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Who is spoiling H1- Visa image?

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Let's be very clear about something....

Unless there are outside relationships no one is making public, we are all strangers here. Let's not speculate as to the thinking, motivations, history, or circumstances of one another.

Discussing the H1-B process, it's economics, rational, and related topics is an important discussion to have. Discussing the education, job, career, or other specifics of another person is not appropriate in this forum.

--mark
Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375
For what is worth, in my experience, a person's ability has nothing to do with their immigration status (I worked with awesome us citizens, permanent residents, H1Bs, and L1Bs, and I found examples of not so good skills in all categories too) neither with the country of origin (although I must confess that I feel more comfortable working with people from some countries than others... but is a cultural thing )

Gabriel
Software Surgeon
aditee sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 182
Glen Cai wrote:
Suggesting US citizens are dump is not very nice for guest workers, at least they are your host.

I don't need to learn from anyone about how to be nice to my hosts.
Specially not from people who come with preoccupied minds and jump the gun the moment they see "H1B".
I was talking about some US citizens and that too in reply to somebody else's post, to present the opposite of the scenario that the gentleman put forward.
Talking about some people does not reflect my view of the majority of the work force here.

Glen Cai wrote:
The main point here is that US citizens must lower the salary expectations to compete.

In part correct, but one must understand why. There is skill-based competition to the US workers and that drives down the price in some cases. As somebody said, in the mostly contract job market of H1B, you get fired if you are not working well. Why would somebody keep any worker, H1B or otherwise, if he/she is incapable of performing?

Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

aditee sharma wrote:
Glen Cai wrote:
The main point here is that US citizens must lower the salary expectations to compete.

In part correct, but one must understand why. There is skill-based competition to the US workers and that drives down the price in some cases. As somebody said, in the mostly contract job market of H1B, you get fired if you are not working well. Why would somebody keep any worker, H1B or otherwise, if he/she is incapable of performing?


I am not totally convinced of this argument.... Okay, I agree that for H1Bs, it is mostly a commodity market. And I agree that there are many US citizens, whom are Java developers, and who must compete in this commodity market.

But I don't seem to know many of these type of developers. I like to believe that a friend of mine, who knows how to execute a program sell of a large amounts of shares, in the stock market, while having little impact on the market.... And happens to do coding in Java, is more valueable as a developer to a hedge fund than your standard commodity Java developer.

IMO, even though supply and demand still applies, skill and experience are still part of that equation -- which means that not everyone has to lower salary expectations, because of the influx of cheaper labor.

Henry

Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
aditee sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 182
Henry Wong wrote:
But I don't seem to know many of these type of developers.
I like to believe that a friend of mine, who knows how to execute a program sell of a large amounts of shares, in the stock market, while having little impact on the market.... And happens to do coding in Java, is more valueable as a developer to a hedge fund than your standard commodity Java developer.

Such a person described by you does not face any threat from the low cost variety of H1Bs.
This is a business critical profile and even though nobody is irreplaceable, there is much less competition for such a person.
However, I don't think that this is a common scenario.Not all US developers work in business critical areas.

Also, you are assuming that contract developers do not have the business/domain knowledge.
Some of the contract developers(both US and H1B) that I know had adequate domain knowledge.
The US developers however, were deliberately on contract to make more money and to have more freedom.
They turned down permanent offers (Although in the current economic situation, I guess they might be regretting that decision ).
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

Also, you are assuming that contract developers do not have the business/domain knowledge.
Some of the contract developers(both US and H1B) that I know had adequate domain knowledge.
The US developers however, were deliberately on contract to make more money and to have more freedom.


Actually, no. I made no such assumptions. I know plenty of contract developers, both foreign and domestic, with really good domain knowledge. And they all get paid top dollar.

It is you that is assuming that an H1B with domain knowledge is going to drop salary expectations, for the field. In fact, I think it's the other way around. Domain knowledge is going to raise salary expections.


Henry

aditee sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 182
Henry Wong wrote:
Actually, no. I made no such assumptions. I know plenty of contract developers, both foreign and domestic, with really good domain knowledge. And they all get paid top dollar.

You earlier said this:
Henry Wong wrote:
Okay, I agree that for H1Bs, it is mostly a commodity market.
And I agree that there are many US citizens, whom are Java developers, and who must compete in this commodity market.
But I don't seem to know many of these type of developers.

If by "commodity" you don't mean contract, then kindly let know what do you mean..

