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Do American IT professionals understand what the H-1b visa is all about?

Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
It's called training dollars. For you and me.

Here's an overview of what the program is all about.

Check for a location where you can apply for the monies to update your skill set.


Marcus L´┐Żubli, SCJP 1.4, CLP 5.0, SCWCD 1.4 (preparing)
Roger Haynie
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Posts: 3
The unemployed one's do.

However, I guess some sugar had to coat such a bitter pill...
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Roger,

Please get your facts straight before you say something like that.

Here's a quote from one of the pages I linked in my original post:


The technical skills training portion of the law is designed to help both employed and unemployed American workers acquire the requisite technical capabilities in high skill occupations that have shortages. Training generally is aimed at occupations at the H-1B skill levels, which are defined as a bachelor's degree or comparable experience


You and/or your employer have the right to ask for (read apply for) this money for YOUR further education. There's apparently still quite a bit of it.

Don't walk away from it just because you have a job.
[ January 25, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
Roger Haynie
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Posts: 3
Hello marcus,

I was remarking on the subject line of your post which is:

"Do American IT professionals understand what the H-1b visa is all about?".

The links you posted are informative. However, I hope you are not under the impression that H1B's exist to help American IT workers. They are not. They exist to help IT employers deal with their "shortages".

Roger
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Retraining is fine, but once you are certified in Java try to get a job without 3-5 years of paid experience USING JAVA. Your 10 years creating comparable systems using COBOL/CICS won't even get your resume past the automated filters.

This catch-22 is not an oversight. They don't want legacy-experienced US employees so they redefine the job requirements so that even the best retrained Americans can never qualify, then they demand that the H1B quota be raised to fill a "critical labor shortage".

Since most senior IT managers were themselves upgraded through two or three generations of software with no loss of effectiveness, they know the "paid Java experience" requirement is bogus. No one company can afford to give up the competitive advantage of underpaid professionals - we need to educate Congress that the US programmer shortage is a deliberate fraud perpetrated to generate more H1B visas.

As for retraining dollars, JavaRanch is loaded with people who are doing an excellent job learning Java without formal training. Very few people learned CICS or MVS (OS/390) in a classroom either. Part of our job in IT was always continuous learning.

There is now an extensive array of formal certification programs offered by Sun, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, etc. Now, employers can prescreen retrained American programmers for solid product knowledge before spending time on interviews. But first they need to be broken of their lost-cost-H1B habit.


Mike Gershman
SCJP 1.4, SCWCD in process
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Alright,

Let's approach this a couple of ways. I happen to live in the state where we have one of the most senior Republican senators Mr. McCain. I will gladly have a meeting with him and bring this up to him. What should I tell him? Let's discuss this.

I just applied for the H-1b thing. I'm also an entrepreneur. I'm willing to take a risk once I have the training. I understand that this will be a tough row to hoe, however, after 3 1/2 years of being ill, it can't really get too much worse. By the way, Social Security refused to pay me any disability benefits. Go figure.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
But first they need to be broken of their lost-cost-H1B habit.


Mike, did you mean least cost - H1b or lost cause. I really don't understand what you're trying to say.

P.S. Mike, if you want to take this off-line, I don't mind.
[ January 25, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
soniya saxena
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2004
Posts: 300

P.S. Mike, if you want to take this off-line, I don't mind.

[ January 25, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]

Please dont take it offline. Let everybody benefit from the discussion.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Roger Haynie:
The unemployed one's do.

However, I guess some sugar had to coat such a bitter pill...


Well said. Over here in the Netherlands even the government is now at last starting to see that just handing out work permits like crazy while there's loads of qualified people unemployed isn't a smart thing (and that took 20 years for them to get into their brains).

Every work permit handed out for a job which can be filled by a native (possibly after retraining) means one more person unemployed.
It means less tax income (as foreigners pay lower taxes and sometimes none at all in the country they work in) as well as increased cost to the government (from extra unemployment money that needs to be paid out and retraining university grads to become streetsweepers).


42
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Mike, did you mean least cost - H1b or lost cause. I really don't understand what you're trying to say.

