don't you hire the locals for a change. Imagine that.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

      "willing to work for 35% of market prevailing wages."

      I'm not 100% convinced of the 35%, but it is already pretty much well known that people brought in under H-1B (or similar) visas might be willing to accept positions at a lower wage, in exchange for being brought in under such a visa (it's like competition, right?).

      Seriously, though, if the USA has an unusually high unemployment rate, for whatever reason, importing more people to do work (potentially at a lower wage) is NOT helping...

      Question: which candidates are supported by Siicon Valley mega-corps, the same ones who've allegedly colluded with one another to 'not recruit one another's employees' to keep overall wages low? (I know there was an El Reg article about this a few years ago) What is THEIR standing on H-1B (and other) work visas?

      1. ST Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

        > people brought in under H-1B (or similar) visas might be willing to accept positions at a lower wage

        It's not a matter of free choice and/or wage bargaining. They simply have no choice. They are offered a given salary - no negotiation - for the option of living - with 4 roommates in a 1-bedroom apartment - somewhere close to a US-101 merge ramp. That's the deal. They can't switch jobs easily - the new employer must be willing to sponsor the H-1B visa transfer. If they get laid off, they have 60 days to find another employer who is willing to sponsor a H-1B visa transfer. Or it's back to wherever they came from.

        The ticket is the promise of a green card sponsorship at some point in the future.

        Qualifications have nothing to do with it. It's all about money and salary paid. The myth that Americans are less qualified than their H-1B counterparts, or that importing H-1B's is a market-driven necessity, is just that: a manufactured myth.

        > I'm not 100% convinced of the 35% [ ... ]

        I regularly get job alerts for openings advertising pay rates that are 35% of the prevailing market rate for that particular set of qualifications and seniority. The only saving grace is that some of these delusional job ads stay unfilled for 9 - 10 months, often more. Not all, though. The target audience for these jobs is obvious. I don't want to give concrete examples because I want to remain relatively anonymous.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

          "If they get laid off, they have 60 days to find another employer..."

          Your information may be more up-to-date than mine (or we were just lied to), but when a company I was working for moved to the US, the prevailing wisdom was that if you got laid off from an H-1B visa position, then the visa was cancelled (as it goes with the job), and you became an illegal alien that day, with no grace period. You should leave the country immediately (the next available flight was heavily implied). I didn't take the job offer, and opted for redundancy.

          Are you sure that you get two months grace?

          1. ST Silver badge

            Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

            > Are you sure that you get two months grace?

            According to this link, the 60-day grace period is still in effect. It became effective sometime in early 2017.

            I got a bunch of hits searching in Google for h1b visa 60 day grace period, and the top three all seem to agree with each other about the 60-day grace period.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

              Thanks for the info. You had the up-to-date, correct information, and I (AC above) was way out of date, or outright wrong. This was back in the 2000s, and the idea of a 0-day grace period, and getting booted out of the country the same day (or falling into the hands of the authorities), was unappealing, to say the least. 60 days gives someone a chance of finding a new job, at least.

              1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

                Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                It is 60 days in the U.K. as well.

                The issue is that it is not that easy to find new employment as the new employer has to jump all necessary bureaucratic loops before hiring you - in both the USA and the U.K.

                1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                  Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                  Actually, the reason it's hard in the UK is not the bureaucracy but HR. British companies' HR flatly refuse to do it because"it's too hard". Only foreign companies' HR does not realise this, so your opportunities are savagely restricted.

                  I speak from strong personal experience here, as an Aussie who came in via this system.

                  Interestingly (...) I later discovered it's all bullshit. I moved to a startup hedge fund as non-founder trader #1 and the boss/founder threw me the paperwork and said "here, it's your bloody visa, you do the paperwork."

                  It's a single page of A4.

                  1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                    Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                    Tips for anyone interested:

                    * all the form is is your name, address, qualifications, misc rubbish, the job, where you advertised, and a checkbox: is this the only person globally capable of doing this job?

