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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

H-1B VISAS BARELY GETTING USED

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USCIS has announced that for the third week in a row, the H-1B count sits at 45,000 out of 65,000 used. I presume this means that just a few hundred cases are being processed per week which is simply remarkable when you consider that there has been a lottery for H-1B numbers for the past two years.

In my view, this is solid evidence that H-1B workers are not cheaper than their American counterparts. When one factors in the government fees, lawyer costs, travel expenses, etc. and the fact that employers are required to pay the prevailing wage for a job, the truth emerges - H-1B workers are often quite a bit more expensive than their American counterparts. If H-1Bs were cheap labor, then wouldn't employers be hiring more of them to replace expensive American workers?

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  1. vento's Avatar
    One shouldn't discount the increased probability of auditing and scrutiny by USCIS of the applications. Also, the negative publicity of firms like Infosys, TCS and others for hogging the H1B visas may have diminished their appetite too and leveling the play field. Rather than the regular employers, it is the body shoppers who tend to play fast and easy with the rules.
  2. GC applicant's Avatar
    I agree with Vento. Increased scrutiny, bad economy are very much responsible for less applications. Visa abuse must still be present by body shoppers like Infosys, TCS etc but less projects have resulted in less applications. Companies like Microsoft always had genuine demand for h1b workers. Now people who do not want to go via body shoppers can file h1b in october in peace. Generally non-IT companies were not sponsoring h1b before october and students graduating from non-IT were always left in trouble. I am glad USCIS is taking steps in cleaning up any fraud. I just hope congress does its part too.
  3. Geroge Chell's Avatar
    "In my view, this is solid evidence that H-1B workers are not cheaper than their American counterparts."

    It also goes to my point of view that if a foreigner is really needed it is easier to transfer the job abroad rather than use H1B.
  4. gg's Avatar
    "In my view, this is solid evidence that H-1B workers are not cheaper than their American counterparts. When one factors in the government fees, lawyer costs, travel expenses, etc. and the fact that employers are required to pay the prevailing wage for a job, the truth emerges - H-1B workers are often quite a bit more expensive than their American counterparts. If H-1Bs were cheap labor, then wouldn't employers be hiring more of them to replace expensive American workers?"

    The greatest confort that US Coporations get by hiring H1B's is that they come with no strings attached. Secondly H1B's seldom have any clue about the DOL rules and regulations and dont mind being subjected to long working hours including weekends and working from home too. This means they work more than the flat 40hrs they get paid weekly. Though a company would pay the almost the same rate it would to a normal American ; it gets to use twice or thrice the amount of service from a single H1B.

    At another level; most of these H1B's come from mom and pop shops that have no respect to rule of law and subject H1B's to abuse ; The current US laws allow these slave masters to abuse their H1B slaves.

    So it depends how one looks at the H1B from a cost standpoint.

  5. HOneWorkingHard's Avatar
    gg sir/madam: regarding your quote
    "it gets to use twice or thrice the amount of service from a single H1B."

    since the h1b quota did not get over yet is it time to change tune? I would infer so..earlier it was so called "cheap" h1b "flocking" here thereby driving down wages now it is fewer h1bs here who have survived the downturn so far "working harder"...and therby once again driving down wages ... make up your mind ... is it wrong to work harder if you like your work?
    now don't give back the slavery or abuse theory for the MAJORITY of our hard working folks..
  6. gg's Avatar


    HOneWorkingHard; you are missing my point.. I feel sorry for you.. check with an experienced attorney and he will help you understand what I meant in my post..

  7. Kalifornian's Avatar
    The reform in H1B should be to detach the H1B status from an employer. Applicant should be free to switch employers. But most employers won't like that aspect. There is an indirect baragining power for the employer with current system ( although the employee has H1 transfer , AC21 portability options). What i have seen is that it is not necessarily the salary part ( the minimum is anyway fixed by LCA ) that is attractive to employer, but that "indirect bonding" .
  8. anonymous's Avatar
    Will there be any bills addressing the nursing shortage by allowing foriegn nurses to come to US?
  9. JoeF's Avatar
    With the easy H1 transfer possibility there is no "indirect bonding" anymore.
    The only bonding that still exists has to do with the GC process. Changing employers in the GC process is only possible when the I-485 has been pending for 180 days. And with the current backlogs, a lot of people can't even file an I-485.
    Yet another reason why the current GC quota system needs to be abolished.
  10. JoeF's Avatar
    gg: "Secondly H1B's seldom have any clue about the DOL rules and regulations and dont mind being subjected to long working hours including weekends and working from home too. This means they work more than the flat 40hrs they get paid weekly."

