H1B visas - no jobs for US citizens.

No, I’m not a democrat - in fact, I’ve only refrained from voting a straight GOP ticket twice - but I hate George W Bush. Especially his new energy secretary, Spencer Abraham.

How could George pick such an absolute cretin as “Spence”? Spence has been rabidly opposed to helping US citizens find jobs, selling his vote (fairly openly, I might add) to large corporations in favor of H1B visas.

An H1B visa is used by companies who claim that there are no US citizens who can perform the work of a foreigner. H1B visas are granted almost routinely above and beyond the established cuota for a given country. Initially pegged at bringing in 100,000 or so, it turns out that the feds weren’t counting how many were granted: over a quarter of a million foreign workers were allowed in -per year- to take jobs from American citizens. Including mine.

Why would a company prefer an H1B worker? They’ll work for far less. These people want to come to the US for the sake of coming to the US. They’ll work for (in some cases) half of the going rate. Under terms of the visa, they are not subject to social security, medicare or income tax, though under the laws of this country if they ever get sick and decided not to pay for health insurance (or if it was not offered to them) they are entitled to free health care.

Spencer Abraham (lauded as Energy Secretary by Rusty Hills, Michigan GOP chairman, he drives a minivan) was well aware that the majority of his constituents (he was Senator up until the last election) were opposed to not only the existance of the H1B program but also Spence’s proposed -expansion- to let even more people in. To top it all off, now that the economy is slowing and more US citizens are losing their jobs, the H1B program allows the same (uncounted) number into the country - more US jobs will be lost.

George Bush, of course, doesn’t care. He’s never held a job that wasn’t bought for him by his daddy’s poker buddies (little sarcasm there). He’s never had to look for a job. Neither has Spencer Abraham. Neither one cares.

Why do people born in the US deserve jobs in the US more than people from overseas? Should skilled workers in foreign countries be denied the chance to use their skills to benefit themselves so that less skilled US workers can demand higher wages?

IF the foreigners were more skilled than the US workers you’d have a point. But the people I personally know who have been displaced from employment as a result of H1B programs were just as skilled - if not even more so - than their replacements.

In some cases, they were asked to train their replacement and then shown the door.

Why are you favoring a plan to put US citizens on welfare, unemployment and medicaid/medicare? Do you believe in the welfare state in which the government should pick up the tab for people the government put on the streets?

My husband came to the U.S. on an H1B visa. I don’t know what the situation in your industry is, but he was not paid half the going salary. In fact, his company paid him a higher salary than his counterparts, offered him a contract (which the others did not have) and helped him with relocation expenses. He was quite an expensive investment for his company and, it turns out, more qualified than many of his coworkers.
In addition, I don’t know where you get the idea that these workers don’t have to pay social security or income taxes. They do. I’ve never heard that they could get free health care either. Are you just making stuff up?

What I’ve heard about an H1B visa sounds like there are DAMNED hard to get. The burden of proof that there is no U.S. worker to fill the spot is very high.

I am a strong supporter of Spence’s opponent, Debbie Stabenow, but she damned near lost my vote over the ads grossly misreprenting the H1B visa and why Spence was so evil for supporting the expansion of its use.

I guess I need more documentation of what you’re saying.

If you wanna bitch about someone from Michigan being the energy secretary, I’ll listen to that. Christ, talk about challenging someone’s ability to have a balanced view on U.S. gas consumption.

Yeah, the IRS seems to indicate that people with H1B visas have to pay taxes:

What other of your “facts” are simply lies?

Also, just because someone had to be trained to do job does not mean that they are not more skilled than the trainer. I’d imagine that virtually all highly skilled jobs require on the job training. And since a bachelor’s degree is required for an H1B visa, presumably the person being replaced has one as well. I doubt that it’s highly skilled college graduates that are flooding our welfare system.

Ehm - isolation is not always that great.

I presume the hiring company has a reason to hire the unwashed foreigner - if a foreign engineer delivers more bang for the buck, isn’t the US well served by having him/her inside the borders for a while ? Looking at the demands for H1B applicants (college graduate or 10 years of relevant experience), it’s not as if the people they’re replacing are going to sleep in the gutter.

Of course some people will abuse even sensible policies. But as I see it, an open door policy for smart people is an asset, not a liability. Who knows, the foreigners might bring in some insights ?

Then again, I’m currently working expat (though not in the US), so what else can I say ?

S. Norman

Post-preview: Damn, you people are saying it better than I can - again!

Just discussed here.

Of course stormtrax is flat out wrong about the wages, the tax requirements, the free health care, that the feds “weren’t counting”, that there is any sort of per-country quota on H-1Bs, etc. And since we’re in the Pit, I might add that if his attention to detail at his job was anything like his attention to detail here, it’s no wonder he’s now unemployed.

Although he is most likely full of shit, he may have somehow been confused with the B1 visa:

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.”

“Of course stormtrax is flat out wrong … that the feds “weren’t counting”,”
- ruadh

According to the INS, 20,000 more visas than allocated were awarded in 1999. (Widely reported, use your favorite search engine with the terms +ins +h1b +visa +1999 and you should come up with several references.)

It was proposed that the INS should therefore decrease the H1B allocation in 2000 by the same number. Spencer Abraham viciously objected to this proposal.

Ruadh, I also suggest you go back and read what I said about the per-country quotas. I did not say that H1Bs were allocated by country, I said they were issued “above and beyond the established cuota for a given country” - in other words, other types of visas are allocated in the form of x visas to country y per year - which is tied into the visa lottery system which is commonly used.

Let’s say that the country of Intelandia is given 10 visas per year, which are then distributed. H1B is a separate program which could then (in theory) allow an additional 115,000 Intelandians into the US (I think that’s the current cap… I’d have to double check).