                    * the trick is entirely (that is, your application stands or falls entirely on this field): WHERE you advertised. The bureaucrats have a very short list of newspapers (and now sites) which they will not just accept but instantly wave through. Anything else is instafail.

                    * The Telegraph is (or, was) for some reason their ultimate international Jobs advertising organ so is a guaranteed win, rather than The Times, and rather surreally despite it being a sacking offence in the Brit Civil Service to read anything except the Guardian.

                    * Bloomberg's is now on that list. At least for financial markets jobs. First website ever. I am the person responsible for that.

                    * Well, at least I drove it. In reality, the fact the boss's family documentedly came over on the boat with William the Conqueror and still owns half of Guernsey (Jersey is apparently the plebs' isle, according to him), may have had a lot to do with my success...

                    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                      Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                      [OT musings...]

                      For all those Brits who scream about privilege crippling the country and needing to be destroyed:

                      It IS bad but weirdly the UK is about the least privilege-affected country on the planet. You're just more honest about it.

                      That chap's hedge fund was my first nose-rubbed-in-it exposure to what real privilege really meant. (Real privilege, not the psycho narcissistic bleating of parasites seeking attention by claiming someone's skin colour is unfair.) (He was allowed to rent Blenheim Palace for his wedding. Not the Orangery -- the Palace. Top half of the wedding table plan all had Titles.)

                      Thing is, it actually just feels on a day to day basis all really normal. Because it IS all just really normal. No difference. The only thing is, you're just routinely offered opportunities that you'd only ever -read- about. Yet they're just trotted out automatically, for YOU.

                      Saw that a lot when living in Hampshire; quite strange seeing people with £50m in the family accounts, routinely offered excruciatingly plum hedge fund jobs, necking beers with glaziers and builders raising families on £14k a year, and no one giving a shit.

                      Then later I did a lot of work in America. Dear LORD, does America make the UK look like a privilege-free ultra-flat zero-specialgroups utopia. You have no idea how lucky you Brits are, relative to the Yanks. The stratification is insane, and there is almost NO way through. It's so stiff, that most Yanks aren't even aware of it. They look around and think that the categorically rigid boundaries/opportunities around them ARE the world. But basically, where you start is where you finish. Check out the well documented stats on relative social mobility. UK smashes America. Well, I've seen the ur-process up close (trader, quant researcher, portfolio manager, dev, admin, and by historical accident loony heights multinational C-suite) and can confirm.

                      Then there's France. Which makes America look like a socialist wonderland. Not joking. Not exaggerating.

                      And then there's Asia. Which makes _France_ look like a pack of caveman-egalitarian privilegecircles-ultraignorant lightweights with NO idea HOW to _SERIOUSLY_ stratify a society. Feebs!

                      Only place I've seen lower status people being physically spat on is Asia. And with REAL anger that they'd ventured to seek to interact with those above them, because I was white so they thought I might be outside the normal constraints, but my local companions objected. And the screaming. God, the red-faced screaming. I never saw people being physically hit for doing so, but several friends did. I have a story too long re a longtime school friend with a historical-accident very very posh Asian accent (think Oxford++ + ++) (no I'm not nominating the specific language because for this topic I've not seen a difference between any of the Asian cultures) objecting loudly to being thrown out of an Asian posh shop in our home town in Queensland for not being Asian (blacks were physically manhandled), and the owner boiling out of the back room physically knocking mere staff out of the way, and shouting: "I'm terribly sorry, sir! I didn't know you were HUMAN!!!"

                      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                        Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                        Put it this way: I was able to get a trading job in the UK. Despite coming from a pleb background. This was NOT possible in any other country. Nowhere in Europe, definitely out of the question in America, and hilariously risibly impossible in Australia (I was literally laughed at on a couple of occasions).

                        "Democracy is the worst of all possible systems, except for all the others."

