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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

THE BIG BLUFF

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Remember recently I blogged about Microsoft deciding to open up a research center in Vancouver largely in response to the lack of H-1B visas in the US? Some of the protectionists who read the blog attacked Microsoft saying it was a big lie and even hysterically attacking the company's patriotism. But many companies are quietly expanding overseas operations partially in response to the H-1B crisis.

Money Magazine reports on Google's operations in India. Here's a quote that should raise some concern:

Google chose Bangalore in 2004 as the site of its first R&D center outside the U.S., says Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who heads Google's Asia operations from the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, in part "because so many Googlers who are Indian want to move back to India and participate in India's growth."

And with the U.S. now issuing half the H-1B visas for skilled high-tech workers that it did in 1999, combined with fewer foreign students coming to study at American universities, the newly minted versions of engineers like Narendran and Ram haven't been coming to the U.S. in the same numbers anyway. It used to be that you had to go to the U.S. to participate in technology's cutting edge. It used to be that Indians thought it was more prestigious to get a U.S. education and work in California. Not anymore.

Google is riding this trend, as are many other companies in India. Yahoo employs about 900 engineers at a research center in Bangalore, roughly nine times more than at Google's. And IBM has hired 53,000 people in India, becoming the nation's largest foreign employer. That's not to mention the 285,000 employed by India's four tech giants: Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, and Satyam.

It never hurts to repeat this truth - H-1Bs and high tech immigration SAVE jobs for Americans. The jobs  that might have been filled by Americans but instead go to India and elsewhere due to a lack of access to global talent exceed by far any jobs that might be saved if we bar foreign workers.

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  1. Middle Ground's Avatar
    Greg, no offense but you don't understand our business.

    Projects that are very consultative in nature are harmed by the H-1b when used by offshoring firms because it ENABLES offshoring. In short, they send people here to act as analysts and "front lines". They communicate with India the project requirements. The H-1b enables them to do this.

    Companies aren't moving to India because they can't import H-1b workers. That is just absurd. They are moving to India because they have one last window of opportunity to get their hands on cheap and skilled labor.

    With salaries in India rising, the dollar falling, and with a high failure rate - offshoring to India is becoming less attractive. Offshoring executives cite the lack of an H-1b as an impediment to their business!!! I can dig up a quote if you want.

    The fact of the matter is that the offshoring firms get large shares of the H-1b visa. Until you change that, your argument that the lack of H-1b visas is causing offshoring is simply put, wrong.
  2. Sid's Avatar
    "Companies aren't moving to India because they can't import H-1b workers. That is just absurd. They are moving to India because they have one last window of opportunity to get their hands on cheap and skilled labor."

    Since you repeat it so many times, you must be right. Google is trying to save a few thousand dollars on cheap labor even though they have over 10 billion dollars in cash.

    Yes, keep telling yourself that.
  3. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "Google is trying to save a few thousand dollars on cheap labor even though they have over 10 billion dollars in cash."

    You're just silly. Corporations don't say "we have billions, let's waste some money". They are chasing even nominal savings.

    Value is more than just cost of service. If it were, there wouldn't be a single software developer in America. India (offshoring) provides value for large projects that requirements are well known up from - where change is tightly controlled.

    Projects requiring close consultation and frequent change are probably done better with a firm in close proximity to the client.

    Game development is a classic commodity that can easily be offshored. Business Intelligence is just the opposite.

    You guys make these giant leaps of logic with little to no understanding of this business.
  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    MG - Yes, you offended me :-).

    And sorry, but I do understand your business as I've represented IT companies for many years.

    Just because you say it's absurd does not make it so. You're in your own unreality world so there's really no point in trying to argue this with you.

    Don't let those pesky facts get in the way.

  5. Sid's Avatar
    MG, do you have your own company?

    You seem to understand the IT business very well. What's stopping you from starting your own company?

    Have you tried applying to Google for a technical job? Do you think you can handle their interviews? You think anyone from PG is good enough to survive a technical interview at Google?

    Try to answer these questions honestly. You don't have to tell me. You're welcome to talk BS on this blog, just be honest to yourself.
  6. JoeF's Avatar
    "Corporations don't say "we have billions, let's waste some money". They are chasing even nominal savings."

    If you really think Google is trying to save a little bit by getting staff in India you really have no idea about how Google works.
    They save money with their hardware, using cheap, redundant harddisks, motherboards, etc., and a massively parallel infrastructure.
    They do not save on personnel. In fact, they even cater lunch to their people in the offices that don't have a kitchen.
    They have got it right: their asset is the personnel.
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Sid - MG runs a business. Of course, lawyers run their own businesses as well and many of them don't know the first thing about management and hiring. So owning a business does not somehow inoculate from charges of advocating positions that are against your interests. That's not that different from people married to immigrants who somehow think that this means they are not anti-immigrant. Lou Dobbs regularly trots out his foreign-born wife to shield him from criticism. One's words are more important than one's resume.
  8. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "MG, do you have your own company?"

