back to article Allegations of favoring visa holders over US workers for jobs cost Facebook just 4 hours of annual profit

Facebook will hand over $14.25m to the US government and American workers to settle allegations of discriminatory hiring practices. The Justice Dept last year sued the internet giant accusing it of unfairly favoring job candidates who had temporary working papers, such as H-1B visas, over US citizens and permanent residents. …

  1. martinusher Silver badge

    Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

    To give you some perspective. When you enter the US on a non-immigrant work visa -- say an H-1 -- then you're not immigrating but you are allowed to change your mind and apply for a change in status to 'immigrant' -- that is, apply for a Green Card. This involves a lot of messing about, including the whole Labor Certification bit to show that you'd advertised your job and nobody suitably qualified applied for it. The immigration system is perennially out of date so it assumes that if you're hired for Role 'A' then you'll be doing Role 'A' for the foreseeable future. In real life companies tend to move people around a lot from roles that are going away to new functions. They're all technically a new job and so strictly speaking they'd need to file Labor Certification and all that. Its a lot of messing about so they probably ducked it. I don't blame them (and I'm definitely not a Facebook fanboy, I've just been through the system so seen it from the inside).

    The real motivation behind this is the salary. There are people out there who want that salary. They need it. Its their right. They'll do anything to get it. Even though it sounds a bit excessive for a generic job, its the sort of thing where you've hired in some serious talent and want to retain it but there's a bunch of "I got my CS and a couple of years Python/JS/Whatever, where's my six figure salary?" types out there who will moan, snitch and generally carry on until they've bullied someone into giving them what they feel they deserve.

    (Oh, BTW -- if you become unemployed during your Green Card application period, between filing and getting your interview, your application folds and you're SoL. Back you go to wherever you came from.)

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

      a quirk that was apparently by design - allegedly bought and paid for by big tech's alleged influence on politicians and electioneering and 'contributions in kind' in its various forms. You know, the best politicians money can buy!!!

      (In My Bombastic Opinion)

      We've seen examples of this sort of thing from time to time in Silicon Valley, sometimes ending up as an article in 'El Reg', often in the form of non-compete/non-recruit agreements and that sort of thing, or at least that's how it surfaced in the past.

      "4 hours of annual profit", indeed.

      And so that fine of a few million dollars is just a pittance, a token amount, from their point of view. It's a most likely just another ledger entry, filed under "expenses", probably a mere FRACTION of what they're already forking over to get what they want [in my opinion] from the politicians.

      and, sadly, it seems to be working for them...

      (FAR worse than the military industrial complex we were warned about by Eisenhower, at the height of the cold war)

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

      The thing is that the H1 visa is meant to allow recruitment of a rare skillset, as you noted, which couldn't be sourced locally.

      By not advertising it for US applicants they're acting with malign intent.

      On top of that, while changing roles is indeed now common, the external specialism was required for one role. Any new roles should be filled by US citizens where possible, so again failing to advertise is misbehaviour.

      While a CS graduate may or may not act entitled and may or may not be able to do a specific job there's also a moral obligation to recruit and train people so that they can do those roles. Otherwise the local (I.e. whole US) workforce will always lose out on those jobs to migrant workers.

      It's happened here in the UK too, and the IT industry has been diminished by the constant outsourcing and wages damaged by a labour pool that includes millions of foreign nationals. That's not healthy for the UK economy no matter how helpful it is to short term profits for individual companies

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

        >>>The thing is that the H1 visa is meant to allow recruitment of a rare skillset

        So in England that would be truck drivers and meatpackers, right?

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

          Australia has a similar system and yes, we offer fast-track instant (by comparison) special visas to people who have skillsets we're short on. So, hairdressers for example a coupla years ago.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

        "Any new roles should be filled by US citizens where possible, so again failing to advertise is misbehaviour. [...] there's also a moral obligation to recruit and train people so that they can do those roles."

        The problem is that one could argue that there's a moral obligation not to fire people out of the country they live in, albeit into a country they lived in before, just because you've done a reorganization. They aren't doing that to the Americans they've hired and want to keep, after all. You might not think that obligation exists, but a lot of companies don't think they have any moral obligations [whatsoever] I mean to only hire people from one country. In that case, it falls down to what the law requires, which includes neither obligation.

    3. jake_leone372

      Re: Its a quirk of the (immiegration) system

      The US DOJ indictment gives the motivation for preferring foreign workers over better qualified local STEM/IT candidates, as being the fact that a person waiting for a Green Card cannot leave the company until they have received their Green Card. A process that can take decades for people from India and China.

      But it is illegal, by U.S. Federal Statute, to use this as a criteria for determining who you recruit or look for (for example during the PERM certification test).

      What is clear from DOJ indictment, and by Facebook's own admissions to Federal investigators, Facebook did favor foreign workers, only because they can't leave the company until the Green Card process is completed.

      Okay so what does this mean? It means that Facebook is hiring workers of inferior skill, simply because they are indentured to Facebook. And Facebook might just need indentured workers because they are more concerned with whistleblowers than being an efficient company.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    In the article it says the money paid is a settlement so not a fine, I presume that once again FB gets away with not having to admit it has done wrong.