                        Same for UK ur-culture. Next time you want to bitch about the UK, take a step back, look outside, and compare. Make changes with extreme care.

                        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                          Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

                          And I am insanely sickened by the same type of parasites infesting my own country, Australia. I've come back after 20 years to a mob of privilege-obsessed virtue-meme-obsessed hysterics. With an increasingly shrinking bubble taking more and more out of those excluded.

                          Thing is, I actually had my first exposure to this 30 years ago. 1991. At uni. In Australia. Brisbane. Of all places.

                          One of the major banks was doing a big graduate employment presentation and afterwards I asked their head of HR about opportunities in a job I'd only recently discovered and was the first thing I'd been really interested in.

                          If you're British, you can exactly identify the nonverbal explicit message of the following by prepending the social token phrase: "Oh! BLESS...!"

                          She threw her head back and (rather surreal) looked at me with wide startled eyes as she literally brayed with laughter. "Oh god no, we don't hire for THOSE jobs from THIS university! We only hire them from THESE three universities! [named] Although we have hired 1 or 2 from RMIT...but they had family connections."

                          Over the next decade I discovered that the jobs being offered to us could be most politely described as, in the bank world, ultra low status with no career prospects.

        2. elip

          Re: H-1B visas [*] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top intl talent

          Apartments are for the H1B's in the fancy FAANGs I think? At the fairly large corp I spent most of my career (about 28K employees worldwide), they *literally* bought a hotel (ex-Comfort Suites) right in the same business park as their global HQ, with a company-owned shuttle to bus them back and forth. Multiple people per hotel room. As an immigrant, and one that started life in the US helping my parents clean these same office buildings late at night (I was 9 years old, guess who 99% of the people still working at the office at 9PM were?) while they hustled to make their 3rd or 4th job on time, I find the H1B program highly disturbing.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

      I'm not a fan of the H-1B program. Rather than tie them to specific jobs (which makes the employee basically a serf of the employer), analyze the job market and decide that the U.S. needs an additional 5,000 storage admins, 1000 software architects, 2000 semiconductor engineers, etc, and then let people in with H-1B visas to pursue those jobs. So the H-1B resides with the worker, NOT the employer. DON'T force employees into employment with a single firm that can then use that leverage to force them to take sub-standard pay and working conditions, and you can "F off back home" if you don't like what you are being offered.

      Also, don't allow H-1Bs to replace currently employed U.S. workers, as you have seen in some of these IT outsourcing deals where H-1Bs are brought in and the the U.S. workers are forced to train them as replacements, and then shoved out the door.

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

        Also, don't allow H-1Bs to replace currently employed U.S. workers, as you have seen in some of these IT outsourcing deals where H-1Bs are brought in and the the U.S. workers are forced to train them as replacements, and then shoved out the door.

        Well, you see, that never actually happens. What does happen is:

        - Due to cost cutting, the decision is made to outsource a particular function or department

        - The employees currently doing the job are given the shove

        - A third party contracting company, who just happens to employ H-1B labor gets the contract

        So you see? No US workers lost their jobs to H-1B labor!

        H-1B has been abused for years. Back to *at least* the early 90s. Some of the job postings were hilariously specific as to skills and education, but the punchline was the ridiculously low pay for a job requiring a Masters and 25-20 years experience. Of course there were no US applicants.

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

          One solution is to set the minimum salary for an H1B position such that you won't really save much over hiring someone local.

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

            That is in fact already law, but the law is regularly broken.

            1. Blank Reg

              Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

              And I'd bet the number of fines levied as pretty close to zero. Politicians love to complain and find someone else to blame for your problems, but don't actually want to do anything about it.

              It's the same with the undocumented worker problem. If companies were levied heavy fines for hiring illegal immigrants, then few companies would do so, and so few would bother to enter the country illegally since there would be no jobs when they got there.

              But this will never happen because too many big donors rely on such cheap labour to maximize their profits.