I have not found any source on the web that indicates that people with H1-B visas are not required to pay income tax, and several that say the opposite. There is no law exempting them from it. If the people that you know told you this, either you misunderstood or she [sic] is lying. As for bizarre scenarios involving liquor stores, that doesn’t apply here, as people with h1-B visas are not allowed to hold jobs other than the one that the visa is provided for.

As for health care, hospitals are only required to provide emergency care, and are allowed to charge for it.

Also, Michael romwich’s testimony was concerned primarily with other types of visa fraud, mainly the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

That said, you haven’t told me why US citizens should have more rights to work in the US than foreigners.

Well I can either believe what the law and government says about a specific issue, or I can believe random rumours from unnamed people. Yep. :rolleyes:
Using this logic, we now know that abortion is illegal. Cause I know a guy who told me so.

I provided the link to testimony in which an H1B visa was used to bring in a non-english speaking worker to help with a sister’s donut shop. While Romwich may have been speaking about fraud in general, Jill Esposito was testifying regarding the H1Bs in particular.

“thousands of marginally qualified applicants are also entering the United States in the H1-B and L-1 categories.”
- Jill Esposito

Mark A. Mancini testified about visa/immigration fraud in general - including H1Bs.

John Ratigan testified:

"The best known sources of “employment” visas are the H-1B and L visas. This subcommittee is quite familiar with the debate over H-1B visas. L visas, by which overseas employees of multi-national firms come to the U.S. for up to 7 years to gain experience in the U.S. office, fulfill a very useful function for both U.S. and foreign corporations. They have enjoyed a highly positive and well deserved reputation for many years.

Both visa categories have experienced fraud, however, simply because, for those in the business of moving aliens to the United States, H and L are prime “people movers”. Both categories have been misused, for example, by Chinese alien smugglers and Russian organized crime figures."

Nancy Sambaiew complained that there were 10,000 applications per year per officer. As no distinctions were made, this would also include the H1Bs.

William Yates testified:
“As early as 1996, AmCon Chennai estimated that a significant percentage of their H1-B petitioners, almost all of whom were computer programmers, were misrepresenting their academic or professional credentials. The INS Service Centers worked with the AmCon Chennai in a joint effort aimed at verifying claimed education and work experience from the petition submitted to the INS. These joint efforts were initiated one year ago. Between the inception of the joint effort and March 31, 1999, of the 3,247 cases referred to AmCon Chennai’s anti-fraud unit, they were unable to verify the authenticity of close to 45% of the claims made on the petitions.”

As for the question why should US residents have more of a right to work in the US than non-US residents, the reasons should be obvious. Since you choose to believe otherwise, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind surrendering your employment to allow a foreign worker to reap the benefits of this country.

oldscratch - in this country we don’t believe in what the laws (or the Constitution) say any more. Janet, Hillary and Bill taught us that.

So the US government lies to everyone to benefit people that can’t even vote? And where do these people find out about their special tax-exempt status if not from the IRS? Why does the material published by the IRS to tell aliens how to file for taxes leave out the minor detail that they don’t actually have to pay anything?

Well, given that my employment is with the United States Navy, that would be a conflict of interest. In general, I would accept being replaced by anyone who had more to offer my employer than I did. Anyways, please explain the “obvious” reasons that you have more right to a job than someone from a foreign country. And try to avoid false dichotomies about how it’s either my job or theirs.

whatever water :rolleyes: Hiding behind “conflict of interest”. You’re just scared they’ll bring over some Armenian to take your Navy job.

I tried to apply for jobs in my field, in my Department of Labor, and there were many, many entries in which the only practical way that I can qualify is if I am a foreigner on H1B visa speaking the language. The jobs were worded very carefully so as to escape government scrutiny. There was one in which I know the language, yet the Labor official there tried to persuade me not to try it.

Not directly related, but my wife is a foreign national and a technically skilled worker. She came over on a K-1 fiancee visa, which is an entirely different animal than anything being discussed and is, thus, not of concern.

Now, as for being able to find skilled workers easily - perhaps that is the situation where you live - but it is most definitely not the case where we live (beautiful, yet under-educated, Alabama). The company my wife went to work for as an Information Systems Manager had been looking for nearly six months for a qualified applicant with the right experience. So, it’s not as easy to find skilled staff as you might think.

Stormtrax, I am sorry to hear about your personal job loss, but this is the price we pay for a genrally strong economy. In the end, people come to America to produce more than they were before or else thay would not get paid more and hence, not come to America in the first place. They are also consumers too, so they help to crate new job you will eventually fill. They do not weaken the economy, they simply add layers to it.

It sucks in the shortterm, but the alternative is someplace like France where workers are so protected that they often find themselves having difficulty finding jobs in the firstplace leading to 20% unemployment vs. 3.5 % or whatever it is right now. Not to mention on overall smaller per capita income that places with less protected workers.

American service men and women do need to be at least fully naturalized Americans, lest we fall short in a military campaign against our powerful enemy, Armenia.

Okay, maybe not Armenis, but you get the point.

In a strong economy it isn’t necessarily such a problem. The biggest problem is that highly skilled people are being cut from payrolls en masse and the H1B visas continue to flood the markets.

Also, H1Bers tend to not spend as much as their American replacees - they send their money back home so it isn’t being spent locally.

“American service men and women do need to be at least fully naturalized Americans”

But the contractors used to replace downsized soldiers do not.

But the military is a horrible place to work anyway - my brother-in-law was recently shafted when the army told him (and thousands of others) -upon discharge- that the GI Bill would not apply to him as promised and no, he wouldn’t get back the money he contributed to the program while enlisted.

But that’s another thread.