When I was an active IT Consultant, one of my clients were able to obtain an H-1B visa for an executive. He was a very bright guy. They were not the nicest of employers. His salary was about 1/3 of the other executives. Why was that? Because he was in many ways an indentured servant to the company. If he messed up or made any demands, they held his right to his visa, and he would be back in South Africa at the drop of a hat. As a demonstration of how endearing this company was to the foreign worker, when he finally became a citizen, he immediately gave his notice and moved to Florida. They could not do without him. Payback is a bi----. He commanded a full executive salary while in Florida and he had a full time job there. Some stories work out well.
The point is that foreigners will work for substantially less wages than their American counterparts in high tech jobs. Engineers, computer techs, and many people in many other occupations want to live in America. They make lots more that where they came from and most are placed on a track to a green card and ultimately citizenship. As with my friend, those on such Visas do not have a real picnic before they get citizenship. Their job is to please their masters who know their plight and they know they are ripe for abuse in the workplace. They will almost do anything not to be deported and so they do what they must to satisfy the whim of their corporate sponsors.
One of the first spigots to get shut off when the US entered this recession tow years ago was the influx of legal foreign workers. Who needs 'em? But, your Congress took no action even as the unemployment rate shot up to 10%. Yes, your Congress has been complicit in the Visa programs that kill American jobs and which take advantage of the job receivers. It is only fair that this pitiful Congress should be left jobless after this next election and perhaps somebody will pick them up for the minimum wage, or hopefully a lot less!.
In my book, Taxation Without Representation (available at www.bookhawkers.com), I wrote a chapter on how American Corporations exploit foreign workers as well as Americans with their special government sanctioned Visa worker programs. There are over 80 different Visa programs and the H-1B is just one program that brings in 65,000 at time each year. For a few years they were bringing in over 100,000 a year.
Recently some of our trade agreements, such as the WTO, have insisted on our continuing use of the H-1B program to help foreign nationals come to America. And, so some suggest that we cannot summarily stop the H-1B spigot. I say we are a sovereign nation and we are in a recession and we can damn well do what we please to help our country.
As with most trade agreements, we were out-snookered by our "adversaries: unless we went in with a give-up strategy which is more likely. I joke with my Marywood classes that in trade talks, the US negotiators are the worst able at the table. It is as if they are programmed to lose. I suggest to my class that it would be far better for the US to ship in a huge block of granite and place it in the area in which the US negotiators would have been placed. The block of granite would have served America's needs far better than the losers who actually sat at the table.
The H-1B is a terrible loss for America's best workforce, its college graduates -- our best and brightest. It is a program that at any point in time is sapping almost 400,000 jobs from the economy. It is a travesty for American workers but especially bright students graduating from America's finest Universities. They are unemployed while they find their potential jobs taken by foreigners on Visa programs so that corporations can save money on wages. And, yes, there are times when the new H-1B worker comes in and replaces an American making two to three times as much income. The American has the pleasure of training the foreigner prior to his or her getting fired. It's not the way it is supposed to be.
H1B Visas for FY 2016
For the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 2016), the US is currently accepting applications for H1B visas. I find that hard to believe. The H1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model. Too bad nobody in the US can fill the bill. This really is unfair to Americans and is perpetrated by the lobbyists and future lobbyists (Congress). Congress is still bringing in 65,000 foreigners a year under this one of 80 Visa deals to take American jobs. Ask Matt Cartwright about that!
The filing deadline for H1B visas for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 2016) was April 1, 2015. Under current law, an alien can be in H-1B status for a maximum period of six years at a time. After that time an alien must remain outside the United States for one year before another H1B petition can be approved. Certain aliens working on Defense Department projects [Does this make any defense seense?] may remain in H1B status for 10 years. In addition, certain aliens may obtain an extension of H1B status far beyond the 6-year maximum period.