        2. pgm

          Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

          I remember ads asking for MS CS,10years experience and a ton of vendor certs.

          $40K/yr

          Anybody with that level of expertise is making at least 2 or 3x that.

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

            You mean they're earning above the average wage?!!

            That's outRAGeous!!!

      2. Drew Scriver Silver badge

        Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

        H-1B workers tend to be the ideal tech employee, at least from management's perspective:

        - They don't complain

        - They don't ask for raises

        - They aren't looking around for other jobs

        - They typically don't ask for promotions

        - They're dependable

        - They're predictable

        - They don't argue

        - They carry out the work exactly the way they're told to

        - They cost less

        - They're steady workers

    3. thames

      Re: H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent

      From what I've just read in the CBC, part of the plan is to switch H-1B visas from being awarded by lottery to awarding them to whichever companies are willing to pay the highest wages. That is, the jobs with the highest salaries get preference over the lower paid ones, and presumably these well paid ones are exactly the highly qualified and valuable skills which the visa is supposed to be intended for.

      The way the current lottery system works, large outsourcing companies vacuum up all the visas for lower skilled routine jobs, leaving little for the companies the visa is actually intended for.

      If this change from lottery to pay level priority does indeed happen as described, the companies who genuinely want to bring in highly qualified people will be better off as they will be able to get the people they need by simply paying enough money to them. The highly qualified people will also be better off as their employer will be forced to pay them more money.

      The losers will be the handful of large outsourcing companies who have been abusing the visa system.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent

        Unlikely to pass. It's very inefficient to increase the cost of potentially 1000s of H1b hires compared to simply raising your campaign contributions to a single politician

    4. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent

      Silicon Valley has been abusing the H-1B visa program for far too long, with enthusiastic Democratic [ neo-liberal economics ] support.

      Can't imagine why you're singling-out Democrats. Republicans love the program, too. GWBush was in there between Clinton and Obama, and did nothing to fix/eliminate the program.

      Trump is doing something NOT because he's Republican (he isn't, really) but because it just happens to appeal to his extremely right-wing xenophobic base. Hard to cheer for that. And his one-off executive orders will only temporarily change things, and get rolled-back completely as soon as he's replaced. An actual fix would be to have congress vote to end the program, but that won't happen. because it's popular with the corporate donors behind congressional representitives in both parties.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent

        Sorry, I loathe the Republicans but OP has the balance correct. Please note that what the Democrats say in public is for show only; what they do behind the curtain WizardOfOz-style is often agonisingly different. Often because they don't care about consequences.

        Example: formal written Democrat policy for over a decade, proudly touted even on their website (swiftly deleted after the last election), was to build a wall across the border of America and Mexico. To prevent illegal immigration. To protect American jobs.

        And in fact Barack Obama with his mandate did exactly that. Trump inherited a border with a shiny new wall already built across 30% of it. He's just continuing Obama's work.

        Likewise you'll note that "Trump's" policy of separating illegal immigrants' children from their families for special separate treatment, screamed down by the Democrats as Trump Racism, was actually just what he inherited, and was originally a very proudly Democrat-touted innovation of... the Democrat party. Because won't someone think of the children!?!?

        Etc. Etc. Etc. And, indeed, etc.

        Sorry, I have no time for partisan revisionism.

        I only do Consequences. Fly any bloody flag you like ; I'll ignore it and look at the real-world Consequences.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: H-1B visas [ ... ] Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent

          ^after^during

    5. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent ...

      @ST: downvote for unnecessarily partisan politics. This is definitely as much Republican as Democrat.

      1. ST Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Silicon Valley to fill engineering departments with top international talent ...

        > This is definitely as much Republican as Democrat.

        If you had a clue, you would know that it is not equally Democrat and Republican: US H-1B Visa Quotas since 1990.

        - 1990: H-1B Visa program starts under G.H.W. Bush 41 (R) with an annual quota of 65,000.

