C3: Maybe your husband earned more than locals. I never said (or implied) that it never happens. However, a common complaint is that H1Bers tend to be paid less and hesitate to ask for raises out of fear of being fired and shipped back to wherever.
Cranky: The burden of proof is supposed to be high that there is nobody locally who can do the work. In reality, this is not true. I’ve seen many H1B visas going to people to work as a network administrator - jobs which could easilly be filled by somebody locally. Large companies frequently don’t advertise an opening to the general population: they’ll post an internal announcement, wait three weeks and ask for the visa - which is then either rubber stamped or the company will ask whatever senator they have on the payroll to pull a string or two and then get it rubber stamped.
Waterj2: Let’s see… I can either believe what the IRS code says (which also says that Microsoft should pay taxes, which it doesn’t) or I can believe people who were here on H1B visas, got married and citizenship and started to complain that she didn’t have to pay taxes before but now she does. Furthermore, the concept of foreigners being allowed to work in the US and not pay income taxes is well-established. A very common arrangement is for foreigners to come to the US on a 3 year visa (forget which classification it is) and open a liquor/party store, which they operate without paying personal income taxes through some law or another. After the visa expires they return home but sell the store to a family member who continues the business.
ruadh: With respect to the free health care - hospitals are prohibited by law to deny medical care to anybody. Period. If you are here on an H1B and get sick you may go to any emergency room of your choosing and receive free (to you) medical attention.
With respect to the ease with which H1Bs are obtained by companies in defiance of the law, I refer you to the House Immigration Subcommittee held on 5 May, 1999. Witnesses testified that fraud by both visa recipients and corporate sponsors is rampant, that government agencies do not have the resources to deal with the problem, and the recipients of fraudulently obtained visas are rarely prosecuted or deported.
Rep. Edward Pease (R-IN) asked one panel of witnesses, “Why is it that we are not prosecuting the folks who are the beneficiaries of illegal activity?” Michael Bromwich, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, answered that “the system would be flooded with cases.”
H1B visas are also used to bring in non-technical workers - yet another reason why the program should be at least halted while the government works to solve the problems. As testified before congress, “Examples of fraud associated with the requesting company include instances where: the company is non-existent and/or operating from a post office box, residence, apartment, or many companies are sharing one of the above. Often the requesting company acts as an employment agency, petitions for the foreign workers, but then attempts to find them other jobs, with associated additional fees, paid for by the intending company. In some cases, an existing company petitions for employees, but terminates them on arrival, enabling an otherwise ineligible person to enter into the U.S. These actions are accomplished both with and without the beneficiary’s advance knowledge.”
Jill Esposito, of the Visa Office of the State Department, testified about an example of H1B fraud. An American company sought an H1B visa for a foreign worker to serve as its “comptroller” to “direct the financial activities of the company.” The worker was interviewed by the State Department in his country, and it was learned that he did not speak English, that the company was a donut shop, and that it was owned by his sister.
William Yates of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) stated that the INS did a study of 3,247 cases referred to an American Consulate in India. He said that “they were unable to verify the authenticity of close to 45% of the claims made on the petitions. Twenty-one percent of the work experience claims made to the INS were confirmed to be fraudulent in this investigation.”