P.S. Mike, if you want to take this off-line, I don't mind.


Sorry, I meant to say "But first they need to be broken of their low-cost-H1B habit."

I have no desire to take the discussion off-line. I think this is the central issue about the impact of H1B visas on American programmers:

There is no US programmer shortage, there is just lying and greed on the part of employers

It would be interesting if the ultimate employers, not the body shops, had to certify the truth of H1B applications or if the pay stubs used to prove continuous employment at prevailing wages were sent to the Internal Revenue Service for comparison to tax returns. Benching - what benching?
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Soniya,

I see that you are quite active in some of the discussions about others coming to the US or another western country. Welcome to the discussion. I'm really interested in what you think too!

I'm a dual national myself. I've lived and worked in both of my "native" countries. Switzerland from 1981 to 1995 and the US for everything before and after my stint in Switzerland. I also understand much when it comes to multi-lingual, multi-cultural environments.

As for the H-1b visa holders, I've worked with them too. Some of them are excellent professionals, others need polishing. Yet others need real world experience. I've seen quite a bit. Most H-1b visa holders I've worked with have communication problems.

Once I found out what much of the H-1b visa monies are used for, I decided to try to get some updated skills. I've got my qualification interview on February 1, then I wait a month to see if the Government thinks that I qualify. I'll be sure to let you know what happens.

Mike,

When I go to see Senator John McCain (and I will go), how am I to tell him that corporate America needs to be weaned? Let's discuss this. I'd be delighted to seriously come up with a plan and meet with representatives of Congress.

In fact, I'll even take a printout of this discussion along. I think that it may be quite enlightening to them.
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
When I go to see Senator John McCain (and I will go), how am I to tell him that corporate America needs to be weaned? Let's discuss this. I'd be delighted to seriously come up with a plan and meet with representatives of Congress.


Marcus:

There are two approaches to the problem. One approach is to just cut off new H1B visas until the surplus of legacy US programmers has gotten jobs. Companies know from experience exactly how to do the required retraining, they just need motivation.

The other approach is to strictly enforce the rules. This could involve:

1. Change the law that requires credible evidence of H1B fraud before the feds can investigate.

2. Require that the ultimate employer, not a body shop, to apply for the visas and issue the paychecks. The body shops would get separate checks from the ultimate employers for recruiting and helping with the paperwork. Employer CEO's should be required to certify strict H1B compliance under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

3. Match H1B data with tax returns to discourage benching and fraudulent pay stubs.

4. Upgrade the age discrimination laws to match the race and gender discrimination laws in requiring extraordinary justification for hiring policies with "disproportionate impact" on the protected groups. The laws now require proof of deliberate discrimination, which is almost impossible when the perpetrators have good lawyers and HR people.

There are some other ways to help that are within the control of Congress:

1. Require federal agencies and state/local agencies receiving federal funds to accept certification plus legacy experience for all programming jobs. Many other civil service categories work this way now. It would help break the catch-22 "paid Java experience" logjam.

2. Entitle H1B holders to permanent residence (green card) after six years. This would reduce the population of underpaid, powerless programmers that is distorting the IT job market while giving H1B professionals a real stake in this country.

Please us know how your meeting works out.

Mike
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Mike,

Senator McCain's office is less than 1 mile from where I live. I think that my situation will be of interest to his office.

I'm going to go up there today, try to make an appointment with an assistant, and make a case to see Senator McCain myself.

I'm going to take a print-out of this discussion along.

Thanks for your help.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
Good luck with your visit Marcus. Senator McCain is on record as wanting to expand the use of "guest" workers in the US. He knows that the US is addicted too to cheap mexicans for low skilled labor.

When you see him please tell him that when government interferes with the balance of supply and demand for labor they are attempting to plan the economy. Tell him planned economies are communism and very far from the talk of free markets ideals we hear from his party.