    I don't understand why it was sued and not charged with breaking federal law, also why the settlent/fine is so relatively small. A fine would be a punishment but a punishment needs to be significant such as a percentage of turnover or profit.

  3. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

    Point Avoider?

    Isn't there some Euro-place that issues traffic tickets commensurate to the offender's income? Maybe on the Autobahn (sorry, ain't never been off my city block)?

    Is there no similar mechanism to apply? Or does the prosecution lack fiduciary imagination?

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: Point Avoider?

      Sweden. Or Norway. Somewhere up there.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Point Avoider?

        Norway

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Point Avoider?

      I might recall Finland does it too.

  4. Hardrada

    I've discussed the work climate in the USA with several immigrant professionals from different backgrounds - a Microsoft DBA in Redmond, a Seagate EE in Minneapolis (both from India) and a couple of finance people in Florida (from Central and South America). They all gave roughly the same reason for preferring to work here: 'If you do what's expected of you, you'll be rewarded.'

    The DBA told me candidly that he thought many Yanks were being stupid in not following the easy money. The Indian EE just laughed when I told him that some Americans would rather work harder on something excellent than be paid well for a career that will be forgotten before they've even retired.

    None of them seemed to mind that the stability they enjoy is being paid for with mounting national debt. Nor that the stimulus keeping venerable companies afloat also subsidizes bad management and keeps younger companies out of the market.

    It was all very logical in the way littering is logical. You can't control your environment, so you might as well go with the flow, take what you can, and run away if necessary.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      "None of them seemed to mind that the stability they enjoy is being paid for with mounting national debt. Nor that the stimulus keeping venerable companies afloat also subsidizes bad management and keeps younger companies out of the market."

      I fear you may find many who don't care or even don't know about those things. It's not at all limited to migrants. In order for a country to end up in that situation, a lot of its citizens must ignore or support the actions that cause it.

      "The Indian EE just laughed when I told him that some Americans would rather work harder on something excellent than be paid well for a career that will be forgotten before they've even retired."

      And once again, I'm sure you could find many Americans with the same attitude. In most cases, it's quite reasonable. In computing, we have the chance to make a codebase that will be respected and built on for years. In most other jobs, that's never going to happen. For the millions who work in a position where they won't get to change the company or the product very much, they may prefer to do their job well enough and reserve their profound enjoyment for the rewards of that labor. The number of people who use their pay to work very hard on a hobby, for example, is surprisingly large.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Once again

    Once again we see that skill, knowledge and experience mean fuck all.

    As for the 6 figure paychecks, someone's pissing on your leg.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read the indictment, it is online at the U.S. DOJ

    The information that is in the indictment was obtained under the threat of a Federal Obstruction of Justice charge, should there be any untruthful statements made to Federal Investigators.

    BTW, the indictment was filed after the election. The indictment listed 2600+ cases of discrimination over just a 1.5 year period.

    So all the information I am going to say, is public knowledge. I reference the U.S. DOJ indictment and the case of Facebook paying 5 billion dollars to settle a data miss-handling lawsuit, before Mark Zuckerberg was called as a witness.

    Facebook's own personnel said that they were finding 30 or more fully qualified local STEM/IT candidates (out of hundreds of resumes recieved) per STEM/IT job ad placed onto Facebook's own jobs website.

    Facebook's own employees told Federal investigators that it would hire the 30 or so people (per job ad) it turns away, but Facebook simply didn't have enough STEM/IT jobs for them. Facebook's own personnel told Federal investigators that many of the 30 or more STEM/IT people were better qualified than the foreign workers undergoing the Green Card PERM process.

    The problem was that these Facebook PERM job ads were not placed onto Facebook's own website. They were placed in Sunday print editions of the San Francisco Chronicle. Facebook refused the free offer of the San Francisco Chronicle to put the PERM job ads also on the Chronicle website.

    Facebook would only accept postage-mailed resumes, sent to their lawyers office (not to HR). Facebook never forwarded the resumes of the better qualified STEM/IT candidates to the hiring managers involved in the PERM process, even though HR knew the local STEM/IT candidates it could not hire were better qualified than the foreign workers undergoing the PERM process (by Facebook's own admission to Federal investigators, and I reference the U.S. DOJ indictment of Facebook for this information).

    The motive for this (again this is from the U.S. DOJ indictment of Facebook in this case), is that Facebook prefers foreign workers stuck in the Green Card process, which can take decades to complete. Because they will not leave the company until that process is completed.

    As we have all seen, some workers have left Facebook (or have been fired) for leaking, speaking, and testifying to Congress about Facebook's miss-handling of user data, opaque user policies, and echo-chamber engagement AI (that often leads to social conflict). For more information please see the Frances Haugen's public, under oath, testimony.

    So we must consider the possibility that Facebook also prefers foreign workers, tied up in the Green Card process because they cannot blow the whistle on company data miss-handling.

    Blowing the whistle has cost Facebook billions. Facebook paid 5 billion dollars to the FTC to settle, without deposing top executives, the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And some are alleging that the order to sell the data to Cambridge Analytica, came directly from Mark Zuckerberg.

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