Wednesday, April 1, 2009

H-1Bs and you

I suppose it's somewhat encouraging that The Numbers Guy (Carl Bialik) in the Wall Street Journal is at least writing something about the numbers surrounding the H-1B visa issue. (The link in the first sentence is to his blog post; his print article is here.)

It's not all to the good, as he tries for that false parallelism so common in journalism today ("Bob Franklin teaches his students that 2 + 2 = 5; some experts disagree"). As the subtitle in the print piece states, "Both Sides in the Debate Over Employee Immigration Policies Misuse Data to Advance Their Positions on the Issue."

He does expose the idiocy of Bill Gates' statement to Congress, "for every H-1B holder that technology companies hire, five additional jobs are created around that person," which comes from a "study" I have taken issue with before. That study, so flawed, seems to continue to rally the troops in favor of lifting the cap on H-1Bs. Bialik also points out that the study omits the biggest users of these visas, the Indian technology companies.

For balance, he tries to find fault with those who are against granting more of these tickets to employment. The evidence of statistical misuse is a lot more thin than the above, relying mainly on the premise that the number of actual jobs affected is less than some say. Citigroup says H-1Bs are "fewer than 1% of all employees," which may be true, but doesn't stand as much of a refutation of the larger issues.

Of course, the issue is way more complicated than this back and forth, and Bialik doesn't delve very deeply into it. But at least a mainstream publication is doing something more than parroting the standard drivel served up by those "statesmen" who, coincidentally, have something to gain from bringing in low-cost labor. Whatever statistics one wishes to cite, I'm still not convinced that we won't, someday, be looking at the H-1B program the way we now look (negatively) at the bracero program for agricultural workers of the 1940s and '50s.


Anonymous said...

did you see that discussion recently where the H1-B guy was saying he earns $200k/yr, and everyone in the know to the man explained that there is no parallel compensation structure for H1-B? At least at Microsoft. Of course you missed that. Of course Microsoft doesn't represent your criticisms... even if its CEO gets your rage. Where's the lower cost if the H1-B visaholders are stating their outrageously sweet wages and denying any parallel compensation structure? Oh look it's the plus sum of global labor trade.

Further, yes, the % of foreign visa labor at a firm is capped.

As a person who is employed when Microsoft's H1-B hires need infrastructure and support, I can believe the 5x figure.

The other night I met another H1-B Frenchman who works on the Kindle for Amazon. He, too, makes an obscene wage with the company. I'm so glad we can host him in our nation, while he builds another global enterprise.

I'll keep looking for the exploitation!!! I'm gonna find it!!! I'll report back to the nagbob mothership! A housewife and a chronic blogger whose goal is to eliminate Microsoft and Amazon's global leadership position, or drive them from America! For American interests!

- mcnfnord, who has a name you'll never use

Androcass said...


I'll speak to the name thing briefly to reiterate that I've already apologized for a one-time oversight in not citing you by a name you choose to put only at the end of your comments. If you don't keep up with comments made in response to yours, that's your problem, and I could do without the sniping.

As for the discussion you referred to, please give us a link, we'd love to see it. Only in that way can you expect me to change an opinion that is already based on other facts.

You believe the 5x figure; I believe that, if the study is valid, then we should just apply for a million visas and magically create 5 million jobs. The study is irretrievably flawed, and a lot more work needs to be done to support either side of the argument.

One more thing...rage? I have no rage against Bill Gates. As I have written on a number of occasions, what he has accomplished is remarkable and should be respected.

However, the success he has had does not make him an immigration policy expert, and we should not treat him as such. The purpose of his Congressional testimony is to support the interests of Microsoft, and that's perfectly OK. It should be the objective of everyone involved to take that into account when he offers his opinion. That's all I want.

Tunnel Rat said...

Greetings! I stumbled across your blog after Googling "H-1Bs" suck and trying to find out what happened to Carrie's Nation. I think the agents of NASCCOM/USINPAC/TieE got to her. Great blog, I'll keep it on the radar.

As for the 200K h-1b, it is a creep that goes by the nym of "CodeCorrector". He was active on a forum on Dice that I had shut down because the H-1B was posting my personal info in order to harass me. He's an astro-turfer that probably works for NASSCOM.

Here's part of his trail:

This vile creep posted hundreds of comments on my blog before I started moderating.

We are now in the middle of a full blown rhetorical race war. The guest workers are desperate and aggressive. Their next stop is the slums. Check out my blog if you want to join the anti-H-1B insurgency.

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