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SCJP/ Java career worth it with H1-B1 expansion?

 
Ranch Hand
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I've been looking into moving from MCSE type work into Java but wonder if it's worth it anymore, given that the high-tech market is going to be **flooded** with foreign workers soon. Many companies are deliberately flaunting the laws- Motorola for example barely even hires US Citizens now for programming/software engineering work. This trend is just going to continue. It's just much cheaper for companies to hire coders at $20/hour for 6 years of indentured servitude than a US citizen. I'm not anti-immigration, but the clearly the system is being abused, especially with this huge increase in he cap. H1-H1 use to be about bringing only the best and brightest, not replacing middle-class professionals software engineers with cheap importanted labor.
Is there any way for Americans to get H1-B1 visa status? I fear discrimination against junior level US citizens who want to move up or shift in their careers (especially if over 35 years of age) is going to be pervasive in a few more months. I am being paranoid? What do you think?

 
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I was under the impression that countries relied upon immigrants of one sort or another to be the real cornerstone of the labour market. The people who are prepared to do the less desirable work, or do the same job for less money, and to work hard at it.
While that isn't really answering your question, it seems to be true, in the same way that the all-pervasive industry ageism is a fact too. Having said that, there is a guy in my team in his 50s who is excellent, and I have worked on project teams with foreign programmers who have been umm...substandard. It's a dumb industry that ignores its most experienced workers and its homegrown talent.
For a while I considered applying for a visa to work stateside but frankly there are too many hoops you have to jump through when you're from where I am, and I have commitments here; what's more, the competition is too tough when there are citizens of some nations prepared to work for peanuts. And when you pay peanuts... I would like to believe that the bottom line when you're a hiring company is that you get what you pay for. I'm just not sure that it's true. Will the situation you describe lead to tech careers becoming lower paid and people driven harder?
Just a by-product of citizenship in one of the richest nations in the world I guess.
What is 'he cap' BTW?
 
Rancher
Posts: 241
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The cap is the limit on H1-B visas given out in a year to foreign "highly skilled" workers to work in the US. Congress just passed legislation raising the cap for this year from about 125,000 to 195,000 . If they hadn't passed the legislation the H1Bs would have dropped progressively from year to year.
There was an alternate law that didn't get near passing, in which the cap would have been eliminated in return for laws that said you couldn't hire an H1B at a salary below $40,000, and also you couldn't use an H1B to replace any American on your payroll. (In the mind of your humble moderator, this sounds like it would be a bureaucratic nightmare to enforce!)
The high-tech industry claims it is short 300,000 skilled jobs, and Alan Greenspan has said that the current boom may run aground due to a shortage of skilled labor. These were the reasons I saw most often cited for passing the legislation.
 
Greenhorn
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Paranoid? I'm pretty new to the whole immigration side of this business, but my personal experience is that the talented native worker has little to fear. I get spammed daily by body shops with H-1B slaves working for them (poor coders) and they don't usually seem to have the skill sets of people who've been working in the U.S. for awhile because - I'm generalizing now - they haven't been exposed to all the same technology, or don't have many years of experience, etc. Communication skills are also an issue for many new to this country.
And H-1B's are a pain to obtain, partly because the INS is concerned about American workers being undercut by cheaper labor. You have to show what you're paying your current staff, and what you're going to pay the H-1B applicant, and the process is long and expensive and (again, my opinion only) prohibitive. Have you noticed how many companies say 'no H-1B applicants' or 'no sponsorship available' and stuff like that? It might seem rude but they don't want the hassle or the built-in wait time of ANY kind of visa sponsorship (there are a lot of categories too, H-1B's aren't the only way foriegn workers can be employed here). Plus, after you sponsor someone, the H-1B the company paid for can be transferred from under their noses, without their knowledge. Or another company can offer to sponsor the same employee themselves so they can still leave you fairly easily, no strings attached. H-1B'ers can move around like an American or "green card" worker, it just takes longer because of the paperwork.
Ageism is a whole other topic, but I haven't seen much of that in the hi-tech industry, personally. Still, workers over 40 are in a protected class under federal law; sad we need that to be legislated, isn't it?
 