    Most people on H1 are not paid hourly, but like pretty much all professionals, are paid a salary, regardless of hours worked. And with a salary, there is no 40 hour-week, anyway.
    So, your claim is missing its very basis...
  11. JoeF's Avatar
    Oh, and people nowadays know the regulations better.
    The consulates even provide information on that nowadays, e.g., http://hyderabad.usconsulate.gov/h1b.html
  12. Margret's Avatar
    It is the high time for the congress to abolish the law for bachelors degree for RNs mandatory to apply for H1B visa. Even BSNs are not easilty allowed unless the the healthcare facility make various certification. My suggestion is not only for Nurses but the US govt must make it easier where there is a shortage in a particular profession and minimum education qualification should be what is required. For eg. the educational requirement for an American RN is 2 years course. Why the government cannot accept Nurses with three years overseas course plus IELTS plus NCLEX + Visa Screen. Bachelors degree is normally a three years course and the diploma in nursing is also 3 or 3.5 years though its known as Diploma.

    Hope the Attorneys and Hospital Associations etc. will give this suggestion to the Law Makers
  13. gg's Avatar
    Hello All;

    I thought only HOneWorkingHard was missing my point but it seems there are others too. BTW; I have some news .. my sources tell me HOneWorkingHard is not a H1B employee but .. more about that later.

    1.) 40hr/week : H1B come in two different categories

    a.) H1B directly employed by a genuine company (I say ..) who have work for them and sponsor them. These companies as someone said pay them a yearly salary and they also get benefits. However there is more than sufficient evidence that even such companies pay less compared to Americans living this country. Figures range from 5-10% less.

    b.) H1B employed by mom and pop (refered as M&P) shops who have no work for their H1B's and depend on subcontracting to other companies. It is here the 40hr thing comes into play.
    After H1B gets a project M&P makes a contract; H1B gets paid 40hr/wk no matter how many hours he puts. H1B is caught in between a devil and a deep sea. H1B cannot complain about the client since the client has no contract with H1B. H1B cannot complaint about M&P becuase his visa is owned by M&P. If H1B is also pursuing his GC, M&P has H1B by his .. (you know what)..
  14. JoeF's Avatar
    gg: " However there is more than sufficient evidence that even such companies pay less compared to Americans living this country."
    I am sorry, but that is complete and utter BS.
    Do you really think that Google, Microsoft or Intel pay their people on H1 less than their American employees?
    That would create a PR nightmare.
    So, come out of your fantasy land.
  15. JoeF's Avatar
    "H1B employed by mom and pop (refered as M&P) shops who have no work for their H1B's and depend on subcontracting to other companies. It is here the 40hr thing comes into play.
    After H1B gets a project M&P makes a contract; H1B gets paid 40hr/wk no matter how many hours he puts."

    And again, gg, you show your lack of knowledge here.
    People on H1 have to get paid all the time, even if they don't have a project.
    So, the "M&P shops", as you call them, have to pay their H1 employees for 40 hours/week even if they don't work.
    There have been shady consultant companies in the past who didn't do that. That's over now, with the increased enforcement.
    So, may I suggest you enter current reality and don't stay in the past?

    Oh, and the H1 employee can very well complain to DOL if his employer violates the H1 laws. And people do nowadays.
    So, it turns out is is obviously YOU who doesn't have a point.
  16. JoeF's Avatar
    And finally, gg: "Figures range from 5-10% less."
    Any reference? And I don't mean from some anti-H1 group, but from real studies...
  17. Ponniyin Selvan's Avatar
    As a H1-B myself I can say that working in US is not a right. It is a privilege. It is Ok for the Americans to kick us out if they do not have enough jobs.

    Indian graduates have had things easy, get a cheap government subsidised education in India, come to US for their grad. school with assistantships and directly get a job with good salary. With the H-B boom it is even better, you don't even need to take TOEFL / GRE etc. just have a few years of experience in an Indian company and come thru a consultant to the US and find a job.

    Compare that with an American kid who (I guess) comes out with a 200,000$ student loan on his/her head and need to get a job and work on the job before he/she pays off the loans. If they buy a home (which almost every one does) they have to pay off their mortgages too.

    Though it sounds unfair to kick H1-Bs out during a recession, I think it is reasonable.
  18. George's Avatar
    "Compare that with an American kid who (I guess) comes out with a 200,000$ student loan on his/her head and need to get a job and work on the job before he/she pays off the loans. If they buy a home (which almost every one does) they have to pay off their mortgages too.

    Though it sounds unfair to kick H1-Bs out during a recession, I think it is reasonable."

    I think it is good old Flannagan again!

  19. JoeF's Avatar
    "Compare that with an American kid who (I guess) comes out with a 200,000$ student loan on his/her head and need to get a job and work on the job before he/she pays off the loans."

    Americans also get assistantships in graduate school.
    And as far as student loans goes, they get deferred if the person doesn't have a job. And further, parents usually have saved for the college tuition of their kids. And then there are scholarships which don't have to be paid back.
    And, in the high-tech fields where most H1s are, the salaries are well above average, so Americans in these fields can pay their student loans back fairly quickly. I haven't heard of people on H1 in English literature...
    So, you obviously didn't quite think things through...
  20. Dan's Avatar
    F1 students are better off with this status than H1 because of the uncertainty of the job market. I guess there's not too many students applying for H1 status.

    F1 would be better off with part-time on-campus job but assured of maintaining status for a long time than having H1s with a big probability of lay-off after a few months.
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