Tell him not to just talk the talk.
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Marcus:

For your meeting, please print out this thread as well:
http://www.coderanch.com/t/29204/Jobs/careers/Getting-Job-US
Jay Ashar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2002
Posts: 208
Originally posted by Mike Gershman:


2. Require that the ultimate employer, not a body shop, to apply for the visas and issue the paychecks. The body shops would get separate checks from the ultimate employers for recruiting and helping with the paperwork. Employer CEO's should be required to certify strict H1B compliance under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]


I find this point very interesting. I am not sure if this law is currently being ignored or this is just a proposed enhancement, I am trying to understand how this will work.So this means there should be a way to differentiate between companies, if they are body-shop or not? Because there will be companies who claim that we are not body-shoppers and we do on-site development but ocassionally our employees have to go to client site. Look at this link here

http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/h1b.htm#work

it says "The petitioning U.S. employer may place the H-1B worker on the worksite of another employer if all applicable rules (e.g., Department of Labor rules) are followed". So in a way this law could be easily explored, thats what I think.

Plus most ultimate employers are willing to work with H1B on temporary-contract basis and they have direct vendors to supply them with IT professionals. I know companies who doesnt even bother to interview people, just because there preferred vendor is placing them.

Just trying to understand how this will work.


SCJP 1.4<br />SCWCD 1.3
Jay Ashar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2002
Posts: 208
Originally posted by Mike Gershman:
Marcus:

For your meeting, please print out this thread as well:
http://www.coderanch.com/t/29204/Jobs/careers/Getting-Job-US



Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


ever met a politician who wasn't corrupt?


You are gonna show this to Senator McCain
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Plus most ultimate employers are willing to work with H1B on temporary-contract basis and they have direct vendors to supply them with IT professionals. I know companies who doesnt even bother to interview people, just because there preferred vendor is placing them.

Just trying to understand how this will work.



Wow! leave the computer for an hour and this becomes a hot topic!

Jay, would you give us details about this type of activity?

I'm on my way down to Senator McCain's office now.

Be back.
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
2. Require that the ultimate employer, not a body shop, to apply for the visas and issue the paychecks. The body shops would get separate checks from the ultimate employers for recruiting and helping with the paperwork. Employer CEO's should be required to certify strict H1B compliance under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.


I am trying to understand how this will work.


It just means the company that is paying the bills must cut two checks - one to the programmer and one to the agency, with a 1099 to each.

It also means the end user of the services stands behind the H1B paperwork.
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
It also means the Fortune 500 corporation that is paying the bills can't claim they had no idea the programmer was getting $20/hour and the body shop was getting the rest. It also means that the company must enforce their rigid "paid Java experience" requirement equally on H1B employees.
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
ever met a politician who wasn't corrupt?


You are gonna show this to Senator McCain?


I never met a politician who denied it.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
You won't believe what happened! I got to the office address and the only thing that was there was a plaque on the front office window saying US Senator John McCain. I walked through the front door, no desks, no people, no coats, no NOTHING!

I guess I'll have to go over to the old offices, even though they ask you to go to the 16th Street address after January, like it says! I read after January 16th, probably because of the line it was on.

I'll keep you posted.
Jesse Torres
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 985
Originally posted by Marcus Laubli:
You won't believe what happened! I got to the office address and the only thing that was there was a plaque on the front office window saying US Senator John McCain. I walked through the front door, no desks, no people, no coats, no NOTHING!

I guess I'll have to go over to the old offices, even though they ask you to go to the 16th Street address after January, like it says! I read after January 16th, probably because of the line it was on.

I'll keep you posted.




Thanks for taking the time to post a thread on your intended meeting with Senator McCain. Also, thanks for the informative thread topic!

Please keep us posted.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Jesse,

I'll be glad to just meet with Senator McCain's assistant at this point! I'll probably have to get through him/her before I meet the Senator himself.

I will keep you posted. I meet with my local government "Workforce Connection" people on Feb 1, after that I'll have to wait a month to see if I, as an individual professional, qualify.

This discussion will continue for a few days to come!

Keep watching!
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Jay Ashar:


You are gonna show this to Senator McCain


Maybe it's time politicians knew how the electorate thinks of them...
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Marcus Laubli:

I will keep you posted. I meet with my local government "Workforce Connection" people on Feb 1, after that I'll have to wait a month to see if I, as an individual professional, qualify.