Henry Wong wrote:
It is you that is assuming that an H1B with domain knowledge is going to drop salary expectations, for the field. In fact, I think it's the other way around. Domain knowledge is going to raise salary expectations.

I am going by the logic that if there are more people of comparable competence vying for the same job, then the rates will go down.However, in this category there is not that much of a competition.Still enough space for everyone.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

If by "commodity" you don't mean contract, then kindly let know what do you mean..


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity


Henry
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I'm going to jump in with a comment to hopefully minimizing the ensuing debate (or rather minimizing the tangents to it).

Yes, not all developers are created equal. It's been suggested by Brooks and empirically shown by DeMarco and Lister that there is a bell curve in terms of quality of developers. Many argue, myself included, that not all developers are equal.

On the other hand, there are "bands" of developers, such that the difference between someone in the 56th percentile and the 57th percentile is probably negligible. It's certainly not worth the effort to try and distinguish in the recruiting process which is which. In that sense, I also consider many developers a commodity. Consider that candidates for a job would likely also follow a bell curve and therefore the bulk of them will be near the center of the curve. If I need some basic development or maintenance work which doesn't require deep technology insights or domain knowledge, commodity developers are fine and I should approach them and use them as such.

Ultimately what makes a commodity market is the perception of an item being a commodity. We know that p99.9% pure copper is 99.9% pure copper and take it as a commodity. Cell service is also considered a commodity--even though the coverage, quality of service, customer service, etc. is not uniform. First round draft picks in sports generally are not commodities, but are seen for their unique combination of skills; players in the 17th, 18th, and 19th rounds are probably less distinguishable from one another. In sports top players get multimillion dollar contract; bench warmers get a league minimum salary and aren't effectively different from one another.

So whether or not something is a commodity (say developers) is less important than whether or not they are perceived as a commodity.

--Mark
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

I'm going to jump in with a comment to hopefully minimizing the ensuing debate (or rather minimizing the tangents to it).


Mark,

Good catch. I totally missed the implication that my arguement was based on "competence". To be clear... it isn't. My argument has nothing to do with competence, it has to do with interchangability.

You could be a so-so developer, working in Cobol for the company's paycheck system, and quite frankly, your job is safe. You are not a commodity, it is unlikely that the company can find someone to replace you easily, or even find an outsourcer with the available skills. It doesn't mean that you are a great developer though.

On the other hand, you could be the top Java developer, with Hibernate and Spring skills. And just finish a major project, putting the project into maintenence mode. What are the chances of the company finding someone cheaper for the maintence portion of the project?


The main point of the argument is that supply and demain is also dependant on interchangability -- the argument that domestic workers must choose to take a paycut because of an influx of cheaper labor is true (but only if the domestic resource is a commodity). And for developers, this just isn't true for the majority.

On the other hand, the recession that is happening in the states -- yeah, that will have a much bigger affect on paycuts.

Henry
aditee sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 182
After this mini discussion about commodity developers, can we not safely say that commodity development is mostly contract jobs? and then will it be wrong to say that Henry's following two statements contradict each other?
Henry Wong wrote:
Actually, no. I made no such assumptions. I know plenty of contract developers, both foreign and domestic, with really good domain knowledge. And they all get paid top dollar.


and earlier this:

Henry Wong wrote:
Okay, I agree that for H1Bs, it is mostly a commodity market.
And I agree that there are many US citizens, whom are Java developers, and who must compete in this commodity market.
But I don't seem to know many of these type of developers.

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
aditee sharma wrote:After this mini discussion about commodity developers, can we not safely say that commodity development is mostly contract jobs?


No we cannot. There may be contract jobs requiring experts (e.g. needing someone with deep knowledge of JAAS), or full time roles which are rote (e.g. maintaining an SAP system).

--Mark
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

After this mini discussion about commodity developers, can we not safely say that commodity development is mostly contract jobs? and then will it be wrong to say that Henry's following two statements contradict each other?


Besides being an obvious strawman argument (with some out of context setup), it is not even directly related to the point I was making....



And Mark, what are you doing up so early? I thought I was the only one who couldn't sleep...

Henry
Ann Basso
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 48
Henry Wong wrote:
After this mini discussion about commodity developers, can we not safely say that commodity development is mostly contract jobs? and then will it be wrong to say that Henry's following two statements contradict each other?


Besides being an obvious strawman argument (with some out of context setup), it is not even directly related to the point I was making....

Henry


Henry, I have been siliently following the discussion and I am sorry but I am not sure what is your point either.

