back to article New twist in H-1B saga as US Senate moves to abolish per-country visa caps

The US Senate has passed a draft law that will abolish per-country caps on visas for skilled workers. The S.386 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 was passed by the House in 2019, and on Wednesday slipped through the Senate, too. The law’s sponsor, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), has argued that capping the number of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't have a problem with eliminating the per-country caps, as long as the "auction" based on salary of the position being staffed is kept. If the auction is removed, then I don't want to pass changes to the current H1-B laws that will just make it easier for already abusive companies like Wipro and Tata (and a number of Silicon Valley employers) to abuse things even more under the revised system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite. There is a "200 year" waiting list under the Indian cap because the system is stuffed with as many "ballots" as the Indian mega-consultancies can conjure into existence to ensure they benefit from the majority of successes. If you remove the per-country cap without putting in further mitigation (like the auction system) that dominance will simply creep out to the whole system.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smells a bit FSHI to me.

    Cognizant, TATA and HCL win. Everybody else (in the world) - looses.

    list of H1B visa sponsors - by volume:

    # Ave Starting Salary - excl costs & indentures

    1 Cognizant Technology Solutions 28,526 $86,456

    2 Infosys 21,473 $87,248

    3 Tata Consultancy Services 11,868 $86,453

    4 Google 10,577 $143,373

    5 Ernst & Young 8,893 $122,887

    6 Capgemini 8,411 $89,750

    7 Deloitte & Touche 8,258 $91,413

    8 Amazon.Com Services 7,705 $134,117

    9 IBM 7,237 $107,449

    10 Microsoft 6,041 $142,132

    11 Accenture 5,654 $120,461

    12 Hcl America 4,688 $92,901

    1. Smirnov

      H1-B's by Country

      This is even more eye-opening:

      https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/reports/h-1b-petitions-by-gender-country-of-birth-fy2018.pdf

      In 2018, a massive 73.9% of all H1-B visas vent to people from India (mostly men, as woman aren't worth much there), even though it's a 3rd world country with an education system that isn't exactly at the upper end of the global rankings, nor does India have a particularly well educated populace. What it does have however is a large industry of "degree factories" producing worthless certificates and degrees which are then used to undercut wages in other countries like the US.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: H1-B's by Country

        That's absurd racist nonsense. India isn't 'third world' as you put it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: H1-B's by Country

          On the old definition of third world, it actually was a third world country. I volunteered there in the 1980s and can attest.

          Original definition of 'third world' was geo-political.

          First world - Countries aligned with the US/old world axis

          Second World - Contries aligned with the USSR or China

          Third world - ex colonial, non aligned countries....

          Later definitions led to the terms being redefined against economic metrics

          First world - Economic Core, etc. Third world was defined as 'periphery' with low technology industries...

          That definition went out in the 1980's - though even then, India was classified as third world.

          The current, and politically correct term now is BRIC - which refers to countries moving from 'third world' to challenge 'First world'....

          Indias per capita gdp is less than 2,000 USD - while typical 'first world' countries GDP is considered at least 20,000 (US is almost 60,000, for context)

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: H1-B's by Country

            (slightly OT but a useful datapoint for reference:

            China's Premier very proudly announced in June that now only 40% of their workforce earns less than $4.65/day ($1,700/yr).

            We in the West only see the top 5-10% of Asia and India. There is gawping poverty country-wide, propping up those little elites.)

          2. Raj

            Re: H1-B's by Country

            More like $8500 in PPP terms. You think PPP doesn’t matter ? On the contrary it’s what really matters if you want to measure individual purchasing power. Indians play the local cost of goods and services. They don’t pay the GBP price translated into Rupees, which is what the absolute per capital figure implies.

            If that were the case the ensure tech wage arbitrage would not exist because a unit of work pays exactly the same sum as expressed in any currency. That’s not been remotely true. You can easily feed a small family in India for less than the GBP cost of one persons meal and drink at Nandos, while still getting an equally filling meal at a decent place.

      2. Raj

        Re: H1-B's by Country

        Eye opening ? All your post says is that you use antiquated terms like ‘third world’ thirty years after the Cold War.

        And oh you might want to check that list for that other third world country the UK, which has less than 28% female applicants. Did you stop beating your wife yet ?

        Anyone working in tech in Silicon Valley will tell you women are very rare in tech roles - the kind that actually involve H1 filings . If you run into one, they’re overwhelmingly Indian or Chinese women. White / Hispanic are very few and black women are nonexistent in tech. Go over to sales or HR and it’s mostly women. It’s the same in any big company, even the top ones - Google, Apple, FB, you name it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree that giving the visas to the highest paid workers is a good idea. Like it or not, we use salary as a proxy for worker value, and given a limited number you want to allow in the most valuable workers. It also helps solve the Tata problem. Other companies can pay more to import workers as consultants must have an up-charge over their salaries. This means that other companies that want to import permanent workers can easily outbid the the consultancies. Also, if India really is degree mills (and I don't know if that's the case or if they just have a lot of IT graduates), then companies can pay more for non-Indians and are guaranteed the H1-B slot vs a lottery.

  4. BinaryLimey

    This law doesn't primarily address the awarding of H1B visas It's about "immigrant" visas.

    There is some tightening of H1B management in this bill (slipped in by Sen. Grassley), but mostly it isn't designed to address non-immigrant immigration to the US at all ( e.g. H1B, L1, O1 non-immigrant employment petitions). It addresses the per-country visa caps for "Immigrant" visas - e.g. applications for permanent residency in the US ( commonly known as green cards ). For most primary applicants, this involves a labor market test ( is there a US Citizen / Green Card holder who has the minimum skills to do this job) supervised by the department of labor.

    This bill addresses per-country limits to the number of visas issued each year which had caused countries with large populations and a tradition of emigration to the US to have decade-long backlogs in the time to adjudicate and issue a visa. Most of these people already work in the US under non-immigrant visas ( H1-Bs can be extended each year if there is a pending immigrant application). It probably does more harm to US workers salaries to keep these non-immigrants in 'zombie' positions within the company sponsoring their non-immigrant visa, rather than have them boost the average worker's salary through open-market employment opportunities.

    The controversy about this bill has been how to ensure immigration from the rest of the world (RoW) is still possible while they run down the backlog of green-card applications for applicants born in India, China, Mexico and the Philippines. The Senate seems to have found a compromise they are happy with. But it must be reconciled with the house bill ( HR 1044 ) and signed by the president to become law.

    1. JBowler

      Re: This law doesn't primarily address the awarding of H1B visas It's about "immigrant" visas.

      That sounds like an informed summary and is consistent with my own experience as an immigrant. Thank you.

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