This is IMHO, right? I ask because there are many that try to “shout me down” when I talk about this, but this is a topic that I know quite a bit about & I have an informed opinion to express here.
I helped build an organization that provided labor under H-1B visas for US firms when this was a new concept. The dirty truth is that the labor that is provided is not superior to US-based labor. The labor provided is simply cheaper. It does take away US jobs - supposedly to make the US people available for the “better” positions. In most cases, it makes just them unemployed.
The credentials for a lot of these “skilled” workers include resumes that are inflated to appear to be better. If they were “senior developers”, it really meant that they had attended a class on the particular language. If they were “senior project managers”, it meant that they had coded (successfully or not) a program.
Many of the “highly educated” workers had credentials from exotic-sounding “universities”. In reality, many of these were diploma mills aimed at quickly churning out as many “skilled” workers as possible. Many of them had “MBA” on the resume. Of course, no one thought to ask what MBA stood for and assumed it was a master’s degree of US standard when in fact it was a 2 week mail-order certificate. No one checks anything except the box on the list that says “worker has MBA”. Makes you wonder why people get upset when they find out that US people lie on their resumes, doesn’t it?
I cringe when I see so many companies assume that all the rules & regs from the states are followed when they send their work offshore. In reality, they get what they pay for. What good is it to have a cheap developer when it takes a room full of them an entire day debating what had been done by a single US resource that they laid off? Well, someone is getting a big bonus check because it is assumed that offshore is cheaper & high quality. Do the consumers see anything from this savings? Have you noticed any price declines as your paycheck has gone down?
Bringing the offshore workers into the US as H-1B workers follows a similar misconception on playing by the rules. You see, when offshore workers are brought here, many of the rules & regs are not always followed either. Many of these people are crammed into a single room at extended-stay hotel rooms at the lowest rates. (Yes, it does happen & I have seen it done many, many, MANY times). No client complains because the travel expenses are kept low to offset the airfare it takes to bring them here. The workers do not complain because they will be sent home unemployed.
The arguments for use of H-1B and offshore resources really kind of remind me of the same arguments made by the slave holders in the early periods of the US - the economy will collapse without use of them, we can’t find workers to do the jobs, etc. The reality is that this is just another set of people that are being exploited for the gain of someone else. Yes, the offshore workers do so willingly - as did the people working in the sweatshops at the turn of the last century. Somehow, that was deemed wrong and laws were passed to prevent that exploitation.
I figure that at some point, the dirty truths will be open for public view. The US workers that have been carrying the IT industry will continue to retire or find other work. There will be fewer and fewer students entering the MIS and CIS programs in college. At some point, consumers will scream about the lower levels of service that are being delivered (wait - is it Dell that discovered this already?) Then, perhaps quality instead of price will be considered.
I question whether we will have an economy left to buy the products & services of these companies. I have heard that the classes are stratifying more & more and that what was known as the middle class is rapidly disappearing. Single income families can not make ends meet. Kids are suffering from lack of parental involvement. Lots of fallout here. In my opinion, unless US business starts looking at what can be done within the country, we will continue down this destructive path. The answer is inside the borders - not outside. Global economy is only true if there is a balance of trade. Right now, it is rather one sided.
We do not need more H-1B visas. What we need is some common sense, some more exposure of the reality of what truly is happening, and some application of the regulations that already exist in our country.