If that's like what such people are here you don't qualify for much of anything unless you're a single mother belonging to an ethnic minority who has no education and hardly speaks the language because her husband never allowed her out the house before he divorced her.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Original post: Jeroen Wenting

If that's like what such people are here you don't qualify for much of anything unless you're a single mother belonging to an ethnic minority who has no education and hardly speaks the language because her husband never allowed her out the house before he divorced her.


Jeroen, I take offense to people talking like this.

I'm glad that there are more than one type of person in this world. Makes for a richer, fuller life. Imagine how drab life would be if everyone looked, talked, reeked and balked like me! I've been on mountain tops, and now, I'm just coming out of a long, narrow valley.

From now on, if you care to respond to one of my posts, please ensure that it:

1) is edifying for all who may read it
2) is uplifting to someone, other than yourself
3) comes across in a tone of voice that is not sarcastic. Just remember the Golden Rule.

I'm glad that the Government has reached under my arms for at least some help. If there's one thing I learned in dealing with the governemnt, I learned that I have to wait for them, not them for me. I'm going through the process. I'll be glad if I get the training, and I WILL go for the interview.

I'll keep you posted.

P.S. If you delete your post, I'll delete mine.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
I can't help that that's the situation over here Marcus. I wish it were different too but it isn't.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
Marcus -

I called the DOL this morning. They said I had to call somebody else. I called somebody else, they said they had no training dollars. Their grant had expired and that program was over.

Listen to what soundmoney.org has to say about retraining programs.

Sound Money Retraining Segment

Check out the accompanying web page too

Sound money web page

Follow through on that web page and see what the great career prospects are in VA, e.g.

Many new jobs in the future, according to prognosticators, will be in healthcare and the skilled trades. You might, therefore, consider training to be a dental assistant, emergency medical technician, physical therapy aide, or even carpenter. Don't forget to take into account regional trends that may be shaping the job market in your city or county.


So for a $1000 the US IT industry can get a $35K a year H1-B to take an Americans $60K job. Now if the American retrains to get a $35K EMT job things work out great don't they? The two workers make $70K so GDP goes up. Lots of taxes in the US are regressive and so the amount of taxes per capita goes up. After six years they flush the H1-B worker and get a new one.

The old H1-B was not in the US long enough to qualify for social security so all those contributions go to retirees in place like Florida who need EMTs, dental assistants, and physical therapy aids.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Homer,

What state are you in? The reason I ask is that this is money that is pushed down from a federal to a state, and sometimes even a local level.

Let me explain: I live in Phoenix, AZ, in Maricopa County. Therefore, I check the map, then click on my
State to see where I can apply.

As you can see, I can apply to the City of Phoenix, or anything that is Maricopa County. There is a total of about $7.7 million dollars that I am entitled to apply for. I can only walk away with a maximum of $5,000. I may apply everywhere, but that's not smart, because it's the same Federal program you're applying for! I called one office, then went to the other. When the first found out I was working with the other program, they started wooing me, telling me that they were the appropriate place for me to apply. Umm... I'm not going to complain about this!

If you do not succeed, bring it to your employer's attention. I understand that NPOs and employers can apply. Check this out! Keane, Manufacturers, MetLife, and others applied directly.

I worked as a government contractor long enough to learn that the "what" is not that important, but the medium with which it gets done. This is that kind of situation. By the way, it happens every year. Funds dry up, then others come in.
[ January 28, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Finally made it to Senator McCain's office. I'm heartened by the fact that the person there realized that I was really interested in a dialog, not just to moan and complain about how H-1b has changed the lives of programmers in America.

We agreed that I should put something in writing as a starter. I'm welcoming everyon's input here. I don't care if it's a 20 page letter!

I'm also going to send the Senator a link to this thread so that they can see that we're really discussing this and that I'm not just making stuff up.

Mike Gershman, I will use all of what you are recommending in my letter, and I promise to give everyone credit for what they write.

Senator, come on in! Let's talk!