        - 1998: Under Bill Clinton (D) annual quota is almost doubled to 115,000.

        - 2000: Under Bill Clinton (D) again, annual quota is increased to 195,000.

        - 2005: Under G.W. Bush 43 (R) annual quota is reduced to 65,000 + additional 20,000 for people holding graduate degrees.

        - 2009 - 2017: Quotas stay constant throughout Obama's (D) two terms.

        - 2017: At the last minute, Obama pushes through a giant loophole around the annual H-1B quotas.

        So no, it is not true that this is equally Democrat and Republican. This rests squarely on neo-liberal Democrats.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making America

    Dumber and Dumber (again).

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Qualified

    "It is unclear, however, how many unemployed Americans will be willing (H-2B covers temporary, seasonal labor) and/or qualified (H1-B is earmarked for specialized skilled roles."

    No problem on finding qualified people. H1-Bs are almost 100% a scam these days, they have been abused for decades by tech companies in the US. The intent originally was so, for example, if Siemens was building a reactor somewhere in the US, they could bring some Germans along to help set it up without too much red tape, or some particularly finicky factory equipment where it might make sense to have someone from the company that made it stay in the US.

    But in the tech industry, you have systematic abuse of the H1B Visa system, simply to replace US employees with lower-paid overseas workers with H1B Visas. The galling part of it is, reportedly these H1B employees will cost, say, $65,000 instead of $90,000 a year, but as far as I know these companies do not try offering positions at $65,000 a year, they just assume there'd be no takers and go directly to H1B employee outsourcing companies like Infosys. With the weak economy the last several years, I really do think they could just list their jobs at the lower wage and would have takers. These outsourcing companies specialize in following the letter of the law while making sure they don't actually hire anyone but H1B employees, whether there's locals qualified for the position or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Qualified

      >but as far as I know these companies do not try offering positions at $65,000 a year, they just assume there'd be no takers and go directly to H1B employee outsourcing companies like Infosys

      That's because the cost of employment is only half the equation. The cost of getting rid of them is just as important. It is assumed - quite rightly - that someone working in (admittedly well-remunerated) indentured servitude under an H-1B is less likely to cause any bother if you ever need to get rid of a significant fraction of your staff in a short period. Likewise less likely to unionise, less likely to have bothersome things like families or sickness and so on.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Qualified

        It is ALL of those things.

        It is premeditated and concerted effort to drive tech workers wages.

        And it has worked.

        1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

          Re: Qualified

          Because of the best politicians money can buy.

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Qualified

        You clearly have had no exposure to the US employment system.

        You are making bleating noises based on the profound UK protections. (Which are startlingly lightweight compared to Australia. Which are themselves jaw-droppingly lightweight compared to the EU.)

        Understand that Silicon Valley employees of hardcore 20yrs standing are routinely shitting themselves on a change of management strategy because they can and routinely have been binned on 2 weeks Notice without Cause and without Comeback. En masse, on routine occasions.

        And they are the lucky ones who've managed to qualify past Zero-Notice.

        Until you've had people you've worked with long-distance for years look you in the eyes and talk about the reality of what their life is, and you've seen several people around the table, in their 40s and experienced and capable as hell, physically trembling -- PHYSICALLY FUCKING TREMBLING--, then coming out with their personal repetitions of the same, all round the table, and it's all the same surfacing of the same constant massive and fundamental genuine lack of security, you should not offer to the world as fact your personal preferred fantasies.

  5. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    uk farmers in the same boat https://twitter.com/FinancialTimes/status/1272531877367349248?s=20

    British telecom have form for this as well.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well... That's me done. You don't want me USA -- fine, I'm out.