The current law limits the cap of H1Bs to 65,000 as the number of aliens who may be issued an H1B visa or otherwise be provided H1B status in a given year. There are 50 plus other Visa programs. Why is this when Americans cannot get jobs?
BTW, because Visa holders are documented, is that why border jumpers are called undocumented? What about the Visa holders who just never go back, and the just blend into the US landscape? Does documentation really matter to the unemployed American worker?
The following quote is from my book, Taxation Without Representation.
Onshore vs. Offshore
"The big difference between losing your job to a person with an H-1B Visa and having your job offshored is whether the person who gets your job will be playing a home game or an away game. If they get to work in their own country, say India for example, then for them it is a home game. Your job has been offshored. If instead, they get an H-1B Visa, then they get to come to the U.S. to take your job. In the latter scenario, however, your company or the company that would have hired you first lies about your availability to work or they would not get the H-1B Visa slot. The next lie is that they will pay the H-1B Visa worker or any other work Visa, the same pay for the same work you would have done.
Government lies and accepts liars as if their own rules do not matter.
The book continues:
Visa Alphabet Soup
"We can always thank the Greeks for the alphabet, because overall, the U.S. Visa problem is not stuck on the letters H1B. There are several visa types for just about as many letters fashioned for us by the Greeks and Phoenicians many, many years ago. As you would expect, in addition to H1B, there is an H1A, and there are visa types that start with A and go to T with many variants within those letters. Right now, there are 81 different visa types, each promising somebody in the world the opportunity to come to the U.S. for one reason or another to take an [American worker's job.]
"I have reworked a table from a government site and it is shown in Table 7-1. To see the whole table, rather than type the four line URL, just type Immigration Classifications and Visa Categories into your browser and you can see the full chart and all of its meaning.
"Actually there are so many Visa types that foreigners interested in coming to the U.S. often use the one type of Visa that they can get rather than the type of Visa that they actually should get for the type of work or study that they are hoping to do. It is a bureaucratic nightmare that only a desperate non-citizen or a lawyer could be paid enough to want to fully understand. That's why the latter make a lot of money on the former trying to squeeze them in."
It is clear that corporations have figured out that they do not have to export production to less developed countries to achieve low labor costs and to find a nice place in which health, safety and environmental enforcement is merely a wink and a nod away. Finally, they don't have to look to developing nations to find a vulnerable, exploited worker class since they have been able to create one right here in the good ole U.S. of A. This pool of illegal workers combined with those on Visas accepts low wages and depresses the entire wage scale so that Americans formerly engaged in these industries can no longer earn a decent wage.
What is the solution?
It really is simple. The only reason that these programs exist at the numeric levels they do is that corporations own your Congress. The solution is not to shut off the opportunities for Americans to mix with foreigners but to limit their numbers so that they do not become inexpensive replacement players for standout academics.
When has Matt Cartwright or Robert Casey Jr. suggested that this might be an issue for Americans?
Who has ever told you this is an issue? Let me be the first. I wrote about it in my book and I say it again for all to hear. The way this program is used is a travesty. We are not talking about students. Sometimes we are talking about Professors who will work for peanuts. We are talking about workers who are in advanced areas and for the promise of a green card or the right to eventually live in America, they forego six years working for minimal wages while Americans either more so or at least equally qualified remain unemployed.
Americans expect to make a decent wage and none of us are depending on the good will of a corporate manager to decide whether we get put on a fast track to citizenship. Thankfully we are already citizens but our Congress denigrates us and denies us our natural opportunities. What a shame! What a sham!
Can we not all agree to send all 435 members of Congress and the 100 Senators home packing--most in November and the rest when their time comes--for the harm they cause American workers and visitors who should go home loving America.
As with all the problems we identify in this section on Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!, there is an essay coming soon that offers real solutions. Your current Congress would not consider making it better. So, let's make sure they do not have the opportunity. For Northeastern PA, our time is April 26, 2016 and then again November 8, 2016. Make sure you take the time to vote.