Constituents, pull up a seat. Who will go first?
[ February 03, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
H1-B should be able to change jobs and not loose green card status if two weeks notice is given, new job pays >5% more and candidate has been in US at least two years.

H1-B program is wonderful chance for affirmative action on age discrimination. 20% of a years H1-B slots are to be awarded to candidates > 40.

No more than 10% of H1-B entrants to US may be in any one job category or one college degree.

Penalty for any company caught in severe violation of the law include fines upto 1 million and 3 years mandatory jail time for CEO.

H1-B renewal rules will be changed to 3 times. Three year periods same as today. Twelve years and the H1-B slave gets a social security and medicare check at US retirement age regardless of US citizenship or no.

Do you really think Senator McCain is going to care? Who's AZ's other senator and are either of them on the Judiciary committee? How about your house rep?
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Homer, is your posting based on new law, new proposed law, or what?

Can you post a reference or link?

Thanks

Mike

BTW, I don't consider hiring underpaid foreign 40-year-olds instead of underpaid foreign 25-year-olds to be "affirmative action on age discrimination". When they hire American 40-year-olds with 15+ years of legacy programming experience and full Java certifications instead Asians with 3 years of Java experience, I'll be a believer. This will only happen when the H1B quota is capped and the rules against benching, substandard salaries, etc., are strictly enforced. Since the H1B employees are supposed to be getting a continuous 95%+ of US salaries, the IRS and states should automatically bill them for taxes on the income implied by their job category and time in the US and bill their sponsoring employers for withholding, social security, medicare, and unemployment taxes.

The refusal of US employers to hire entry level American programmers is a disgrace. How did these executives get their own starts in IT? Where will the next generation of programmers come from?

BBTW, the law requires credible evidence from a knowledgable source before the feds can investigate H1B fraud. Who, exactly, is going to provide that evidence? Not the body shop. Not the H1B slave. Who??? There is no other quota category which cannot be investigated for fraud on simple suspicion.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
Homer, is your posting based on new law, new proposed law, or what?
Marcus is looking for new ideas.
BTW, I don't consider hiring underpaid foreign 40-year-olds instead of underpaid foreign 25-year-olds to be "affirmative action on age discrimination".
IMO you will believe when the under forty quota fills in a day and the over forty quota barely gets used.
BTW, the law requires credible evidence from a knowledgable source before the feds can investigate H1B fraud.
Sound like an idea for Marcus in there that needs refactoring.
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
BTW, I don't consider hiring underpaid foreign 40-year-olds instead of underpaid foreign 25-year-olds to be "affirmative action on age discrimination".
IMO you will believe when the under forty quota fills in a day and the over forty quota barely gets used.

IMO, you would see lots of young-looking 40 year olds.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
IMO, you would see lots of young-looking 40 year olds.

That's what we have now. I wonder if we can send a PM to Marcus. He needs to keep running the ball.
[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: Homer Phillips ]
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
I'm reeling from the results of applying for the H-1B training monies.

I was turned down. They say that I have current certifications (SCJP) which disqualify me. My Lotus CLP is 6 years old.

I've put in a second request on grounds of my disability..

By the way, I have to write this to a letter to Senator McCain's office. Now that I've been turned down, I'll have more to talk about!

Keep you posted.

P.S. I have no time table or schedule when this has to be done. I had 3 interviews in the last week and have been turned down there too. I also have to keep plugging away at my SCWCD studies and Cattle Drive activities!
[ February 11, 2005: Message edited by: Marcus Laubli ]
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
I was turned down. I have current certifications (SCJP) which disqualify me.

I don't understand. Who turned you down and what does SCJP have to do with H1B visas?
Jay Ashar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2002
Posts: 208
Originally posted by Mike Gershman:

I don't understand. Who turned you down and what does SCJP have to do with H1B visas?


I guess what he means, if I read this thread correctly, is that he got disqualified for training monies gathered from H1B fees, since he has SCJP he does not qualify, he is qualified enough to do a job, thats what they think.
Marcus Laubli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 24, 2004
Posts: 116
Thanks Jay,

That's exactly what I mean.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: Do American IT professionals understand what the H-1b visa is all about?
 
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