    I live and work in Silicon Valley, and even though I'm already here under a visa and 'safe' form this exec order, I've had enough of this shit. Over the last 3 months my company and I have discovered that I can work perfectly well without being in the office or seeing customers in person. So, I'm going to move back to my home country (~1000 miles due north), but keep doing my job from there. Guess I'll have to eat at restaurants, buy my clothes, get my hair cut and otherwise spend my American earned money somewhere else. Oh and on a personal note, I'll be saving $2k/month in rent and not have to worry about catching covid.

    On the plus side, if I do my job well, I still keep 10-20 Americans in my company busy and paid.

    1. ST Silver badge
      Mushroom

      > So, I'm going to move back to my home country [ ... ] get my hair cut and otherwise spend my American earned money somewhere else. [ ... ] and not have to worry about catching covid.

      Sounds like a great plan to me. I see zero downside. Are you packing your bags?

      Yeah, I didn't think so.

      1. tekHedd

        > Are you packing your bags? Yeah, I didn't think so.

        10 years ago this would be a valid retort. This year, not so much.

        1. ST Silver badge

          > 10 years ago this would be a valid retort. This year, not so much.

          And why is that? Because somehow this year, being a pompous dick on an H-1B visa, is suddenly cool?

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Because this year, the USA is alone in the world running an attempt to see what happens when Covid 19 is allowed to spread unchecked, in a country where this happens if you get a survivable case of Covid19

            From the perspective of the pleb worker, living in a country where you have a higher chance of getting Covid19 is bad. Running a chance of being financially ruined if you do survive it is worse. Canada has both a lower chance of getting Covid19 due to their lockdown, and a functional healthcare system which doesn't bankrupt you for using it.

            Hence, this year taunting a Canadian with "are you packing your bags to go back to Canada" doesn't really work.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              >the USA is alone in the world running an attempt to see what happens when Covid 19 is allowed to spread unchecked,

              Oh for Christ's sake, pull your head out of your TDS backside and look around at the real world.

              SWEDEN is the only country to do this.

              The USA responded sluggishly then hard, but were catastrophically nobbled by the much-touted CDC fucking up massively. Also by the Constitution-mandated Federal structure of the USA -- Trump literally does not have the legal power to do a fraction of what people are insisting he should have done. If you exclude a handful of cities (I'm talking real-world data, here, not scweaming), America actually looks pretty good. And if you insist on dragging everything down to partisan games, note that A/ Trump has 0 authority in those cities, B/ those cities are catastrophic, and C/ they're all Democrat-led/-controlled.

              I strongly dislike Trump as a person but his policy responses were screamed down by his opponents when he started and only very latterly screamed at for being insufficient.

              And, critically, he legally does not have the power, per the US Constitution, to do 99% of what people are demanding he do.

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                * TDS :- Trump Derangement Syndrome

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I'm not on an H-1B.

            And you're right, my bags aren't packed. But am starting on boxes, my U-Haul is booked and I'm working on ve-hic-le exports, etc.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Upvote for ve-HIC-le.

    2. David Flur

      I would highly encourage you to go back to your home country and enjoy the food there. If you have a company in a country, you should hire professionals from that country. There are people here who are born here, trying to get a job here and trying to make a living here. They don't have the liberty like you to go to another country if something goes wrong. So please dont be selfish and try to hire local talent.

      1. Blank Reg

        Most of the big tech companies are growing massively in Canada, because there is plenty of tech talent available.

        Canada is the most highly educated country in the world, and the tech companies have finally realized that. I had little trouble finding a new job right in the middle of the pandemic, in fact I had more interviews during the pandemic than before it started, and I'm still getting calls and emails from recruiters.

    3. overunder Silver badge
  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would the President help big tech?

    The tech companies have been very hostile to President Trump and conservatives in general. A search of conservative media shows how often conservatives points of of view get censored/demonetized vs liberal points of view. In short, what possible benefit could there be for President Trump by helping big tech?

    Industries need to learn that when you affiliate with a particular political party, other political parties are not going to be inclined to help when you ask.

    AC because professionally I try to stay neutral.

