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Oct 4 2009: moved to H1B blog at blogspot.

Sept 13 2009:

Some interesting comments at Note the article "Use H-1B or L-1 workers?" and the comment "H1-B Destroying our Education System".

"Have you ever heard that we are not educating enough people? As long as we keep allowing companies to use H1-b visas the demand for American Programmers will be low and colleges and Universities will get less interest in students wanting to be programmers because there is no demand in the job market for US Citizen Programmers. These actions and trends are bad for our education system and counter-productive for the United States of America.

Next time someone mentions something about lack of programmers blame in on the H1-b System, not our education system. I work at a community college and we have just about completely done away with our program in CIS or programming skills. We are focusing on Networking skills instead. I think this is directly related to H1-b visas."

Well said. What more do Americans need to know before they understand what is happening ?

How Big Is It ?

Comment from a recent NY Times article on H1Bs in bailout banks:

Once and for all, H1B workers are NOT paid less, it is not a cheap substitute for American labor force ...

- Posted by "temporary alien"

From Wikipedia on H1Bs:

The US governments OES office's data indicates that 90% of H-1B IT wages were below the median US wage for the same occupation.

From an in-depth article from University of California (Davis ) about the temporary employment and H1B visas:

Annual revenues for the industry [ including non-IT categories ] are expected to be $88 billion in 2001 ...

Note that the most recent estimate I can find ( subject to revision ) is an estimate of temporary and H1B industry revenue in 2001. Even Wikipedia failed me this time. And the old estimate itself is suspect enough, what part of it is IT-related ?

As a rough estimate, one might suggest 300,000 legal "temporary" IT workers/year X an average of $50,000/worker/year = $15 billion per year. The actual number of IT workers ( that is, legals in all visa categories such as H1B and PERM visas plus people overstaying their H1B visas plus outright illegal workers ) might be nearer 500,000. [ Note that current information as of June 2009 suggests that the true number for all categoreis might be higher ! ]

The $/worker/year rate of $50,000 may be fairly realistic, if taken as the bill-out rate to the agency, not what the worker nets ( maybe an average of $16,000/year income ? ).

In any case, why aren't revenue estimates available for the H1B employment in the U.S.A ?

I would hazard a guess about the reason for this mysterious statistical void - no one in American government or business really wants the public to know the scale of the H1B industry, or wants us to know how bad the situation is for employment of Americans in the American technology sector.

Fox News to the Rescue

Flash March 19 2009: Headline from FOX news.

As Economy Slumps, Firms Line Up to Hire Skilled Foreign Workers ...

... IT communications workers complain that H-1B visa workers take jobs away from Americans.

What's happening here ? Is this coming from the same Fox News we used to know ? Has there been some unannounced shakeup or takeover at Fox ? Or has the political capital of corporate America fallen so low that even the allegiance of Fox News is in doubt ?

What will happen next, hedge fund gunslingers signing up for a union ? Will failed bank executives return their multi-million dollar bonuses skimmed from bailout money without a court battle ? Once this sort of thing starts, where will it end ?

But wait a moment, don't be too quick to judgment: like Fox News, we must be fair and balanced. The article continues with: "Bank of America was granted just 32 H-1B visas last year".

So, let me see if I can figure this out ... it is true that just 32 H1Bs worked at BOA, including all the contractors from the many 100s of insourcing/outsourcing firms running H1B projects in the United States ? Not just the tiniest bit of 'suggestio falsi' in that statement, is there ?

The H1B industry should take particular comfort in the statement by Harvard economist Greg Mankiw that "restrictions on H-1B visas is simply poor economic policy, reflecting xenophobic populism rather than hard-headed analysis."

According to Fox, the H1B program should be allow to continue nibbling away at us and the erosion of employment of Americans computer science graduates in the American software industry should be allowed continue as it has for the past 10 years. Crisis over, an outbreak of xenophobic populism averted.

According to Fox, the American government should continue drilling holes in our boat with one hand while bailing us out with the other. Greg Mankiw will be pleased: our policy couldn't get much more "hard-headed" than that.


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