Greenhorn
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Paranoid??....no, I think mis-informed
Well.. there are regulations and policies to hire H1B people. There is a minimum pay stipulated by INS. Even the H1 process requires the companies to file for Labor Clearence Approval which essentially states there are no locally available people( including citizens ) who can do this job.
As Julie McCarthy has observed, it is a pain to bring in H1B people and even more painful to maintain the paperwork. It is a lot of responsibility you are shouldering if you bring someone from outside the country and tell the government you need him/her to get the job done. Remember this responsibility is something more than just paying the person once in a month. Naturally a lot of employers just don't want to get into this mess and they are afraid of lawsuits or other legal problems.
You also got it wrong about the 'peanuts' salary. I am a H1B immigrant myself and I have been working in the US and let me tell you when I came to US four years ago, my starting salary was above average when compared to standards in the US IT industry. In the past four years, my pay has risen by about 120% and I now earn a six-figure. This only shows how inevitable it is for the companies in the US to take help from Immigrant workforce. Infact, if you think about it, the root of the problem is in the education system in the US. Compared to what is taught in the schools in China or India( from where 80% of the immigrants are pouring in ), the level of education in the US is substandard. A lot of my friends who have kids spend their evening teaching them math and science because they feel what is taught in the schools is totally inadequate. If the US wants to encourage home-grown talent to take up high-tech jobs, they should probably start from the school system. If you have not already read the provisions of the new bill, it allows a part of the revenue to the government flowing in from the increased H1B fees to be used to set up new Math and Science grants for various Univiersities in the US.
Having said these things, I should also tell you the life of a H1B worker is not all that green and glamourous. Every year INS shuts down dozens of 'sweatshops' which bring in foreign workers and abuse them. Not physical abuse, but treating them as dispensable resources, not paying them what they promised before!!. Infact INS even takes action against companies which replaces a local person( American citizen ) with a foreign worker.
To summarise, I feel your inferences about H1B workers or the new bill that was passed recently are not accurate. INS is an American organization and they do protect the interests of American citizens. Today the US is witnessing a tremendous growth in the high-technology area and they need help from outside to meet the demand. While the politicians are yielding to pressure from the IT-lobby, they are planning for the long-term. They all want to see more and more US citizens to compete and take up these jobs, and they are working towards this goal. I won't be surprised if five years from now this law gets scrapped!
I hope I have made clear some of the facts about the H1B scenario.
Good luck with your job search!!
Anonymous H1B worker
 
George Brown
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just a few points to reply:
1. I do not work in the US. But my country has policies which are not too dissimilar.
2. My experience and comments are based on my own experiences in my home country, and are mine alone. The problems with foreign workers that I experienced were due to the communication problem: one worker in question was allowed too much rein to design and build a terribly flawed subsystem which we had to rectify afterwards. On the other hand in the same team there were brilliant engineers of the same foreign origin. My comments about substandard foreign workers and old programmers were pointing out the EXCEPTION not the rule.
3. why post anonymously? no-one else is.
4. The US was built by immigrants of one nation or another, and no-one is questioning the commitment and endeavours of immigrant workers.
5. My comments about low pay are in relation to the difference between home pay and US pay - not a huge difference for me. For many immigrants to the US there is a huge difference.
6. why post anonymously? no-one else is.
My comments were not meant to offend or to denigrate. I hope your don't offend others with your post either.
 
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Our "Another H1B worker" has made quite a few valid points, so it is a pity he wants to remain anonymous. One thing I have to disagree with thought is a statement that American education system is substandard to any other education systems in the world (with exceptions like Netherlands or Sweden). I agree that elementary education level program in countries like China and India might have focus on science more the US or Europe, but is where the advantage ends. I ma myself a product of an education system (Poland) which emphases importance of math and other "hard" science. I was lucky because of my predisposition and/or strong mathematical traditions in my family, but I can understand that is not good for everyone and might even lead to destroying humanistic talents (which might be even more important since they make as what we are). IMHO Modern European education systems and US are a result of natural evolution caused by higher live standards. I am not sure if that is a rule but all the brilliant engineers of Indian or Chinas origin I have meet has purchase advanced degrees from respectable American universities. Despite all the difficulties with H1, it is the grate time to work in IT these days if you know your stuff and willing to work hard. Where else could 25 years old kid like myself work on the lead position and make top bucks :-). Most Americans remembers and respects that US has been build and still is an Emigrants country [Altought H1 one is not an emigation Visa, pleas keep that in mind], unfortuanlt ther are excpetions too. I have been acues of take jobs from americas once. It is rather funny story too. Anyway it is grat to be HERE, Thak you all!(altought I miss home and going back soon for good.)
 
Ugly Redneck
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Originally posted by Eric Barnhill:
The cap is the limit on H1-B visas given out in a year to foreign "highly skilled" workers to work in the US. Congress just passed legislation raising the cap for this year from about 125,000 to 195,000 . If they hadn't passed the legislation the H1Bs would have dropped progressively from year to year.
There was an alternate law that didn't get near passing, in which the cap would have been eliminated in return for laws that said you couldn't hire an H1B at a salary below $40,000, and also you couldn't use an H1B to replace any American on your payroll. (In the mind of your humble moderator, this sounds like it would be a bureaucratic nightmare to enforce!)


As far as I know, the cap is set to return to 65000 in October of this year. And there is a minimum wage law. The professional being bought in on an H-1B must be paid the prevailing wage, set at $52,000 for most parts of the country.
Ofcourse there are companies (read sweatshops) that abuse and disrespect this law but if anyone complains about them they go into the INS blacklist.
 
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