    1. tekHedd

      Re: Why would the President help big tech?

      > The tech companies have been very hostile to President Trump and conservatives in general

      This is true only with respect to political posturing. From a business standpoint, the big tech companies work with the status quo and rarely change their modus operandi.

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: Why would the President help big tech?

      "conservatives ̶p̶o̶i̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶v̶i̶e̶w̶ lies get censored/demonetized"

      FTFY

      If they would stop lying all the time then maybe they wouldn't get censored.

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Why would the President help big tech?

        And it should be you and your left-liberal chums who decide what is a “lie” and what us “truth”, correct?

  8. TheRealRoland

    think twice before traveling

    If you're in the US on one of these visas, think twice before traveling back home and coming back, even for a short while. Details are hazy if you're being allowed back into the US under an existing visum...

  9. Erik4872

    This is a good move (for a change...)

    If you're Google or Facebook and need to hire some world-class computer science Ph.D genius to get people to click on more ads, that's what H-1B is supposed to be for. It's not supposed to be a way for Cognizant or Mindtree or Tata to bring in the exact same IT worker to replace the transferred former FTE of their customer that they just fired after "train your replacement" happened. The outsourcers either use the H-1Bs on a revolving door basis for "knowledge transfer" moving them from customer to customer collecting runbooks and procedures -- or they just swap like for like while paying 30 or 40% less in the case that the customer needs someone on site.

    I'm no Trump fan whatsoever, and I acknowledge that this is just him appealing to his xenophobic base. But, there's no denying that H-1B is used primarily by the offshore outsourcers to replace people that would otherwise make the prevailing wage. They make sure they're in the lottery on the first day it opens and tailor job descriptions exactly to the people they have in mind to replace. At the low end it's just a convenient way to get a subservient, lower-paid workforce in front of an outsourcing customer to improve margins. I say the program should stay, without the loopholes and the lobbying from tech firms. COVID is bound to be the excuse CIOs use to start calling their buddies at the outsourcers and getting rid of those expensive, pesky US citizens on the IT payroll. Not changing the H-1B rules ahead of this potential mass offshoring is just a giveaway to these companies so they can make more margin.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is a good move (for a change...)

      But all those body shops are going to get their quotas back. Once Tata has a word with its friends in government back home and Trump-TajMahal looks like having a few planning problems....

      This is just political pandering to his base - nobody is busy hiring foreign summer resort workers so why not announce a clamp down on them "furriners tekin ar jobs"

      It's like Boris going to the Green party and announcing a (temporary) 99% reduction in CO2 emissions from Heathrow

  10. pgm

    Why not just hire more women?

    Why not just hire more women instead of H1B's?

    According Institute for Women's Policy Research,they make only 66% of what men do for the same job?

    Sounds like a no brainer.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Why not just hire more women?

      Actually this is a standard furphy.

      Which is a nice way of saying deliberate lie.

      Speaking as a quant, who's personally gone through the numbers and verified them, the manifold research pointing out that if you non-irrationally group people so that you're actually comparing like-for-like, there IS a gender pay-gap, like-for-like....about 10% in women's favour.

      Speaking personally and anecdotally, when I got jackrabitted to the C-suite and had to go through the exposed budgets including salaries of people I'd worked with for years and could assess genuine ability and contribution first-hand, I saw about 15% premium for being female. That was in high-tech hard-core large-scale financial markets software. Different industries, different premia.

  11. RLWatkins

    "Trump continues to reason...."

    "Trump continues to reason", inaccurate though its literal meaning may be, is convenient shorthand for what is actually happening: Trump makes the theatrical but unsubstantive decisions, while the substantive ones are made by whomever is actually in charge, passed along by his aides as "suggestions". So while mindless hand-puppets may get things right now and then, there's no real way of learning how or why the decisions were actually made. Don't you love transparency in government.

  12. williamj01

    Hire More Women

    You should hire womens

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