AFAIK, here is the situation:-

H1Bs are brought to US by two kind of companies -
1. End user companies such as Microsoft, who actually have them work on their own projects and
2. Contracting companies, who are technically employers of H1B employees but "rent" them out on contract to other end user companies.

Further, Contracting" firms are of three kinds -
1. Indian multinationals e.g. Infosys, Tata -
2. American multinationals e.g. EDS, KPMG, CapGemini -
Both the above kind of companies do projects on a turnkey basis for clients as well as provide developers to end users on hourly rates.
3. American mom&pop kind of companies (mostly owned by naturalized americans) whose only business is to bring workers from abroad on H1B and rent them out to end user companies on hourly rates.


When Contracting companies of kind 1 and 2 do projects on turnkey basis, they tend to rotate people between offshore and onshore. In this mode, they understand the project and then develop some part here and some part offshore. Many maintenance kind of projects belong to this category. I believe this is one of the major kind of projects where native workforce is fired and H1Bs are hired. While the low payscale of H1B is a factor, I don't think it is a major factor because no matter how low native developers are paid, they can't compete with rates in India. So they are going to get the boot anyway. These companies also abuse L1 and B1 visa for this kind of thing. This is a standard "offshoring" process of projects. Remember there is no statistics on payment of L1 and B1s. There are no requirements on numbers or salary whatsoever.

Contracting companies of the third kind (No. 3 above), are basically playing at the market rate. Now here, native developers are in direct competition with H1B developers, in terms of "performance at a given price". An end user company pays X$/hr for a Java developer to the contracting. It doesn't care if the developer is on H1B or permanent resident. Most of the work here is routine ( of course, there are exceptions ) and H1Bs do not have a price advantage because native programmers can also lower their rates. (At least, they are not competing with rates in India.) Hourly rates (from the point of view of end users) in such contracts vary from $45 to $90 (again, exceptions on the higher side exist but not on lower side) and these rates are in no way peanuts. Even the lowest paid H1Bs in this category get $50K per annum, which is quite good for unemployed native developers.

So now the conclusions that can be drawn from the above is this -
1. If an H1B is employed in US this means - No other permanent resident developer is available OR no other permanent resident developer is willing to work at the given pay. Again, the minimum pay that a native american is competeing with is 50K PA, so it is highly unlikely that a native developer will choose to stay unemployed instead of being employed at 50K. This only proves that the available permanent resident developer pool does not satisfy the skill set required for the job.

The only way a permanent resident developer can remain unemployed in spite having the skills is if an H1B is being paid "offshore/Indian" rates in US!!! Which is not possible because cost of living in US itself is more than that. I can see that there will be downward pressure on rates because of H1Bs, but the rates in US can't go below a bare minimum. Afterall, an H1B has to eat and live too. Most of them have a wife (who is, by law, not allowed to work or do business and contribute financially) and kids too. So I can't see how an H1B can undercut his price so much so as to render a permanent resident worker unemployed.

There is some serious disconnect somewhere.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

Henry, I have been siliently following the discussion and I am sorry but I am not sure what is your point either.


My point is simple, I disagreed with one of the points made by one of the debaters during this discussion -- I am actually *not* involved in the primary debate.

I didn't take a stance in the original debate. Nor did I intentionally take any of the bait to enter the original debate.


The point that I disagreed with was... that domestic employees have to cut their salary expectations due to the influx of overseas talent (and from your conclusions, it looks like you disagree with it as well).

Henry

Ann Basso
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 48
Henry Wong wrote:

The point that I disagreed with was... that domestic employees have to cut their salary expectations due to the influx of overseas talent (and from your conclusions, it looks like you disagree with it as well).

Henry

Ok, I got your point. Just to be sure my conclusion is that domestic employees may have to cut their salary expectation if they don't want to remain unemployed. But the cut does not have to be too much because ultimately the cost of living applies to H1Bs and domestic employees equally.

In a commodity market, nobody makes abnormal profits. So basically, a domestic employee (if competing for a commodity development role such as pure java/jee developer), can't demand $100/hr when $50/hr H1B developer is available. So in that sense, there is definitely pressure on domestic developer on reducing the salary. But $50/hr in itself is quite good, it is quite more than national average wage. So there is no reason for a domestic worker to remain unemployed other than lack relevant skills.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18118
    
  39

Ann Basso wrote:Ok, I got your point. Just to be sure my conclusion is that domestic employees may have to cut their salary expectation if they don't want to remain unemployed. But the cut does not have to be too much because ultimately the cost of living applies to H1Bs and domestic employees equally.

