Thursday, March 07, 2013

"My experience, problems with H1B "

From Reddit -- such things tend to get deleted:

I've a long time engineer, mainly working in silicon valley. This is my observations:
1) As I understand it, the need for H1B is needed to fill jobs for which there are no US citizens and that this, inadvertently, corresponds to truly top notch people (on the theory, of course, that it’s easier to find less skilled labor). However, in my experience, only about 20% (subjectively) of the H1B engineers are particularly good and most of them are mediocre (i.e. overall no better than typical US born engineers in my estimation in particular in the software field). In short, I'm all for hiring the awesome but most simply aren't that good. (That’s true of US citizens too but they aren't the question.)
Furthermore, that doesn't even take communication skills into account and that’s a big deal. From personal experience, a significant, but minority, fraction of Indians have accents so thick that they are incomprehensible and likewise or worse for the Chinese with many Chinese also having the additional problem with unintelligible writing (though to be fair a significant fraction of American engineers can’t write themselves out of a paper bag...not that there's a Pulitzer in my future). If I have to spend 20 minutes deciphering a sentence in an email or I can't understand what a speaker is saying in a meeting, not uncommon, that's bad.
2) As I understand it, to hire these people companies are required to try and hire American citizens first but I've never heard, or heard of, a hiring manager who gave that a second thought as they know it simply is never an issue (i.e. any supposed “you must not be able to find an American first” laws are apparently easily skirted.).
3) I've worked for a Silicon Valley company that out of the 100-ish people I knew, from the CTO, VP of my engineering org, and his entire org,, only 3 or so were American born (not the CTO or VP either).
4) Contrary to its stated purpose, from what I've seen, the H1B program is mainly used to hire cheaper labor (i.e. lowering salaries). In fact the CTO, of 3) above, stated something like "got forbid he had to hire US citizens" on a purely economic basis. Note that in the end you would think the simply law of supply and demand implies that the H1B would force labor prices down.
5) We seem to have less and less American born engineers in particularly at the grad level. I audited a grad level class recently and only a couple of people, out of about 20, were US citizens. As I understand it, we don't fund our K-12 education (like Norway for instance) which makes this much more likely and then our college is becoming too expensive to boot. This does not bode well. It seems to me that if it wasn't for H1B we would be forced to address this issue but because we can get H1B people cheaper the gov't doesn't have to care (and the companies love the cheap labor and let’s face it, the US is a corrupt corporate/gov’t bribocracy)
6) It seems like it’s all some kind of Ponzi scheme in that given 5) above, we hire H1Bs but then they have children who have the same crappy and expensive education issues who then, as adults, deal with the same H1B competition while the companies laugh all the way to the bank (and as the economic data shows the corporate profits are not trickling down)
7) It seems to me that gov’ts are by definition supposed to be run for the benefit of the people and that they have a fiduciary responsibility to do so. Note that this isn't synonymous GDP or corporate profits. After all, right now corporate profits are at an all time high and yet living standards, by any number of metrics, are getting worse for the vast majority of Americans. So, the question then is whether the H1B program is in fact benefiting the U.S. citizens or just the companies and perhaps H1B visa holders?
I could certainly imagine, say in this countries industrial expansionary period decades ago, that importing labor was a great idea simply because 1) There really wasn't enough labor and 2) The benefit to the economy yielded more jobs for the current US citizens (in the median or such). However, it’s not clear to me whether that’s the case now and how one would quantify that (again GDP and corporate profits clearly aren't the proper measure).
I've heard the claims that many start ups are by people who are/were H1B but does that truly create net benefit to the existing US Citizens (or typical US Citizen) or is it just providing more corporate profits for the top fraction of 1% and a new wave of H1B people?
8) Finally, the northern European countries seem to do well without essentially disregarding educating their citizens in favor of hiring cheaper labor. After all, there are several billion people on the planet and most of them are much poorer than Americans and so if it’s just about cheap labor the logical conclusion would be to completely disregard the US citizens and just hire all the foreign poor well educated poor.

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At 2:21 AM , Blogger GTR done said...

My son is a freshman engineering major. I have wondered how this will work out for his future. They always say we need many more STEM graduates. I am insisting he get his education with as little debt as possible.
Has our government always been this bad?


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