    Yes, an IT development/consulting firm. That means I pay for facilities, salaries, and worry daily about marketing, sales, global markets, positioning, staying current with technology, who to partner with/hire.

    Most small and medium sized IT firms are opposed to this nonsense. There is a huge disconnect between large multinationals like Google and the average consulting firm.

    The only reason I am in business still is because we let India do things that are commoditized - that isn't our business. Things requiring close consultation with the client and high end skills is where we focus our energy.

    I am in the industry - I know what the people in it say. So being a lawyer for one and actually being inside one aren't the same.
  9. 's Avatar
    you will be surprised to hear how miser they are when it comes to operational process. I am talking of major companies. you see big building/computers/people with suits sitting on the floor. But reality is you need to show management efficiency every year.
    if you can cut your project budget from 500K to 480K,you are good, as long as the goals are not sacrificed.
    Google is not throwing money around... just because you read in some news paper that they give free lunch etc.
  10. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "Google is not throwing money around..."

    Of course they aren't. No business can operate like that indefinately. We all had alot of excess prior to the dotcom bust, and we all know how that story ended.

    Firms in business today in IT/technology have learned that to stay in business, you've got to cust cost or generate new revenue streams.

    I haven't seen a chocolate fountain in what seems like ages ;-)
  11. 's Avatar
    "Of course, lawyers run their own businesses as well and many of them don't know the first thing about management and hiring."

    But a successful immigration attorney I know was planning to offshore all the data entry in case of successful CIR ... so that his office could work 24X7....
  12. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "But a successful immigration attorney I know was planning to offshore all the data entry in case of successful CIR"

    I'm not a big fan of offshoring (everyone must be shocked ;-)

    That said, what does CIR and offshoring have to do with each other? Why wouldn't the firm offshore data entry now? That seems like a commoditized task and something that offshoring would work OK with. I don't see the connection to CIR.
  13. USC's Avatar
    "I haven't seen a chocolate fountain in what seems like ages ;-)"

    Teehee! If you want to see a real fancy one, go visit the Bellagio in Las Vegas!
  14. Sid's Avatar
    MG, I would think that your perspective of the IT industry is slightly different from someone in product development. Companies always try to hire the best people in product development. Price is a major factor in the decision making when it comes to outsourcing work, simply because there is a lot of competition from all sizes of companies in that domain. Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Satyam & Patni, all try to bid lower in order to get the contract. That is the nature of the IT consulting business. In product development, if you make a bad product, irrespective of the competition, no one will buy it. Most of the time you are essentially trying to create a new niche market. You can't compromise on quality there. That's why Google is not compromising on talent when it comes to R&D work. It's a different issue that they are competing with IT consulting when it comes to H-1B visas. I'm sure that like you, even they would prefer to take the IT consulting companies out of the equation.
  15. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "Companies always try to hire the best people in product development. "

    So do we in software development/custom business apps. There are plenty of people out there, not so many of very high caliber. Consultants are suppose to be the cream of the crop - so of course we want the best.

    Corporate America isn't producing so many good future consultants. They are pushing all the developers towards soft skills. This is bad for our ability to innovate. We want creators and builders, not only analysts - though analytical skills are also important. Innovation is going to suffer unless we support engineering in this country.
  16. Sid's Avatar
    "Consultants are suppose to be the cream of the crop - so of course we want the best."

    No. IT consultants are not the cream - management consultants are. That's why McKinsey hires from the best B-schools and IT consultancy companies hire anyone with an CS/IS degree.
  17. worldEB's Avatar
    those days are gone. no more innovation?. corporate america want just profit. and the government too. who cares about the country's future... because it would mean pouring money into schools and education.
  18. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "No. IT consultants are not the cream - management consultants are. That's why McKinsey hires from the best B-schools and IT consultancy companies hire anyone with an CS/IS degree."

    Give me a break. It's two different business models - McKinsey doesn't do what we do. They provide information to guide companies in their IT decisions.

    Most of the people I know (including myself) have worked for big-4 accounting firms, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, EDS, etc. Those companies don't hire people people who aren't the best - or at least have the potential to be.
  19. Sid's Avatar
    "Most of the people I know (including myself) have worked for big-4 accounting firms, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, EDS, etc. Those companies don't hire people people who aren't the best - or at least have the potential to be."

    They hire plenty of mediocre people in testing/QA/support/consulting etc. They always hire the smartest people for product development. You can ask any CS grad from a top school like Stanford, MIT, CMU, etc. whether they want a job in product development or testing/QA/tech support/IT consulting.
  20. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "Most of the people I know (including myself) have worked for big-4 accounting firms, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, EDS, etc. Those companies don't hire people people who aren't the best - or at least have the potential to be."

    Yeah, and all the "not very best" have no other options, but to work for McKinsey and BCG ;-)
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