In a commodity market, nobody makes abnormal profits. So basically, a domestic employee (if competing for a commodity development role such as pure java/jee developer), can't demand $100/hr when $50/hr H1B developer is available. So in that sense, there is definitely pressure on domestic developer on reducing the salary. But $50/hr in itself is quite good, it is quite more than national average wage. So there is no reason for a domestic worker to remain unemployed other than lack relevant skills.


Hmmm.... So, I seemed to have misread your conclusions. And we are not in agreement.

Haven't said that I don't really disagree with your conclusions based on the premise that it is a commodity market. I disagree with the premise though. I do not agree, that for the majority of developers, that it is a commodity market. (Java isn't the only language. In Java, no everyone standardlize on Hibernate and Spring, and Domain knowledge isn't a commodity. etc.)

Henry
Ann Basso
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 48
Henry Wong wrote:
Ann Basso wrote:
Haven't said that I don't really disagree with your conclusions based on the premise that it is a commodity market. I disagree with the premise though. I do not agree, that for the majority of developers, that it is a commodity market. (Java isn't the only language. In Java, no everyone standardlize on Hibernate and Spring, and Domain knowledge isn't a commodity. etc.)

Henry


I am thinking about the worst case scenario. i.e. even if it is a commodity market for majority of the developers (I believe it is so for folks on H1B, which is what you disagree with), it cannot be a cause for unemployment of domestic developers. So the hue and cry about H1B is really misplaced.
aditee sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 182
Henry Wong wrote: I do not agree, that for the majority of developers, that it is a commodity market. (Java isn't the only language. In Java, no everyone standardlize on Hibernate and Spring, and Domain knowledge isn't a commodity. etc.)

If it is not a mostly commodity market, and as per your own admission, H1B is mostly commodity market, then that means there should not be a need for US people to lower their salaries because they are not into the so-called commodity market.Why would people complain about having to lower their salary in a job that they are not doing?
Actually, I don't know how this term "commodity" made its way in this discussion in the first place.
When I say "contract" it encompasses all types of jobs: commodity or domain expertise or interchangeable or otherwise.It means Java/J2EE, .NET, Testers, Project Managers and pretty much all other profiles. I worked with both US and foreign personnel at all levels. It is not true that there are not many US developers in the so-called commodity market.And Sir,I am not under any hallucination to not be able to differentiate between US people and aliens.



Tejas Jain
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2008
Posts: 119
Henry Wong wrote:...

I am not totally convinced of this argument.... Okay, I agree that for H1Bs, it is mostly a commodity market. And I agree that there are many US citizens, whom are Java developers, and who must compete in this commodity market.

But I don't seem to know many of these type of developers. I like to believe that a friend of mine, who knows how to execute a program sell of a large amounts of shares, in the stock market, while having little impact on the market.... And happens to do coding in Java, is more valueable as a developer to a hedge fund than your standard commodity Java developer.

IMO, even though supply and demand still applies, skill and experience are still part of that equation -- which means that not everyone has to lower salary expectations, because of the influx of cheaper labor.

Henry


I do not feel comfortable with the word "commodity" to describe software programmers. It reminds me something bad happened a few hundred years ago in US. I know you mean competition among people, but there are something at a higher level - Human Rights (or commodity rights).


"Knowing is not enough, you must apply... Willing is not enough, you must do."
--Bruce Lee
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 335
Todd Jain wrote:I do not feel comfortable with the word "commodity" to describe software programmers. It reminds me something bad happened a few hundred years ago in US. I know you mean competition among people, but there are something at a higher level - Human Rights (or commodity rights).


What does being a commodity have to do with human rights? It merely means that one is easily interchangeable or replaceable with no loss of quality, nothing more, nothing less. Whether that's accurate or not is another matter.

Cheers!

Luke
Pj Murray
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 24, 2004
Posts: 194
Gabriel Claramunt wrote:For what is worth, in my experience, a person's ability has nothing to do with their immigration status (I worked with awesome us citizens, permanent residents, H1Bs, and L1Bs, and I found examples of not so good skills in all categories too) neither with the country of origin (although I must confess that I feel more comfortable working with people from some countries than others... but is a cultural thing )


Couldn't agree more!



PJ Murray -
 
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subject: Who is spoiling H1- Visa image?
 
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